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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Why we waited more than 10 years for extracurriculars

Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool

Once upon a time I begged my parents to let me take dance lessons.

I had learned to play the viola through school since the age of 11, but these would be my first private lessons. I knew the expense would be a big deal for my family, but I loved dancing and wanted to learn more. Eventually they said yes (thanks again, Mom & Dad!) and I had a blast that year learning a little tap, ballet, and jazz each week.

I was 15-years-old.

I can’t help but wonder if we have extracurriculars a little backwards these days, though. In our society, parents seem to beg their kids to take lessons.

They sign them up as five-year-olds for piano, soccer, karate, ballet. They fork over hundreds of dollars.

And often as each month passes by their kids grow to hate piano, soccer, karate and ballet.
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By this time next year (how I measure progress in our homeschool)


Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

“There…in the…wa…wa…water was a boy.”

My youngest son struggled to read the sentence.

Again.

I tried to encourage him, my heart sinking.

“Good. Keep going.”

As he worked harder than any eleven-year-old boy should have to just to read The Story Of Ping, I thought to myself, “Surely by this time next year he will be able to do this.”

‘This time next year’ has been a constant, lingering, elusive measure of success in our homeschool for six years now.

I mutter it to myself when the math concept is not clicking.

I think it constantly when someone questions my dyslexic son’s reading ability.

I comfort myself with it when we are having a tough day.

‘By this time next year’ has somehow become my method of measuring progress and instilling hope in our homeschool. And it is not serving us well.

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What I learned from 2 weeks of couchschooling

Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool

I didn’t even feel when it happened.

The step down from the rolling door of our barn is a steep and awkward one, and when exiting two weeks ago I came down hard on my right foot. Not paying attention, I hurried inside to check something in the oven.

Later in the day, I felt a painful twinge in my ankle. By that night, the twinge had grown excruciating. And that’s how I ended up homeschooling from the couch for the past two weeks, or as I’ve since termed it: couchschooling.

I’ve been either in the bed upstairs or on the couch downstairs for most of every day, trying to give this sprain time to heal. Not exactly how I planned to end my February (as if the month isn’t already challenging enough, right?!)

Yet as Caroline Ingalls once noted, “There’s no great loss without some small gain.” Though this minor injury wasn’t on my agenda, I’ve had a few positive realizations from it that I hope to carry with me.
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