Before We Homeschooled

I’ve been and done many things in my past … 

Now, I, too, have a house cluttered up with the past and it’s not leaving much room for the here and now. It’s time for that to change.

This blog post by Lisa Walters over at the Hip Homeschool Moms website has inspired and challenged me and now I can’t wait to get started! 

Have you embraced who you are now, or are you still clinging to the past? Can we be both?

A Gift for You

Friends, I’m going to take a risk here … I’m going to risk losing readers. Once I share this with all of you, I’m afraid you might never come back to my page … because what I’m going to share with you is so awesome, you might feel like there is no NEED to read my page anymore or you might not have TIME to read mine.

But this is a risk I’m willing to take … because I’m a giver! :)

I want to share with you one of my all-time favorite websites, and one of their best pages ever!

I hope you’ll come back to my page and leave a comment letting me know what you think of this little gift …

Here it is … My all-time favorite homeschooling website is the Hip Homeschool Moms, and this page on their site is the best around, in my opinion! If you scroll down on that page, it will give you links to hundreds of different homeschooling blogs, sorted by homeschooling style! If you don’t find some ideas and answers for your homeschooling journey here, I don’t know where you’ll ever find them!

So, what do you think? A good gift?

Why We Homeschool Reason #77

“A picture’s worth a thousand words.” But I didn’t get a picture of it. So my words will have to suffice.

At the end of my day, I sit reflecting on the beauty that was my daughter today … in the middle of our school district’s school day, my 7th grade homeschooled daughter was spinning on the swing that hangs from the tree in our backyard, her hair flying around her, her flouncy skirt flouncing (with shorts underneath), while her 5th grade brother leaned against the tree, yakkety-yakking at her, waiting his turn. They were just out enjoying the weather and each other’s company.

I stood at the kitchen window and gawked at this incredible blessing.

This 13-year-old wasn’t standing by a brick wall trying to look cool, checking her phone – her hair, her makeup – talking about (well, I don’t even know what they talk about nowadays) and worrying about whether the boys like her. Instead, she was enjoying another day of childhood. This is a gift that homeschooling has brought to our lives.

Don’t get me wrong – she’s got a crush on a boy. She has an iPod that I have to confiscate sometimes. She makes music videos with her friends. And she’s pretty much traded in her Littlest Pet Shop toys for nail polish.

But she doesn’t have to pretend to care about all of this all the time. Most of the time, she’s still busy enjoying the last remnants of her childhood in a world that sucks that out of our children earlier and earlier, it seems. 

One of her public school friends is here for a sleepover in the tent in the backyard tonight. Tomorrow they’ll switch houses. This is not a backwards, sheltered, unsocialized homeschooler.

This is just a beautifully well-rounded, intentionally socialized child. She can grow up another day. Tonight I’ll hold onto this gift.

A Funny Girl and Her Brother

What 7th grade and 5th grade look like at our house …

We All Have Bad Days

Homeschool Bad Day Reminder Particularly Rough Days 100%

http://www.courageousmama.com – Courageous Jane Homeschools

Don’t think you’re alone. We all have them. Days when every spoon is dirty, the only pair of jeans that fit are at the bottom of the hamper, something in the fridge stinks, you still haven’t clipped the dog’s toenails, and your best friend gets sick and asks you to take her kids for the day. (Honestly, it can’t just be me!)

Or maybe you’ve received an unexpected medical diagnosis, or discovered your identity has been stolen, or lost a loved one, or are dealing with an aging parent, or your sibling (or child) was in a bad accident, or you (not your child) has explosive diarrhea. (Oh no, she didn’t. — Oh yes, she did! Because that’s enough to throw a busy mom way off track!)

Notice … not even a mention of schoolwork.

There are days when you just have to say, “Enough’s enough. No school today.”

Given the option, I will always fall on the side of cancelling school when everything in my life feels like it’s spinning out of control. That out-of-control feeling is the one that always trips me up, making me snap at my kids and whine to my husband and pick on the dog. None of those is a pretty reaction. And that’s just what it is … a reaction.

When I find myself reacting to my circumstances (especially when I’m reacting poorly), I know it’s time to scrap that which can wait until tomorrow, find something, anything, I can get control over, and start there. I can throw on too-tight pants, go pick up the friends’ kids, and wash the spoons by hand while the washer spins. We’ll eat sandwiches for lunch, after which I’ll give the fridge a wipe down, then I’ll take 30 minutes for myself to just sit while the kids play.

Generally, by the time I wake up the next day, I’m surprised to find I survived and accomplished enough to feel more peaceful again … ready to fill the buckets that are my children’s hearts and minds again. (I’ll admit, I’ve been in some of those more critical circumstances at times, where school was put off for much more than one day, and I’m here to report that we survived and thrived and my kids are still on track.)

You, too, will survive … many days will spin out of control with unexpected events, tragedies, new babies, sick friends, or just grumpy attitudes. Don’t be afraid to take some time off as needed.

Homeschool teachers have a special circumstance that other teachers don’t have: we don’t have substitutes who can come in when we need to take a personal day. But you’ll have to trust me when I say that your kids won’t suffer or “fall behind” … in fact, they just might learn something along the way, and rebound beautifully when you all get back to it. Keep in mind that kids need personal days, too. Think how refreshed you’ll all be if you take them at the same time!

What do you think? Am I off-base on this one? (I have to be honest … I’m writing this as fast as I can while I have the house to myself for a few minutes. Dad has the kids at the YMCA right now, and I have a list a mile long of things to do, but all I really wanted to do was write to you! Forgive me as this goes out unedited!)

Blessings to each of you!

~ Courageous Jane

Don’t forget to leave a reply, like this, and share it (on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!) so I know I’m not alone out here, and take a peek at my other blog (www.courageousjane.com) before you get back to the dishes and laundry.

(And please forgive whatever ad gets inserted below my posts! I have no control over those!)

M is for …

If you aren’t familiar with the Homeschooling A-Z series, you can start here: What is she talking about?

Today I’m continuing the Homeschooling A-Z theme, with the intention of demonstrating that homeschooling families have so many similarities, and yet it’s what makes each family unique that makes homeschoolers so special. Can you relate to any of this?  

Today’s letter of the day is … M! 

M is for ...

 

In most home schools, M is for Mom. Mom, Momma, Mommy. Whatever you call her, most homeschool teachers are of the female persuasion. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a random dad out there who’s the primary teacher, but they just don’t look the same in their denim jumpers, know what I’m sayin’? That said, I know the dads play different roles in each family. Substitute teacher, principal, superintendent, personal assistant, financial manager, custodian, cook, disciplinarian, chief bottle washer. What role does Dad play at your house? In our house, Dad plays all of those roles except disciplinarian and financial manager. He also teaches really useful life skills while I sneak away to my bedroom for some peace and quiet.

(M is for “Momma needs her quiet!”)

In addition, M is for mistakes. We all make mistakes! We spend money on a resource that doesn’t work for us, we yell when patience would be more effective, we employ constructive criticism right when the child actually needs encouragement and praise, or vice versa. One of the first things I found myself teaching my kids when we started homeschooling was that mistakes are ok. We had a sign that reminded us that “Mistakes are opportunities to learn.” I’ve always tried to be very forgiving about mistakes, being very nonchalant about them. My kids have heard me say many times, “Oops. Let’s try that again!” in a cheerful voice. I’d much rather have my mistakes handled that way, and I’m sure they will appreciate my approach someday. How do you handle mistakes?

Mistakes are opportunities to learn

Oy. Sometimes M is for miserable. Let’s just admit it. Some days we just feel miserable. We don’t always know why. Maybe we’ve been stuck in the house too many days in a row. Maybe we’re second-guessing our decisions. Maybe we’ve abandoned our schedules and now no one knows what to do with themselves. Whatever it is, let me reassure you: the misery will end. No need to panic! My advice is to roll with it. Take the day off, troll through Pinterest looking for words of inspiration or ideas that will motivate, turn on some music and dance, or curl up in bed with a movie or a book. Dumping the written work for the day and playing board games or reading books instead has an amazing ability to lift us from the doldrums. Even with my kids being in middle school, I can still pull out a stack of funny picture books and all of our spirits are lifted by the time we’re done. We all have miserable days now and then. (And sometimes weeks!) FYI: If your misery is lasting months on end, you might be suffering from depression and I hope you can find the strength to reach out and ask for help. You’re definitely not alone or unique in that respect. Many others have been there and are willing to help.

Do you ever feel like M is for magic? I don’t mean the hocus-pocus stuff. I mean those magical moments when something clicks with your kids. I mean that day when you suddenly realize that you really did teach your child to read! I’m talking about what it feels like when your child instantly clicks with another homeschooler and you know you’re witnessing the birth of a new friendship. Those moments feel like magic.

M is for madness. That’s what I call those “semesters” (for lack of a better word) when we accidentally sign our kids up for too many outside activities and schedule too many playdates. Suddenly there’s not enough time for the math and spelling because we’re running to art and dance and soccer and youth group and the theater and the library and yet another field trip. Everyone’s first argument against homeschooling is the lack of socialization, but they should really be worried about our lack of downtime! 

Just a few more quickies here: M is for: music – because it can soothe the savage beast, inspire, grow brain cells, and stimulate the synapses; money – some can find ways to homeschool for free, but you have more choices if you can find a little something in the budget to purchase what you need; and mopping – a great chore you can give a child of any age! If you knew how infrequently my floors get mopped, you would understand that even done poorly, but proudly, by a toddler, everyone will still live. A little dirt never hurt!

Speaking of mopping, what is a chore you assign to the kids because you really just hate to do it yourself? (Mine is emptying the dishwasher.)

Happy homeschooling, Friends!

~ Courageous Jane

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