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Inspire-not-require for the homeschool parent

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Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins

Today is Pajama Day at our homeschool.

(That just means that we’re eating lunch in our P.J.s, you understand.)

There won’t be any assemblies or pajama-related relay races. We needed a day of rest and reading in loungewear, so we took one.

One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that we’re free to build a lifestyle that fits our family. From the ways we homeschool to the whys behind our homeschool, we get to choose.

But sometimes I kind of forget. I forget that I’m not required to homeschool in any certain way. I forget that our days are not just a series of events to trudge through, on the way from breakfast to bedtime.

It’s easy to slip into thinking of ourselves as being required to do a bunch of homeschooling tasks—but I want to homeschool from a place of inspiration.

Just like we want to inspire not require our kids to learn, I want to be inspired-not-required as a homeschooling parent.

Here’s how I try to bump the inspiration level up a notch when I’m not feeling it.

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Socialization … for moms

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Written by Amida at Journey into Unschooling. She has met a lot of friendly moms at park days.

Socialization seems to be a sort of taboo subject among homeschoolers. More often than not, when questioned, we get defensive and rattle off a whole list of opportunities that meet our child’s social needs.

Most veterans I know scoff at the notion that there even is an issue. After all, they argue, my kids have ample opportunities to meet with a wide range of people and ages in a natural, organic way. They aren’t just limited to their peer-group.

It’s the way friendships work in the real world!

It’s been my experience, however, that socialization, and specifically, friends, don’t always come easily when you don’t have a ready-made peer group. Sure, your kids may have a knack for talking up the local postman or supermarket clerk, but, I also want my kids to grow up with friends their age.

Fortunately for you, the rumors are true. Kids do make friends almost effortlessly. Just throw them in with other kids and eventually, even your shy wallflower has a good chance of clicking with someone.

It’s the moms I’m worried about here. Certainly, your career-minded best friend isn’t going to understand your survival mechanisms for 24-7 mom/chauffeur/teacher/housekeeper duty.

You need another homeschooling mom.
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Everyone wants to quit in November and February

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Written by contributor Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy

Before we even began homeschooling, I had the good fortune to hear Susan Wise Bauer’s warning: “Everyone wants to quit in November and February.”

Time has proven her right: these are the months when I feel like we’re just slogging through it, far from the excitement of the semester’s beginning or the relief of its end.

And these are the months when the days are cold and the nights are long, without the sparkle of the holidays. It’s easy to get sick, busy, or just plain stir-crazy.

November and February might not be easy months, but I can survive them a little better if I take the following precautions.
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When something breaks your homeschool heart

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Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

It happened so quickly.

Just eight weeks ago we were part of a homeschool group we loved. A group that had been home for more than four years. A group that had become like family.

I write this post from a place a deep sadness, because we found ourselves stepping away from that group last week.

It had just become too much. I call it poison, although some disagreed with that analysis.

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that when we took some time away, just the four of us in our little family, it became crystal clear what we needed to do.

What isn’t as clear is how to deal with the resulting heartbreak, and what to do next.

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Pressing through the middle years of homeschooling

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Written by Hannah Vanderpool of Praying With One Eye Open

I’m a writer who likes fresh beginnings and well-timed endings.  Middles?  Not so much.

When I think about the middle of, say, a novel manuscript, I imagine a hammock creaking under the weight of a couple of lemonade-sipping kids or a dad who really ought to be mowing the lawn.

Creative writing instructors refer to these in-between pages as the dreaded “saggy middle.”

They teach rookies and published authors alike how to push through their own saggy middles with enough energy and forward momentum to keep readers engaged until the end.

This is important because it’s easier to start a story, and even to finish it, than it is to keep putting one foot in front of the other when you’re in the middle of a thing and can’t see your way to an ending yet.

As it turns out, writing is not my day job–homeschooling is.  I’ve been on this particular journey for nine years now.

Our family started strong when my three kids were barely out of Pull-ups (yes, I was over eager).  I hope to finish well, too, when my youngest daughter is finally ready to fly my little coop.

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