What should success look like in our homeschools?

I have the privilege of learning from so many homeschool mamas as I walk alongside them to encourage them & help them show up on purpose in their homeschools (& lives).

Tami Morrone and I chat about our goals for success in our homeschools.

Join me in welcoming Tami Morrone, Roots Before Petals writer and homeschool mama of 2 kiddos shares a sneak peek into her homeschool life and we discuss success in our homeschools.

Let me introduce you to the Reimagine your Homeschool group coaching program…

So let’s chat with Tami Morrone, Roots Before Petals writer and homeschool mama about success in our homeschools!

Tell me about you, homeschool mama…

My name is Tami Morrone. I live in Rhode Island, USA on a seven-acre hobby farm. We have chickens, sheep, an alpaca named Ernie, and an elderly Bernese Mountain Dog.

Oh yes, I also have two children, six and eight years old that we choose to school at home. We started homeschooling like many newcomers in 2020 as a “Covid-schooler,” but it was on my heart before that and the thoughts increased the moment we brought our son to his kindergarten orientation.

When they handed out little bags with the words Class of 2032 printed on them, the reality of a fleeting childhood struck deep.

However, I chalked it up to typical feelings during this phase of life, and sent him to school anyway. In March that year, due to school shutdowns, he began distance learning. But the increased sedentary screen time through Zoom was not working for him or our family.

So I spoke with his teacher, at that point I didn’t formally pull him from school; instead, we opted to complete assignments and teach his required material in our own way.

That June, we decided to formally pursue home learning.

What brought you to homeschooling?

Our first year, as many things were shut down, we were in a bit of survival mode, but also blessed to be able to escape the realities of a world during a pandemic.

We began to troubleshoot what we as a family deemed a good education.

Even with the initial roadblocks and bumps along the way, I knew this was the right path for us.

The next year, I wanted to give homeschool a full shot, knowing if we liked it without being able to enjoy things out of the house, we would only fall more in love when we incorporated library visits, co-op, museum days, volunteering opportunities, and all that the freedom had to offer.

Now we continue to homeschool because it offers us a lifestyle we wouldn’t have otherwise. It has connected us in ways I am eternally grateful for.

And it sustains childhood and wonder along the way.

Tami Morrone from Roots before Petals writer and her homeschool family

What’s been your greatest challenge in homeschooling?

My greatest challenge in homeschooling is ME.

On any given day, in any circumstance, when I look back on a struggle, it’s been me.

My expectations, an inflexible agenda, lack of self-care, ingrained schooling mentality, etc.

These things challenge homeschooling and peaceful parenting in general.

Deschooling myself is a work in progress, but it’s been a critical step in our journey. 

Tell me about your self-care strategies.

Aah. Self-care strategies.

I’m still developing these.

But I’ve come to the conclusion that for me, it has to be routine, or I’m prone to burnout.
  • One thing that I need is to wake up before my children.
  • Having a cup of coffee in the quiet of the morning allows me to start the day in the right headspace.
  • Moving my body is another really important method for me. I notice if I do not get enough exercise, I am more tired, and less patient.
  • In order to make time for this, I communicate this need with my husband and my children clearly.
  • Getting enough fresh air, even with my children, allows me to recharge as well, so everyday I include some connection with nature, even if for a short while. That looks like watering planters and our garden, standing barefoot in the grass, or going on an adventure, ice skating, tubing, and hiking.
Being with my children, almost 24-7, can be challenging, so I try to balance what I consider “outbreaths” and “inbreaths” throughout the day or week.

I look ahead and see if we have a busy few days, and prioritize time at home the other days. 

Reading before bed is another go-to for me. It helps me fall asleep. And I try to make sure I get enough sleep each night. 

Tell me about your favourite resources.

One of my favorite resources for homeschooling is the LIBRARY.

It is free, we can order any materials we need throughout the state and they will deliver them to our local library.

The librarians are so helpful as well.

You can find homeschool mama books too, like The Call of the Wild and Free and Brave Learner.

Another resource I love is podcasts. There are a plethora for homeschool parents and also children. I listen to Stark Raving Dad, Brave Writer, and Good Inside most frequently.

On car rides, or during quiet time, the boys love Little Stories for Tiny People, and Homeschool History.

For supplemental printables I frequent Teachers Pay Teachers and Homeschool Compass as well.

And although social media is often criticized, Instagram has been an eye opening source of inspiration and connection for me. (I do have to keep my screen time and comparisons in check though!) 

What do you love doing with your kids as a homeschool mama?

If we could do one thing everyday, it is read aloud. It is by far my favorite way to connect, relax, and discuss literature with the boys. We enjoy books in a series for many reasons.

For younger children, we enjoyed the Brambly Hedge Series and the Magic Tree House.

My 6 and 8-year-old couldn’t get enough of the Dimwood Forest series this year. We also recommend My Side of the Mountain, The Far Side of the Mountain, Frightful’s Mountain and the accompanying Frightful stories. We just started Tumtum and Nutmeg which are also adorable and have great vocabulary.

(Have you noticed there are a plethora of stories about mice?)

How do you find alone time?

Carving out alone time is something I continue to work on.

I realize though for me, it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just interjecting moments of quiet throughout the day helps me tremendously.

We frequently use quiet time/ rest time for the boys, especially if my husband is working overtime. They listen to podcasts or music while playing in their own rooms.

It gives us all a needed and expected break, knowing I have that time ahead of me helps me to stay present. If we aren’t home for the day, I can feel burnt out, so podcasts in the car help provide needed quiet for me as well.

I also allow the boys to play outside independently, which helps me recharge. And I make sure my husband knows via text during the day if I need a bigger break when he gets home from work. The boys also love Wild Kratts, so occasionally TV can provide me with planned alone time in the afternoons.

On the weekends, I try to plan at least one hour of alone time if possible as well. 

Homeschool Year End Review to enable success in our homeschools

Who are you beyond your homeschool mama identity?

Although my homeschool identity overlaps in many areas of my life, I’d say outside of it, I’m a hobby writer and gardener. I’m a friend, daughter, sister, and auntie. I’m a reader, a nature lover. I’m a bit of a dreamer; someone who thinks in analogies and imagines life to be a series of songs with a diverse soundtrack. 

Tell me about your homeschool philosophy.

My homeschool philosophy is eclectic.

We embrace home-based education, meaning we can do school anywhere and I’m not afraid to outsource if needed. We lean towards a seasonal, slow learning style. I look to the forecast to guide our plans and our dinner meals.

I gravitate towards the Brave Learner method, with an anchor in core subjects of reading (the science of reading), math, and writing. I embed science + social studies through experience, reading as much as possible, and unit studies.

Charlotte Mason schooling inspires me for its beauty and emphasis on nature and narration. And on top of that, some days it feels like we are unschooling. We have a rhythm and pretty predictable routine when we are home, but make space and time for free, child/interest-led learning and play. 

Reading aloud to my children is one of my favorite things to do when we are together.

I also love running, ice skating, hiking, bike riding, gardening, and painting. We also really enjoy going out to eat together. 

What advice do you have for other homeschool mamas?

My advice to a new homeschool mom is to always reflect back on your why (or many whys.)

If you keep the reasons you choose this path at the forefront, you tend to sweat the small stuff less. And when the going gets tough, take a break, but not in a “I am failing” way, more of a recharging, this is normal and we all need to reset fully kind-of-way.

(Also, delegate folding socks, or some other simple chore that does not bring joy. There is something for me about officially taking a task off of my plate.) 

What would you like in a homeschool mama retreat?

At a homeschool mama retreat, I would want time for movement and exercise.

I would enjoy open discussion time with informal starters/ prompts.

I would not want to be overscheduled. 

What has been your greatest source of overwhelm?


I’d say the greatest source of overwhelm for me is questioning if what I am doing is enough or the best fit for my child.

Comparison to others, particularly with my children’s writing/ spelling, is unsettling for me. I have a child with auditory processing and fine motor needs, among other learning challenges, and when I began to notice how it impacted him, I felt like I was doing something wrong.

Me, a former special education teacher, the person who loves him most in the world, felt overwhelmed at the notion that my methods were failing him.

I knew I was meeting him where he was, and tailoring instruction to his learning style, but it still concerned me. So I sought outside help and it was one of the best things I’ve done for us both. The overwhelm for me was exasperated by the feeling of being alone.

Asking for help and doing some research allowed me to take the weight off of my shoulders, which in turn, benefited my child as well. 

What have you done to deschool you and your homeschool family?

In order to deschool myself, which is a tall order because I have long been a people-pleasing, “good” student, who turned into an over-achieving elementary school teacher, I have to recognize it is a life-long endeavor.

There is no end goal, but instead a curiosity-based approach to thinking about what education means to us.

When I get sucked into the notion of “behind” or start to feel uneasy/stressed, I allow myself to get curious about the feelings and anxieties. It often leads back to the centralization of schooling in our lives.

The longer we embrace this home learning life, the farther away I stray from centering a traditional school approach.

I also reflect on the traditional approach and its inherent limitations. As with anything in life, what we set aside is replaced with something else.

We get to choose what adds value and purpose to our lives. And that to me is most important. 

We learn about ourselves as homeschool mamas.

Use a journaling workbook to get to know you better.

Develop a journaling practice to build self-awareness: How to Instill a Homeschool Mama Daily Affirmation Practice in your Morning Routine

Roots Before Petals writer, Tami Morrone, and homeschool mama & I discuss success in our homeschools and how we know we're successful.

What have you learned about you in this homeschool journey?

What have I learned about myself in this homeschool journey?

Well, what haven’t I learned?

  • I have learned I am more than what any grade, test score, or degree can ever measure.
  • I learned that joy in life is not about reaching milestones, but instead enjoying the process of aiming for them.
  • I have learned that my children are not meant to fill anyone’s unmet hopes and needs.
  • I have learned that it’s possible to not care what people think, and it feels better to do so.
  • I have learned that I am still learning.
  • I have learned I will not be perfect, and neither will my children, but as long as I am trying, I am growing. 

Where can we find you online?

If you want to see our home learning life in action, I often share parts of our day on my Instagram account @Rootsbeforepetals and longer pieces of writing on my blog www.rootsbeforepetals.com.

There I talk about all aspects of life, in a more poetic style, often using analogies to help me make sense of it all.

I also created an Etsy shop RootsBeforePetals a few years ago, where I sell hand-painted wooden learning manipulatives that I create for my boys and use at home regularly. 

What are last thoughts you’d like to share?

There is a quote I often refer back to, that I read in a children’s book when I was in eight. My father hung it in his workshop, and I think of it often: “To those who work gladly, work is as play. To those who work sadly, long is the day.”

Another favorite I can’t stop thinking of is from Dan Millman:

Children are not vessels to be filled, but candles to be lit. So are parents. So are we all.

The Parents Tao Che Ching

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Teresa Wiedrick

I help overwhelmed homeschool mamas shed what’s not working in their homeschool & life, so they can show up authentically, purposefully, and confidently in their homeschool & life.