Archive for the ‘Homeschool Advice’ Category

Homeschool Sanity: Principle One

Principle One

No two years of homeschooling are ever the same.

Your children get older and change grades. Each child has a unique personality. What worked with one won’t necessarily work with the next (The Brave Learner, 203).

As you think about the coming year, think less about mastery and more about fine-tuning and tweaking. How can you meet the needs of these children who are new again this year?

It’s easy to think: Hey, I already know my children. I know what they like and don’t like.

What do we do with the surprises?

  • Your quiet child may have a sudden burst of extroversion.
  • Maybe the literature-lover decides she wants to be a dolphin trainer.
  • Perhaps the one who hated math is obsessed with sewing.

Be a student again—discover who this child is this year. New opportunities for learning are here. Allow yourself to be surprised. Make adjustments as you go.

I recommend not buying all the curriculum in the summer. Get to know your children’s needs again in the fall. Make some purchases in December or January that reflect what you’ve learned about your kids during the early months.

Remember: even though a system or schedule feels reassuring to you, it may be overkill, may be too centered on what you need to feel comfortable, or may not grow with the child.

Lead with confidence, but embrace the surprises along the way. See them as a chance to enhance homeschool not as invalidations of your plan.

All 5 Principles


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

You Don’t Owe the World a Model Family

You don't owe the world a model family

You don’t owe anyone a model family. We’re all growing, all the time. You don’t have to always get it right. Neither do your kids.

Everyone gets better at growing up over time—including you, the parent.

You can take steps

  • to heal,
  • to learn,
  • to research,
  • to gain skill.

Today’s a great day to turn the page and start anew.

Your kids deserve space to grow. You show them how by growing too.

How you live is not a billboard for homeschool or parenting or the right way to be a family.

You have a right to be human.


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

Why Not?

Why Not

Our kids ask “Why?” They ask because they’re building a worldview. They are inexperienced, first-time visitors to planet earth and their brilliant minds are assembling the rules and habits that explain and support their existence.

We’re the jaded old people with our pat answers and inflexible thinking: “Honey, forks always go on the right” and “Sweetheart, we have to work hard first, before we have fun” or “Only birds can fly.”

What kids allow us to do…what homeschool offers us…is space to think “Why not?”

  • Could we put the forks on the other side and see what happens? (Hint: I discovered lefties love forks on the left side of the plate—right side placement is pure right-handed hegemony!)
  • Who said work comes before fun?
  • And don’t humans fly on planes? What about airborn insects? How about some squirrels? What else flies?

Our big opportunity at home is not to answer the “Why” question efficiently. It’s to allow it to open a door to as many possibilities as you can tolerate!

Next time a child says: “Why is the sky blue?” be open to the “Why not?” side of the question: “Why isn’t it green? Or purple? Or is it really blue? Why isn’t it blue all the time?”

Keep the conversation going. Resist the temptation to give a familiar answer. Open the door to more!

Why not?


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

If You Were in Charge…

If you were in charge...

Today’s Monday Magic Phrase has the ability to completely overturn a power dynamic going south.

When a child is frustrated, angry, feels mistreated, hates the plan, declares life isn’t fair, flip the script. Instead of doubling down on rationally explaining or proving your case, turn the tables.

If you were in charge…

  • how would we solve this?
  • what would you want your sister to do now to fix it?
  • how would we spend the day?
  • what would we do to study —math, grammar, writing, phonics?
  • how much computer time would be ideal for you?
  • what would we have for lunch?
  • when would you practice piano?

By framing the question as “If you were in charge,” you are upping their sense of responsibility when they express an idea (different than when you ask “What do you want?). These do not often yield the same result.

You may get a child who suggests an outrageous idea like “We would play games all day every day for the rest of our lives.” Or “We would eat all the sugar we want!” Or “I would never go to the dentist.” These are wishes that reveal emotions. They describe the current level of deprivation or fear or anxiety the child feels.

Empathize and then say: “Wow! That would be awesome if we could [fill in the blank]. But if you were *in charge*, what would we do? Take a little time to think about it. I’m really interested. I need a helper to solve this problem.”

By agreeing with the outrageous declaration as a wish, your child begins to feel heard. Return to the child having good ideas if given time to think of them.

You can also go to a white board and say: “Good start! Let’s get all the ideas on the board.”

Play with it. You may be surprised—sometimes a child offers the most lovely perfectly reasonable solution, but we never thought to ask. Like, “If I were in charge, I’d do math after lunch. I hate doing it in the morning.”


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

It’s Up to You

It's Up to You

It’s up to you! It’s not up to the school system, it’s not up to your homeschool community, it’s not up to your mother, it’s not up to the books you love. The reason so many of us lose heart is we’ve delegated authority over our choices to someone outside ourselves.

You get to choose:

  • your values,
  • your reasons,
  • and your practices.

Your homeschool is your responsibility and will reflect your thoughtful, fretful, brave choices.

You may be misunderstood, you may be kicked out of your group, you may be told that you have bad motives or that your children may pay a price. In the end, however, you have the right to experiment, to not know yet, to change your mind. Your children will be okay if they know you are operating with integrity and you make room for their feelings and needs, too.

Who are your best friends? They’re the people who understand you and support you. Good friends ask questions and speak with you directly when worried or confused. Good friends do not go silent, block you, gossip about you, or define you according to their beliefs.

You are not a cookie-cutter version of a homeschool belief system. You are the authority who:

  • critically thinks,
  • tests a theory,
  • evaluates results,
  • embraces what works,
  • and boldly discards what doesn’t.

You do you.

Update your choices to better match the unique family that you are.


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