Category Archives: Reflections

Summer failures…..and successes

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The fact that it is now August is really blowing my mind! I have so many things to do to get ready for school….it isn’t even a little funny. Fortunately for me, my girls are really excited to get back to work and are always pretty motivated (easy to say as they are still only 6). Over the summer, I had some grandiose plans of projects, crafts, and educational adventures. In fact, here is a sampling of what I intended to accomplish:

  1.  Finish up all the little homeschooling odds and ends: workbooks, lists, lesson plans, projects.
  2. Completely clean my house and purge a ton of stuff in preparation of the new school year.
  3. Travel and and make great memories.
  4. Start a blog about homeschooling.
  5. Teach my youngest to sleep through the night. Or even halfway through.
  6. Organize all my to-do lists.

Things I have actually done this summer:

  1. Decided that most teachers do NOT finish all of their books, workbooks, lesson plans and projects.
  2. Purged a few things and bought a whole bunch more, mostly unneeded. Barely kept the mess at bay all summer long.
  3. Made it about 30 minutes down the road on a day long road trip and turned around due to multiple factors which need not be discussed. Memories, yes. Fun, not really.
  4. Started a blog about homeschooling. At the same time, realized that starting said blog is certainly the easy part and continuing will most likely be the actual challenge.
  5. Allowed my youngest to slide into the laziest, most ill-advised sleep schedule in the history of toddlers.
  6. Discovered website that might possibly allow a new career in the making of to-do lists but as yet have not actually fully utilized said website. For your consideration: Wunderlist.

In addition to these worthy accomplishments I have: NOT purchased needed school supplies, NOT set up several appointments I’ve been putting off, NOT put the van into the shop for pesky issues just barely still covered by warranty, NOT read any of the book for my Sunday School class, NOT started elimination to diet to get to the root of allergy issues, NOT finally had that yard sale and NOT totally made-over my grocery buying system.

On the other hand I have: played outside with the kids, read to the girls some of my favorite childhood books, spent some time with extended family, made some cash by selling unneeded items, kept the kids fed, clothed, and relatively clean, and lost all the baby weight. So there’s that.

Oh and I taught the baby to feed himself, thanks to the Boon suction Bowl. Actually, he just picked up the fork the one time but as you can see, I was clever enough to capture it on camera so I think I deserve some credit.

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4 Perks of Homeschooling NOW

I just put this list together off the top of my head, in no particular order. Of course there are lots of pros and cons to homeschooling (and, indeed to most educational options). However, as a second generation homeschooler I am struck by some of the huge leaps in the field since my parents set out on the homeschool journey over 25 years ago. Things are so different and most of the changes are very positive! I have to remind myself of these when I am feeling discouraged or flat out exhausted!

1)      People know what homeschooling is. This made be perplexing for some of you young whipper-snappers but actually there was a day not too long ago when the term homeschooling provoked only blank looks and an occasional weak, “You mean homebound?” I used to dread being asked where I went to school, not because I disliked homeschooling (quite the opposite) but because I hated having to explain to random cashiers something that seemed new and radical (when in fact it is the oldest teaching method there is). Now it is more likely that the stranger is also a homeschooler or is close to someone who is.

2)      Legal standards are more flexible. This may be the understatement of the blog. My mother and her contemporaries had to turn in detailed lesson plans to the school district where they were met with animosity and mistrust. My mom had to walk me at six years old to the school for standardized testing but wasn’t allowed to enter herself. We were required to have PE facilities but weren’t allowed to utilize those of the school. The list goes on. As homeschoolers, we still face prejudice, injustice and misunderstanding but in almost all areas of the US, things have vastly improved.

3)      The internet has revolutionized EVERYTHING. I’m at a strange in-between age where I remember the days before cell phones yet have trouble believing those days really existed. The truth is, when we asked my mother a question about history, science or anything else under the sun she had to know the answer or use some kind of archaic encyclopedia to hunt it down. The mind boggles. And don’t even get me started on the beautifully crafted homeschool blogs that make what you are now reading look like a post-it note my toddler created.

4)      Curriculum is cheaper, better, more specialized and absolutely abundant in availability. Just click here for a tiny taste of the choices available on Amazon! (Also, this is your chance to help support my blog by buying through my affiliate links. Thanks for your support). From traditional, to classical to technology based, our choices are enough to make a new teacher’s head spin. In fact, one of the challenges I have faced is being absolutely overwhelmed with the options. For heaven’s sake, I can order art supplies, text books, or a full blown telescope from Amazon and have it at my door the day after tomorrow! If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

5)      The homeschool community rocks! The truth is the homeschooling community has always been strong, supportive and relatively united. But now with veteran homeschoolers paving the way and talented and knowledgeable newbies bringing fresh ideas and techniques, more and more parents feel empowered to make the switch. More of us are gathering and pooling our collective resources, maximizing our strengths and forming a united front politically. There is strength in numbers and we are over 2 million strong and growing. It gives me confidence that homeschooling will only gain strength, recognition and respect as we face this task together!