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Help! I’m Overwhelmed With My Homeschool Day!

Help me! I’m Overwhelmed With My Homeschool Day

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Dear Homeschool Mom,

Feeling overwhelmed is a natural feeling when you are homeschooling. True story is that I get overwhelmed with my homeschooling and the fact that I was a teacher for many years had little bearing on the effectiveness of my homeschool. I had two children looking to me to supply them with something that I realized was not necessarily for me to be providing. They were different ages and grade levels with different interests and learning styles. They required different things from me and they wanted it instantaneously. I realized early on that there were a few things I learned early on about having some sense of “control:” in my homeschool. 

  1. A schedule may not be the best thing for my family
  2. A schedule may be the best thing for my family
  3. Flexibility is key 
  4. Listening to my children was key to helping make our homeschool work after all it was for them not for me
  5. Combining subjects and not being concerned about specific grade levels or what other folks were doing was great
  6. I cannot homeschool with other families 
  7. Being selective with what we did during our homeschool journey was important, that is the importance of guarding our time was obvious, but not after I had spent a crazy amount of time and money building a homeschool co-op from scratch while homeschooling. Note to self: #crazy
  8. Be mindful to crash the chatterboxes. Ignore that which does not serve you. 

9.  Teaching children who are multi-aged is possible: An example of something I do with my children is: give them freedom to work on what they want to work on at their own pace and let me know when they need help. If I am with the other child, they can make note of what they want to ask and wait for me to get to them.   

There’s good news to share with you about homeschool scheduling. The good news is that if you are a homeschool mom who thrives on structure and has children who thrive on structured learning times, then this is for you. The other good news is that successful scheduling can happen for you! Like most things in our lives, you will need to plan your schedule and give it time to work.  

Scheduling your homeschool can be as easy as you make it or desire it to be. The trick is understanding that you do not need for your school to function like a traditional school (which is why I do not care for the word home”school”) because anyone who has done it knows that it can be a vast contrast from a traditional brick and mortar school system. With that in mind, these are a few things to guide you with your homeschool scheduling.  

Be Selective:

You do not need to teach numerous concepts within a day though you can still get through a number of subject areas within a week or even a month. 

SAMPLE SCHEDULE 

Monday: Math & History 

Tuesday: Geography & Grammar & Math 

Wednesday: Community Classes (I.e. library, museum or co-op)

Thursday: Spelling & Art & History 

Friday: Health & Math & Grammar

*Note: Reading and writing are interdisciplinary and engrained within the entire learning process. If you would like to incorporate separate learning times for specific writing and reading instruction then by all means do what you find to be best for your children. The other point that I have heard many families share is that they do not conduct formal spelling lessons. There are programs we have used and friends have suggested such as All About Spelling, Logic of English (Spelling Rules) and formal grade level spelling workbooks have all found their way into our home.  

Project Based Learning:  Homeschool families who embrace and practice project based learning have found that this method to be helpful in helping address multiple content areas and provides leverage for children in the area of planning, reflecting and presenting information.  Project based learning is so cool because like I think all home education should do, it gives children voice and choice. 

Thematic Units: There are many themes for each month of the year and if you check out things that happened this day in history, you can find a theme for every single day! 

February is one of the most popular months but besides that, you are able to create themes based upon your children interests. I always suggest going that route or selecting something that your family and children are totally interested in learning more about. 

Self-Directed Education: Democratic “School” of thought: Children are able to moderate and do what drives them, what they are passionate about and what speaks to their heart.

Children are leaders and decision makers, inquirers, thinkers they are also:

  • Communicators
  • Principled
  • Reflective
  • Open minded
  • Balanced
  • Risk-takers
  • Inquirers
  • Caring
  • Knowledgeable

Creative Freedom- Have fun with your planning! Think of doing things that your children would most likely not be able to do anywhere else.  Wear costumes, write family plays, perform the plays, pitch a family business to friends and  You are free to have as much fun as you’d like in planning and in teaching. You and your children are learning together. 

Relax: One thing my homeschool mom friends often remind me of is that I am only “behind” if I think that I am. The reality is that homeschooling is so flexible that I can actually complete school work in the evenings, on the weekends.  

By far, scheduling is one of those homeschooling subjects that families either love or hate, but no matter what you decide to do, it’s awesome to just work with the rhythm of your family and do what comes naturally for you and your children. 

Did this episode resonate with you? What do you do for scheduling? What has worked, what hasn’t? Let me know. 

Reach out on social media @dearhomeschoolmom or at dearhomeschoolmom.com 

As always, embrace the process and celebrate the journey. Happy homeschooling

Best Always, 

Sara

  admin   Nov 08, 2018   Blog   Comments Off on Help! I’m Overwhelmed With My Homeschool Day! Read More

The Working Homeschool Mom

 

Podcast (Listen To It) : 

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It is easy to feel as though the world is passing you by when you are a homeschooling parent. But what about when your family life is passing you by?  As a home educating parent who enjoys providing rich opportunities for my children, staying relevant in my profession and running a business, things can sometimes not be as easy to navigate as once anticipated.  It is easy to fall into the trap of not running my business but allowing my business to run me. If I am  not attentive, my children can suffer academically and emotionally.  I was raised by a single working mother who also attended night school for ten years. Though I was not a home educated child, I missed having her present at home with me to check homework, ask me about my day or just sitting with me and discussing things that were going on in my day. I was determined to never have my children feeling the way I felt in the absence of my mother during those important years of my life. She was doing the best she could, but are we, as homeschooling moms, business owners or moms working outside of the home, doing the best we can to be attentive toward the needs of our homeschool? During this podcast, I will chime in on the idea of running a successful homeschool and business simultaneously minus the array of emotions that often accompany this arduous journey. Know that you are not alone in this. Other homeschool moms reach out to me often requesting strategies for best supporting their business or job while homeschooling. Here is my open letter to these amazing mom’s. 

 

The Working Homeschool Parent

Dear Homeschool Mom,

Are you an entrepreneur or working from home? Perhaps you are working outside of the home and someone trusted is guiding your child in their education while you are at work. I have received countless comments from homeschooling mom’s who are feeling overwhelmed, guilty and question if they are providing “enough” for their child because they are working homeschooling parents.

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Feeling guilty about working is never okay. You are doing what you need to do in order to help provide for your family. You are a role model for your child and they are watching you build a business or work a business that demonstrates work ethic, prioritizing, business acumen, making mistakes, learning lessons and any number of content area skills that promote higher order thinking, synthesizing information and evaluating concepts. You may be unknowingly teaching your children some of the most valuable lessons in the world. You are a powerhouse that is not feeling so powerful some days, especially if you are not being as present for your children as you may like. 

Do any of these sound familiar? 

1.) not being organized (Disorganization)-business, homeschool and home

2.) Not guarding your time (Time escapes you quickly)

3.) Not believing in yourself (Self-doubt)

4.) comparing yourself with other (The comparison game)

5.) Being unintentional (Loosey goosey)

6.) Forgetting about yourself (Putting yourself second)

7.) Pleasing others (People pleaser)

8.) Following the crowd (being a follower and not a leader) 

9.) Beat up on yourself , 

10.) Holistically Out of control and out of balance. 

11.) Overly Sensitive  Allowing someones actions to dictate or cause your reaction. 

12.) Busy Work (Giving your children learning material that is “easy” for grading but not necessarily planned out by you or them and not academically enriching)

Often times it is easier to pretend nothing is wrong and embody the belief that everything is everyone in your camp is okay when in fact, they are suffering as you run your business. You may not realize it but in your your quest to achieve goals and manifest success, 

 you may be actually neglecting your family for your business. This can most easily be summed up in one word: neglect. Spoiler alert: this is a little lengthy but so worth the read. This may be a hard blog to get through but there is hope contained within the read. 

The Neglect Mistake 

Neglectful behavior patterns can cause emotional distress in your children and can also take on a form of abandonment. For some working moms, that may look like providing their children learning material that is convenient but not necessarily rich or powerful just to ease their own sense of guilt and provide a false sense of security believing that their children are learning, but are they thriving? It is so very important to recognize when you are ignoring your child’s academic needs.  This is always apparent when you observe and check the work they are doing whether it is a project or a workbook. 

This pattern of neglect can be detrimental to not only the emotional health of the child but to their academic success. For the parent who is working from home a sense of guilt may quickly be eased for themselves so they do not feel bad, is replaced with an attitude of any of the following: I’m doing it for the family, they are young enough that by the time they are older they’ll understand why I did it, the when they are old enough to understand the difference between having and not having, we will have if I make this sacrifice right now. Explaining the situation to the children may seemingly suppress and soothe the parent initially-at the onset, but children often say they understand or it’s “okay” to please the parent, not because they truly mean it, but they love you and do not want to make you feel bad. 

Parents who work from home are usually emotionally convicted early on in the homeschool journey with the realization that something is not working.  Being attached to your business is natural because after all, work is usually a high priority.  There can a balance in balance and family life when you make the decision, the choice, to give equal time to both. Even if that does not happen fully, you may be surprised at how close you can come to creating the balance. Sometimes running a business makes you selfish and blinds you into believing you are present and providing quality attention and care for your family. Business and work can be sneaky and trick you into paying more attention to it than your family and then causing you to be burned out, then needing time for yourself and perhaps leaving your family to need you even more.  Don’t get me wrong, self-care is number one on our list as mom’s, but being public enemy number one at home can make for a miserable home life. 

Determining boundaries early on for your business and designing a schedule for both your homeschooling and business is imperative. Your children should not feel like second fiddle or feel that your work is more important to you than they are and there are many great ways to demonstrate their importance to you. Recognizing when you are ignoring your child’s academic needs is paramount. This may look like the parent who purchases workbooks year after year not because they are truly teaching their children but because it is convenient and easy for the parent. No planning involved and trusting that the topics covered within the workbooks will take care of everything. It will not most likely. Therefore, we will discuss a bit more that can be done to prevent this slump from occurring in your homeschool. 

Children observe  their parents and emulate everything about them the good and the not so great. This emulation ranges from dispositions to handwriting, dietary choices, clothing, hair, to business acumen, communication skills and friendship choices. It is important to provide avenues for your children to be able to explore opportunities outside of the household so that if they are naturally inclined to take on or become all that their parents are, it was a natural progression not forced upon them indirectly because it was all that they were exposed to. You want your children to be able to answer the question “Who are you” aside from simply stating their name, but to be able to answer the question for themselves holistically both intrinsically empowered by their answer and pleased with the outcome of its honesty through the product. 

 

Here are a few tools that may help alleviate the negative emotional baggage that can come along with being a working homeschool mom and support your family in the process. 

1. There is beauty in the planning.

So we all know that if you fail to plan you plan to fail so goes the old adage. The truth could not be more accurate than when you are a working homeschool parent. Working moms know that planning is in the preparation and that planning empowers and positions us for greatness.  Planning needs to be especially organized with dates, preferably planned out for the year on a calendar. Provide a working calendar/planner for your children so they can be accountable, expectations are shared and they are aware of what is being covered. You are not the only planner in a homeschool. Your children are master planners event the youngest ones as they are able to share exactly what they want to learn with you. Though homeschool philosophies and methodologies of teaching vary, organization is always key. Keeping track of what your children are doing helps you to know that they are in deed learning. Have you considered a true teaching co-op that supports the needs of your children or joining another homeschool mom who would not mind teaching your children for you? Need help or more ideas? I am available to assist you as are other homeschool moms within your tribe. We are here to help get your homeschool year organized! 

2.  Intentionality 

Being intentionally present, mindfulness, listening to your children and providing meaningful feedback. (On any and everything is so very important). Giving them your full undivided attention intention is important to them. So set a time aside (many times aside) for that specific purpose. What about spending time with you children when they think you are supposed to be working? A day spent with fun and things that the children enjoy.  What if you cannot take a day off?  Here are a few ideas!

3. Little Things, Big Results

When you cannot take a day off, small things equal big things in the eyes and hearts of children, especially when it comes from Mom. 

Let’s consider the following…. 5 Things You Try Can Do Today 

  1. Cooking A Meal Together 
  2. Play Games together

3.  Write letters to each other. For an added touch, leave small notes around the house in areas the children frequent and may most likely find them.  

4. Include your children in your business or help them to start their own

Your business is not their business and vice versa but providing them with a framework to learn business acumen alongside you may thrill them! 

5. Project Based Learning Family Style! Learning alongside your children is always rewarding. Consider working together as a family on a specific project. Maybe having different roles in the planning or doing research together and creating a project and sharing it with others as a culmination, might be a fantastic opportunity to connect and build greater relationship within your homeschool. 

5.  Be humble and apologize

Let your family know that nothing is more important than they are. Period. Business is consuming and important, but children are only young for a season and this homeschool experience is is once in a lifetime opportunity.  

The possibilities are endless when it comes to planning intentional and fun activities with your children. Creating both mental and physical space to provide opportunities to balance your business and family life is key to your peace of mind and a bountiful homeschool experience. 

Hopefully todays episode resonated with you and you feel supported and know that you are not alone in being a homeschooling working mom. 

You can follow me on social media @dearhomeschoolmom and visit my website dearhomeschoolmom.com for the latest blog posts. 

As always, embrace the process and celebrate the journey. Happy homeschooling

Best Always, 

Sara

 

  admin   Nov 06, 2018   Blog   Comments Off on The Working Homeschool Mom Read More

Tug of War: Top 3 Signs That the Tide is Changing In Your Homeschool and What To Do About It

Dear Homeschool Mom,

Did the title peek your interest? I deliberated what the title of this blog should be and decided that the “changing tide” would be a great description for what happens within any number of homeschools around the world. The old adage states things happens for a season, a second or a lifetime and another one shares you’re either in a storm, in one or coming out of one. Storms, tides and seasons may be adjectives to describe your homeschool now, in the past or in the future.

A number of moms have shared their concerns about not being at a place where home education is feeling uncomfortable and they are feeling torn about things that occur naturally within a homeschool environment. They feel like the tide is changing in their homeschool, do you? Here are the top 3 signs that the tide may be changing in your homeschool and what you can do to best accommodate the shift.

  1. Your children are getting older
  2. You no longer enjoy home educating
  3. Children are miserable

Do any of these 3 “tide changers” resonate with you? Let’s be clear that these tide changers do not mean that your home education life is over, nor does it mean that you are failing at home educating your children. What it means is that it is time to partake in honest reflection and asking the  hard questions in order to make the best decision for your family.

  1. If your children are getting older, ask what is best serving them currently during this time in their lives. Is what you are providing them providing what they need in order to fulfill them? Think about your philosophy of education and what your children want and most importantly again, what they need. Have the conversation with them and as a family.
  2. Are you absolutely burned out and the thought of ordering another curriculum, creating a unit, explaining another concept or taking yet another homeschool field trip brings heightened anxiety level and you to tears? Maybe you never wanted to formerly “teach” your children in the first place or the thought os being the “teacher” was so NOT what you had in mind. Then it is totally fine to examine your feelings, ask why you feel how you are feeling and make the move to do what makes the most sense and is in the best interest of your family.
  3. Enough said for miserable children. Miserable children make for miserable parents and vice versa. So how can you homeschool if you and the children are miserable? Identifying the disconnect and examining the matters of the heart can make a world of difference.  Getting support from family and friends, homeschool support resources and most importantly listening to your children may provide you with the insight needed to guide you to the next logical steps in gaining clarity and discovering the best way to turn misery into contentment.

When the going gets tough and the battle is on with the mental tug of war, take a few deep breaths, give yourself all the credit in the world for giving it your best and be open to examining the changing tides and keep riding the wave.

  admin   Oct 25, 2018   Blog   Comments Off on Tug of War: Top 3 Signs That the Tide is Changing In Your Homeschool and What To Do About It Read More