On risking it all and being rewarded

Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool

Don’t you ever feel like you’re risking it all by homeschooling? The fear of this wildly different-to-the-majority lifestyle, of basically experimenting with my children’s lives and futures, grabs me by the neck sometimes, threatening to strangle me.

It keeps me up at night when I’m not at my strongest, ruminating. Thinking of where he’s at and what she’s doing and what I’m doing and what I’m not doing.

It can feel so scary, so frightening, so risky.

This came to mind during the Olympics as I watched the figure skating. Being highly empathetic, tears rose in my eyes when I saw someone attempt a complicated jump, only to fall.

“Think of how brave they are,” I told the kids. “Knowing they might fail and fall, but practicing and training hard, then going for it anyway.”

“Refusing to play it safe.”

And here’s what struck me:

That risk paid off with rewards. I realized that time and time again, a skater attempting a complex program who stumbled, often STILL received a higher score than one who went with a “safe” program and executed it flawlessly.

The judges rewarded those with courage, even when that courage came coupled with imperfection. Yes!

Don’t you see what this means? We are doing the same thing in our homeschools. We’re audacious mothers and fathers who look at our once-in-a-lifetime kids and see something that we do not want a system to snuff out.

Gutsy men and women who refuse to stuff our little ones into a one-size-fits-all box.

We may do it while shaking in our very boots, and our knees may fail to prepare us for that big upcoming jump, but we are not going to just stand there.

We may fall on our faces, stumble in embarrassment, but WE. WILL. DO. SOMETHING.

And there’s no way that that risk will not come side-by-side with reward: for our children, our family, our society, our world.

Just look at how your risks have paid off already:

  • You sat by her when she read her first words.
  • You saw their faces light up when you watched the deer in the woods on your nature hike.
  • You snuggled under cozy blankets by the fireplace captivated by your mutual love of an incredible book.

So whether you’ve made it up on the podium of your homeschooling life today, or whether you’ve just crashed and burned in front of everyone, your response should be the same:

Rise again, return to your training, go do the next right thing.

And keep an eye out for your rewards. They are on the way.

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
~ Billy Graham

3 ways Christmas can inspire our homeschool

Photo by Jeswin Thomas

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

By now most of us have put the textbooks aside to rest for a bit, in favor of more festive activities.

I must admit we started our winter break rather spontaneously last Thursday, mid-day, after math and before language arts. I needed to get the house cleaned and decorated for a Christmas party, so as soon as math was finished I announced, “Surprise! It’s Christmas break! Now start cleaning!”

But while this season can certainly become busy – a frenzy of parties and lights and shopping and baking – it can also be a time of precious reflection, when we consider how the message of Christmas informs and inspires our homeschool.

And while there are several holidays celebrated around this time of year, and we warmly welcome every one of you whether you celebrate Christmas or not, let’s consider three ways Christmas can inspire our homeschool: [Read more…]

Essentialism for the highly sensitive homeschool mom

Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool

Ya’ll, I did it again. When will I ever learn?

I knew we had a busy day coming up, so I’d tried to mentally prepare myself: “Just take one thing at a time, Jamie. You can do this.”

And it started off well. All the things on the docket that day were “good, important things”—>

  • My own writing work
  • Our typical homeschool routine
  • handling unexpected attitudes and challenges
  • beginning to sort the kids’ fall/winter clothing (one of my least favorite jobs all year)
  • drop off a child at a piano lesson
  • pick up child from piano lesson
  • spend 45 minutes with kids cleaning up a few mounds of leaves (with five acres and tons of trees, this takes a lot of effort each year!)
  • {Here is where Jamie begins to lose it….in case you’re wondering}
  • 45 minutes to take a child to a rehearsal
  • trying to recover dinner plans when the ones we had in mind fell through
  • picking up child from a rehearsal
  • and all of this after not a lot of rest the night before.

I handled the morning well, but as afternoon neared I could feel myself “going under.” By the end of the day my body physically ached from emotional fatigue, my nervous system completely on overload.

Like an infant so exhausted they reach that overtired point where they just cannot relax, I spent another night without getting the sleep I needed, too.

If you are a highly sensitive homeschool mom too, you’re probably nodding your head right now.

Clearly I have not yet grasped what is truly “essential.” 
[Read more…]

Our experiment year: 5 discoveries so far

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane

This year I ditched most of what we’d done before, and decided to take an Experiment Year. That is, a year to try new things, refuse to stress, return to JOY, and recover our lost love of learning.

By the end of last year I found myself frustrated by our workbook-driven, scope-and-sequence-bound educational existence. I just kept thinking, “This is not the life-giving, freedom-filled educational environment I had always envisioned for our family.”

Something had to change.

Turns out, almost everything did, and it’s been great! I am actually ENJOYING myself, my kids are enjoying themselves, and we’ve had ZERO TEARS over educational issues. Hooray!

These are not prescriptions, as every family is different. But I wanted to share five of my discoveries so far. My hope is that one of these might be an “Aha!” moment for you as well.

[Read more…]

5 ways homeschooling kept me from rebelling

Written by Rebecca Lindenbach of Life as a Dare.

Many people think teenage rebellion is inevitable.

I say it’s not. I never rebelled.

I recently wrote a book, Why I Didn’t Rebel, where I delved into interviews and research to figure out what parents of kids who didn’t rebel did right. And something I’ve come back to again and again is the role homeschooling played in my own story.

I was homeschooled from the first grade through my first year of university, and today I want to share with you five ways that homeschooling helped me avoid teenage rebellion.

[Read more…]

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