Thursday, December 31, 2015

Counting Down the 15 Most Popular Posts of 2015 #11

With 2015 coming to and end and looking forward to 2016, I thought I'd count down the 15 most popular posts of 2015 (not counting our Weekly Wrap- Ups, which always get a lot of pageviews thanks to linky parties!).

So here is post number 11:  (originally posted August 19th)

Socializing Those Homeschoolers

  It's funny that even though homeschooling is growing by leaps and bounds, even though there are literally hundreds of homeschool blogs and they all talk about all the activities their kids are involved in we all still get the dreaded socialization question:"Aren't you worried about their socialization?" 


  My kids are way more social now than when they were in school.  At school they often got in trouble for socializing or else their friends ended up in a different classroom and they didn't have anyone that they really "clicked" with in their classroom for that particular year.  They had a limited number of children to pick from for the most part and heaven forbid if they had different interests from the "norm."  Don't get me wrong they made friends but there were only a few kids they saw outside the school day as well. 

   How do they make new friends now that we homeschool? I think that's what most people actually mean when they ask me about my kids socialization.  But really socialization is so much more than just making friends.  While friends are important socialization is the ability to relate, converse, and get along with ALL other people; not just those that were born in the same year.  My kids enjoy talking to adults, older kids, younger kids; pretty much anybody anywhere.  Rest assured we meet and make new friends everywhere all the time!  Really we do! 

Here are a few ways my kids socialize even though we homeschool:

  1. The local park- have you ever watched a group of kids at a park?  Playing side by side somehow leads to conversations and group play.  They socialize on their own terms, make up their own rules, and find ways to cooperative play together.  
  2. Homeschool groups and meet-ups- We're part of several different homeschool groups and that has enabled us to meet lots of new people.  We meet up with groups of homeschoolers at least a few times each month (sometimes each week!) and since new homeschoolers join our midst all the time we have lots of opportunities to make new friends. 
  3. Field trips- While we often take off on our own to explore places, which we love, because my boys then have the opportunity to make connections with and ask plenty of questions with various workers, we also meet up with fellow homeschoolers for group field trips too.  
  4. karate- My kids have participated in several different karate schools learning various forms of martial arts.  They meet kids from public, private and other homeschool families that are also taking classes.  
  5. Soccer- My kids are young enough that they can still join in local team sports that are not yet organized by the school.  They have reconnected with public school acquaintances and made new friends while learning a new sport.  
  6. Basketball- See Soccer. 
  7. The beach- Much like playing at a park, my kids seem to gravitate toward other kids they meet on the beach.  Even though we typically only go to the beach in the "off" season we still meet at least a few other kids and my boys end up playing with them; building castles together, digging holes in the sand, jumping waves, and climbing rocks.  
  8. Having friends over- We keep in touch with most of the friends my boys made while in public and private school by having them over to play and hang out quite frequently.  All of my boys are still in touch with friends they made in preschool & first grade!  The boys also get to have homeschool friends over during the school week and even during the school day! 
  9. Go over friends' houses-  see have friends over. 
  10. Go to parties- We're invited to all sorts of parties; birthday parties, fourth of July parties, not back to school parties, you name it.  My kids love going to parties and always meet at least a few new people; sometimes they hit it off really well with someone and even make a new friend. 
  11. Homeschool classes- We've participated in a few different classes for homeschoolers and my boys always have fun meeting new people and learning something new.  
  12. Summer camps- My boys have participated in a summer camp here and there and they like meeting new kids with similar interests.  
  13. Zoos- My kids love talking to other families when we're visiting the different zoos.  They have a lot of knowledge about animals and love to share all that they know.  
  14. Aquarium- see zoos. 
  15. Museums- My kids have fun talking with museum docents and other museum goers when we're there.  They aren't afraid to ask questions or strike up conversations. 
  16. On vacation- Two years in a row Alec has made friends with children from other countries while on vacation.  He loves listening to the various accents and learning about their homelands.  My kids often strike up conversations or play games with other kids in the hotel pool or waiting in lines for rides.  
  17. Restaurants-  Mostly my kids socialize with the waitstaff when we go out to eat but they'll strike up conversations with other people while we're waiting for a table.  
  18. Library- Our library sponsors many wonderful programs throughout the year and my kids love to participate in them.  They'll also look around the library every week when we go to see if they know anyone and have met up with old school friends and teachers.  They're on a first name basis with most of the librarians too.  
  19. Piano/ Guitar/ Music Lessons- My kids have taken music lessons off and on with various music teachers.  Occasionally they meet other students but mostly they have a great time bonding with their teacher over their passion for music. 
  20.  Family- This last one may sound a little weird but my kids get a lot of socializing time with their family; each other, mom, dad, grandparents, cousins, great grandparents, great- great aunts, etc.  We see other family members often; more often than just holidays and special events.  
The other "Most posts of 2015":

Hip Homeschool Moms

I Choose Joy!

Life and Linda

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Counting Down the 15 Most Popular Posts of 2015 #12

With 2015 coming to and end and looking forward to 2016, I thought I'd count down the 15 most popular posts of 2015 (not counting our Weekly Wrap- Ups, which always get a lot of pageviews thanks to linky parties!).

So here is post number 12:  (originally posted Sept. 10)

Too Much Work!

    Our plans for today fell through due to the weather and so we FINALLY had a day at home to get some real school work done.  I pulled out a few subjects for each boy to work on independently so, of course, they complained it was too much.  Yep, we're so overworked over here.  I get asked a lot by other homeschooling families if I have a hard time getting my kids to complete their work.  It seems like all homeschooling families have this problem of motivating our kids to do their work.  You'd think since we do very little of what looks like traditional schoolwork that our kids would be more willing to complete what we ask of them but that's not always the case.  In three years of dealing with my kids I've learned there are several ways to handle it on days they just don't want to work.

   When my kids start in with the complaining about schoolwork I do take it seriously.  First I look to see if they're serious or just grumbling to grumble.  I think back to see if we're becoming so book dependent that it's boring.  I think back over our schedule and see if they're tired.  Sometimes their complaints are legitimate other times they're not but in my heart I know if I'm forcing it they're probably not learning; just going through the motions and I don't want that.  

So here are a few things I do when my kids are complaining that they have too much work:
  • Some days we pack it in and get out of the house.  If we've been doing lots of book work and they're getting restless we might go for a nature walk and call that school or else go on a field trip to a museum and learn while we explore.  Even just taking our books outside on the lawn or to a park can make a huge difference.
  • Some days, if they have a lot of writing work, I offer to let them dictate their work to me so they don't have to write as much (that's my boys' chief complaints).
  • Some days I tell them they're lucky and remind them of what they'd be doing in "real" school and force the schoolwork through anyway.-- Hey it's honest! But we don't do this often or else both the kids and I would want to quit this whole homeschooling thing. 
  • Some days I set a timer and challenge them to beat the clock; they love knowing that school won't last all that long and then they can go play.  Plus that added challenge to complete everything quickly and beat the clock is just too much for my kiddos to resist. 
  • Some days I put them in charge and tell them if they don't like what I've picked they can pick out what they're doing for school.  I find putting them in charge works really well as long as I give them a few guidelines ("you can pick school work for today but you must do some reading, some math, and some science", etc.).  Often they find some great things to do!
  • Some days I remind them I'm the teacher and whether they like it or not there will always be things they don't want to do in life-- usually this is what I say when I pull out their cursive books but I limit it to one sentence and keep it as fun as I possibly can. 
  • I look to see what they would have covered with their books and find a way to cover the same concept while playing a game.  Making change?  We'll play Monopoly or Life!  Multiplication facts? We'll tape flash cards to the wall and shoot at them with Nerf Guns.  Sight Words or vocabulary words?  I'll write them on bubble wrap and have the kids pop them as they read or recite the definition.  We've written words in chalk & sprayed them with water guns.  We've used water balloons for math fact bombs.  I always try to keep it as fun as possible. 
  • Some days I give them the day off!  *GASP* I really do.  I find they learn so much even when we don't "do school" that taking a day off now and then is wonderful.  I used to worry that giving in meant giving up and that they'd start manipulating me into never doing school but I've realized that they learn so much just by living life that I don't worry about it anymore.  
  • If it's just one subject or just one workbook that they're balking at I look for a new way to cover that subject.  I don't ever spent more than $20 on any subject at a time so that if it's not a good fit it's not big deal to change it up.  Not all curricula are going to work for every child and family. 
  • I think about my motives for teaching that day and the material we're covering-- is this a vital life skill?  Do I use this often as an adult?  Am I just teaching it to say we learned that or because the local public school is teaching it?  Often I realize we don't need to do all the work have lined up and I'll offer to cut it down for them.  
  • Sometimes I write up a short list of what we'll be covering and allow them to cross it off as we finish; they like a concrete view into exactly what we'll be doing and then they're OK with the steps I've broken our work down into.  A pile of books on the table can look intimidating! 
   I hope these suggestions and ideas have helped!  What do you all do when your kids don't feel like working? 

    Today, I chose to just ignore the grumbling and complaining.  Since they only had three subjects each they weren't complaining all that loudly.   Today a reminder of "why don't you call your friends from school tonight and ask them what they did today?" did the trick.

    The older boys had to read a chapter in the book of their choice, complete a page in their math book, work on one cursive sentence, and take a timed math review test/sheet on multiplication.  Phew! I don't know how they survived all that!

    An hour later we were all done school.  They went off to play and Alec asked me to play Hangman.  Ian soon joined in and we were having a ball.  Shhh! Don't tell them that was learning!

   I read a few books out loud during lunch about the Vietnam war and then Ian asked me to play the game of Life with him after that.  We also exercised together as part of our new fitness program and then all three boys spent the afternoon watching Magic School Bus, Wild Kratts, and Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman learning all sorts of wonderful sciencey things... on their own.... after school

Strawberry Butterscotch

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Counting Down the 15 Most Popular Posts of 2015 #13

With 2015 coming to and end and looking forward to 2016, I thought I'd count down the 15 most popular posts of 2015 (not counting our Weekly Wrap- Ups, which always get a lot of pageviews thanks to linky parties!).

So here is post number 13:  (originally posted July 30)

Say Yes! More Often

I'm making a concerted effort to say "Yes!" to my kids more often.  I find that usually I'm just saying no out of habit or convenience but saying yes has opened up opportunities for us to connect as a family, for my boys to grow and show me what they're capable of, for me to embrace my children's passions and interests. 

Allowing them to do more and to see that their wants, needs and desires matter helps them feel confident, important and more grown up.

I know the teen years are fast approaching and I'm determined not to get pulled into all the angst that we assume is normal and necessary in those teen years.  I'm learning from lots of homeschooling moms of older kids that their teenage years were not nearly as bad as the teenage struggles I hear from public school kid parents.

I have no idea why that is but partly I think it's that homeschool kids have more freedom and less things to rebel against.  With that in mind I'm trying to get myself used to saying "sure"  instead of "no!"

 Here are some of the things I said yes to this week:
  • Can we go shopping with great gram?"  I love my grandmother but spending time in a store with three kids and a 90 year old woman with Alzheimer's is not my idea of fun so I often say no.  Usually I have a major headache by the end of the trip but this week I realized it was worth it if it means my kids and my grandmother have more time together and you know what?  We had a wonderful time.  Sure it was a bit stressful but it was a great way for us all to connect. 
  • "Want to play MarioKart with me?"  I don't hate video games but I'm certainly don't love them either.  I usually have the boys play together and then I'm free to do my own thing but this week I said sure and we had a great afternoon laughing and giggling over how awful mom is at keeping her car on the track.
  • Can we have a sleepover?" This is one I've been saying yes to a lot more often and it's led to wonderful times for all three of the boys.  Obviously they have friends sleepover at times too but usually they're asking to sleep in each other's room.  I love that my boys are starting to treat each other as friends and brothers.
  • "Will you buy me..."  For obvious reasons this is one question I have to say no to often or else I'd go broke!  But this week I decided to say yes (within reason) and indulge them a little.  New Lego sets, video games, or toys that help foster their love of discovery and an occasional treat is not going to spoil my boys rotten or put us in the poor house.  When I don't have the money for it I remind them they can buy it or they can earn money so I'm still not saying no.  
  • "Can I eat...."  I've stopped the food wars in this house.  I pretty much let my kids eat what they want when they want (with in reason).  I do remind them what healthy food is, what proper nutrition looks like, and suggest good food I know they like.  That said I'm not saying not to the occasional treat like soda or ice cream.  I remind them that everything should be eaten in moderation but find that easing up on restrictions has actually led to them all eating a little less this week.  
  • "Can we say up late?"  My kids still have a bedtime most days.  I like having a routine and we've found that our kids do not sleep any later if they stay up later.  They get cranky and ornery the next day.  They usually only want to stay up to play video games or watch TV; something I often think they do plenty of during the day anyway.  But more and more this week I've allowed them to stay up late.  It's summer!  It's fun! It's not the end of the world if I have cranky kids the next day.  I find they're much more likely to admit to being tired and willingly go to bed earlier the next night when we relax about bedtime rules and let them self- regulate.  
  • "Can I play Video Games? (Or watch TV/ movie)" I try pretty hard to limit the amount of screen time that my kids engage in every week.  They're content to play video games for hours on end and it drives me nuts.  This week I relaxed about it all.  I think I said yes just about every time they asked to play and sure they played a lot more than usual but again, it's summer!  This is their time off and we spent plenty of time out of doors, swimming, running, hiking, and just doing things that a bit of extra "screen time" isn't going to hurt them.  It has led to them linking up and playing cooperatively, my two older boys fiercely competing on Trivia Crack and learning all sorts of new facts, and lots of new vocabulary.  
The other most popular posts of 2015:

Friday Features Linky Party

Monday, December 28, 2015

Counting Down the 15 Most Popular Posts of 2015 #14

With 2015 coming to and end and looking forward to 2016, I thought I'd count down the 15 most popular posts of 2015 (not counting our Weekly Wrap- Ups, which always get a lot of pageviews thanks to linky parties!).

So here is post number 14:  (originally posted on October 22)

Goop, Slime, Play dough & Sensory Play Recipes

My kids love playing with play dough, slime, goop, and making new types of dough.  There was a time we were making something new just about every week.  

There's something about watching two or three ingredients combine that just fascinated them.  Sometimes our dough "experiments" failed but usually we had something new to play with and the joy lasted for several hours or days. 

 Now that the kids are older we don't make dough as often but we still enjoy making something when we're bored and looking for something out of the ordinary to do.  Most of the time I didn't measure or really follow a "recipe" so I have a hard time re-creating some of our favorite play doughs.  I thought I take the time to compile a list of recipes for easy reference:

1.  Beach dough-- This one smells like the beach and reminds us of summer!  It was the easiest to make too; one box of cornstarch and 1 bottle of Suave Ocean Breeze conditioner and enough baking soda to stiffen the dough up (this varies depending on how much conditioner you actually can get out of the bottle).  The great thing about this recipe is using a different scented conditioner will get you a different dough.  Studying apples?? Make apple dough.  Planting strawberries??  Make strawberry dough!  The possibilities are endless and the conditioner in the dough leaves your hands nice and soft afterwards. 

2,  "Fluffy Stuff"-- that's just what we call it!  We mix two boxes of corn starch and two bottles of shaving cream to make enough for all three boys to play with.  Caution: this one is a messy one!  I found cornstarch everywhere when we were done.  However it was lots of fun and totally different sensory experience. 

3.  Foamy Sand-- Put 3 cups of sand into a large bowl or container and mix in one container of shaving cream.  Just keep mixing and adding more shaving cream until you like the mixture. 

4.  Fake Snow-  6 cups of Baking soda and 1 cup of hair conditioner (any type of conditioner is fine but it must be white if you want it to look like snow!).  This dough stays cool to the touch too! 

5.  Goop-  Cornstarch and water.  That't it.  Just add equal amounts of water and cornstarch and mix.  To make colored goop add food coloring to the water before stirring in the cornstarch.  Don't be afraid to experiment either.  We've used paint water and cornstarch for a bright goop.  We've added pop rocks candy into the cornstarch before adding the water for "fire cracker" goop. 

6.  Cloud Dough-- Mix 8 cups of flour with 1 cup baby oil.  We've made sparkly cloud dough by mixing in glitter too. You can make colored dough by adding paint to the mixture too. 

7.  Silly Putty-- Mix equal parts liquid cornstarch and Elmer's school glue together.  If you'd like colored silly putty add some food coloring to the school glue before adding the starch.  It's pretty simple but requires quite a bit of mixing and stirring.  I prefer to wear disposable latex gloves and kneed it with my hands.  If the mixture is really sticky and I can not get if off the gloves I add just a bit more starch to the mixture.  If it seems stringy and will not firm up I add just a bit more glue to the mixture. 

8.  Slime--   A single batch uses 4 oz. clear school glue.   Mix Elmer's glue and food coloring in a bowl.  In a separate container dissolve 1 tsp Borax in 1 cup of HOT water.  Let it sit for a few minutes and then add to glue mixture while stirring.  You'll see it start to firm up immediately. 

9.  Lotion Dough-- One day the boys wanted to make our Fake Snow dough but I was out of conditioner.  Always looking for new ways to make something fun we tried making the dough with a bottle of lotion instead.  It was a bit runnier and didn't stay as cool feeling but I loved that the lotion dough served double duty keeping my middle son's hands moistened.  He has such bad eczema in the winter and just hates to use lotion but he was willing to play with this dough.  We just adjusted the amount of dry ingredients until we had a consistency we enjoyed.

10.  Foam-- by far the easiest "dough" ever!  We took 1/3 cup of water and a squirt of dish soap and put it in our food processor on high until the foam was all the way to the top (a blender would work just fine too!).  You can add food coloring for fun colors too.  Best way to play with soap and water-- EVER! 

11.  Flubber-- It feels and acts just like silly putty but it's made like Slime; Using regular school glue mixed with food coloring and a bowl of hot water and Borax you combine the two mixtures and get a fun dough. 

12.  Fizzing Dough-- Any of the dough recipes above made with lotion or conditioner with baking soda can make a wonderfully fun fizzy dough with the addition of a little vinegar.  My kids spent hours one day turning our lotion dough into fizzing dough using droppers and a mug full of clear vinegar. 

13.  Kool- Aid Dough-- Using a packet of unsweetened Kool- Aid mix with Baking Soda and slowly add water until you have a good dough- like consistency.  If you add too much water it will be runny and not a good dough but you can always add more baking soda until you get the right consistency.  For brighter colors you can add food coloring too. 

14.  Moon Sand-- 4 Cups sand, 2 cups cornstarch, and 1 cup water.  Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined.  If dry add a bit more water, if wet you can add a bit more cornstarch. 

I saved this for last because I HATE making dough that needs to cook on the stove.  I like quick and easy and I don't find doughs that I have to cook to be that easy or that quick. 

15.  Jell-O dough--  1 cup flour and 1/2 cup extra, 1 cup water, 2 TBSP salt, 2 TBSP cream of tartar, 2 TBSP vegetable oil and 1 3-ounce package of Jello.  Combine all ingredients in a non- stick sauce pan (except for the extra flour) and mix well. Once it's all mixed together heat over low heat until a ball of dough forms.  It takes time; you have to cook off all the liquid and you need to stir it pretty much constantly.  Once the dough is formed turn it onto wax paper or foil to cool.  Once cool to the touch it's safe to play with and then you can store in an air tight container for a few months. 

Post Number 6
Post Number 1

Linking up with: Titus 2 Tuesday, Natural Beach Living, and
Hip Homeschool Moms
artsy-fartsy mama

TFT winter logo

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Counting Down The 15 Most Popular Posts of 2015 #15

With 2015 coming to and end and looking forward to 2016, I thought I'd count down the 15 most popular posts of 2015 (not counting our Weekly Wrap- Ups, which always get a lot of pageviews thanks to linky parties!).

So here is post number 15:  (originally posted June 10, 2015)

An Open Letter to Myself of Three Years Ago: A New Homeschooling Mom

Almost exactly three years ago I was at that jumping off point to homeschool:

  • I had already spent months reading books about homeschooling.  
  • I had talked to a few homeschoolers.  
  • I had Attended a  new homeschooler question and answer session at a local library where I met some homeschoolers and their kids.  
By this point in my decision I had even started telling people "I'm thinking of homeschooling in the fall"; tentatively at first and then with more confidence as no one shrieked "Are you crazy?"  

I was at that point where I was straddling the fence; ready to jump off but entirely terrified to do so.  

It's not easy to do something so totally outside the norm.  Lucky for me I had a few family members who were already homeschooling and were cheering me on.  I had support from my husband, his family, my family, even most of my friends were quite encouraging (a few joked that they wished I'd open a school and teach their kids too!).  I am so lucky to have had such wonderful people in my life.  

I was teaching at our local school at the time; I was a substitute (one that reported just about daily) and I had many friends in the school system.  They all assured me I would be great at it.  Still, I was hesitant to declare myself a homeschooler and make that final leap into... what?!  

That's what scared me.  This was new and uncharted territory for me and I'm not one to like new things.

 Looking back one of the comments that meant more to me than others:  one of the teachers at our school confided to me that she had homeschooled her kids through middle school and told me that I would not only be great at it but I was going to love it and so would my kids. 

At the time I had no idea how she could possibly know that but her words; the words of what was essentially a stranger, meant more to me than the words of my family at that point. 

Not because I didn't love and trust them but because I knew they loved and trusted me.  Does that make sense? I knew they would support my decision and be my champions and I guess I worried that they would support me even if they thought I might be making a mistake.  

We finally decided to start small and just test drive homeschooling for the summer. If all went well we were going to continue it for one year and then re-evaluate. 

Looking back there is so much I wish I could have told myself... so I thought I'd share what I would say to myself (and most of this is what I say to new homeschoolers too; those that may still look a little shell- shocked at what they have done).

    Hey Self,
       You've got this!  Really you do.  It's new and it's scary and it won't always be easy but you CAN do this.  However, there are some things you should know before you start: 

  • There will be good days and bad.  
  • There will be countless smiles and some tears (of joy and frustration and anger).  
  • There will be weeks where you think you've finally figured everything out; and then it will probably change.  
  • There will be days you want to quit and put them back in school; and then they'll probably ask to have a sleepover with each other since they're becoming such good friends (or something else that will totally melt your heart and make all your frustrations completely worth it). 
  •  Homeschooling will challenge you and make you grow in ways you never thought possible. 
  •  Homeschooling will change the entire way your family interacts and looks at life; but in a good way!  There is SO MUCH good ahead.  

      You really should not try to replicate what teachers do in the classroom in any way other than to suggest some learning ideas and help them answer any questions they have; at least not at first. 

 If you do replicate traditional classroom learning at home and you realize it's really a struggle to get through the days; change it up.  Take a step back from what you are doing and ask the kids what they'd like to do.  

  • They'll probably want to just play for a while.  
  • They've spent years in a classroom sitting; they're sick of sitting.  Let them play!!
  • Let them explore. 
  • Let them and yourself take a break from all the traditional things you think of as learning and just watch them.  
  • It's OK to take a break; even a really long break.  Think of months or even a year off not just a few weeks.  You all need time to de-school and the general rule is one month for every year they've been in school; that means 3-5 months of de-schooling.  
  • Listen to them as they play; really, listen closely.  Play really is the work of childhood and children teach themselves many things by playing.  
  • Go on outings; go hiking, go to the zoo, the beach, anywhere and everywhere you want to go. 
  • Meet up with other homeschoolers; it may take testing out a few different groups and it may take several different outings to make friends, but these other homeschoolers will be invaluable to you. 
  • Don't worry if all this playing and gallivanting doesn't look like school yet; it will.  
  • Don't worry if it doesn't look like they are learning; they are!  
  • Talk to the kids, watch movies with them, read wonderful, enriching stories with them.  
  • Help them rediscover the joy in discovery and the "fun" in learning.  Notice I said learning; learning and school are not the same and after 16+ years of being in school and 2+ years of teaching on and off you need to learn to separate what school looks like and what learning will look like for your kids.  
  • Try to hold yourself back from planning out the year and buying all sorts of curriculum books; you most likely won't follow or use hardly any of them.  
  • Try not to worry that they're taking too long to learn something or that they'll fall behind the "other" kids. 
  •  It's not easy to let go of the ideas that all kids need to learn set pieces of curriculum at set ages.  It's hard; really, really, hard.  
  • Try not to panic. All kids are different and learn different things at different times; even those public school kids don't all learn everything and master those subjects that are talked about.  
  • Just keep playing, talking, reading, and having fun.  
  • Homeschooling is a marathon; not a sprint.  
  • If you try to push them to cover all the same material they'd be doing in a traditional classroom and make them sit filling out worksheets or covering ALL of the subjects each day so you can cross them off your teacher to-do list you'll lose them.  
  • They'll start to rebel.  
  • You'll all start to fight.  
  • You'll all start to cry and you'll start to think you made a big mistake.  
  • You'll start to question if you can really handle this whole homeschooling thing. 

BUT YOU CAN!  You've got this!  Parents are WONDERFUL teachers! 

 It's OK to get scared that they might not be learning enough. It's OK to have a bad day or even a bad week (or two).  

But the sooner you learn to take a break when any assignment becomes to much for anyone and come back to it later the happier you'll all be.  

There will come a day when the kids will ASK you for some schooling/ learning ideas.  Then they'll probably take off on their own again.  

There will come a day when you'll wake up and realize how much they've learned; in small little steps or in great giant leaps.  You'll notice that even though you were watching them, and listening to them, you still may have missed just how deeply they've learned some new thing.  That's real learning! 

Your kids are no longer learning material by skimming the surface to pass a test; they're learning about what they're passionate about and they are absorbing the information.  They soak it all up like a sponge when they're interested, when they see the value in what they're learning and when it matters most to them.  

But just to let you know, you may not always see the value in what they're learning; that's OK too.  Even if you can't understand why they're absorbed in learning all about Pokemon or Minecraft or anything else that seems like the opposite of school they'll relate it back to real life in ways you never thought possible!  

They'll surprise you when you think you're introducing them to a new topic and they'll already know it.  You'll probably have no idea where they picked it up but kids are great like that.  They're wired to learn.  They WANT to learn all about the world around them.  So let them, help them, facilitate learning. 

  • They'll teach you just as much as you're teaching them.  
  • You'll forge unimaginable bonds with one another.  
  • You'll wish you had started this journey much, much sooner.  
  • You'll lament the years they spent in public school when you missed knowing about their days and they just plain old missed you.  
  • You might feel guilty; but don't: All life experiences mold us in different ways and for the vast majority of it they really enjoyed school.  But they, like you, were ready for change and their hearts are just as invested in this whole homeschooling thing too.  
  • They too want to see it work and they want to help you make it great.  ASK them.  You might think they're too little to help but they know what they want and what they like.  

     You have watched your children grow and develop from birth.  You know them best.  You know what they like, what they fear, where their strengths lie and what makes them tick.  You helped them learn to walk, talk, count, and feed themselves.  You can teach them to read, add, subtract, multiply and divide.  

It won't always be easy.  

There will be doubts; you often doubt parenting decisions and wrestle with what is best.  You will be doubting homeschooling decisions and wrestle with what is best.  

But the good will outweigh the bad.  Boy oh boy, will that good ever outweigh the bad.  

When you need to make sure, you talk to other homeschooling moms.  Tell them your fears and you'll be surprised that they have all felt that way at one time or another.  Even those moms that seem like they are so super confident and have it all figured out will confide that they too have moments when they aren't sure they're doing the right thing.  They'll help you put it into perspective and one day you'll be helping new homeschooling moms do the same thing.  

So for now, take it one day at a time. Focus on what they ARE doing, what they ARE learning and try not to worry about all that you'd like to cover by the time they leave home. 

You have many, many, many years to teach them what they need to know.  

Teach them to love learning and to seek knowledge and they'll teach themselves for years after you think you're done.  

You're going to love this new adventure more than you can imagine.  Enjoy!  

They'll learn new things all the time; even if you're not the one teaching.
All of my boys took a Microsoft coding class-- I know nothing about coding! 
Post number 14
Post number 13
Post number 12
Post number 11
Post number 10
Post number 9
Post number 8
Post number 7
Post Number 1

Linking Up with: Titus 2 Tuesday, and
Hip Homeschool Moms