“Back-to-Homeschool” 2021 Special; a post packed w/ help, hacks, + resources!

Hey Homeschool Mamas and Papas! Is it that time of year again already? We’re still summering strong over here with two more weeks to go on our Skill School Series and adventuring in the mountains, but we’re also starting to think about fall and what our next year of Homeschooling will look like. If you also have “Back-to-Homeschool” on the brain, today’s post is for you!

Something magical happens when Homeschool parents share their secrets with each other. I’ve devoted years of my adult life to pouring over education and homeschooling literature, and yet . . . whenever I get together with another homeschool mama I learn something truly amazing from her! I have no doubts that if I stepped in on your homeschool day, I’d carry home with me something fresh, new, and simply delightful to give a try. Our community is filled with truly amazing people, wouldn’t you agree? Each of us Homeschooling parents has assembled our own bag of tricks during our time in the trenches, so let’s undo the drawstrings and spill the contents we’ve collected out for each other! We’ll all be stronger and/or more rested for it 😆 , and we’ll certainly grow more connected as a community.

So here I go spilling my bag of tricks today! I’ve put together this special compilation of what I believe to be some of our most helpful and inspirational Homeschooling posts thus far on the blog, and my hope is that at least one of them will contribute to making this your best Homeschool year yet! I’ve included a wide range of content in the hopes that each one of you will be able to find a post that meets you where you are at —whether first-time Homeschool parent (congratulations!) or veteran Homeschool rock star (applause)!

Cheers to the beautiful, inspired, blessed Homeschool year ahead! You are truly amazing! 💜


A Place in SPACE and TIME for Homeschool

If you have the space and want to put together an adorable, quaint Homeschool Room, go for it! Especially if bunting is involved. It will be, at the very least, incredibly useful for housing all of the Homeschool materials. But if you don’t have the space or time to create an entire school room, no sweat! Regardless of whether you have an entire room to designate for Homeschool, or whether you are carving out space in the main living area(s), the end-goal is virtually the same: find a place for everything to “live” and create inviting and cozy areas and corners for various activities/contents. And to help you do that, today we’re sharing with you all our tips for creating the space and time for Homeschooling according to your family’s education style!

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Homeschool Hacks; Sanity-Saving Secrets for the Homeschool Family

We have to remember, Homeschooling (and parenting in general) is a MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT. So, we have to pace ourselves!! For me, this means limiting myself to no more than ONE amazing, super cool, Pinterest-worthy school activity on the same day. In addition, I have discovered some HOMESCHOOL HACKS along ~Our Holistic Homeschool~ Journey that have vastly improved our family’s experience. 

So here it is! My list of SANITY-SAVING HOMESCHOOL HACKS, so you and your kids can survive and thrive (hopefully at the same time).

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From “TEACHER” to “KEEPER”; Freeing Ourselves to Facilitate in Our Homeschools!

“You’re so lucky you were a teacher before you started Homeschooling!”

“I could never teach.”

“I’m not patient enough.”

“I would bore my kids to tears.”

“It sounds exhausting.”

“I feel like I’d be a bad Homeschool parent.”

These are some of the most common phrases I hear from “Suddenly-Homeschool-Parents” and “Considering-Homeschool-Parents” alike. It makes me sad when I hear these remarks because parents are so hard on themselves! (As if none of us ever had a teacher who “couldn’t teach” or who “bored us to tears” or who was more or less a “bad teacher.”) Overall, I think that there are some big misconceptions as to what we Homeschool parents actually do! Or at least in regards to THIS Homeschool parent (eh-hem) and others like me. So, I want to take this post to spread a little light on what it is that I actually do each day as a Homeschool mama. Spoiler alert: I don’t actually spend much of my time teaching.

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Why Our Family LOVES Year-Round Homeschool!

ALL YEAR . . . school?? Sounds pretty awful, right? For most of us, I think the idea of Summer School (ick!) and All-Year-School alike evoke a prison-like image in our mind’s eye. We see sad, weary kids kept inside, practically chained to their desks, week after week, month after month, year after year. And then adulthood begins.

While this may very well hold true for *traditional* Summer School, the reality of Year-Round-School (at least Year-Round-Homeschool) is often quite the reverse! An around-the-calendar schedule often offers more flexibility, more freedom, more calm, and more joy than the standard nine-month model.

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Creating Your Family’s Personalized Homeschool Schedule + Lesson Plans

Too many options . . .

too much flexibility . . .

too much freedom . . .

You’ve heard of “First World Problems”? Well, these are “Homeschool Family Problems.” You may recall from my freedom paradox rant in my previous post (What’s your family’s HOMESCHOOL STYLE?) how having so many choices as a new Homeschool parent can be at first wonderfully refreshing and exhilarating . . . and then suddenly completely overwhelming and crippling. Finding a Homeschool balance for scheduling and lesson planning is a tight-rope sort of enterprise.

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10 Super Simple Homeschool Habits that Save My Butt on a Daily Basis

It’s the little things, right? When our Homeschool day unravels, it’s usually because a bunch of little things went wrong . . . often the stupidly simple things that just slipped my mind. We Homeschool parents are the conductors of this dance, after all! Whether it’s a waltz, a cha-cha, or a rave . . . well, that depends on us! We have to learn to Homeschool like Bee-Keepers; preparing a conducive environment with the proper mood and pace for our little bees to thrive. And a big part of that for me is making a habit of KEEPING IT SIMPLE, STUPID!

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“SLOW START” the Homeschool Day; a 2-Part Series

I believe mornings should be the most intentional time of day. For one thing, mornings are beautiful. God’s mercies are new every morning, and it’s wonderful when we can take a few minutes to appreciate the miraculous beauty of the new day He has given us. For another thing, mornings are powerful. The way we choose to spend our morning sets the course for our entire day, which . . . if you think about it . . . ends up determining the course for our entire life, or shapes our child’s very future! But unfortunately, mornings (especially school mornings) are often the most hurried and harried time of day, leaving precious little opportunity for an intentional and inspired start.

Perhaps your Homeschool mornings have become hectic like for so many families . If so, I invite you to join us in taking back our mornings! Join us in choosing slow, so that we have the time, energy, and presence of mind to cultivate calm, connection, and creativity in our Homeschool journeys.

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In the noble effort to give our children every opportunityto set them up for a bright future and successful adulthoodwe take from them time for breath and beauty. We rob them of childhood. The chance to go and grow at their own unique pace. The chance to slowly, over time, become deeply rooted, deeply watered, abundant and flourishing.

And then there’s school. Standard education is often a childhood hothouse . . . a factory farm . . . a trans-curricular bullet train. Our children frequently become numbers on a sheet; slaves to a system obsessed with scores, achievement, and benchmarks. It’s a system of quantity over quality, destination over delight. And there is rarely time to pause, celebrate, or enjoy.

Too often we Homeschool families also adopt a home version of this rat-race education model. We too get caught up in more, better, faster; the lure of “accelerated learning.” Feeding the mind becomes our consuming focus, and we often forget to nourish the body and spirit with the same level of conviction.

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Confessions of a Real-Life Homeschool Mama

Image result for home alone mom

We’re all on this crazy Homeschool train together, and we parents often have as much to learn as our kids do! So, today’s post is a therapy post, baby! I’m fessing up; sharing with you every raw truth I could think of about my daily life as a Homeschool mama . . . including the ones I’m not super proud of. So, brew yourself a cup of tea or coffee, laugh with (or at) me, and nod along as we all join in on a collective “Yup! Been there sister!”

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A Sample “Soft-Schooled” Homeschool Day with “The Secret Three”

We’d planned to do our regular lessons this past Monday, but our son had a different idea. He had just got a lovely vintage reader that Grandma recommended called “The Secret Three” by Mildred Myrick (out of print, but available used on thriftbooks). One glance at the cover and he was enraptured. I told him he could try to read a few pages to himself while I did my morning yoga, and he took the challenge. He wrapped himself up in a Mexican blanket, flopped onto the couch, and read the whole thing in one go.

This is a big milestone in our Homeschooling; it marks the first time that our boy has tackled a reader cover to cover, all on his own. And I know exactly why he was able to do it, too. Because he’d glanced through the pages first and informed me in a yelling whisper (little sister was still sleeping) that there were three boys, a beach, lots of shells, messages in bottles, secret codes, boats, a lighthouse, and a sea turtle! All in one book. In other words, it was just too good not to read.

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Solving the CURRICULUM CONUNDRUM; a 3-Part Series

My first shock as a just-out-of-college “Suddenly-School-Teacher” was CURRICULUM. Mostly because . . . I didn’t have any! The school budget had been cut and 7th & 8th grade Reading and Writing Curriculum was somehow among those items that had been deemed of lesser importance. Not surprising—why would reading and writing be considered important?

I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t afford to buy curriculum out of pocket —I was just out of college and broke! But I couldn’t just . . . not teach. There were students who were suddenly-sitting in my suddenly-classroom with my name suddenly on the door. So, I did the only thing there was to do: I went DIY.

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How to find a good curriculum among all the madness? And what to do if the curriculum you want is currently out of stock? Is it better just to take a deep breath, roll up our sleeves and go DIY? I’ve done my absolute best to help all of us in answering that question today.

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It became apparent to me a few months ago that our Homeschool journey could really benefit from a compromise. Up until this year, I have never purchased an actual teaching curriculum for our son. The first few years of his education have almost entirely consisted of tray materials/manipulatives, lots of play, lots of art, and an incredible pile of books. But this year, we have decided to make a small change. We are purchasing a curriculum that will “supplement” what we already do. 

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Happy “Back-to-Homeschool!” Let’s Homeschool ON, and Homeschool STRONG! 💜

Thanks for reading!

Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~

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