Friday, 16 August 2019

Encouragement for the Year Ahead {Not Back to School Blog Hop 2019}

Welcome to day five of the Not Back to School Blog hop for 2019.  This week has certainly stretched me in ways I had not expected.  Today I am guest posting at the Homeschool Review Crew blog: Dear Homeschool Mom You Are Enough.

Over the past week I have tackled the following topics:
  • Art in Your Homeschool - I have shared resources and products I have used in the past.
  • Books About Homeschooling - I shared two new books I have read this year that have encouraged and equiped me.
  • Charlotte Mason - I answer the question is it worth reading a book or two from over a centuary ago?  The answer may surprise you.
  • Don't Change The Method - Homeschooling High School - This is the number ONE thing I wish I could tell my younger self about homeschooling.
 Discouragement is a common theme and a part of the self talk of many home educating mom's.  A search on google came up with two million hits.  It is a very real part of the journey but one that makes us realise how important community is and it's impact upon our journey.

Self Care

Take care of yourself is a cry we hear over and over and yet it's not something we take seriously until it's too late. I wonder why we don't?  Being a martyre does not benift anyone in your family and it does not gain you any extra points it simply wears you out.  The best thing you can do is find something that will feed your soul and do it for at least fifteen minutes a day. Without you there is no home or home school. You are the most important ingredient on this journey and you are the one that is responsible to keep yourself properly cared for or it won't be long and you will be burned out.

Take Your Eyes off Your Friends

 Where does this sense of being totally overwhelmed come from? Looking back over the years I've come to realise there are a few sources of this heart ache and the two top culprits are comparison and constantly changing what you are doing to follow the next fad on the internet or local homeschool group.  The key to unclock the freedom of joy in the journey is to learn to be true to yourself and not try to take on the mantle of what others are doing. My encouragement to you is to take your eyes off your friends (especially the super successful ones),  and place them firmly on your Lord.

Buy Some Ice Cream

When you hit a day when no matter how hard you try you will not be able to explain an easy concept to a student who is struggling to comprehend what is in front of them and soon tensions will escalate and things can become, well let's just say not so nice.  There will be tears of frustration or angry words and then I recommend you close the books.

Put AWAY all the books and declare ICE CREAM day.  

Believe me your children will be grateful and so will you be.  It's a great way to diffuse the situation, it creates a happy memory, provides space for you all to reconnect and relaxes everyone involved.

Discover Your Rhythm

Finding the balance as to the amount of time you need each day to complete your daily requirements is the first step to successfully home educating. Time is a limited resource and one that needs to be managed.  Part of this management is finding your rhythm and sticking to it.

"Every lesson must have its own time, and no other time in this world is there for it. The sense of the preciousness of time, of the irreparable loss when a ten minutes' lesson is thrown away must be brought home."- Charlotte Mason Companion page 93

The most important part of finding your rhythm is that you do not play the comparison game.  Stop comparing what you are doing with the next home school family in your group of friends or blog are doing.  Your family is unique.  It has it's own set of needs.  IF you are constantly changing up how you do things or adding to what you are doing because of what other families are doing you are going to wear yourself and your children out.

Know What You Think and Why You Think it...

IF you don't know what you think OR why you think what you do then every homeschool consultant will try to sell you their product and soon you will have a home full of different curriculum and you will be overwhelmed!  OR you will have a budget blow out or you will be so confused and not buy anything and give up the journey before you begin.

Knowledge is Power. That power is either in your hand or in someone elses. If you don't know what you think or what your goals are then there will be someone out there who is only too happy to lead you a merry dance and convince you to spend your money with them.

Knowing why you are doing something 
is the first step in being empowered 
to follow through with your choices.

Even if you are a seasoned homeschooler and you don't have your thoughts and focus set then every single time you see something new or meet a new homeschooler and hear what they are doing you will feel as though you are somehow failing your children or they are missing out which in turn will drive you to choose to add more to an already busy homeschool.  The danger of this is that soon you will be doing a great many things with mediocrity and become overwhelmed and exhausted.

I hope this past week has been as encouraging for you as it has been for me.  I hope the weekend and year ahead is filled with joy.


Here are a list of the bloggers and their topics who took part in this weeks Not Back to School blog hop

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Don't Change The Method - Homeschooling High School {Not Back to School Blog Hop 2019}

Welcome to day four of the Not Back to School Blog Hop.  I recently realised that I have been home educating for more than two decades and as I was pondering my journey I began to wonder "What would I change if I could go back and do it all again?"

The more I pondered it the more I realised that I would have thought more about the way / method I would use during the high school years. When we first contemplate home education and our children are little we worry about addressing how they will learn to read, write and do math.  Then we spend a long time figuring out how to talk to people about socialisation, and answer questions like:  Are you going to send them to high school?  How do you do this?  Is it legal?

The interesting thing is that once your children reach the teen years society starts to accept that you are going to homeschool through high school and the questions change to: How are you going to get them into university?  How are you going to teach _____________(insert a topic like math, physics, chemistry etc. ) These were all easy to answer for me.

The statements/questions I came unstuck on were things like:  "Your children are in high school, now they need to have their own space/desk and be independent of you." and "When are you going to send them to their rooms to study on their own?"  Among homeschoolers the prevailing question was how to teach/foster independence in high school?

Looking back I realise now that it had taken us a few years to find a rhythm that worked for us, the right resources to teach all the subjects in our curriculum. We were happy and life was good.  I began to feel all this pressure from every direction that what we were doing was wrong and that I needed to change it all because we were now in high school.  I listened to all the well meaning voices.  We found desks, chairs, rearranged bedrooms bought stationary and moved the books to their rooms. 

I was WRONG. Looking back I can see that clearly now.  I wish I could go back and tell my inexperienced self.  DON'T CHANGE A THING - if it is not broken don't try fix it! Learning does not change, once our children know how to learn it does not change.  However IF they are not ready for independence and we push them into it then it derails their journey.

As mom's it's so easy to allow our babies and toddlers to develop and grow at their own pace but when we reach the middle / teen years we start to push our children into the realm of independence by societal standards and not allowing them to organically grow into that independence as and when they are ready, and sometimes we hold on too tightly and don't allow them to become independent (especially when it's our last born).

What I now realise is that the high school years are no different to the primary years.  Take a deep breath and just keep doing what's working.  You know and they know what is working.  The method needs to remain the same but the content changes and becomes deeper.  Your student will discover in themselves the best environment for them to learn in and as home educators we can cater to their growing need.  Independent learning is not isolation.  Sending them to their rooms to learn is isolation and does not foster independence.

I would love to hear about your thoughts on your home education journey in the high school years.


More Thoughts on Homeschool High School can be found here: 

There are over thirty home educating mom's participating in this years Not back to School Blog Hop. Grab a cup of tea and take a look through the linky below for some homeschool Encouragement today.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Charlotte Mason {Not Back to School Blog Hop 2019}

Welcome to day three of the annual Not Back to School Party hosted by The Homeschool Review Crew.  Monday I shared a few links to help with ART in your Homeschool,  Tuesday two new books to help and equip you for your journey as a Home Educator and today I would like to talk a little bit about Charlotte Mason.

In her Home Education series Charlotte tackled many aspects of education.  However the one thing that surprised me is that she talked about parenting from many many different aspects and the impact our choices as parents make upon the lives of our children.

Do you know what the definition of education is? I took some time to look up the definition of the word today versus 190 years ago and this is what I found.

Current definition:
  • the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university.
  • the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession.
  •  the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
  •  a degree, level, or kind of schooling
Back in Websters Dictionary of 1828 the definition was as follows:
  •  The bringing up, as of a child, instruction; formation of manners. Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and form the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations. To give children a good education in manners, arts and science, is important; to give them a religious education is indispensable; and an immense responsibility rests on parents and guardians who neglect these duties
This little exercise has really helped me to understand why her education series covers such a wide scope of life and not just the nuts and bolts of educating our children.  As home educators our responsibilities are far wider than the academics.  It's the equipping or our children for life.

If you haven't read any of the original books I highly recommend that you do.  The thing that I have appreciated the most has been the practical advice Charlotte imparts in her writing.  She gives examples and non judgemental recommendations.  Her voice is gentle and encouraging.  

The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte Mason

More Posts on this Blog about Charlotte Mason and the Method

Books Written by Charlotte Mason

None of Charlotte's books were in publication when I first started home educating and come to think of it there was no Internet either! When they were first brought back into print they were still very rare.

There are six books in the series:

  1. Home Education
  2. Parents and Children 
  3. School Education
  4. Ourselves this book was written to be read with parents and high school aged students
  5. Formation of Character
  6. Towards a Philosophy of Education
The series has now been published in a single volume of over 2,700 pages! The Original Home Schooling Series by Charlotte Mason.

The Original Home Schooling Series is available on Kindle  
Or for FREE here:  Charlotte Mason in Modern English

The Original Home Schooling Series can also be purchased from

Online Resource for homeschooling with Charlotte Mason Methods

Connect with Charlotte Mason Home Educators on Facebook

I would love to hear about who is inspiring you on your home education journey.

There are over thirty home educating mom's participating in this years Not back to School Blog Hop.  Grab a cup of tea and take a look through the linky below for some homeschool Encouragement today.

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