Our summer learning plans: travel, literature, math, rest

Written by Kara Fleck

Our summer break is coming up and I am looking forward to it. It has been one of our best school years ever, but it took real effort and hard work from all of us.

We’re ready for some time off.

But first, before we mark the break between grades and school years, I want to squeeze in a summer session. I have plans for travel, a family literature study, and a mini math (not so intense) intensive.

I love our summer school sessions. We sleep in, move many of our lessons outdoors, and the pace is slower. I narrow the focus of our learning, keeping things simple, for them and for me.

Summer is a good time for review, for travel, and for exploring topics that we might not have had a chance to get to during the rest of the year.

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Homeschool burnout: 10 [easy] things to try when everything is hard


Written by Caitlin Curley of My Little Poppies

Sometimes you can feel the burnout coming on, just as you can tell your body is fighting a cold.

“Uh-oh,” you think to yourself, and then you quickly snap into prep mode.

With this type of burnout, you have a little wiggle room. You can try to fight it off … and also prepare in case you lose the battle.

Other times, burnout stops you in your tracks. More like the flu, it sneaks up on you on a clear blue day and knocks you to your knees without any warning.

Out of nowhere, you suddenly feel horrible. Physically and emotionally exhausted, you are left wondering what on earth just happened.

Burnout is always tricky, but sneaky burnout is the trickiest. 

This homeschool mama gig did not come with sick days, or vacation days, or a substitute teacher. And that’s the worst part of burnout. You’re on your own. You must put one foot in front of the other, don a smile, and muddle through until the fog lifts.

Unfortunately sometimes, for whatever reason, burnout is harder to shake. All of the usual strategies don’t work and you just feel … stuck.

If you are feeling this way, please know that you are not alone. Some homeschool seasons are harder than others. 

In fact, I am right there with you.

Last week, I finally emerged from the throes of sneaky burnout. I’m still scratching my head, wondering what happened. We had a great winter and we made it through February with nary a hiccup.

Then March hit and the kids bounced random illnesses back and forth and the world was gray and cold and wet. The month felt like an eternity and yet I cannot tell you what we did. When the kids were finally feeling better, I was utterly exhausted.

Everything felt harder, even the simple things. Even the things that should be fun.

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How therapy dogs helped me relax about reading


Written by Kara S. Anderson

“It tastes just like cheesecake,” she said laughing.

She was, of course, referring to dog frosting – the dog frosting she had whipped up from scratch to decorate her homemade banana pupcakes.

Frosting them was the last step in a process that had taken most of the day. She had also made applesauce treats and pumpkin bones.

She was getting ready for the last week of her read-to-a-dog program until the summer session.

It’s always hard to say good-bye to Gus and Mimi, Ozzie, Odie, Grace, Finn, Cocoa, Love, Koda and the other dogs who have become such good friends.

I adore every dog who has ever taken part in Books and Barks – their humans too, and the caring librarian who facilitates this program that I have no doubt, helped my daughter learn to read, and has built her confidence and fluency in a way that has never been stressful or hard.
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Homeschool sidekicks: 6 ways to creatively outsource your life


Written by Lora Lynn Fanning

I heard it in her voice over the phone. My friend was exhausted and sad to her core after a particularly epic meltdown over language arts. She mumbled sadly, “Something has got to give. I can’t … I just can’t anymore.”

She’d hit The Wall.

There’s a brick wall somewhere on this road of homeschooling that most families run into at some point. It’s the one that says, “I can’t do this anymore. I’m not doing anything well. They’d be better off in *insert anything else but home.*”

And what I reassured my friend, in between discussions of international boarding schools, is that The Wall is totally normal. It’s also totally survivable.

But you might need a buddy to help you get over it.

We make the schooling choices we make as parents because we want what’s best for our kids. But those choices come with consequences: sometimes it means we can’t do it all.

Moms and dads get overwhelmed and struggle to juggle all the important responsibilities of homeschooling and keeping a family running. Or perhaps we realize that because of our own weakness in a subject (for me, it’s math), our children are beginning to demonstrate that same weakness.

But we want better for them! We want them to succeed where we have not!

Lucky for us, there are lots of options and lots of ways to help share the burden (and the blessing) of schooling at home!

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What do unschooled teens do all day?

What do unschooled teens DO all day? Ideas and resources for interest-led learning for teenagers.Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

Teenagers are awesome.

The teenagers I know have interesting ideas, share perspectives I haven’t thought of, and are still open to learning even as they’re showing me new ways of looking at things.

At the same time, being the parent of homeschooled teens has opened up a whole new list of fears and expectations and things to worry about (hooray?):

Does interest-led learning work for teens? What will they do all day? What SHOULD they do all day? Are they doing enough? What IS enough, anyway?

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