A speaker at a spring homeschool conference encouraged me to think about what is driving my homeschool. You wanna know what I was told?
Most homeschool mamas are driven by the homeschool mama needs.
So she asked, what is the reason that you homeschool?
This is a question that we need to know how to answer: what is the reason that you homeschool?
Or so we assume. What is the reason that you homeschool?
We might answer…
- for freedom
- we want our kids to have an individualized education
- our child shouldn’t be bullied anymore
- a child is not having their needs met in a school
- we don’t want to lose time with our kids when their childhood is fleeting
The conference speaker had me thinking though. Perhaps, these aren’t the deepest reasons why we want to homeschool.
This conference speaker suggested that our needs are propelling how we approach our children’s education.
Kinda natural to be motivated by our needs: our baseline is ourselves. We understand the world through our own eyes.
We have to watch awfully close at how our children function, and what they might value, to consider what they need.
As a homeschool mama, I needed Shakespeare.
I generally disliked him in high school. For decades, I couldn’t understand why one would read suicidal/homicidal tales from England.
I get it now.
It’s not about homicide or suicide. It’s about human drives of jealousy, love, ambition, and cleverly spun tales. Shakespeare spins a tale like, well, Shakespeare. There’s a reason we know him 600 years later.
My kids tell me to “keep going, mom” when I close Charles and Mary Lamb’s version of Shakespeare’s Tales, though one of them prefers the Diary of a Wimpy Kidseries, another prefers Pippi Longstocking or Owls in the Family, and one kiddo prefers his Minecraft Planning book. But I brought in Shakespeare because I wanted to learn what I missed.
What form does my learning often take?
I love to read out loud, with my kids cuddled in blankets at nine in the morning in our pajamas. This does not run counter to my kiddo’s preferences. They simply wouldn’t do it as often as I would.
One of them would just as gladly burrow in her room and read to herself. She loves reading — genetics and world history and murder mysteries and anything John Green. She can do it for hours and her independent streak is eager to do it by herself. Another child prefers reading on her own because she understands better when she reads it herself.
But for me? I am auditory. So we tend to read things together aloud.
What is an education anyway? The learning needs to focus on the learner.
My need for quiet and perpetual peace interferes with my homeschool reality.
How do I process my children’s frustrations and complaints on days when I need quiet? Not always well. I have had to bite my….nose…somedays, just to refrain from overreacting to complainy clamour.
Yet I know that kids need to be heard: their frustrations, complaints, requests, and joys (and they need to be taught HOW to communicate them). When all of their frustrations, complaints, requests, and joys are heard, they learn to communicate in a way that can be understood and learn how to understand others.
Sometimes they need loud, mad dashing around the playground equipment playing grounders or creating videos with their songs and dances. But I sure don’t. So my tendency is to play quiet games, watch documentaries, go for walks, cook together, or engage in another readaloud.
So I must balance my needs with their needs.
Are my needs unimportant in our homeschool days? Well, no. (Although it’s easy to say, yes, I don’t matter at all. My needs should be put on hold for twenty years, forty hours a week.)
How can I help them get what they need so they can learn?
Usually, it comes in the form of the “L” word. It’s simple and inexpensive. It simply requires paying attention and LISTENING. Listen to their frustrations, listen to their drives, and listen to their needs.
So I continue to learn to balance my needs with my kids’ needs, so I can homeschool for them and for me.
So what is the reason that you homeschool now?
Big Emotions Journal for the Homeschool Mom
Introducing the Homeschool Mama’s Toolbox, a set of resources designed to help homeschooling mothers deal with big emotions and specifically address their thoughts. Your brain and thoughts are important tools that need to be regularly sharpened, and the Toolbox is here to help you do just that.
Incorporating mindfulness practices into your homeschool is one of the most effective ways to separate yourself from your thoughts and be present. The Toolbox includes three questions from Dr. Amen, author of Change your Brain, Change your Life: What am I feeling? What is the thought behind my feeling? What is the story behind my thought? These are questions that you can practice regularly to get the most out of them.
The Toolbox also encourages a daily meditation practice to help you distance yourself from your thoughts and just be present. Guided meditations such as Guided Meditation on Controlling Negative Thoughts and Guided Meditation for Inner Peace & Calm can help you get started.
Additionally, the Toolbox offers a Thought Care Checklist to help you deal with challenging situations that may arise in your homeschool. By considering alternative perspectives, you can reframe your thoughts and deal with the situation in a more positive and constructive way.
With the Homeschool Mama’s Toolbox, you can learn to influence your thoughts and create a better reality for yourself and your family. Download the Toolbox today and start sharpening your tools!
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“to read out loud, with my kids cuddled in blankets at nine in the morning in our pajamas” oh paradise!
Balancing of needs. Yes, hard and so necessary.
Liked your thoughts.
I really like this post, especially the part about learning to love Shakespeare. (I like your blog in general!)
I’m a Princeton student interested in learning more about homeschooling and interdisciplinary learning. I wanted to tell you about theHOBMOB.com, a platform I am developing to increase this type of interaction online that I feel would be useful for homeschoolers.
Our mission is to spark meaningful discussions among people with similar passions. We want to transcend the superficial interactions that characterize social media and use technology to create longform, interdisciplinary conversations. theHOBMOB has 18 main interest pages, ranging from STEM to Music, and user-created sub interests. We have musicians sharing compositions, students discussing social justice movements, and kids talking about math puzzles, all in the same place!
HOBMOB member Susanna Olson was homeschooled throughout high school and taught a Cultural Geography homeschool class last summer. She created a subinterest called “180 Days Around the World” under theHOBMOB Travel page for her class. On the page, her students shared research about a different country every week. In turn, travel enthusiasts from all over the world engaged with them, sharing experiences and asking questions. I was inspired by her story and thought that theHOBMOB could be a useful platform for you and other homeschooling families too.
Best of luck on your journey, and I hope you find some use in the site as a learning tool for you and/or your children!
Thanks! I’ll have to look into that! Are you a pre-parent interested in home education?
This is timely😊 I’m a second-generation homeschooled so I have received plenty of advice, lots of free curriculum and activity ideas … And I prefer workbooks. So does one of my children, and the other is fine with them as long as art supplies are nearby. But this horrifies the other homeschoolers I know. Anyway, I agree with you. That was my point.
A thousand ways to skin a cat, they say. Who was ‘they’ & why were they skinning that cat anyway? Only one way to do homeschool: whatever works;)
I had a childhood crush on Michael J. Fox, too. 🙂
Did you kiss the screen when he came on?
Haha! I don’t think so. I still remember my favorite episodes of Family Ties though.
I much preferred the Back to the Future MJF–less ego. However, I ironically married a combination of both MJF, though 6’2 and dark haired.
I may or may not have…