How to measure progress when it feels like you’re not making any

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things

We began this school year in almost the exact same place we did last year.

(and I don’t mean our kitchen table…)

My youngest son is one of the hardest working kids I have ever met. He has had to be – most of the time, he works twice as hard for twice as long to get about half the results of other children.

So it really shouldn’t surprise me that we are still in Level Two of our reading curriculum. Even more so, it shouldn’t matter. On my good days, it doesn’t.

But some days, the truth is, it feels like we are not making any progress at all.

When I worked outside the home, I loved feeling like I had achieved something. Measurement was an important motivator for me. It still is.

While my job has changed substantially, my desire to see results and have the satisfaction of making progress has not.

Over the past seven years, I have learned that sometimes, if I want to see progress in our homeschool, I am going to have to go looking for it on my own.

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How to use audiobooks in your homeschool

Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool

I‘d love to say that it began with something sophisticated.

Like Shakespeare, perhaps, or The Iliad.

But in all honesty, Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls fame started it.

You see, I’ve always been a paper-devotee when it comes to reading. Suspicious upon the release of the first Kindles, I convinced myself that I could never get into electronic reading. What a laugh that now, several years later, I religiously carry my Kindle everywhere.

What can I say? I LOVE having 500 books in my purse at all times!

Kindle reading is still reading, though. You know, with your eyes. Audiobooks are a completely different story–perfect for auditory learners, of which I have one. I keep those ears of his stocked up with good listening/reading material.

But I am a VISUAL learner. (Or so I thought.)

In spite of this fact, when Lauren Graham’s new autobiography came out last year, I thought it would be fun to hear her read the book herself. So I bought the audio version. I was right; it was beautifully-written and hysterical!

Not only did I laugh out loud, I also got some of my best writing advice from Lauren’s book–advice I’m convinced I’ll go on to use for years.

I found myself going for more walks so I could listen to/read her book, looking forward to errands in the car so I could listen, getting my earbuds out while working in the kitchen so I could listen. I even found myself not minding so much when I would have a sleepless night; I’d just pop in my earbuds and read until I felt tired again.

And before long, wow! I had finished the whole book, and loved every minute .

I suddenly realized that by reading with my ears as well as my eyes I had doubled my typical reading time. (Insert happy dance here.)
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4 Homeschoolers to check out on YouTube

Written by Kara Fleck

One of this homeschooling mom’s favorite things about YouTube is that it is available any time. Have a load of laundry to fold? Ten spare minutes with the morning coffee? Need some company while you’re doing your Sunday evening homeschool prep? Hello, YouTube!

While I do dearly love blogs and websites, sometimes it helps me to actually see and hear another person explaining something or showing how they use a resource. I’ve had more than one “ah ha!” moment thanks to YouTube.

Homeschool YouTube Channels

Here are a few of the YouTubers whose content I’m always happy to add to my Watch Later playlist:

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3 lessons my children taught me this year

3 Lessons My Children Taught Me This YearWritten by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler

Although we homeschool year-round, I like to treat this season as a time to think back about just how far we’ve all come as a family.

This summer, as I’ve taken time to relax and reorganize, I’ve realized how much I’ve learned from my children over the past year.

Who knew that they would end up teaching me lessons, too?

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How my homeschool planning has changed this year

Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

It’s the middle of summer.

Summer days for my family this year include a lighter, Harry Potter themed school schedule, lots of sprinklers and water play, and easy crafts that my boys can do on their own (outside of course!).

Summer days also mean I am planning for our new school year.

Honestly, I love this part.

I find it inspirational. A fresh start, a new approach – our homeschool plan existing only in my mind means nothing has gone wrong yet!

Planning for the fall is one of my favorite parts of summer.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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