The hardest part of my homeschool year: A new series

The hardest part of my homeschooling year
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Ya’ll, homeschooling ain’t always easy. And it isn’t always happier ever after.

Sometimes it’s downright tough. You know, don’t you?

This world has troubles and homeschooling families aren’t immune to them. Tough marriage seasons, rebellious children, cancer, miscarriages, depression, financial struggles, midlife crises.

You get the picture.

You don’t always read about these topics on blogs, because well, they’re personal. They often involve our dearly loved children, too, whose privacy we respect and want to protect.

The danger of not writing about these situations, however, is that it creates an illusion that our lives are all peaches and cream.

Roses and buttercups. Always well-behaved children and energetic moms and dads joyfully learning together 24/7.
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Let your kids tackle some meaningful work

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Written by Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Kids love to do real, meaningful work. The kind with actual value, risks, and consequences. Too often, they don’t get to — because as parents, we don’t let them.

Obviously not every kid is begging to make dinner, nor is every parent saying no. But both are happening, frequently, and it’s really too bad, because both kids and parents have so much to gain by letting the kids take control of a few “serious” tasks.

Giving up that control comes easier for some parents than others.

For example, I’m an INFP (that’s a Myers-Briggs personality type, for those of you who aren’t total personality geeks like me). That causes me plenty of problems (I tend to be permissive, I’m terrible at creating routines for my kids, etc.) but it also means it’s easy for me to let my kids take the reins.

If you have a hard time giving up control, recognize there’s a good reason why it doesn’t come naturally—then take a deep breath and do it anyway.

Kids have so much to gain from taking on real, meaningful tasks. They want to be able to admire their efforts, they want to feel the pride of accomplishment, and they want to experience the feeling of a job well done.

As a bonus: kids love learning when they’re working on their own self-directed projects.

All those skills that are abstract in the classroom—handwriting, fractions, biology—spring to life when a child needs that information to address a party invitation, calculate the cost of goods for a strawberry tart, or decide how often to water the garden. It’s the best kind of education.

Here are four ideas for practical, useful, and fun projects that kids can handle. Intervene as necessary—but not until your kids ask you to, or until it’s clear they need a grown-up’s help.  [Read more…]

Overcoming (your own) anger in your homeschool

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Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.

“I‘m concerned about Luke,” she confessed. 

We leaned in to listen, and she shared her struggle honestly. Of course we could relate. The three of us have 12 kids among us, all homeschooled, and we each juggle other responsibilities as well. (I’m sure you can relate too!)

Her concern was about anger. She’d seen her 8-year-old son angry often, and also recognized her own tendency toward anger.

I assured her she wasn’t alone. In fact, in the past 4-5 conversations I’d had with homeschool moms, all recognized their struggle with anger in their own personal lives.

I’ve even heard moms say they quit homeschooling, because they found they became too angry and felt that they couldn’t enjoy their kids and educate them too.

What is it about homeschooling that makes us so mad?  [Read more…]

The problem with Big Ideas

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Written by Heather Caliri

I was the kind of new mother who read discipline books when my child was too little to hold up her head.

Let’s call that well-prepared instead of terrified, shall we?

My first foray into discipline books was Positive Discipline. Among other things, the author, Jane Nelsen, recommends family meetings to help resolve problems.

What’s a family meeting? Sit everyone down in a circle, plan fun events, share intentional, kind compliments, and also address grievances and problems in a democratic fashion.

I loved this idea when I first read it nine years ago. I loved imagining facilitating discussions. I loved imagining us growing together as a family.

But I didn’t like imagining the implementation.

Why? I was afraid it wouldn’t work.

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How to avoid homeschool overwhelm: Become a curator

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Written by Melissa Camara Wilkins.

I love getting catalogs in the mail. Not every catalog, but the good ones that are full of things like board games and butterfly nets and prepared microscope slides and books. So many books! Shiny, happy new books.

But as I flip the pages, my excitement turns into a nagging worry that I’m not doing enough. There are so many options! Maybe we need more stuff, to learn all the things!

Sometimes a new tool or toy or giant box of books is just what we need, but not always.

And if I’m hearing that chant of not enough, not enough, not enough in my heart, a box of supplies is probably not going to fix it. (That insecurity isn’t about my shelves, anyway.)

That’s my signal to remind myself: I am a curator. It’s not my job to give my kids every option ever invented. My goal is to curate my kids’ environment and their experiences.

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