10 ways to adjust your attitude when you’re homeschooling for the long haul

Written by Sarah Small of SmallWorld at Home

I keep counting on my fingers, so I must be right: we are beginning our 13th year of homeschooling. Thirteen years! And I have to be honest—I’m not always exuberant about starting back.

It isn’t that I want to send my kids to school or anything like that; I just like having lazy summer days. I am reluctant for all our activities to resume, and I really just want to go to the pool, hang out by the river, or travel across the country.

I recently co-facilitated a session for brand new homeschoolers. They were so eager! They shared ideas, suggested websites, exchanged email addresses, arranged play dates, asked about clubs, brainstormed field trips, and, of course, talked curriculum.

My kids are in middle, high school, and college now. I miss those days of anticipation, of bright construction paper and M&M math. I miss sticky crafts, our giant box of inventing supplies (e.g., toilet paper tubes, shoeboxes, and popsicle sticks), and reading by the sandbox while the kids played.

Some years I have missed being excited about starting our new year. With that comes the mommy guilt of lacking enthusiasm.

After all, shouldn’t we be eagerly anticipating another year of instilling a love of learning in and molding the minds of our children?

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How to organize your homeschool supplies (Back to School Week)

Written by contributor Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

You’ve purchased all your curriculum. You’ve stocked up on pencils, paper, and glue sticks. You’ve stockpiled enough manipulatives to outfit a small school. Now, what are you supposed to do with it all? Where are you going to store it so that your family can still use the dining room table for, well, dining?

After 10 years of homeschooling, I’ve gotten pretty good at finding places to store school stuff…and my husband has come to terms with the fact that people will know we homeschool when they sit in our dining room.

Some of my favorite simple storage solutions include:
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Giveaway: $100 gift certificate from Imagine Childhood (Back to School Week)

This giveaway has now ended. Thanks for entering!

Not long ago we had some new friends over to play. My kids eagerly gave the mom and her children a tour of their rooms and of our house in general.

Later, when the mother and I were alone she said, “Your kids have no toys! I’ve never seen anything like it. I love it–tell me how you’ve done this.”

I laughed along with her–because while it’s not true that my kids have no toys, it is true that they have significantly less than the typical child in the United States. They definitely do not receive the average 70 new ones a year either. And I think that’s a good thing.

I would rather have fewer toys and know that those we do have are of the highest quality–that they nurture creativity and imagination–that they encourage growing minds and inspire little hearts. In a world full of plastic gizmos and battery-draining what-nots, I’m thankful for the online store Imagine Childhood, offering an incredible alternative.
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Celebrating high school independence (Back to School Week)

Contributor Amida writes for Journey Into Unschooling

This summer, my oldest child went off to college for the first time at thirteen.

Wearing a backpack filled with a simple folder, a couple of pencils, and enough food to survive the night if need be (two sandwiches, two fruits, two thermoses full of hot soup, snacks, a water bottle, and a dark chocolate bar), I saw him board the bus alone — his first time in one since he was three-years-old — and watched as he disappeared down the road for the next eight hours.

It was a scary moment.

For many, thirteen is no big deal. Heck, I was walking to and from school on my own years before that, as do many public school children. But most of the homeschoolers I know are somewhat sheltered in that respect.

Call us strange but we like to hang out together and do family things. I know all my children’s friends and peers and their parents (and brothers, sisters, and sometimes cousins and next door neighbor). For the most part, we learn together, and being such a close knit bunch, my children have had little opportunity or desire to be away for too long.

Granted, this isn’t the first time my son has been out of my sight. He does take and has taken outside classes on his own. Somehow though, the act of boarding the bus in the morning and not returning until evening feels like a rite of passage.
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Giveaway: Oak Meadow curriculum package (Back to School Week)

This giveaway has now ended. Thanks for entering!

Thanks for joining me for this year’s back to school week! I hope this week’s posts encourage you in your school and life planning as the start of the traditional school year grows nearer.

I discovered Oak Meadow through the magic of the blogosphere, and found it to be just what I needed for my kids at the time. The curriculum and the philosophy behind it have become a steady part of our home learning experience since then.

What first drew me to Oak Meadow was the heart behind it–is it possible for a curriculum company to have heart? Yes, it totally is! And I found that Oak Meadow’s connected with much of my own–their gentle approach, their slow introduction to academics, their focus on nature, free play, and stories.
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