How to recover your lost love for learning

Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

And then I tore the math workbook into pieces while my stricken son watched, and I knew something had to change.

I closed my eyes. What’s gone wrong here?? 

I’m ashamed to even share it here, but I’m guessing if any of you mamas is schooling a special needs kid, you have had a day when you JUST. CAN’T. TAKE. another school-lesson sidelined by endless interruptions and dropped pencils and blank stares and suddenly forgetting everything taught up to this point.

Chances are this day happens to fall when you’re most hormonal and have approximately 87 other things to do before noon. Chances are you woke up with a headache, gained three more mysterious pounds, are agitated about another issue altogether, and this all creates the perfect storm for that mommy-fail moment you wish you could forget.

This was mine. It was a little math workbook–something I’d picked up for him “for fun.” (Oh the irony!)

We were so not having fun.

Thankfully, my son and I snuggled and prayed, I apologized and he forgave, I recycled the shredded pages, and we talked about how things had gotten off track.

Reflecting, I could see how the tension had mounted for weeks — we’d had a hard few months and as the end of the year approached I became the drill sergeant, pushing to complete the pages, eager to cross the whole year off and be done.

I was so deeply saddened by this. I just kept thinking, “This is not me! This is not the home education I’ve longed for and aspired to and envisioned for my kids. What’s happened?”

I took a few weeks to contemplate this. I prayed, talked to close confidants, read articles here, and processed my feelings with my husband Jeff. Two key things rose to the surface: [Read more…]

Homeschooling high school without driving yourself and your teens crazy

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Teenagers are pretty insightful beings. About midway through his junior year, my son made a profound statement. He said,

“You know, I think the last couple of years of high school should focus on getting me ready for what I want to do after graduation.”

Um, yeah. They should. Really, all four years probably should.

Sometimes we first-generation homeschool parents get it wrong. We can get so focused on what our public school experience tells us the high school years are supposed to look like that we forget this simple truth. [Read more…]

The magic trick that will ignite your kids’ passion for learning this summer

Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool

“Jamie, your writing is beautiful!”

“Really?” I said, genuinely stunned. No one had told me that since college. Writing was a childhood dream I had let die. After all, in the “real” world people didn’t get to do that for a living.

My friend’s comment came ten years ago, after I had written my very first blog post. Steve and I were preparing to go meet Trishna, our new four-year-old daughter in India. Many friends and family members had been a part of our adoption process, and we wanted to keep them updated during our travels.

After we returned home, another friend said my blog had inspired her family to pursue adoption too. Sometimes life points you in the direction you need to go long before you would otherwise take the hint.

It didn’t happen that day, month, or even year–but slowly God gave me the courage to begin writing–to pursue a passion I had tossed aside even as I dealt with the demands of being Mom to a four-, three-, and two-year-old.

As homeschooling mamas, we sometimes forget that an investment in ourselves is not a withdrawal from our family. Instead it acts like compound interest, growing and giving back to everyone under your roof.

And that’s why the best thing you could do to ignite your kids’ passion for learning this summer is to pursue your own. After ten years of doing so, here’s what I’d suggest:
[Read more…]

Introverts homeschooling extroverts: Practical ways to make it work

introverts-homeschooling-extroverts
Written by Purva Brown of The Classical Unschooler

The holidays are coming! Ready, introverts?

Yes, that was said tongue in cheek. Because if you’re anything like me, you’re already dreading them: the people, the conversations, the parties.

Don’t get me wrong: I do enjoy people. I love giving gifts to the ones I love. I look forward to the look on their faces when they receive them. But being around people all the time also wears me out emotionally.

If you’re an introvert, you already know this. If you’re an introvert homeschooling an extrovert, you know this better than anyone else.

I know because I am one. I have three children – one introverted, one extremely extroverted and one… well, we just don’t know yet. It’s too soon to tell. However, I can tell you that even with just the one extrovert, our days can be a little hard to navigate.

So what to do? I have found seven ways that help us deal with our extroverted blessing in our quiet, introverted family.
[Read more…]

Tomatoes and timelines: Giving our homeschoolers room to bloom

tomatoes1picmo
Written by Kara S. Anderson

I’ve been thinking a lot about my green tomatoes lately.

It hasn’t been a good year for tomatoes at the Anderson Ranch. We’ve gotten a couple of precious Cherokee Purples, and a few handfuls of Yellow Cherries, but mostly, our tomatoes have stayed green, or been attacked by chipmunks or never grown at all, their little flowers curling up; giving up.

Meanwhile, in a corner nearby, our hot peppers have gone absolutely bananas. One plant really took off, and we’ve had more hot peppers than it’s advisable to eat.

We’ve pickled some and made hot sauce, but honestly, we’re all tired of our eyes watering and our throats burning, and a little irritated that the tomatoes couldn’t at least pull their weight enough to give us a few jars of salsa.

But gardens do what they do. We can water them and weed them, and yell at them and cross all our toes, but there are good growing seasons and not as good growing seasons, and there are roughly 8,000 variables, and if we think we really have any control, we’re fooling ourselves.

Home education is similar, of course. There are math years and Shakespeare years and years when we worry that our children are not blooming – they are slow to grow in a particular area, and so we tear our hair out and stay up at night worrying.

[Read more…]