Homeschooling is hard. First off you have to figure out what and how to teach your children while being put under a microscope by most of the people you meet or even your family. Secondly, you have to fight with yourself daily, over things like, if the kids are where they need to be, are they getting out enough and learning how to be social, are you even doing anything right? Well, these along with a long list of other things that can weigh on your mind as a homeschooler is why you need to find your homeschool crowd.
Just like in any activity you need to find others that are doing what you are in a way similar to you. People you can relate to and complain with (trust me you want to find your complain with crowd, we all need one.) But how do you find your crowd when you homeschool? How do you find events and playgroups for your kids? The first place to start is social media. As much as we all have our problems with social media the one thing it does give us is an excellent network to find others that are doing what we are doing. I personally am in a number of groups, some of which I am very active in, some where I am a fly on the wall, and some that I have started myself. There are groups for everyone, no matter how you choose to teach your child. Some take members from everywhere and are designed to be a support group as well as a good way to find out about other groups local to you. Others are area-specific and you can find them by searching for groups based in your area.
If you like me find your area limited in what they offer you can always start your own. When I started homeschool 10 years ago the area I live in had just a few groups and many were not what I was looking for, so I started my own. The group I started was a homeschool hiking group and the purpose was for people to come out to a different trail each week to hike, explore and socialize. I have met so many amazing people through this group and this was how my kids and I found our first good friends. I did not make this group into anything specific about homeschooling, it was just designed to get people out in a relaxed atmosphere to chat and get some outdoor time.
I am also part of a local activity group. Things like park days, field trips, an art get-together, and so on are put up in this group. Through this group, I got my book club. This was done for me. I love meeting up with other mothers and reading a book each month. We all have different views and opinions about the books so the discussion time is always tons of fun. Being in this group led me to another great thing you can find for your kids, a co-op. There are a few other co-ops in my area but they were not a good fit for us. Through my book club, I found out about a new co-op that sounded like just what we needed. Then of course the dreaded Covid hit and put the co-op on hold until this past fall when we were finally able to hold classes.
So far we have had an amazing experience at our co-op. My kids get to meet up with others twice a week. They get to learn, play and just socialize in the ways they need. I get to teach and meet other families that school in similar ways to us. It is a great feeling to have a group to get together with twice a week and know that both my children and I get to hang out with others. This group has been especially good for my youngest who has always struggled to fit in but has found a good number of kids to hang out with each week.
The most important thing about finding your people is that you actually have to look for them. When we homeschool we have to be willing to get out there and try things and meet people. I know many of you might read that and say no way I am not extroverted enough to meet people, but you have to! I know it sounds like a tall order but think about the fact that both you and your kids will benefit from having a group no matter what size to navigate the twists and turns of homeschool.
Once you have found some groups on social media take a moment to post a little intro about you, and your kids, you may even want to let people know the general area you live in. This will give you an idea of how many people leave near you and some may even suggest other local groups that they know of. Now you have to do the hard part, reach out to a few people, plan a park day meet up, or check out that group or co-op mentioned and see what you think. Just because you head to an event or meet a family at a park doesn’t mean that you have to again. Maybe you realize they are not what you were hoping for, and that is fine but you need to try again.
Homeschooling can be lonely, parenting can be lonely and when you are doing both without a few friends that are in it with you, things may begin to feel even more isolating. So get out there, meet some people, try some events and find your crowd. Your homeschooling experience will greatly benefit from it, as will your mental health!!!
Last weekend started early for me, on Thursday! My husband and I took some much-needed time for ourselves by going to see one of our favorite bands, Drake White and the Big Fire. We love going to see them when we can, their concerts are something truly special, especially since the fact that Drake is performing at all is a miracle. In August of 2019, he suffered from an AVM (read more about his AVM here or head here to listen to his TED Talk) which almost killed him, and did leave him having to learn how to walk again. Listening to his story and his positive attitude can only lift you up and make you feel great.
After this, we both had Friday off, with a great surprise as our niece and nephew showed up. We hadn’t seen our nephew in 2 years so we took them and our boys out all day, everyone got along and had a wonderful time. It was such a nice relaxing family day, no one was stressed about having to be at work, or having to get school accomplished the perfect start to the rest of the weekend.
Today, as you are reading this I want you to take out your planner, open that calendar app, or check the schedule on the fridge and see where there is time, any time. Can you carve out 20min a few times this week to just do for you? Maybe you can only find one day but there is a whole free hour. Find that time now and add it to your schedule in Big Letters: ME TIME! Schedule it now so you can see it and not add other plans, and DO NOT cancel on yourself. You are the one person you should never cancel on.
After you have found your day and time come back here and comment below. Then decided on what you want to do. Read? Take a bath? Go out for a drink? Put this on your calendar as well, then come here and tell us about it. Everyone that posts about what their me-time looks like will get a check-in on Saturday in the comments to see if you truly had your me-time. I will post what I plan to do as well that way we all can be ready for the upcoming weekend!
My husband said yesterday that this weekend was Angela weekend. I gave him a look that was said “um No…” to which he responded, “yes it has been, think about what you have done this weekend.” He then rattled off all the things we had done and how really it was all centered around what I wanted to do. So yes maybe he was right. Let me tell you about my weekend.
To start I went up to my Alma Mater to hang out with my professor and good friend. He was having a get-together of German students, with pizza, soccer, and just general hanging out. My husband was supposed to come but had to work, so I just went and got to hang out without the kiddies. Somehow I got convinced to participate in the soccer game. A few quick things about me, soccer, and well running in general. I usually don’t play soccer or run much (I have a bad knee that hates when I run), but here I was in the middle of a soccer game with kids half my age (it hurts me to say half my age.) I had to actually run, kick the ball and in general be a part of the game. It was fun, I even scored, but when we were done I had to go back to my friend’s house and ice down my knee. I got to hang out there with other adults for a few hours before going home. So for sure Friday was a day for me.
Now we get to Saturday. I had an event at my friend Rodney’s Coffee Shop (check his shop out here) so again no kids. I love going to his shop for events because even when it is slow we still enjoy each other’s company and listening to great music. After this event ended he was hosting a paint party at the shop which I, of course, signed my husband and me up to participate in. For all of you that don’t know my husband does not do art, but he knew I wanted him to come, so he sucked it up (got coverage for 2 hrs from work) and came to paint. I am going to assume he had a good time and we both had some nice paintings in the end.
Okay, so yes so far Friday and Saturday seem like a me focused day, but we still have Sunday. Sunday was also for me. I met some friends at a coffee shop (a Sunday routine), without my husband (still working) and kids. Then I sat here writing this masterpiece for you and will conclude my day with having book club. I love the Sundays I have book club. We started our book club the year before the dreaded Covid hit, and the person that started it decided not to continue running it during the Covid year, and I took over because having book club is great. The ladies that come to meet up are amazing and the books we pick are normally excellent so I couldn’t let it fall apart.
Maybe my husband was right about this being Angela weekend. I think I needed this weekend though. Work kinda sucked this week, ending with a few people yelling at me for things I was not in control of, so a weekend with relaxing fun activities was just what I needed. I may be in pain (I am never playing soccer again), and I may have been gone most of the weekend, but the fellowship I have gotten to enjoy was worth it. I do hate that my husband had to miss most of the weekend with me, usually, we do all of these activities together, but I am glad I still was able to do things this weekend that made me feel good.
What I want you to take from this is that sometimes you can have a YOU weekend. Yup take a weekend or most of a weekend for you and what you need to feel better. I didn’t plan to have this weekend be all about what I needed but I am glad it worked out this way. When you get the chance to do things for yourself, take it, but also try to find a way to do the same for others in your family when their need arises. We all need to remember we function better when we have had time for ourselves.
About a year ago I had this idea to start a blog, which then transformed into an idea to not only have a blog with hopefully useful information but to also start my own business to go along with it. But what business? What I could I do or make that might do well? I ran through many ideas in my head. Should I teach on Outschool? Or maybe VIP Kids? No, I really am not sure that will yield the money I would like nor the satisfaction I was looking for. So what else could I do, dog training? Maybe I was always good at it but wait, no, insurance is insane. Then I had an idea. What if I made sugar scrubs and bath bombs? That seemed like a good idea to me since I made some various scrubs for myself and enjoyed the products, not to mention making bath bombs in different shapes seemed like a lot of fun.
Now I had the idea, but I also needed a way forward. How does one start a business? Step one for me was to get an LLC. I applied for and got my LLC months before I launched my company. At this point, I also bought my website and began to learn how to design the store portion of the site (after 4 months I am still learning this part.) Then it was time to make and test products. I made a variety of products both scrubs and bath bombs and just gave them out. Yes, gave them out for free and asked for feedback. I took that feedback and adjusted the products until I was happy with what I had. Once I was satisfied I uploaded products on my site, added prices, pictures and had it go live with my fingers crossed that I would get at least a few orders. I had some friends and family order right away which I was thrilled about because I knew they ordered to help support me and I appreciated each purchase.
That my friends are the cliff notes version of what I did in those first few months however the story is much more in-depth. Before I could even start selling my products I had to do research on how to market my product and what the rules were for selling things like scrubs, bath bombs, and soaps. The key that I found both in my research on the FDA website and from books and articles I had read is that I had to be sure my descriptions did not make claim to curing anything medical. For instance, I could not sell a cream that I claimed cured acne because that would fall under the category of a drug and not as a cosmetic. I had to be sure that all my descriptions met that qualification or I would have to change the way I had my business set up. I also had to figure out how to calculate the cost of making each product and what a good price point was for everything that I would be selling. I not only followed a few videos on how to make these calculations (learning even more about how to use excel in the process), but I also looked at the market, both in person and on sites like Etsy, so that I could price my products competitively.
Lastly, I also started following procedures that were outlined in the book “Good Manufacturing Practices for Soap and Cosmetic Handcrafters.” I have not gotten through all the suggestions they have since there is a lot to record and many procedures to put in place. The one thing I did try to follow from the book was to work on things a little at a time so as not to feel overwhelmed. This is the longest part of the process because it requires hours of computer work to record everything you need to have an appropriate record of things.
It has now been 4.5 months since I have started my business, and I am sure you may be wondering how things are going so far. Firstly, I have made at least one sale every month since I started. That may not seem like much but it is, I think, a great accomplishment for a brand new business. Second, I have already met a ton of new people that also have great businesses they have started. This is probably the most important part of my journey as it is these newfound friends and fellow entrepreneurs that will help my business grow. Meeting these people has driven me to speak out often on my social media about the importance of shopping local, and even helping to promote small businesses in my area. When we all support one another I feel like we will all succeed.
I know that I have a long journey ahead to figure out everything and make my business profitable, but I feel that my first few months have gone well. The next few things that I have to tackle include things like learning how to do the quarterly taxes, getting better at advertising, and of course continuing to work on my product development.
Fellow small business people leave me a comment about what you have found the most challenging and most rewarding part of your journey.
Have you started your garden? Depending on where you live it may be time to start your sprouts. We should have started them a few weeks ago but of course life! This past weekend we went ahead and started to get the plans in motion. I have designed a plan and spent the weekend laying out markers to designate where I want my paths and beds to go. This is a much bigger step than years in the past, this year I am trying my hardest to have a plan and stick to it.
In years past we have had a small plan but I seem to ignore it right away plus being so busy, nothing gets accomplished, except potatoes, we always plant potatoes. We end up with so many potatoes that the menu is normally a protein and potatoes for months. This year though I am on it. I have a grand plan, with tons of beds, a seating area, places for water buckets, and even a rudimentary bed rotating plan. I am totally on top of it this year, I tell myself as the little voice in the back of my head laughs at my goals knowing that all good plans must fail before they come to fruition.
What does the plan entail you may ask? Below is the Grand Plan (which btw my husband laughed at because as he said “who is doing all this work?” point taken.) This is where I am starting, with the plan on paper to motivate (or discourage) me. Then I am going to actually map it out in the garden.
Step one began a few weekends ago. I headed out with whatever helpers I could find, mostly just me and Spotify, and began to lay out the paths. I decided I really needed to take some string and some stakes and mark off where the paths were going to be this year. After which I went ahead and marked out my beds. I am trying to do a better job of rotating crops this year as you can see from my above diagram. The numbers on the beds tell me which type of crop I want to plant in which bed and which beds are resting and only being planted with various cover crops to help increase the fertility of the soil in years to come.
There are certain plants that I know we need to get in the ground this year:
Cucumbers (hopefully without the worms this year)
Garlic (not sure I have ordered that yet)
I am sure there are more but those are the most important right now. So we will begin by starting some of those indoors. Which again according to all the books and veterans I am late one, but hey better late than never right?
To start our seeds indoors we will be creating soil blocks. Have you done this before? It is reminiscent of building a sandcastle on the beach, you know when you pack the wet sand into a bucket and dump it out in the exact shape you want. Making a soil block is very similar. You make/or buy a soil mixture that you wet and pack into your blocker, then you push the handle down and pop out comes nicely shaped blocks with the perfect little indentation for your seed.
Other than getting the seeds started we have also bought some plants that were already cute baby plants to put in the ground and a tea plant. Yes you heard that right a tea plant (more on this guy later.) We also did some much-needed maintenance on the garden and began to lay out what will be a seating area.
The last thing that we have done so far is getting our potatoes set out. This year I am doing things a tad differently with my potatoes. For starters, I am putting them out in egg cartons in a sunny area to start to chit. Once they do I will cut them into smaller chunks and then let them heal before planting. I plan on planting them in a few ways this year, both in the ground and in 5-gallon buckets so we shall see how that goes.
Where are you in your garden adventure? Further along, then we are or farther behind? Either way now is as good as a time as any to get started on something. Post below and let me know what you have going on or what kind of plans you have for your garden this year. I know we can all learn and get inspiration from each other in this adventure.
Does anyone else feel like the last 2 years have been a whirlwind of crazy stuff going on all to end up with war? It is like everywhere you turn there is something going on that can take you away from yourself, pull your focus, increase your worry, make your anxieties skyrocket. We can see this a lot with our kids who have less of a capacity to handle all the crazy that is happening. The question is how do you worry about yourself and your health and wellness when you know there are people across the globe that are suffering and having to run for their lives? How can you focus on what may seem trivial to you or others in comparison to the lives being lost? What do we tell our children to help them get through it all?
First I think the most important thing to remember is that even with all the crazy going on, all the war and death, it is important to realize that if you don’t take care of yourself then there is no way you can be part of anything that may help with the situations at hand. If you are run down and out of sync with yourself, you can not possibly think you can help in any of these other larger situations.
Secondly, I think it is important to gauge what you are capable of in terms of helping. Are you in a position to help in a large-scale way, or do you need to set your focus on a more locally centered effort? We all want to feel like we have done our part have reached out and supported what we felt was important but that does not have to happen on a global scale sometimes it is just as important to focus your efforts on something more local and grow from there.
The only step that is important at the beginning is making sure that before you help others you have yourself in the right state of mind. You can not provide help or ideas for others if you are all out of sorts. Take a moment and write down what you want to accomplish and how you see yourself getting there. What is needed for you to make this happen? Do you need a certain amount of your time each day to be ready for your goals? Or do you need to find the right group of people to help you get there? Are the things you are involved in now helping you move toward or away from what you want?
Once you have laid out what it is you want and the path you wish to take to get there you can better prepare and plan your route to that goal. Start with the small easy goals and work your way to the larger ones, some of which may include providing the help and support to others that you wish for. Maybe if you are someone that wants to do more for the people suffering across the globe your first step may be to donate money or help raise awareness in your local circles. Starting here while working towards a larger scale effort will keep you from feeling overwhelmed and like you never seem to help.
Maybe you are in a situation similar to mine where you are not sure what you want to do to help. I don’t know what I want to do, or how I should handle the things I see or hear about, so my effort has been focused on trying to be sure my kids understand what is happening. It is just as important for those of us with children to focus on helping them cope and understand the things they hear and see. Teaching them is what will help later generations make what we hope are more informed decisions.
So this Self-Care Sunday message as a whole is to try your best not to let the crazy and horrible take a root in your life. Take a moment and make a plan on how you can handle the things going on without losing yourself or letting it harm your children. Take a break from the world and the news when needed it will still be there tomorrow and you can not be a part of any solution big or small if you are not good yourself.
In the last few weeks, I have discovered a few things, one being Rosemary Gladstar. I am glad that I have discovered her and her knowledge of herbal medicine which is something that I am just starting to learn. What I loved the most while looking through her posts is the quote above, “Give power to the things you love most in your life, those that nourish the spirit of joy and gratitude.” When I saw this I realized it is the best mindset to have. What are the things you love the most in your life? What things should you nourish?
This is something that we seem to forget to do as we rush around from day to day. Do we take the time that we should to nourish our spirit? This weekend I spent time nourishing my spirit by getting out and working in the garden. It would seem to many that working in the garden is just another form of work, which yes I guess it is, however being out in nature in the sun and working in the dirt just makes you feel so at peace in the end. I enjoy taking moments while working to notice the birds that are flying about or what little creatures are out for a walk. This connection helps to bring my focus away from the things that make me feel bad, angry, or hateful and to a place of relaxation. Working in the garden also makes me feel truly accomplished because I know what I am doing will provide us with food and a beautiful place to hang out.
What is the right way to nourish your spirit? There is only one right way to do it, so make sure you follow this rule exactly, Do what makes you feel happy, joyful, and at peace! That is the only rule. Don’t try to nourish your spirit at the bar getting drunk if every time you do you feel like shit the next day, do take a stroll through a used book store if the smell of the books makes your soul light up with the possible adventures contained in the pages. Don’t go take a long walk if you hate to hike, do sit outside in a beautiful garden and soak up nature that way. Go to church or don’t, meditate or don’t it really doesn’t matter what I suggest here because it is what nourishes YOUR soul no one can tell you how to nourish yourself.
I hope you can look at this as a reminder that you should be finding what makes you feel good, whatever it is, and making the time for it so that you don’t burn out and can tackle each day in the best mindset possible. Keep working on yourself so that you can get to the place that you want to be, the journey is long but it is yours so do it in your time.
Many of us spend the majority of our day at work. If we are lucky we have a job we Love, if we are fortunate we have one we like most days. Plenty of people have a job because it is a job, a source of income, but no matter why you have your job some days going in feels like a death sentence. Maybe the work environment has become extra stressful, or you are having a bad day, and going to work is the last thing that you want. At these moments I say take a day!
If you are like me and are in the U.S. you know that the view on sick days or mental health days is something that varies by company. There is no national plan that helps people take time when they need to, so they have to hope they get days through work, and even then you will risk not getting paid for the days that you do take. So what do you do if you really need a day? I say take it. If you need the money those hours would provide with you then try and switch shifts with someone so you don’t lose out but can still have that day you need. If you are like many people I know and are saving up your vacation days STOP! You have earned those days and you should take them if you are starting to feel stressed or burned out, you will feel better after you take some time. It is time to show people that it is ok not to be ok and need a day for yourself.
There are many other countries that have realized the health of their workers should come first since healthy, motivated workers actually work better and harder. Not all countries or employers care about this but we as employees should. We should take the time we have earned and when financially able take a day off even if it means no pay.
One reason I am starting my own business is so that I can have the freedom to have the schedule I want and need to function well at everything I do. I am lucky enough to be in a position that gives me the opportunity to do so, although I am even stretched thin trying to do it all. My hope is that one day with everyone’s voices working together we can help change how we are treated at work and have a national standard that helps to provide more time for self-care. Until then it is up to us to realize when we need a break and to be ok taking one, because you help no one by performing at less than your best.
I hope you read this and decide that yes you should come first so that you can have a better chance of enjoying the life you have been given.
You did it!! You made the decision to homeschool your kids. In the past few years many states have seen an increase in the number of people homeschooling their kids for one reason or another, but how do you do it? This is often the first and biggest question that is seen in Facebook Groups for homeschooling families. Everyone always wants to know where do I start, how do I educate my child, what method is the best? These questions have easy and complex answers that I hope I can walk you through and help you find a direction that is good for you and your family.
There are two places to start. The first is with the family that has never sent their child to school. These are the families whose children are not yet school age but are about to be. For you lovely people the start of your journey is much different from others. You are blessed to be starting with a clean slate if you will. Your child has never experienced school so they have no expectations of what a class should look like. This is where my kids pretty much started. Only one of my boys ever went to anything that resembled school and that was only for 2 years in pre-school. The great thing about starting in this manner is that you can structure your school just the way you want and learn along with your child how they learn best.
The second type of family is one in which something has caused them to pull their child/children from school and start homeschooling. This is a tad harder only because both you and your child will have to take your idea of school roll it up into a ball and throw it away. If your child/children have just been pulled from school, either public or private, you will have to deschool them.
“Woah what did you just say I have to do to my kid?!?”
Good question. You will have to deschool them, which basically means giving them a break from schoolwork.
“Time out! You mean that I am pulling them out of school then not making them do any work? Are you crazy?”
Well, I may be crazy but yes. When you deschool your child you are giving them time to decompress, you are letting them begin to discover their natural love for learning again. You can take this time to do other things with your child, let them have this opportunity to figure out where their interests lie and what their natural flow for a day may look like.
“You realize you still sound crazy right?!?”
It does seem crazy to just stop all structured work, however, I am not saying this lasts forever. This process should only be a week or two. The first few days may look like your child just hanging out around the house doing nothing, but don’t worry that will change. During this time you and your child can go on field trips, check out local homeschool groups or clubs, and even just get to know the things that interest each of you. This is a great time to spend connecting with your kid before you begin to add back in more structured work.
“O.K. but what do I teach them? Do I use a curriculum? Do I sign them up for classes? Do I just wing it?”
What should you teach your child? This really depends on your view on what you want education to be for your child. At my house, I like to be sure that they know many of the basics, math, history, science, writing, and reading. I like to add in times where we read things and discuss them in-depth, but I also try to listen to my kids and what they would like to learn. Since I try to structure my children’s learning to their wants and goals, not everything I do is the same for each kid. Let’s look at the sciences I teach for example. My oldest son wants to go into Marine Biology, he is 12 and has done other basic science work, so this year I got him a college-level Marine Biology book and Lab manual and we are working through that. Now my middle (10) has said many times that he wants to grow up to be a chef or baker so his science this year is the science of baking. We are reading through a book that highlights the science of baking and practicing our skills at baking and cooking. My youngest is still learning the basics so we just spend time pointing things out and learning through experience and discussion. So for science, I do not have a curriculum that I follow I have made up what I want them each to do and it keeps them wanting to learn.
I do use a curriculum for our history and literature, but even this I take liberties with. We use a curriculum called Build Your Library, it is a secular curriculum and heavy in the reading. It has a history, literature, reading, science, and art section to it so you have to supplement for math and anything else you feel is missing. When I use this curriculum I use it as a way to sit and read to the kids and add in discussions. We have reading days at my house where we read the books in this curriculum and stop and discuss both vocabulary words, events, or ideas found in the books. I love these days because I think it is important that my kids get to express their ideas and feelings about subjects.
My kids also take some classes at a local co-op. These are supplemental, they are not meant to be a full course in a subject but something fun to do that may spark their interest in a field or idea that I may not know much about. I also teach at the co-op which lets me pass on what I know to others so that their kids can also learn about something new.
Lastly, I also wing it. Yup, that’s right sometimes I wake up in the morning realize it is going to be 75 and sunny, and just make up a lesson for the day. It might be an impromptu trip to a zoo or museum, maybe a hike at a new park or even getting together with friends for a creek day. All of these things are ways my kids learn that are not from books or worksheets and tend to be the things that stick the best.
“That all sounds great but I still have no clue what to do. Should I teach them in a certain way? I have seen so much about different styles like Waldorf or Montessori or Unschooling. Help!”
Here is the key to your homeschool success. You get to choose how you want to teach your kids. As you have seen from my example above I do a little bit of a lot of different styles. Seeing as you may be very new I am going to define a few styles for you so that you can have an easier time deciding.
Traditional Homeschooling: Traditional school at home.
Roadschooling: Just what it sounds like school on the open road, this method allows you to learn while on the go and can include not just typical subjects but learning through experience.
Worldschooling: Like roadschooling but you go much farther and venture out of the country. This method gives you a look at many other ways of life that you may never have seen otherwise.
Classical Homeschooling: Based in a three-part process that was developed in the Middle Ages.
Charlotte Mason Homeschooling: This style uses high-quality literature (living books) to teach children, a strong focus on nature study and creating positive habits.
Waldorf Homeschooling: The goal here is to educate the whole child, with a strong focus on teaching kids in the early years without textbooks and integrating the natural world. This has become a very popular method.
Unschooling: Here your child leads their education. This is not to say that kids learning this way just sit around and do nothing all day, but instead are free to explore what interests them.
Eclectic Homeschooling: This is pretty much what we do, a blending of many styles taking what works for you from the various forms.
Montessori Homeschooling: This is another form of child lead education. You would spend time setting up and making available materials your child can learn from. Your role is as a facilitator rather then just a teacher.
Unit Studies: Studying a specific unit for a given time period. For example you may do a unit study on Ancient Rome and go into great detail about the history, mythology and lifestyle of the time period for two weeks then move on to a different area of study.
Phew, that was a lot of information I just threw your way. If you weren’t overwhelmed before you may be now and I apologize, however you now have an idea of what is out there. Now to choose, or don’t choose. You can decide how you want your school to look, do you need a more traditional seeming day, or do you want to hit the road and just learn as you travel. Our school has evolved and changed each year based on what we have going on, the age of my kids, and what I think they need at the moment. Currently, we don’t have set times for school because we have a ton of appointments each week. Instead, I have set up a list each week of what I would like the kids to do and when I would like it done. I also let them know each day when I will have free time to work with them on things that they may not understand or a lesson I know they need to do with me. We also try to have at least two days that are reading days each week, plus a day for a hike and co-op. This keeps us learning in many different ways and situations. The last thing I have always done with the kids is real-world learning. Each of my boys has learned to do things like go into Starbucks and order Mom a drink and pay in cash, or debit for it (my oldest started doing this at 5.) They are made to find groceries in the store and must ask the workers to help them when they can’t find things. I won’t ask for any of them. You want to get a milkshake at the coffee shop, ok you place your order. These are all important skills they must be able to do and I started teaching them as soon as they could understand what it was they needed to do.
“Okay, I think I am ready except that my mother’s, sisters, neighbors cat was asking me how the kids would be socialized and how I would know they were learning.”
This is a common problem, although not normally from a cat. You will have many instances where family, friends, and even strangers will question what you are doing. They will stop by with “advice” or decide that the best way to prove their point is to quiz your child about facts they assume should be memorized by a certain age. When this happens your first step is to just take a deep breath, remember that you are doing something different that seems out of the norm, and then as politely as possible let them know you are doing what is best for your family. You can also start teaching the kids to respond in their own ways such as, “can I quiz you next?” or “thank you for being interested in my well-being but my parents have it under control.” Remember that these people just don’t understand why you have made this choice, take a moment to respond and help educate if possible. When all else fails just ask that this not be something that is discussed when you come by.
“But what about college!!!!”
Calm down, college is still in their sights even when being homeschooled. You will learn that there are many universities that are very open to receiving homeschooled students. The best way to prep your child for this is to figure out what is needed to get into the schools that they wish to go to and structure your school with that goal in mind. You can find a good number of examples of people that were schooled at home when you start to research. Plus your child may decide that college is not their goal, they can go to a trade school or find some other passion that will result in just as much success as going to college.
That’s it. Time to get started in whatever way you want, or you can change your mind and try something different. The goal is to prepare them for college, for a job, for life, in whichever way works best for them. If you are still confused, overwhelmed, or just nervous ask for some advice below I will be happy to help. Always remember that what works for you may not for others and you just do you and make sure your kid is getting what they need!
Another week in the bag. We had some crazy weather here last week with the snow and ice. The biggest issue my family had was not being able to get up the driveway for 2 days, but that turned into a fun time for the kids who got to use the driveway as a sledding area. We also got to go for a fun hike in the woods and found some interesting tracks in the snow. I really enjoyed being snowed in, even though I don’t like snow, because I was able to spend extra time at home doing things with the kids that we sometimes don’t get around to.
Now for the rest of the week, after finally getting up the driveway my week became a bit overwhelming and I had to really listen to my own advice from a few posts back. I had to remind myself that it is ok to say No to things that I am not in the mental state to handle.
For me, I had to wrestle with whether or not I could take an online class for my job. Now, this class is not required for me to do my job, but it will help me advance and get paid better. These are both things that are great for me, however, as I tried to prepare for the class I realized that I did not have the mental stamina to do well in such a course right now. The amount of work outside of the class time was going to be more than I could fit into my week and schedule.
I tried to explain this to my immediate supervisor who did not seem to hear what I was saying and gave me the advice of just do your best, which I knew I could not currently give. Thankfully I spoke with the store manager who assured me that it was not a requirement and although they would love to see me do the course it could wait until I was ready. This was great to hear because it took a huge weight off my shoulders and helped me to make my decision to drop the course even easier.
My new plan is to keep all of the worksheets and information from the class handy and just work through it at a nice slow pace when I have time. I will then when I feel mentally able to hold more information in my brain ask to be signed up again so that I can really do my best and be able to advance.
This leads me to my self-care for this week. This week is again about knowing what you can handle and remembering that it is ok to say No. It is also ok to seek out those that are in charge at your job and talk to them about what is going on and how you are feeling. I admit I probably waited longer than I should have to talk about this, I let myself get completely overwhelmed first. I tried to convince myself that adding this to my plate was ok, that I could handle it because I have always been good at school and studying. I had to remind myself that when I was in school I was also not homeschooling 3 kids, running a homestead, starting a business, navigating doctor and therapy appointments for the kids, and working 24 hours a week. I had much more time to devote to studying and learning in the way needed. So I shall not take the class now, but I will take the time to learn through experience and studying when I can so that when I take the class I am prepared for it.
Now that we have all been reminded to put ourselves first it is time for a coffee, a book, and a nap!!! Have a great Sunday!