Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

The Opposite of Doubting


Doubt: often our reaction is to double-down in defensiveness. Or to rearrange everything, afraid.

Doubt is this buzzing mosquito we want to swat away or squash.

In my reading time last week, I stumbled on the idea that when we doubt the most, it’s a signal that we don’t have enough information. We could go back to research, to listen to new information, to ask questions. All of it got me thinking.

Perhaps the opposite of doubting isn’t confidence. Perhaps the opposite is listening:

  • to a child,
  • to a new idea,
  • to a changed perspective,
  • to the nuances that add complexity,
  • to the struggle others are having.

In my life, doubt has been a uniting force—bringing me into contact with people whose ideas I had previously rejected or scorned. Doubt lets me imagine solutions outside my safe options or community.

What are you doubting today? Your child’s commitment to hard work? A method of home education? Your beliefs about parenting? The support of a friend?

What would listening more completely look like? Where can you tune in to learn more?

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

The Dicey Topic of Homeschool Co-ops!

Homeschool Co-ops

Last week over on Instagram, I was asked what appeared to be an innocent question:

“Would you ever discuss homeschool co-ops and their requirements for membership?”

I launched that discussion with a series of six posts. Hundreds of lengthy, personal comments followed. Blew me away.

Apparently there’s a lot of emotional charge around this topic. It felt good to see people heal their own pain and reach out to help each other get a new vision of what a co-op could be!

You should be able to read the posts if you’re not yet on Instagram, but you’ll need to create an account to comment. Otherwise, click the links below to the web pages for the posts (you might need to scroll up to see them).

The conversation was rich, cathartic, insightful, and ultimately creative and helpful! If you are trying to navigate the land of homeschool co-oping, I also offer you three ideas to try to help you be successful.

Homeschool Co-ops

Wishing you success, camaraderie, and joy in your homeschool co-ops this year!

The Homeschool Alliance

Take Your Struggling Child to Lunch

Take Your Struggling Child to Lunch

Plan a “Take Your Struggling Child to Lunch” day. You may have to schedule it for the weekend when the non-homeschooling parent can run herd on the other little rascals.

In any case: identify the child that worries you.

Examples of worry:

  • isn’t reading yet but “should” be
  • likes Minecraft “too” much
  • takes a “really long time” to finish (a math page, breakfast, tie shoes, brushing teeth, handwriting one sentence…)
  • seems sad
  • has “no” obvious passion
  • “hates” (fill in the blank—math, writing, history, a brother or sister, sports, life)

The idea is this: what you see as struggle may be your misunderstanding—you may have the “struggle” right but have missed the interpretation.

Take your child to lunch without agenda. Ask open-ended questions like:

  • “What do you love about Minecraft?”
  • “What’s hard about ____?”

Sprinkle in broad happy questions:

  • “If you could design tomorrow, what would we all be doing?”
  • “What’s one thing I could eliminate from your life right now to make it easier, better, more peaceful, happier?”

You’ll think of others. This lunch is not a “fixer-upper” with loads of suggestions. It’s a moment of connection where your child knows you admire and trust your child.

Keep going til you spark that admiration in yourself (that’s when lunch is finished).

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

A Gracious Space series

Relieve Pressure or Offer Support

Relieve Pressure or Offer Support

We have two options when our kids struggle: to relieve the pressure to perform—taking a break, slowing down, lowering expectations; or to offer support—partnering with the child, trying a new strategy, providing more resources.

Most of us have a natural response to struggle—to back away or to push through. Our kids get to know our default practices. Sometimes what worked before stops working—the child needs a fresh approach. For instance a child who keeps backing away from challenge may benefit from your strength to say: “You can do it! I’m here to help.”
Whereas if your child is used to you pushing and cheerleading to get beyond the struggle, it may be a welcome relief to hear you say, “Let’s come back to this next week.”
If you tend to be the parent who typically relieves pressure, experiment with holding space for struggle. Consider

  • partnering,
  • not giving up,
  • trying new strategies,
  • offering faith in your child’s strength and ability to meet a challenge.

If you’re the kind of parent that typically provides support for overcoming challenge, experiment with

  • giving your child a break,
  • slowing the pace,
  • doing fewer problems,
  • going down to an easier level for a little while longer.

These are the two options. Pick one; see what happens. If you hit a wall, try the other! It’s okay to play around with these tools. That’s how you discover what your child needs to thrive.

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

Two Kinds of Driving

Your Ticket to Adventure

There are two kinds of driving in homeschool.

One: driving to the supermarket, Target, IKEA, the dentist, Home Depot, the pharmacy, Staples.

Two: driving to a park, the woods, the library, the zoo, a museum, soccer, skiing, the theater, a friend’s house, the beach, botanical gardens, an ice cream shop…

See the difference?

First category: distances should be short; time spent, also short. Don’t pile on and visit four in a row. Save some trips for solo outings (no kids). You might use Amazon and skip driving to stores sometimes.

Second category: boredom busters—they help kids transcend the life-locked feeling of four walls closing in. They expand your children’s world. They’re also great for Big, Juicy Conversations.

Possible Danger

Don’t use up all your car travel time on errands. Otherwise you may create resistance against longer trips to the really cool stuff (mountains, oceans, fossils, observatory, wild animal park, historic sites).

Remember, your car can be your ticket to adventure!

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