Being outnumbered by babies and toddlers: The hardest part of Sarah’s homeschool year


Written by Sarah Mackenzie of Amongst Lovely Things

No one likes to be outnumbered. If you’re in a soccer match and the other team has more players on the field than you, it feels like defeat before you begin.

I don’t just have more children than I do hands- I have more children than I do appendages. Juggling three kids under three while trying to teach my older three (13, 11, 9) was my biggest struggle last year, and it was a doozy, if I do say so myself.

And I do.

Being outnumbered is daunting enough. But to have three toddlers? All at once? That’s a madhouse even if you aren’t trying to teach the oldest pre-algebra and cover the details and implications of The Louisiana Purchase at the same time.

My friend Trina recently said that the difference between surviving and thriving is the simple act of savoring… there is always something sweet worth leaning into. And I think she’s right.

[Read more…]

Homeschooling an angry child: The hardest part of Jamie’s homeschool year

Homeschooling an angry child The hardest part of Jamie's homeschool year
Written by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom, with the permission of my angry child, who “hopes this story will help others”

The whining starts before breakfast. It rapidly escalates to full-blown screaming, and we never know how long it will last.

Maybe ten minutes, twenty, or thirty. Maybe one hour.

On our worst days, maybe two.

When it’s over, the heartfelt remorse finally kicks in:

“Sorry, Mommy.”

The hardest part of my homeschool year

Then it’s damage control and recovery time:

How many things have been thrown and need to be cleaned up? Is anything broken? Our nervous systems now shot (especially my highly sensitive one), we may or may not continue with our learning rhythm for the day. It depends on whether or not we can pick up the pieces–literally and emotionally.

“Hi, my name is Jamie, and I homeschool a child with anger issues.”
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Working from home & homeschooling: The hardest part of Kara’s homeschool year


Written by Kara Anderson of Quill and Camera

I was laid off from my job as a newspaper editor the day I turned nine months pregnant with my first child.

I remember trying to carry my box of desk-junk and pilfered Swingline stapler out to my car. What the heck am I going to do now, I wondered.

Months before, I had worked out a sweet deal with my boss for a 12-week maternity leave, followed by working from home, then going back just a day or two a week.

But our company was purchased and I was let go, told I was welcome to submit a resume again after my baby was born.

(I like to think that that’s why I took the stapler.)

I freaked out a little, but when my son was born I realized just how lucky I was. I had an opportunity to reinvent myself.

I started to consider freelancing. I applied a few places and got some writing work.

I’ve been working in some form or fashion ever since (taking a short break when my daughter was born three years later).

Freelance writing was a great fit for a mom of littles. I would get a job, followed by a month or so of silence. Just when I was convinced my phone would never ring again, I’d get another assignment.

It was very manageable. Until last year.

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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


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…]