Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

What about regulations and requirements?

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Focus with text blogImage by Brandy (an entry in our Where Brave Writers Write Giveaway!)

In response to our popular post, The Best Curriculum for a 6 Year Old, a homeschooling parent asked what to do if one’s state has strict regulations and requirements. For instance, needing 180 days (totaling 900 hours) and covering multiple subjects: arithmetic, reading, spelling, writing, geography, United States history, science, health education, music, visual arts, physical education.

So, first, let’s talk about the 900 hours thing. Think back to school. How many of those hours were chipped away by taking attendance, standing in line, school assemblies, time spent waiting for everyone to get out a piece of paper and pencil? How many times did an instructor have to quiet a classroom or gin up the enthusiasm that was absent? How many times does a student sit there already comprehending the information waiting for the one or two students in the class to catch up?

When you home educate, the hours cannot be counted. You must focus on objectives. You get credit for the hours if you are achieving the objectives. It will not take as much time to teach one-on-one as it does in a classroom, so already you can figure that you will do half as much (hours-wise) but equally as much in terms of content.

Arithmetic: For grades 1-6 it is rudimentary. If you want to support that growth with a textbook, feel free. Enhance it, though, with practical application (Family Math, Living Math, Why I Hate Math, Murderous Maths) and baking, sewing, building, constructing, guessing, estimating, and more.

Reading: Go to the library every week and read read read every day. Add poetry teatimes. If you need to teach a child how to read, get a program and do it but stay tuned into your child’s skill level and joy. We do offer one (some people like The Wand as it is immersive and interactive).

Spelling: copywork and dictation will do it for your child. Promise.

Writing: Jot It Down! is our program to help you do that well for a 6 year old and stay true to their skill set at that level. Ignore the school methods and you’ll be okay.

English language: talk to your kids naturally, with your full vocabulary. Watch movies and television. Read aloud. Play word games. Be fascinated by words—look them up, rhyme them, find their opposites, turn nouns into verbs and verbs into adjectives. Count it all.

Geography: If you follow any historical fiction homeschool plan, you will naturally cover this. We used to make foods from around the world—picking a country, learning about it, drawing its flag, then making its food in a big party! The globe was a daily thing for us—spinning it, learning country names.

US History: Read historical fiction, watch Ben and Me and any other US history animated films, memorize the pledge and a few songs, pay attention to patriotic holidays, create a little timeline (but not for 6 year olds—they don’t get time yet).

Science: Explore what interests your child. Go to the non-fiction section of your library and check out books that are interesting—tornadoes, hurricanes, the Herring Gull, How the Human Body Works, plants, kitchen chemistry experiments, planets and stars, weather, birds, animals… Science is so easy to do at home. Just do it! Don’t over think it. Exposure to the natural world and our bodies goes a long long way.

Health: Teach them to brush their teeth, talk about ingredients in foods they eat, get exercise, teach them kitchen safety, show them how to build a fire safely, help them clean bathrooms.

Music: Learn an instrument, play music, sing.

P.E.: Easy! Get outside every day. Sign up for a sport. Play in the backyard.

And so on. Literally you can do most of this without books at age 6 and cover the goals of the school system. If they need to see a “work sample” in writing (we needed this in CA), I dedicated one day a month to “work sample day.” I would print out 6-8 pages of stuff to fulfill the requirement and then we would eat yummy foods and I’d help them fill them out. Then we went back to our true education. It’s what we had to do to stay in good with the system, but also true to our real objectives. You can do this! Promise. They aren’t sitting in your house. You know if your kids are learning.

Think of it this way: 900 hours of anything sounds absurd, really, and I am certain that that is not the true quantity that is being achieved for any school child. Heck, teachers get sick and have substitutes showing videos to classes for days! This is all imaginary. Declare your intention to homeschool, be conscientious, and feel good about what you do.

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Your happiness is the key factor in your homeschool

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015


Yes, you read that right. Not your children’s happiness, but yours. It is critical that you are happy in your life. You can’t fake it, hide it, pretend it into existence either. Happiness (joy, contentment) comes from within and is an involuntary experience. People will tell you to drum it up, to choose joy in spite of pain, to focus on your faith or hope or good fortune when you are disheartened to lift you up. Gratitude practices are often listed as necessary for a happy life.

The truth is, however, that we sometimes use gratitude or “joy” as a denial of reality—of what is actually happening in our worlds. When you are in pain or are feeling a chronic sense of joylessness, no list of blessings will overcome the truth of your emotional state. It is important to face it squarely and to find out what the source is (if you are not yet able to see or admit it).

Your happiness is critical to your homeschool because you set the emotional tone for the home. The stay-at-home parent is the sun, rain, wind, and snowfall. You rise in the morning and create the weather conditions of the day. Certainly a child can whip through the house like a tornado, or on a moody morning another child may cheer you up with a bright sunny smile and spontaneous cuddle.

But on the whole, your disposition sets the tone for everyone else’s experience. You can’t fake it.

This is why I recommend that you have a source of well being that is quite apart from whether or not you feel good about your home education choice (or choices). It matters that you are doing work of some sort that gives you purpose, a goal you can accomplish quite apart from your spouse or children, an outlet that puts you in touch with your best self.

If your happiness is contingent on how well your children approve of your day’s lesson, or the outing you planned, or the poetry teatime you took the trouble to set up, you are likely at some point to become resentful when they don’t supply you with accolades or approval.

If you can come from a lived-happiness that inhabits you, when the teatime fails or the children are cranky, you’ll know to where you can turn to remember that you are indeed a lovely, whole, competent person apart from their cranky evaluations.

In some cases, the blues are profound because of a relationship that is traumatizing you in a daily way. Could be a spouse, aging parent, child, teen. It is critical to admit this and to seek professional help if this is the case. No one person in the family constellation should have so much space that they wreck the experience of living at home—the place that should be the sanest, safest, emotionally sustaining space of anyone’s life.

Ask yourself today: Am I happy?

Then ask yourself what you can do to move in that direction one step at a time. This question and its resolution may be more important than any curriculum decision you make for next year. Don’t put it off, be honest, and get support. Happiness is real, matters, and you deserve it. So do your kids.

Smile quote

Image by Omarukai (cc cropped, text added)

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Don’t hate on TV—here’s why!

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

The following clip is from the “Brave Writer Lifestyle” talk given during our 2014 retreat. See why watching television is an important part of creating a language rich environment in your home.

Learn more about the Brave Writer Lifestyle!

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Stay fit

Monday, May 11th, 2015


I’m feeling better each day. I thought I’d pass along a little “doctor wisdom” that I’ve been thinking about all week. One of the things my surgeon told me post-op is that my general good health is helping me in recovery. He said that many people think about diet and exercise as preventative measures—to protect against disease, for instance. But health matters just as much (if not more) for when you are injured or attacked by disease out of the blue! Having a body that is in good shape ensures a better surgery and an easier, healthier recovery. In short, we should protect our health so that we can recover, not just so that we can avoid illness/injury.

I got to thinking about this as a principle for living. Too often we are given measures for how to recover from burn-out or are told how to repair broken relationships. In homeschool, we might find ourselves looking for strategies to cope with overwhelm or special needs. If we face these challenges from a personal deficit (tired, hungry, lonely, depressed, alienated from our primary life partner), we are much less able to cope.

However, if we spend time each day remembering that we matter (our personal well-being, our confidence, our natural optimism that is there for us when there is margin and light in our lives), and we take measures to ensure we are emotionally fit, when we are faced with temper tantrums or an unanticipated demand, when the day goes south or a child is sick, we are more prepared to meet that challenge from a place of peace and trust.

I know for me that if I am exhausted and sad, a child’s whining or the argument happening between siblings sometimes draws my worst self—I might snap or yell or insist. When I am “topped up” emotionally and have some reserves, when I really know that how my kids behave is not a reflection on my value as a person, I can respond from a place of power (being firm and kind).

So today, I thought I’d pass that little bit of advice onto you. Stay fit—emotionally, mentally, spiritually (whatever that means to you), and physically. If you can manage these, when life throws its curve balls at you, you’ll have the stamina to face the challenges and the ability to recover from the blows.


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Returning to the Brave Writer philosophy for high school

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

More than language arts program

Brave Writer mom, Dona, writes (and emphasis is ours):

Dear Julie,

We started homeschooling in January of 2002. I remember feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders as I began the journey of educating our children at home. In some areas I felt competent; in others completely incompetent. Writing was one of those terribly incompetent areas. We tried many different curricula, as well as me just making up writing assignments (oh, my, that was disastrous!). With each attempt I felt like I was alienating my child from the world of writing. I wasn’t much of a writer in school at any level; my undergrad and grad degrees are in a scientific field and my writing was rather bland. I wanted my children to learn how to write and write well. None was working.

Finally when Kimberly, our oldest, was 10 years old, I found you. We signed up for Kidswrite Basic and my eyes were opened to writing like never before. I watched my daughter flourish and begin to like to write. The feedback that you and your teachers give these children is so valuable in drawing out the writer in each of them. You teach them the power of words and language through real literature, their own experiences and by teaching them to observe the world they live in. You are rigorous and hold these kids to high standards, but in such a supportive environment that the kids succeed.

One of the greatest aspects of your classroom is the fact that each student can read the work of all the other students and see the teacher’s feedback. My children have learned about what works and what doesn’t work by reading so many other pieces of writing with feedback. I remember always wanting to see my peer’s work to understand where I fell in the spectrum and to see if I could learn more from others. It was often very difficult to get this kind of information unless my close friends were willing to share. Brave Writer is so much more than a language arts program; it is a philosophy that can be applied across the board…

The high school thing scares me, I’ll admit! Why? I don’t know for sure… I was in a foreign country in a foreign school during my HS years, don’t have a HS diploma, but managed just fine in college and grad school. I’m looking for a much more relaxed atmosphere here in our home. This year, everybody has been glued to the computer all day, tied to strict deadlines in everything. Kimberly thrives on this environment. I’m comfortable with her finishing here next year; she had 2 years of HS at home with a different atmosphere.

Nicole on the other hand, has lost any zeal for learning and is just checking off boxes. Part of online school she likes… interacting with the other kids. But the schedule is killing her. Her passion is her goats. We are just barely into building a real show herd. She has learned so much about the goats and is the best midwife ever! She knows how to go in and find legs that are coming out and arrange them to come out and pull. For her, studying out of a book doesn’t cut it. She needs hands on, an apprenticeship would be so good for her. Why don’t we have apprenticeships for HS aged kids? Why do we have to sit in a classroom or at the kitchen table to learn everything? I am not sure how to fashion a learning environment for her that could lead her to where she wants to be; possibly an American Dairy Goat Association judge, maybe an animal science degree, maybe vet tech or vet school. She isn’t motivated enough yet to do all the tedious study required to be accepted at vet school. I want to restore her love her learning. At the same time I’m afraid I won’t prepare her for college if that’s where she intends to go. I personally don’t think college is the end all be all and it may not be for her. Her father thinks otherwise, though. Mind you, he is very supportive of homeschooling, but believes all paths must lead to college.

I’ve been reading your posts and been feeling nudged to make changes; return to the Brave Writer philosophy I love so much. I’m trying to think out of the box, but that is hard for me! It would sure be nice to toss ideas around with you and those who really know how to do it. I want to bring back Tuesday Teatime, more reading together and still be able to prepare my kids for college if that’s where they are headed. I’m having a difficult time wrapping my brain around how to accomplish this. Is the ACT really the only factor for most schools if you don’t have a HS diploma? We can teach to the test, study for it and probably do well on it. Kimberly has done very well on the ACT. Do we have to have a transcript?

Sallie just finished Kidswrite Intermediate with you. She absolutely loved the class! She is sold on Brave Writer. I need to figure out what my “out of the box” is so I can be prepared for her and the 2 boys who follow her! Sallie loves to write and I don’t want to intimidate her or squash that love at all. She loves reading your daily writing tips. I’d like her to take Expository Essay next fall or winter. Do you think she is ready for that? Would that be your recommendation for her next course?

Julie, thank you so much for all you do. I’ve told you before, but I’ll tell you again… you are a presence in our home in a way that no other homeschooling influence has ever been. I feel like you are our friend and I so appreciate you! Thanks for listening!


Thank you so much for your wonderful kind words of feedback! They mean a lot.

A few things occurred to me:

1) The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewelyn is fabulous for helping you think about things like apprenticeships, preparing for college in a more unschooling natural learning format. So get that. Cafi Cohen’s What About College? is also excellent (affiliate links).

2) Colleges LOVE unique experiences. They see transcript after transcript of AP courses and GPAs. They are far more impressed by stuff a child pursues independently. Noah put Klingon on his transcript for college and they counted it! He spent years immersed in constructed languages and supplied his reading list. They waived his second year of foreign language and second year of science due to that (he attends University of Cincinnati). Remember: becoming a cool person is far more interesting to colleges than ticking off the boxes. You have to do a certain amount of that, but it’s not the only thing.

3) The Expository Essay class would be great for Sallie. She can take it now or in the fall. Either.

4) College is important but it’s also expensive. I made the mistake of paying for Noah when he wasn’t ready. He quit for 3 years and is back now paying for it himself. Liam is not yet decided about college (18, done with high school) so he’s going to Europe for a month just to get out of the tedium of work and life here. He needs to have a new experience so he’s getting one. I told him I won’t pay for college until he knows he’s ready and wants to go.

This is an okay way to live. There’s no rule here that says they have to be ready at 18. Your daughter could be looking at places to work with goats. Why not? Is there a way to become a goat midwife? Or could she be a goat midwife blogger who photographs and records difficult births, regular births etc.?

Caitrin (16) kept a fashion blog for an entire year (13-14). She shopped at thrift stores and wore a completely new outfit every day. We took photographs each day and she wrote a description of the pieces, where they came from, and witty remarks. She subscribed to Vogue, Elle, W and other fashion magazines all year.

It’s good to fulfill basic high school requirements and to be “prepared” for the option of college, but you don’t want to shortchange the chance to do amazing things! This is the time for it.

My oldest two kids were in a Shakespeare Acting company in high school, btw, as one of their “big things.”

I hope that helps a little. You’ve been a wonderful family to work with over the years!


Image by Pat Pilon (cc cropped, text added)

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Well-Trained Mind Online Conference!

Monday, April 27th, 2015

WTM Conference

I will be speaking in July at the Well-Trained Mind Online Conference! From the website:

Enjoy the inspiration and education of a home school conference for a fraction of the price, in the comfort of your own home! Skip the airports, the conference hall food, and the expensive hotels–and join us for a summer of educational conferencing online. Each mini-seminar consists of three workshops on a single theme, presented over the course of three weeks. Each workshop is 90 minutes long—a 50-60 minute presentation followed by 30-40 minutes of live Q&A. Get an entire mini-seminar–three workshops presented by your favorite speaker–and the chance to interact personally with the presenter.

It’s $20.00 for a series of three 90 minute sessions. That means that the webinars come to $6.67 each. I am doing 2 series of 3 sessions each (6 total):

Your Fantasy Homeschool
Everyone Can Teach Their Child to Write

If you wonder about the content, here’s a clip from my retreat last summer that may help you get a sense of me and what I teach.

The sessions will focus on both practical tactics for enhancing your writing program and homeschool, as well as the kind of emotional excavation that will enable you to see past blind spots and help you be the kind of parent and homeschooler you aspire to be.

There are other terrific speakers between now and then too, so check out the entire lineup!

Hope you’ll sign up and join me!

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No defense needed

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015


Try not to defend your life to others. It’s tempting to explain your choices, to provide evidence that you did the best you could, or that your convictions are pure and your motives are selfless.

We’re all a bundle of needs, making decisions that are both selfless and self-interested. The only criteria that matters in evaluating how you spent today is the one you’ve chosen to live by––today.

That criteria shifts and changes. Some years you have more energy for self-sacrifice and understanding, and others, you find you need someone to give you a break, to make up for what you don’t have, to be the strength you lack. Some years you find resources and help, and others, it seems no one “gets” what you’re going through and it’s entirely up to you to figure out the way forward.

Some years you’re blindsided by facts you never imagined would be the substance of your life, of your family.

We have our ideals (they matter) and we have our limits (they matter too). One person (you, me) can change the entire dynamic in a home by making better, more emotionally supportive, empathetic choices; but it’s also true that one person can wreck the peace, by not cooperating, asserting a will that is unresponsive to the best care and kindness you can give.

A family is an interdependent system—no one person can carry it alone. There must be give and take, support and nurture for each person, even if in uneven doses at times.

All you can do is become the most healthy version of you that you can be—taking care of your welfare so that you don’t wake up one day and “flip out.”

You’ll be given good advice: Be generous. Give. Share. Listen. Pay attention. Make adjustments. Become a partner to your kids, to your spouse. Forgive. Find the good, the true, the pure. Let go of petty resentments and high expectations.

But you also need to take care of yourself. Be sure that you, the caregiver, receives care too—by someone, somehow, somewhere. It’s how you keep going. You deserve to have someone tell you that you’re doing a great job, or that your emotional breakdown is justified, or that your worries are legitimate.

When you hit your limits, you’ll get advice to give more. You’ll be told what the ideals are. You’ll be reminded of your original goals. You’ll try harder. We women are especially likely to take this advice to heart.

Just remember: in the trying (which is right and noble and good), stand up for yourself too. You matter as much to the whole system, as all the people you love and serve freely every day.

Be good to yourself, no matter what that looks like. You get one life, too. It needs to be a good, peace-filled, lovely one. No Joan of Abeccas here. No Teresa of Calculadders allowed.

Stay connected to your well being while you give to the ones you love. That’s it. That’s what it looks like to do it right.

Image by Alexandra Belink (cc cropped, text added)

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It’s okay to take it easy

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015


Today’s “while you sip your coffee” thought:

You know that day where everything is going along swimmingly?

This one:

  • The older kids are quietly finishing pages of math and handwriting.
  • The toddler is happily covered in dress-up clothes.
  • The baby is napping.
  • The pre-reader is sounding out the words easily, conquering Frog and Toad.
  • The right library books for the unit study arrived!
  • The most exciting chapter in the read aloud is next.
  • Bodies are healthy and fed. Showers and baths may have been taken in the last week.
  • All the machines and various household systems work: cars, AC, dishwasher, washer and dryer, ceiling fans, refrigerator and ice maker, all four computers, the DVR, the TV, your lawn mower, plumbing, and gaming consoles.
  • No one’s fighting. No one’s complaining. Maybe dinner is already planned.
  • You and your Significant Other are getting along—good conversation, good sex.

Sit in this vision for a moment. The vision of well-being—of the stars, planets, and Cheerios aligned. Can you see it? Feel it?

When it comes, when your life hits that magical moment—what do you do?

Here’s what some of us do:

We toss a homemade hand grenade into the center of the living room. We reject our ordinary happiness. Why?

Because some of us are under the impression that things of value only happen when we’re working hard.
So, when everyone is happily completing pages, reading, and skip counting, when the home is humming and our relationship is peaceful, some of us experience an involuntary panic.

  • This material is too easy. She must not be learning.
  • He whipped through that passage too quickly. He must not be challenged.
  • This book is fun, so it must not be that educational.
  • I better take in the car.
  • I’m going to ask ________ about why (he or she) doesn’t _________ more often.

We move into “anticipate the next crisis” mode. To avoid the surprise attack of the next crisis, we create one—one we can control!

Instead of staying home enjoying this (surely temporary) peace, we take the show on the road—adding the challenge of managing lots of kids out in the world.

Some of us buy brand new curricula so that everyone is suddenly thrust into the learning curve of “new” rather than enjoying comfy and familiar.

We can’t appreciate the joy of mastery—we only esteem struggle to learn the next step/process.

Some of us look around at our friends (in person or online heroes) and decide that what they are doing is better, and judge our happy peace as undisciplined or, conversely, not free enough.

We refuse to allow the feeling of happiness to “settle in,” because it might mean we are not being conscientious enough about educating our young.

What if we were to while away the hours without diligence and pain and struggle and effort? Would that mean we were irresponsible parents/partners/home educators?

Time for a sip of coffee.

That peace you hear? That’s the sound of your life working. That happy completion of pages, the successful reading, the repetition of skills learned and now mastered? That’s the sound of education taking root.

No one wants to struggle with a new challenge every day. Some of the joy of learning is getting to use the skills cultivated. It feels great to copy a passage without any struggle whatsoever. It’s awesome to rip through a set of math problems, knowing you’ve got it! You get it! You can bury that page with accurate answers and even show your work.

Kids who find their daily groove and rhythm—knowing what is expected and then being able to live up to that expectation—are happy kids.

Don’t wreck it!

Enjoy it! This is the life you are shooting for! Problems will find you again, without you even trying. So for now, celebrate the modest joy of ordinary happiness and success. Let yourself off the hook. It’s wonderful if everyone likes the curricula, finds it a bit “too easy,” and successfully moves through their work with skill. Even professional athletes repeat the same drills at age 30 that they learned in Little League. Mastery relies on practice and practice is all about repetition of skills, not struggling to learn new ones all the time.

You are doing something profoundly right when you feel that whoosh of peace in your home. Pause to notice. Inhale. Then . . . exhale and smile.

Image by Ellen Munro (cc cropped, tinted, text added)

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Startle your kids!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015


One way to bring energy into your family life is for you, the homeschooling parent, to embark on your own adventure. Pick an adventure that is yours alone (not bound to your kids in any way). That adventure can be grand (like planning a trip to Europe by yourself—I mean it!) or it can be homespun (like refurbishing dolls or growing organic vegetables in your front yard).

We want our kids to pursue their interests with commitment and heart. We certainly homeschool them with that energy (after all, home education is our grand adventure—truly). Yet because the homeschool adventure is bound up in them, it is somewhat invisible to them (they don’t realize it is an adventure for you), unlike, say, learning to surf, or painting with oils, or writing a novel in a month, or going back to grad school, or running a half marathon, or horse-back riding in Montana, or getting your real estate license.

Take it in baby steps. Perhaps you will simply take yourself to an art museum sans children for the sake of pure pleasure. I did that once. I met a friend from the Internet (we had not yet met in person) in Chicago to go to the Art Institute together over a weekend. It was a rare escape and it took me some time to save the money for the flight. That commitment to art, though, carried me and my kids a long ways in our homeschool. It was a natural part of our lives because it had become a passion of mine—one I nurtured without them around all the time.

You might start running each day—short half mile lengths, alternating with walks, until you build up to a 10K or a half marathon. Your kids will then say about you, “Yeah, my mom’s a runner.” It will mean something to them—the commitment, the willingness to make time for it, the sheer joy at having achieved your goal. It’s a meta-lesson in learning and passion, determination and practice. They get to root for you and celebrate your achievements—a lesson in valuing you, the way you value them.

I have a friend who has a dream book. In it, she puts pictures of her aspirations for different years of her life. As we paged through it together one time, I noticed that she had a photo of a trip to learn to surf in Mexico. She had taken that trip in time for her 50th birthday. I looked at that beautiful blue image. I grew up next to the ocean yet had never learned to surf. I made that my goal for my 50th birthday…and went! She surprised me and met me there. It was a magical week, one I’ll never forget.

Of course, when my kids were younger, my adventures were of a smaller, less expensive, scale. I learned to quilt, I wrote articles for magazines, I got interested in birding, I became passionate about Shakespeare, poetry, and art, and I took guitar lessons.

Each time you branch out for yourself, you are investing in your family. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s the truth. Because you are such a zealot for home-everythingness, I trust you to not overdo it (you won’t let yourself!). Rather, what I’m suggesting is that you not let your own adult life—these healthy years—scroll by in service exclusively of your children, thinking that a later date will come when you can go to grad school or visit a full service spa in the Red Rocks of Arizona.

You grew up to this age so that you could use your full adult powers for good—for your family, for your community, and also, just as importantly, for yourself. When you take that time and initiative to create a good happy life for yourself, as much as you do for your kids, you give your family energy—energy that rebounds into home education. The world becomes alive with possibility for all of you.

Most importantly, your kids can look ahead to adulthood and SEE that it is worth growing up and learning all kinds of things because that’s when you get to DO COOL STUFF! Like Mom! Like Dad!

Startle your children! Be the model of adulthood to which you hope they aspire.

Last thing: If you find yourself frustrated that your kids aren’t into learning as much as you are, forget them for a bit. Dive deep. Learn all you want. The more you indulge your cravings, rather than foisting them on your kids, the more likely it is they will want to “get involved” eventually, in some aspect of your current passion because passion is contagious.

Surprise your family; surprise yourself! Set a goal today and go after it, right in the middle of all the muddle.

Image by Zweirad-Industrie-Verband e.V. (cc cropped)

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Reboot your day

Monday, March 30th, 2015

6 ways to start

It doesn’t matter if it is 10:00 in the morning, or 2:00 in the afternoon, or five minutes before bedtime. You can start a day over at any point in the day. When it’s all going wrong—from sibling pokes to spilled orange juice to “Where is the math book?” to the dog peeing on the carpet AGAIN—you don’t have to wave the white flag and collapse into a quivering heap (though you TOTALLY have my permission to do that now and then—it’s cathartic!).

You can declare that the day is in reboot and begin again. Here are six ways to reset the temperature in the home.

Let’s count down to the most effective reboot practice.

6. Change rooms.
Move homeschool to your bedroom and do everything on the big bed. Toss pillows and blankets to everyone and put workbooks on clipboards. Cuddle the baby.

5. Get outside.
Bundle up and go for a walk with everyone. Or send the most rambunctious kiddos outside to find a pine cone or gather a bucket of snow to bring home to boil (for no good reason except to have a task) or to run six laps around the backyard.

4. Brownies.
They fix everything. (Keep a mix on hand for those days and resort to it.)

3. Have a shouting fest.
Everyone gets to scream for 2 whole minutes (set a timer) at the top of his or her lungs while jumping up and down and punching the air. Repeat. Until exhaustion.

2. Play music.
Dance. Sing. Wiggle. Involve stuffed animals. FaceTime mom/dad at work so s/he can see you.

And the number one reboot:

1. Poetry teatime.
Any time of day. Stop the math books, wipe up the orange juice, throw a few mugs on the table, grab the poetry books, and settle down. It changes everything. Promise! Every time. And you will feel like you did school, which counts for something.

Good luck!

Images by wooleywonderworks, Jason Walsh, Ben Francis, Beth Rankin, Cristiano Betta, Philippe Put (cc cropped, darkened, text added)

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