A Relaxed Approach

How do you shift your paradigm? How do you learn to relax and enjoy homeschooling? How do you abandon the stress and embrace the joy?
You change how you think, you shift your paradigm. 

So this post is for people who want to change the way they think about homeschooling. This post is for people who want to question school methods imported to home, or employing canned ps methods. Of course -- do what works for your family  but if it is broken and you want to fix it. Here are some thoughts. If you like what you are doing, then it's okay to move on, it's not a debate.
What happens if you change the word school with the word learn? Schooling, becomes learning in the sentences we hear homeschool moms use the most.

When do you start learning, in August?
We don't start learning until after Labor Day.
Is 6 hours too many hours of learning?
My child fights me all day when we try to do learning.
We are only doing learning 4 days a week.
We learn year round.

These are just examples to challenge what you think about learning and to consider if just maybe the idea of "school" even at home isn't an artificial environment. Maybe you could focus on learning instead? Because school and learning aren't remotely close to being the same thing.

Not every component of learning is high flyin' fun for a student. But, crackin' the whip is for junior and senior high, not elementary school and they don't need 6 years of practice to be ready for it. I love our Relaxed Approach. I encounter misconceptions about it daily however, so allow me to address them.

Three Great Misunderstandings about a Relaxed Approach.

People who fear or reject a Relaxed Approach or the learning vs. school philosophy have many great misunderstandings but here are three common ones.
1. It doesn't mean we don't do book work, handwriting, math, spelling, reading and science, history or a litany of other subjects. We do book work, but whenever it is possible it's my job to make it engaging, interesting and try to light a fire. My job. Not the publishing company that produced the curriculum.
We keep the amount of written work, or seated, and solo work in check especially in elementary school. They aren't given busy work, or asked to do work they already mastered. They aren't expected to do it alone. And they aren't expected to spend more time than their age and learning style allows. The result over some time (not right out of the gate). The kids know we get them and their cooperation in the pieces they enjoy less grows exponentially.
2. Not adhering to a complete curriculum process means we are undisciplined. Yikes. um, no. I can't begin to tell you how off this is. My son, an early riser gets up before me every morning and I am usually awakened by the sound of him unloading the dishwasher. He is on board with our life, he is a believer so he does his part. I don't have to cajole, yell, ground, beat, or complain to gain their cooperation and assistance in their chores or the book work. My children have all been trained to clean every room correctly using checklists (which are no longer needed). They do their own laundry from about the age of 10, they each have a laundry day. They clean and load their dishes throughout the day, and we all contribute to dinner and clean-up, period, or you do not eat at my table. The book work, which increases each year beginning in about 6th grade is to be completed correctly, neatly, and with mastery as the goal. Never an issue, over time they own their education, and work independently in high school. Self discipline is the goal and all we do is working toward it.
3. We just sit around and watch tv or this is just a way to be a lazy homeschooler. ha! On the contrary, my day is spent in the trenches with my kids. I write their curriculums, I read everything they do before I assign it, so that I have a solid understanding. I am teaching them, not a book. This is my job not a publisher's. It starts when I get up and it goes all day till I hit the hay.
It's not un-schooling. What I am describing is not un-schooling just so you know 
You have challenged traditional ideas about public school so you have a little rebel in there already. Do not be afraid to challenge your thinking about how school should look, feel and be carried out.

Cutting the Cheese

I love cheese. We love cheese in this house. I usually have around 4-5 blocks of cheese at any given time that we enjoy for snacks. Thought I'd share how I keep them fresh. I cut the unopened package off center at about 2/3 the way.

Then, along with a few crackers and an apple I enjoy a sliver or two :)

When I have finished my tasty snack, all I have to do is slide the other half back over the cheese. As the remaining cheese block get smaller I fold it in on itself and slide them together. 

It used to drive me crazy to find my cheese dried out because no one wanted to take the time to put it in a container, or a ziploc bag. This works like a charm :)

My alter ego ...One Blue Branch

I'd like to share my work with you.

One Blue Branch was initially a component of A Housewife Extraordinaire but as my business grew it needed it's on page. I am still in the long process of building the second website but if you love Vintage, Cottage Chic, Pinterest, Etsy, Repurposing, Upcycling, Painted Furniture, Home Decor, Interior Design... you might like what I do.

The bulk of my work, including items for sale can be found on my Facebook Business page at:


I do ship :)

My under construction website is:


You can also find me on Pinterest as One Blue Branch.

Here is my current project - a fabulous oak roll top desk that had seen many better days.
If you are a wood purist... you will probably not like what I do. 

The Lost Boys

This has weighed on my heart so heavily the last few weeks. I have shared my excitement and pride in the accomplishments and upcoming graduation of my oldest son. As I look back over his homeschool journey and where he is now, where he is heading, I fall to my knees thanking God for the gift homeschooling was for him.

In sharing I've been contacted by so many moms, who have sons who just weren't happy in traditional school and who, even at home seem to struggle and be frustrated. I know, I know, as surely as I know my own name that the problem isn't the boy. It's the system. It's the method, it's limitations. It's a system in traditional school or even at home that is built for girls.

These are not lazy boys. These are Lost Boys. Boys who are wired to be men, to hunt, to gather, to work with their hands, to build something, to sweat, to think, and solve problems. Men who will innovate, men who will strike out on their own in business. The kind of men, other men respect. The kind of men other men call to come take care of the tangible things in life that only these men seem to understand.

Over the last 17 years I have been so utterly disgusted by the attempt to feminize our young men. It is  so entrenched our education ideas. Our boys, our sons are being labeled, medicated and condemned and we are letting it happen to them!

They are no different than the greatest of men in our history - Einstein, Edison, Lincoln, just to name a few. Men who didn't fit in the box. Men who needed to think, tinker and work with their bodies to invigorate their minds. Men like Jefferson, Washington and John Adams were farmers. Ronald Reagan was a rancher. Men need to be men. Sit them at a quiet desk during their most energetic, exciting years and force them into dry, meaningless busy work and you will kill their spirit.

Why are so many men failing to launch into life and staying with parents till they are 30 - I believe it is, in no small part because of the Lost Boys effect.

We must abandon, and I mean dump, trash, burn to the ground these ideas that can ultimately cripple our sons. We must empower them, see them. We must FIND these Lost Boys and lead them home.

rant over. thanks.

Give AWAY!

It's a Give - Away!!!!

To enter to win simply become a follower of this blog! 

The item will be mailed via media mail in the US (sorry it is sometimes like a slow boat to China). Open to everyone inside and outside the US. Feel free to share a link and invite friends. Contest ends Friday night at 9pm CST winner will be announced on Saturday. Winner will need to email me their shipping address within 48 hrs to claim their prize.

This has been a great resource for us! We love hands on learning in our homeschool!

Parenting Pearl: Saliency

This word, saliency was new to my parenting vocabulary when I first encountered it many years ago but I learned quickly the value in it and I am forever grateful.


On a Saturday morning you tell your child they have to clean their room. You mean, really clean his room and you tell him so. You say, "... and if you don't clean your room you aren't going to the sleepover at BooBoo's house tonight." (I like to make up names) All day the progress drags on, agonizingly slow. You keep checking in. Each time you do, you remind this kiddo that he is not going to the sleepover if it's not done and done properly. (yeah, BooBoo is a boy)

All day. Hours. Dozens of reminders and assurances that you are in fact, not joking.

You check in and the work is moving like molasses and it's not being done well at all. You reiterate that you expect the room to be cleaned correctly.

The evening comes, the room is not done. You have spent the entire day frustrated and irritated with this child. He has worked, piddled, dragged his feet, become distracted, maybe even thrown hissy fits and not gotten the task accomplished satisfactorily.

You crossly drop the hammer, "You are not going to the sleepover."

Even if the child reacts, gets upset the truth is, he's been bracing for this all day Mom. No surprise here. He has seen the time pass, he has heard you tell him over and over (and over and over) that he is not going. You became the Peanuts teachers voice hours ago. Despite any show of shock and surprise he may give you, I promise you he isn't surprised at all. He has been preparing himself for it and comforting himself that he doesn't really care. He didn't really even want to go. He might even say these things to you just to show you, he isn't beaten.

The problem is repeating the expectation, punishment or consequence reduces it's saliency every time you do so. It makes it less potent. It reduces the strength of the action every time you say it. Saliency.

It also robs the child of the chance to choose his actions and consequences, as you keep pushing him. If the room is accomplished you are largely to credit. If it isn't, in his eyes, I promise you, you are largely to credit/blame. The goal must always be to have the child choose and accept. We want them to choose wisely of course, but as an adult you should darn well understand by now that you cannot actually make any human being do anything.

If you are spanker, you might think you have compelled compliance by imposing yourself physically. You haven't. It reminds me of a story a pastor told many years, about a date with her husband when they were young. They were playfully bantering and he was trying to compel her to sit, and finally her big strong fella puts his hands on her shoulders and sort of sits her down. She replied, arms crossed, "Well I am standing in my heart!" They laughed as they told the story that depicted her spirit so clearly. (this was for the record a total flirty thing, nothing more)

I heard the story at 13 and it has stayed with me 30 yrs. Whoa was that ever me. In my childhood, in my life, and even with God! My physical body might be forced into compliance but you can bet your buttermilk I'm standing in my heart!


If you said instead, "So let me see, you want to go to this event tonight a lot, right? I want you to get your room clean. What are the chances we could both get what we want today? I am not going to want to help you by taking you to the party, if you don't care about what is important to me."

Then I would ask IF the child would like reminders. Do they want you to help them keep track of time? I always ask if they would like me to help them make a list, or show them what I expect so they know exactly what they need to do for it to be acceptable. I ask if they think it would help to have music on? The windows open? Door open or closed?

I set them up for success, I then give over all the control, and I am out.  I would say, "So we are clear. For me to take you to this party, I will need you to clean your room the way I have asked you. Do you agree?" Give-take. He is now in the drivers seat of what happens.

And then, if the child would prefer reminders of time, I would cheerfully pop in and give them. I might pop in and see if they would like a snack, or a drink. Or I might surprise them with one, since I know they are working so hard (even if they aren't). At no time, not ever, would I repeat that the consequence is no party. Not ever. I do not want to diminish the saliency one tiny bit. When the consequence hits, they must experience it at full potency.

At the end of the day, if the work isn't done, the child will actually not be surprised in the least that he isn't going. (oh ok maybe the first time or two you do it this way they WILL be surprised because they expect you to cave) You see parenting is a dance. If you and your kid dance a Tango all day everyday their whole life and you start Waltzing, his natural reaction is to try to get you Tango. THAT is the dance he knows. Keep Waltzing, he'll follow.

Where was I? Oh yeah...

Now, the room isn't done and he asks if he is going. You don't say no. You say, "What did we discuss? I think you know the answer." You are not leveling a punishment. He made a decision. (but don't say that!)

Then here is the real kicker - if the child is upset, you offer empathy. Not ever, I TOLD YOU this was going to happen. This is surprisingly the hardest part for parents. We want to lecture. We want to show them it was their choice not ours, but when we preach it, it has the exact opposite effect.


  • Discuss your expectation and the consequence.
  • Brainstorm with them how they can be successful and how you might help.
  • Leave it. No harping. 
  • Consequence follows it is not administered, it just is.
  • Empathize. (I'll have to share what is and is not empathetic at another time.)

When the consequence comes it will come with it's full potency. Which must happen a few times to change the dance.

Empathize. No "I tried tell you" or "I'm sorry you didn't listen."

One caveat, if throughout the course of the day your child realized he was overwhelmed and wanted to take you up on the offer of a list, or a reminder or some other offer of help. Bend.

Never lose sight that your goal is to get as much of what you both want as you possibly can. Change your role. Don't be the enforcer unless you have to be and then, be it. But try at all times to be the facilitator. Try to create an environment where the children see you as the person who helps them as much as they possibly can within the boundaries established by the parents.

Bottom Line - Nagging reduces Saliency.

Take Movie Night to a whole Nother Level

Tonight's Feature:
Toy Story

One of my favorite activities for the kids was to take Family Movie Night and make it amazing. I did this because choosing to be a one income family means we lived on a tight budget. Entertainment was usually seeing about $20 in the account for the whole month! I did it because imaginative play is my wheelhouse. I love this stuff, I love life lived this way, and despite my adult secret identity, I am really a kid at heart.

My children, LOVED this. The same night each week of course is Family Movie Night. Ours was Friday. Pizza and salad for dinner. Homemade, store bought and occasionally the splurge for carryout.

After lunch (remember we homeschool) the kids would begin to prepare. They made tickets, movie posters, trivia questions (we usually watched movies we owned) and snacks. 

We made homemade popcorn. They decorated brown paper bags and put it in bags. They'd make tea and kool-aid. They'd make cookies and sometimes we'd buy a couple dollar packs of mini candy bars or use halloween or Easter candy.

They would build and set up a concession stand, with pricing lists, name tags, cash registers built from cereal boxes. 

They would drag their mattresses into the floor, with pillows and all.

After dinner, Dad and I would purchase our tickets, buy our snacks with monopoly money, and be seated. They took turns being the projectionist (working the DVD player). The movie posters were always the best most elaborate part. We love art, so I saved them, folded them and when the stack got a couple inches thick I would take them to Office Depot and have them spiral bound. 

So often they wanted friends to spend the night. To experience our movie night. The other moms would always tell me without fail, that their children raved about it when they got home. Even when you think they might be too old, they will still get into it with the younger siblings, and they are grateful for the chance to be little and play.

We lost all this in Hurricane Katrina, but the memories are still right there in my mind and in my heart. 

Sibling Solution

SIbling fighting? 

Here is something I did to help resolve harsh words and frustration between the sibs when they were tweens/ pre-teens 9 & 13

I enlarged a picture of them a headshot. I mounted in on cork board. Every time they were mean or hurtful to their sibling they had to go stick a push pin in their siblings face. This lasted for about 3 weeks. The pictures were riddled with holes and they didn't like it at all.

At the end I sat them down, and I asked them to remove every pin and say, I'm sorry. They did. Then I peeled of their photograph and behind each was a photo of Jesus' face, now riddled with holes as well.

They burst into tears. 

It was very powerful and I am sure this might be too much for some children. Know your kids and whether this would be impacting. It was a major turning point for us in our daily lives. 

Sayings I had around the house.

Cradle to Grave -brothers and sisters are your best friends

Goal: Get to Heaven, Bring your Brother

Advice for homeschool moms...

Allow me to make recommendations for handling particularly stressful days...
1) Hide from the children in the minivan in the garage and take the baby monitor. They will find you but it will be the last place they look. It has a tv, radio, and a phone charger.
2) Call in sick
3) Watch the documentary Bully on Netflix and realize if you did nothing at all but played goldfish with your kids from k-12 and live your life with them, they would be better off than going to public school
4) Procure a jar of Nutella, a spoon, and some comfy pj pants and sit
5) Imagine these children you love being captive, in a small room, all day with a tired, cranky, pms'ing teacher who feels underpaid, overworked, and is ready for it to be summer break. Imagine what they would be learning there.
If that doesn't help, I would reiterate that you might be doing the homeschool thing wrong, because it shouldn't be an ongoing stressful, yelling, wrestling match each day.

(Now if you are one of my amazing educator friends, with a classroom of blessed kids who get to learn from you - do not take offense to this, you can of course, but don't. This is comfort for a mom who is doubting her ability to do this homeschooling job 24/7. I think most of you would admit that even the best traditional school teachers have bad days, don't feel good, PMS, have personal stress, self doubt and frustration. It's just about saying that a bad day home for us, is not that different than a day at school where the teachers is having a bad day.)

Homeschool throwback

--originally posted in June 2009--

Taylor turned in her summer reading list.

She wants to read all of Shakespeare's Sonnets (120+) as well as Twelfth Night
about 6 Agatha Christie Novels and two more novels by Jane Austen.

These are her favorite authors, and she has already jumped in with both feet. So summer is well under way.

I used to require a book at all times but once they discover the love of literature it's not necessary to require it. The desire requires it.

Reading is the one constant on the privilege ladder as well, the one thing they can never lose.

A long wonderful day is ahead of me. A day where I can work and play, relax and enjoy my family. I'll feed Horton, do laundry, make some SimplyFun calls, catch up with old friends, and cook for family. What a joy it is to be able to feed them again. Feels like me.

Man, I was really a good mom. I'm a good mom now too I guess, but wow when I think back to what we've done - all we've done - I know I did a good job. I miss being awesome. There was a time I was really awesome and hot. I used to be hot too.

Today, today is here, I feel good, coffee is hot the house is being rediscovered and my baby bird Horton is alive. Check back in tonight :)

Truth is hard.

I really love when people ask thoughtful, piercing questions about the Catholic Faith. Today the question was True or False, the Catholic Church will not marry a couple when one of the people is impotent?


I'm linking a great article about the subject. Before commenting read it please. When I think of the reality for a person on this teaching, I can understand how it feels unfair. After all, this teaching, all the teachings on marriage have an actual effect on a real thinking, feeling person who wants to be married.

The Church, and myself personally am not without compassion for the hardship and the pain this might well cause. I promise, I get it. As someone who was not allowed to marry in the Catholic Church for 5 long years as I awaited a verdict on my annulment I have experienced the anger, frustration and the sense of injustice and judgment, this causes.

What I had to begin to process is why the Church teaches this? I can't begin to do this process for you, and I will not spoon feed it to you either. But here are some things to question and consider.

Why is it even necessary for a Church to teach anything, why not just allow people to figure it out and live according to their own conscience? 

If a Church professes the Bible as an authority, and belief in God and His Word as truth, then it must teach about how those truths call us to live. The Bible calls us to Holiness, and to live justly. There is nothing we will encounter in life that is not addressed in the Bible and by the Catholic Church. Christ did not come and die for us, only to abandon us to our understandings and our own judgment. He did not die in vain. The Church carries the burden of imparting all these teachings so that we might live in accordance with God's plan, Christ's teachings, and the teachings of the Apostles He gave us to lead until He returns.

Why does the Church have to teach about marriage?

If marriage were not important then what the Church teaches about it, wouldn't cause so much uproar. It causes an uproar because it matters. It is precisely because it IS so important the Church must teach about what it is, and what it is not.

Marriage can not be undervalued. It cannot be redefined, because it has been defined already by God. Marriage is indisoluble. A valid, sacramental marriage can never be divorced. A marriage exist between a man and a woman, and among other things, the marriage must be consummated. Consummated by the physical act of intercourse. Note that this is not any ol' sexual action, it is not about gratification, it is about intercourse that exists in the bonds of marriage between a man and a woman. It is an act, a physical act of sacrifice. It is life giving.

So much about the Church teaching is misunderstood as being mean or hateful. It is simply not true. It isn't about one person, it's about the Sacrament, a sacrament which requires a physical act of self giving love to be valid and sealed.

Marriage, is the cornerstone of all society. Marriage protects women, children and calls men and women to love, sacrifice and fidelity. Children raised in faithful, intact, happy families have the very best chance of finding Christ and eternal life through Him.

Our feelings are not the goal. Our emotions are not the goal. Political agendas are not the goal. The only goal must be eternal life in Christ. If you are a Christian, this defines how you live your life, and it is your only hope.

A Church that does not hold firm to the truth, and teach it in it's fullness and wholeness, in compassion but compassion does not change the truth. It can impact how it is communicated, and conveyed but it can never alter was is.

Consistency is important to consider when you are discerning a church in my opinion. If a Church picks and chooses what it likes from the Bible, it is not teaching the fullness of truth, it may well be teaching a portion of it but we need the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Lies of omission are still lies when your children fails to tell you something, yes? We must require this of our Church as well.

The Church teaches about how we are called to prepare for marriage, and how we are to live within marriage in grave detail. Why grave detail? Because we are fallen human beings. We do everything we can to excuse the sin in our lives. We cut ourselves so much slack to our demise. Those who want to live righteous lives and grow in Holiness need direction. The Church is there to provide it.

What if as people we were more concerned about Holiness than our feelings? What if we were more concerned with rooting sin (as it is defined by God through His Word and the teachings of the Church) and less concerned with finding ways around truth to get what we want?

What would this world look like?

Here is the link I promised. So much to ponder and consider as we journey toward Holiness in Truth.


Socialization? What an original question.

Matt Walsh had a fantastic blog post in response to a disgruntled reader who put forth to problems with homeschooling. His first issue, which was just ridiculous, was that we should be helping the system by placing our kids in it. Yeah, I didn't make that up. His second issue, is so completely original I feel compelled to respond to it, at least one more time. 

What about Socialization?

If socialization is the Holy Grail of education, the school systems are failing at this as miserably as every other area. C'mon really? We have to have this discussion again?! Bullying, suicide, teens on anti-depressants, promiscuity, cutting, drugs, drinking, beating down people on school buses... this is socialized behavior? Perhaps, one definition of socializing is to learn the acceptable behavior of a group, or community and learn to conform to that behavior. Maybe they really are learning to "fit in"?

You can hardly blame homeschool parents for wanting to raise children to conform to other socially accepted norms, like kindness, sharing, cleanliness, safety, forgiveness, following laws.

Consider this. 

Where in your entire life are you surrounded 9 hours a day by people who were born in the same 14 month period of time as you? 

Or is it more likely that you spend your life with people of all ages, backgrounds, nationalities, religions, creeds, and opinions about Neil Diamond? 

If life is going to be diverse and you need to learn to befriend and engage with people of all ages then it would seem to follow that the best socialization preparation would include a life that models the future. A real life, a life at home, in the real world 24/7.

Unfortunately public schooling forces kids into a petri dish of the peers and many kids turn into Lord of the Flies 2.0 

Ironically, successful public school kids, have something in common with homeschool kids. Parents who volunteer with their kids, who engage in Scouting, Church, Mission work, Drama Club, Band, Sports and activities. In those places the children are engaged with people of all kinds and ages. It is really there their true productive, healthy socializing occurs. 

As homeschoolers, our entire life is lived like this, not just evenings, weekends and summers but all the time. 

Once and for all, can we stick a fork in the "homeschoolers lack socialization" argument?

... I know, this is not the end of it. I might as well stick the fork in my eye. 

Some men still slay dragons

This afternoon, I am working in my home. Answering questions and handling a couple matters for our son who is about to graduate in a few weeks and return home school. I'm taking our youngest son to meet a friend and swim. Cleaning house, and working on our bathroom. Doing basically, whatever I want, whatever needs doing as I see fit.

I am provided this amazing freedom as a precious gift of love received from my very own hero, my knight in shining armor.

Each day he slays dragons, he protects us and provides for me and for the family we've created. He doesn't love his job. Some days he doesn't even like it. This is not the dream he dreamt as a boy for his life. It's exhausting, lives depend on him, it's stressful, and it taxes his spirit daily. But he suits up each morning and I kiss him good-bye.

Some men, still slay dragons to protect their wives and children. Some men still lay down their lives for their bride, every single day, dying to their own wishes, their fears, and anxieties to go into battle.

Everything he has done over these 16+ years is nothing short of heroic. Military, deployments, war, education, sacrifice. These may not have scales but believe me they can breathe fire, and they frighten many lesser men into submission. Not my man. He acts in spite of fear, the mark of true bravery.

He would give me everything. Every thing on the face of the earth and the moon itself if he could lasso it. He wants me to never worry, never be sad, or tired, or sick. He wants to take it all upon himself. He doesn't care if I work so long as it is because it is the desire of my heart and not for survival. He supports my every desire, whim, and eccentricity.

I am his bride. He is my husband. I am abundantly blessed by God's gift of this man. Steven, you are my hero my love. I pray when you come home it is a place of rest, renewal, love, comfort, and joy. I hope you feel my arms around you, my love surround you and my prayers carrying you until you return to me.

Trust your mom?

This past week, William asked a question about some Geometry he was working on. It was the first page in a 4-5 page lesson. I sat with him and began to explain all the kinds of elements, line segments, rays, angles, and such. It was way more information than his question involved. He turned the page and it was information I had just explained. The next page, more of what I had gone over and he realized I had taught the entire lesson, from my own knowledge base.

It was a good moment. I saw admiration in his eyes and a fresh surge of confidence in his mom. I am so honored by the faith and trust my children have in me. When we withdrew our oldest from school, the first week, maybe two, I got a bit of "mom, you don't understand". Now in all truth, this particular child is kind of know it all by nature. It wasn't long, not long at all, and my kiddo had decided that he trusted me.

My daughter always put up a good front, strong, spirited and proud, she wanted all her accomplishments to be her own and she didn't like to give me much credit along the way or in the moment. But the end of the day, the week and at totally random times she would flood me with love and gratitude. Sometimes in love and words, sometimes in crayon notes and pictures.

All in all, when they finished school, they had gained a genuine respect for the ol' mom. They could learn from me all these things just as easily as they had learned everything else in their life, with my help from time to time.

Maybe I can help with Geometry because it was one of my favorite subjects. Maybe because I've taught it twice already. Or maybe because I just know it and it's logical. Either way, sitting at the table and talking with him, as we went over it, was just another wonderful marker on this journey reminding me how very much I love my choice to homeschool, beginning to end.

When does school start?


Questions like when do we start school, when do you take breaks and such really should be left to our traditional schooled friends. As home schoolers, it never ends. Oh I know this is just part of the language we are all so familiar with, it's nearly impossible to break every vestige of our school mindset but it is at least worth considering.

My husband always tells the kids, words matter.

When we say to our children we are going to "start school" on Monday or next week, whatever, you are subtlety conveying to them that school is something you stop and start. I bet my cheeseburger every one of us who has said this, would also say, we want to raise lifelong learners! Doesn't it seem contradictory? Lifelong learning in a school that stops and starts?

So then, aren't these two things incompatible?

This thinking and the verbiage that accompanies it, is wise to reconsider and evaluate. Have you thought about why children might shrug, or complain or bemoan doing their schoolwork by about October? Could it be that these subtle cues have carved out "school" as something separate from life, separate from learning? Something that has an end?

The same consideration might also be wise to apply to the concept of a separate school room. Don't get me wrong, I am not opposed to space in the home that is designated for organization, projects, and so forth. What I would caution you about is what you call it, how you view it and how you present it. The school room, in homeschool often becomes not very different than school. As kindergarteners they are thrilled to go to school. But by the third grade the shine is off that penny. This is what happens in a home school room as well.

It's the paradigm that must be shifted and these little cues that we send our children establish tones, routines, and expectations.

Consider calling it your family workspace, or the learning clubhouse, or even the family library.

Those labels school, classroom have meaning in our children lives. They have friends (because contrary to popular belief, they are social) and they hear what their friends think about school, and classrooms and teachers, and the whole enchilada.

They will default to the meanings those words widely hold, not to the redefinition of them you are trying to create.

Dump that language. It's a crucial part of de-schooling.

If school is learning, then does it make any sense to tell your kids, we are going to start learning next week? Of course not.

#homeschool, #school