Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Imagine Your Children Turn Out Well

Imagine your children turn out well

How would you treat your kids today if you knew your children would grow up to thrive and find their way? What if you could be sure they’d turn out?

How would you react to struggle? Childish antics?

If one of your kids wasn’t “getting it” yet (reading, phonics, algebra, French, tying shoes, potty training), would it change how you behaved toward your child if you knew the end of the story? That your child will get it?

Imagine that the end is secure. See how that reassurance reshapes the worry and expectations.

Even though each of us as adults looks back with a wish to have been better at something, we can also say that we got somewhere grown up, capable of a great many things. Your kids will too—because that’s how conscientious you are and how capable they are.

Just for today: live from that confidence. Let it lead you and your interactions with your kids. See what new space opens in your relationships when you come from a place of belief in your children’s inherent intelligence and ability—that their eventual success is a given.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


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Curiosity Fuels Our Homeschools

It’s tempting to focus on making sure our children are curious, to see if they have interests. Do you expect them to develop passions and then hope you can parlay those into the 3 Rs or 6 subject school day? Lots of discussion in teaching theory focuses on the notion that a child’s interest can lead the way. And to a certain extent, it’s true.

Children are naturally curious about all kinds of things. But they are also human beings. And humans go through dry spells and boredom. They run out of their own creative or curious energy from time to time.

During those in between times, parents sometimes assume that the child is no longer a curious person. They worry that the child has important subjects to master but shows no interest in them. So they resort to coercing an education.

In those moments, your curiosity can become the focal point of your child’s education. As the chief role model of adulthood and learning, what fascinates you and draws your curiosity is irresistible to children. By attending to your own capacity to learn, you live a learning journey in front of your kids.

They see a model of what it looks like to go from no interest, to curiosity, to interest, to applying yourself to learn something new. And because the topic or hobby or subject is of interest to an adult, it immediately becomes valuable. Children are drawn to adult tools, adult hobbies, and adult interests because that makes those subjects, hobbies, and experiences cool.

  • If you want to quilt—get at it, in the middle if the day (not off stage, in your “free” time). If you want to learn the constellations, add the Stargazer app to your phone and start sky-watching tonight.
  • Want to master algebra? Start your day with coffee and chapter one, working the problems, before read aloud time.
  • Wish you had a better literature education? Bluetooth Audible and listen in the car or while making dinner. Watch the film versions.

The stuff you imagine makes a great education can be yours (and by extension, your kids’) if you lean into your own curiosity, now, while homeschooling.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Brave Learner

Enjoy the Peace

Enjoy the Peace

That peace you hear? That’s the sound of your life working. ~Susan Elliott

Years ago, I read this pair of lines by blogger Susan Elliott that knocked me sideways. I paused to consider a new idea.

Did I need chaos, activity, crisis, a problem to solve to feel productive or alive?

What did I experience in moments of peace? Did I welcome the calm as a sign of health or as the eerie stillness before the next storm?

Did I see struggle as a sign of learning?

Did I see ease as a shortcut, cheating, evidence of not trying or too beginner—not challenging enough?

I noticed that with an active household and a challenging marriage, sometimes when the stars aligned and we had a moment of serenity, I’d feel agitated. It’s like I’d be on the hunt for something to fix or a problem to solve or a new challenge to tackle. Instantly struggle returned and I’d be back to striving rather than enjoying.

I took this watchword, then, and said it to myself on the mornings when the kids were happily busy. Why wreck it by pulling out the math books? Enjoy the peace! My life was working!

I said it to myself when I had a blank date on the calendar. I could leave it empty. I could relish the peace.

I said it to myself when there were extra dollars at the end of a month. I could leave them there and enjoy simple abundance, rather than rushing to spend them yet again.

I said it to myself when I successfully took time away from home and no one missed me. I could realize I’d done a good job of preparing them for successful living without dependency.

You try! What signs of peace could you relish rather than rushing to fill the quiet calm with activity and stress?


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


The Homeschool Alliance

Woman in the Living Room

Brave Learner: Woman in the Living Room

We spend a lot of time talking about bravery in Brave Writer. The public icon who is putting courage and vulnerability on the map is Brené Brown. She talks about what it means to “dare greatly.” She often cites Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote to remind us that our critics are in the cheap seats. The place of stature is in the act—in the choice to do!

What are some of the questions/judgments/critiques you deal with?

Stuff like:

  • How will your child ever be socialized?
  • How will you teach advanced math and science in high school?
  • How will your child get into college?
  • Aren’t you bored staying home all day?
  • Homeschoolers are backward thinkers
  • Stay-at-home moms don’t have real careers
  • You are over-protective
  • Homeschooled kids are socially awkward
  • What qualifies you to teach your own kids?

Sadly we get criticisms in our own community.

  • You aren’t a “true” fill in the blank home educator since you are only doing it partially.
  • You’re too religious, not religious enough.
  • You have too many kids/you don’t have enough kids.

We scroll through social media and wonder if we are doing it right enough.

The other cheap seats are located in our own minds—the non-stop chatter of self-harm. We often level critiques at ourselves and then feel our courage fail us when we get a good idea or have an inspired thought.

The “Man in the Arena” is Brené’s way of helping us value the act, over the opinion; getting on the playing field, over shouting coaching strategies to the players.

Still, whenever I hear it, I feel the masculinity of Roosevelt’s chosen image of a man in an arena. That’s not where I live. It’s not my playing field. It seems like we homeschool mothers (in particular) have to work pretty hard to translate Roosevelt’s arena language into our more mundane home-grown experience.

The original quote:

“Man in the Arena”
By Theodore Roosevelt

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

A great quote. But my person was stained more by snot, breast milk, and tears than blood and sweat.

And so: I rewrote it. I rewrote it for us—for homeschool mothers. I know some dads are reading along, and I trust you to make the translation from female to male the same way we women translated other quote from male to female for ourselves.

I call this:

“Woman in the Living Room”
By Julie Bogart

It is not the critic who counts—not the father-in-law who teaches high school, nor the friend with her children in private school; not the woman who points out how the homeschool mother stumbles, or where the doer of lesson plans could have done them better. The credit belongs to the woman who is actually in the living room, whose face is untouched by make-up, whose children’s faces are marred by cookie crumbs, scratches from the cat they provoked, and tear stains from a broken heart; who strives valiantly to bring enchantment to academic progress; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the acts of love and learning every day; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions to her family and her vision of education; who spends herself in this worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of a child’s high achievement, and who at the worst, if she fails, at least fails while daring greatly—holding space for the child who struggles, who didn’t catch on yet—and continuing still. Her place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know the joy of learning as a lifestyle nor the terror of not doing enough to meet academic standards.

You are the woman in the living room.
You are the brave learner.
You are here. 


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Woman in the Living Room

“There are no educational emergencies.”

No Educational Emergencies

Your child can’t read—and she’s 9.

Your child won’t handwrite, and when he does, it’s illegible.

You forgot to teach state history that year your oldest was in 4th grade because of the newborn.

You finally got the diagnosis: ADHD. She’s 16. What about college?

My friend (and Homeschool Alliance coach) Stephanie Elms loves to share a favorite saying of one of her friends: “There are no educational emergencies.” The first time I heard it, the phrase went off like an alarm in my heart. What if that were true?

I reflected. It can’t help but be true!

I thought about literacy programs for adults. I thought about voice-to-text software. I thought about the voracious way some adults read about history for pleasure! I remembered that I had grown up friends who didn’t get medical support for their ADHD until their 40s. Others who skipped college or went in their 30s.

What if I could dial back my anxiety from 911 level panic to “there are countless ways to get my child what he or she needs”? Education at a predictable pace is an illusion, is what I’m saying. “Getting behind”—a sure fire way to wind up in panic, to stop seeing the real child in front of you.

I can only begin each day precisely where I am. No matter the age.

Yeah, but what if your child REALLY IS BEHIND, you ask?

Deep breath. Face today with the resolve to get your child all he or she needs to move the next tiny step in the direction of growth. Growth is tangible—and reassuring. Evaluation against the norms? Not so much.

Don’t give up or collapse in defeat. Gather your resources, make judgment calls, get support, more information.

Take it a day or week at a time. Triangle in help. Trust the process.

Remember: you are raising LIFE-LONG learners. Some learning takes longer than expected. There’s no expiration date on an education, either.


This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!


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