How Homeschooling Changed Me As a Parent and a Person

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With excitement for the summer and some bittersweet feelings, we wrapped up our second year of homeschooling our two boys—the last (for now) for our 9-year-old son. We’ll straddle the two lifestyles in the coming year—our 6-year-old will homeschool for another year before joining his brother in brick-and-mortar school. As we prepare to reenter the world of alarm clocks and lunch boxes, I’m reflecting on how this experience has grown us as individuals and as a family, and how it has changed my worldview.

An increasing number of families are taking advantage of the myriad tangible benefits homeschooling offers. Some of these include more time together as a family, education tailored to children’s learning styles, time for kids to develop individual interests without overscheduling, freedom from the school calendar, unhurried mornings, and limitless opportunities for field trips and hands-on, experiential learning.

We started homeschooling because of the benefits for our kids. What I didn’t expect at the outset was how much it would enrich my life as well. If you’re a would-be homeschooler sitting on the fence due to fear, I hope my family’s experience can help encourage you to take the leap of faith.

Here are some of the more intangible gifts we will take away from our homeschooling experience: Continue reading

Self Care is Lifeblood, Not Luxury

 

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Self care is not a luxury. It took a while, but I finally get it. It’s a necessity, like food and water and breathing.

I’m a midwife and a homeschooling mom of two boys. It’s a life I love, and it takes a lot of juice to keep it up and running. More still to keep it flowing and vibrant.

I no longer expect to be able to pull the energy and peaceful frame of mind I need—for myself and my family—out of thin air. It has to be consciously generated. I’m learning how often, in what ways, and for how long I need to make time for self care and renewal. Continue reading

My Dormant Inner Political Activist Wakes Up

In my last post, I talked about the anger and occasional despair I’ve been feeling about recent national and world events. I’ve determined that it’s time to stop handwringing and take whatever direct actions I can. Posting articles on Facebook, signing petitions, and sending a small donation here and there are no longer enough for me.

A few weeks ago, after a particularly tough week in the news, I knew I had to do something concrete and active or I would scream or puke or both. Continue reading

5 Lessons From My Latest Homeschool Freak-Out

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Last week, I was looking at schools’ open house schedules again. It was a week filled with anxiety, overwhelm, and self-doubt. Granted we’ve been in re-entry from visiting family and world schooling in India, but still, it was more than that. I’ve gone another round with my biggest homeschooling challenge–finding (and losing and finding again!) the balance between structure and freedom.  I am grateful and relieved to report that I am again feeling inspired and excited about this crazy journey called homeschooling. Here’s how I peeled myself off the ceiling, and what I learned in the process.  Continue reading

How It Feels to NOT Be Sending My Baby to Kindergarten

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This post also ran on KiDOinfo: Connecting Families, RI and Beyond on August 26, 2015

The other day, I realized that if things had played out differently, I would be gearing up to send Boy 2 to kindergarten.

My boys are 9 and 5, and this will be our second year homeschooling. Last year, my little one was in a beautiful little co-op preschool, and I got my bearings homeschooling Boy 1. We had our tough days, but we love this way of learning and this lifestyle for our family. So both boys will be home this year.   Continue reading

What I’ve Learned from Our First Year Homeschooling, Part 2: Hmmm…This is a Lot Like Midwifery!

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Boy 1 making a comic book

“Certainty does not propel me—wonder does.” –Persephone Brown

Structure and freedom. Routine and flexibility.   Finding the right mix of these elements for my son (and for me!) has been my greatest homeschooling challenge. By “challenge,” I mean I have agonized over this and at times felt overwhelmed with self-doubt and uncertainty.

After 7 months of living it on top of 6 months research and preparation, I think I have finally come up with some preliminary answers to the question, “What homeschooling approach is best for my child and our family?” The short answer is: eclectic and evolving. Continue reading

What I’ve Learned from Our First Year Homeschooling, Part 1: FAQs

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This post also ran on KiDOinfo: Connecting Families, Rhode Island and Beyond on April 27, 2015

“Decide what your truth is.  Then live it.”  -Kamal Ravikant

We are in the 7th inning of our first year homeschooling Boy 1 (age 8). We are taking this year-by-year, and who knows? A brick and mortar school may again be the best choice for our family at some future time. For now, though, this has been a great decision for us, and Boy 2 will be home next year for kindergarten as well.

Since we started this adventure, I get a lot of questions about the challenges of this educational choice and lifestyle. Many of the things people understandably assume must be really hard have not been big issues for us.   The most common questions I get are some version of the following:   Continue reading