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Starting the new year with intention

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Written by Sheila Petruccelli of Sure as the World.

I always find it hard to re-start homeschooling in January. After our big break in December and all the festivities that month holds, January and February look long, dark and (if I’m being honest) overwhelming.

Even though the calendar is fresh and marks a brand new year, homeschooling is in that middle ground/no man’s land.

So we start small and we start fun. But most of all, we start with intention.
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When worksheets don’t work

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Written by Shawna Wingert of Not The Former Things

I have a confession to make.

This may sound a little crazy, but when I was in school, I actually enjoyed completing worksheets. It didn’t matter the subject, whether it was fill-in-the-blank or circle-the-correct -answer, I loved them.

There was something about the promise, as I would write my name in the upper left hand corner (because, of course), that this worksheet would be complete — all the lines filled in, the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed – this worksheet would show how much I “knew.”

Fast-forward about 25 years to when I started homeschooling my own two sons, and not much had changed. I still loved the worksheets. I wanted my sons to love the worksheets.

I wanted them to see the ease and brilliance of just following the directions, and then moving on with your day.

But they didn’t see the brilliance. And the ease? For both of my children, worksheets are suffocating and tedious at best, and a reminder of how difficult some of their special needs are at worst.
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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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