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Guard Your Homeschool: Protecting Your Goals by Setting Boundaries

You are at home doing what you do, homeschooling your kids. Can you watch the neighbor’s kids for a couple hours every day until she gets home from work? Could you help out with your grandparents more? Could you teach a couple of extra classes at co-op tomorrow? When can you bring a meal to a friend who is a new mom? It’s nice to be helpful, right? But how are you going to get anything done after taking care of so many other needs? Let’s take a look at boundaries and homeschooling.

Just Sitting at Home

If you are getting asked to do a lot of extras for family or friends, they may have some misguided ideas about what homeschooling is really about. They may think you and the kids are just sitting at home only doing a couple hours of schoolwork here and there and have mostly free time. Maybe others envision you just at home and don’t consider all the things you are doing every day within your home. It might be time to explain the flow of your day and all of the demands that encompass you without ever stepping out the front door.

Goals

What are your goals for homeschooling? If you don’t have any set goals for educating your kids then it may not phase you to be on-call for your friends and family. However, I know that I have to be very careful to schedule my own errands and extra activities for after our regular homeschool work is completed each day or we will fall behind in only a matter of a couple of weeks. Do you always want to be meeting everyone else’s needs or meeting the educational goals for your kids? Afterall we are not just at home. We are at home and educating.

Emergencies and Balance

Yes, there is the occasional emergency that arises and teaching your kids how to handle those issues can be invaluable. With emergencies comes a need for balance and being in touch with the needs of your children and spouse. Recently my mother was in the hospital and I was spending time driving back and forth visiting her. It was necessary for me to be spending time at the hospital but once the initial crisis settled down, I realized I needed to connect with my own family, meet the needs at home, and get us back into balance.

Pleasing People

If you are a people-pleaser setting boundaries is challenging across the board. You have to keep ever before you the truth of homeschooling: YOU are the one responsible for the education of your children. They have to take priority over pleasing other people. Someone else can care for your neighbor’s kids. Yes, you can make a lovely meal for a friend and drive across town to deliver it. Or maybe you could send her a gift card for her favorite takeout place. Maybe there is a way to bless others without feeling the obligation to make them happy all the time.

It’s ok to help others. But it’s also important to keep your goals and ideals for homeschooling as priorities. Don’t feel guilty. Be intentional with your helpfulness and enjoy how good it feels to maintain healthy boundaries as you homeschool.

Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find  her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog sarahswritingcafe.blogspot.com and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.

The post Protect your homeschool goals by setting boundaries appeared first on Home School Facts.

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One of the best lessons I have learned as a parent lately was taken from a short lesson in our simple detective textbooks- you know those thin, little supplementary books you buy in a moment of weakness? Yep, one of those. My kids and I learned that one of the most effective questions a detective can ask is “why”. It’s a powerful little question that has the potential to open the most interesting boxes- or topics in conversation in my case. It’s came in handy recently, and I think I will try to start using it more often.

My kids are getting older and a simple distraction tactic no longer works when I need to get their minds off of something. Also the awareness of how other people do things is alive. I am glad my kids are seeing the pro and cons to how other families work, but I also need to be sure that we- as a family- are sticking to our values. Here is where the “for instance” comes into play.

When my girls were babies, I began watching the culture of family life around me. I observed how a wide variety of families functioned and, somewhere in that time, decided that I didn’t need to do things the same way everyone else did it and that we had to be intentional about the way we parented our kids. (This is when the homeschool conversations started between me and my husband, by the way.) In either a moment of ignorance or a second of wisdom, we decided that we wouldn’t do sleepovers- both attending or hosting. We have several reasons, which I could share about another time. But, my kids are older now and I have had to practice explaining the why’s behind our decision.

Most recently, one of my kids really wanted to have a sleepover. Thankfully, I was well rested and deeply caffeinated when the conversation arose because I needed to be on my A-game to handle this like an old pro. Before I reminded her of our family policy, I just asked her why. What was it about a sleepover that was so desirable? I was willing to listen to her ideas and reasons before I gave a blanket statement of decline.

After thinking for a few minutes, she came up with a list of things she imagined she liked about sleepovers… the pajamas, the nails, the breakfast with your friends, the extended hang out time, the movie, the pizza, the presents and snacks…. It all sounded so sweet and kind of Hollywood-ish. While I listened to her ideas, I began hoping I would come up with some kind of answer that pleased us both because her party dreams did sound fun. I suggested we have a day time, slumber party themed birthday party. Then, I was able to explain my idea more. We could start the party in the morning with a huge waffle bar, with homemade whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Then, head upstairs to a sleeping bag covered bedroom to watch a movie on the projector. Do nails, open presents, hang out for a good long time and just enjoy the company of friends. We could end the party with a late pizza lunch. Then all the kids are well rested the next day and the family schedule isn’t wrecked. All because I asked “why”.

As parents we should be prepared with our own answers to the “why” questions. And, if we don’t know our answers, we should do our research and figure out our stance on things. Establishing family values and maybe even a family mission statement is a helpful way to extract as much from our days and years as possible.

How have you practiced the asking of the “why” in your family?

Find out WHY families choose online curriculum from Global Student Network!

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.

The post The Power of Asking “Why?” appeared first on Home School Facts.

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Attend a Virtual Open House Sign Up To Attend

Join Global Student Network for our virtual open house.  At our open house, you will learn more about Global Student Network’s product offerings and how GSN can meet your individual homeschooling needs.  We will provide a brief overview of each curriculum and tips on how to choose the one that is right or your student.   You will learn the benefits of using GSN to meet your homeschooling needs, how GSN makes record keeping simple, how to choose your courses, and how to get started with GSN.  We will spend some time answering your questions and providing the information you need to homeschool with confidence. 

Click Here to Learn More

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But How Will Our Homeschoolers Socialize?!

I doubt there is a homeschooling parent who has not heard the following sentence from friends, family, and strangers when they mention they are homeschooling: “But how do you expect your child to socialize with other children?!” As a pastor myself, I always try to respond calmly and explain the many opportunities my son has for building his social skills outside of a school environment. Admittedly, there have been times when I just ask incredulously respond, “What on earth makes you think I lock my child in a dungeon all day and don’t let him communicate with anyone?” I do not recommend this response, however I do understand it…

This week, as I was catching up with a teacher of mine from when I was in school myself, she asked how I was doing and I said, “Busy. My six year old’s social calendar is fuller than mine.” She laughed and nodded, saying she understood as a mother of three herself. So far in the coming week, my son has church, two playdates scheduled, indoor soccer, swim lessons, and cub scouts – all with peers his own age. Beyond this, we will go to the library at least once and if there’s a nice day we will of course hit up a park or some other outdoor play space. My son is learning social skills by interacting with people in the “real world.” He talks to librarians, cashiers at the checkout line, bank tellers, my work colleagues, on top of all the peer interaction he gets throughout the week in environments where generally he gets to be his lovely, wild, six year old self. In cub scouts and soccer and swim and play groups he gets to socialize plenty and build appropriate peer interaction that is so crucial at this age. Sure, he needs some prompts from me – but what six year old doesn’t occasionally need the reminder to say please and thank you or to ask their friend what they would like to do?

As many homeschooling parents undoubtedly come to know early on, our learning does not only takes place at home when it is just my son and I. Our learning takes place all over … on cool field trips we get to take with our local homeschooling group, in the car as we practice spelling and reading road signs, at the grocery store working on a budget for “want” items versus “need” items, and at the playground with other children. And all of these learning opportunities are social opportunities as well, which has been a gift to us. He is being exposed to the world as it is; not only is he exposed to same age peers throughout the day but all kinds of people from all over the world, since we live in such a metropolitan area. Yes, we do some of our learning at home of course, but by no means is my homeschooled child suffering from a lack of social interaction. He is getting to explore the world and all its diversity of people throughout his day in truly wonderful and exciting ways!

Melanie Ollett is a mom of one joyful little boy whom she adopted from foster care in 2018. She lives on Long Island with her son, dog, and two cats who all insist on sleeping in her bed more nights than she really prefers. Melanie is the solo pastor of a United Methodist church in the New York Annual Conference, and loves working back home close to where she grew up with the support of friends and family to help support her crazy schedule. 

The post How Do Homeschoolers Socialize? appeared first on Home School Facts.

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I doubt there is a homeschooling parent who has not heard the following sentence from friends, family, and strangers when they mention they are homeschooling: “But how do you expect your child to socialize with other children?!” As a pastor myself, I always try to respond calmly and explain the many opportunities my son has for building his social skills outside of a school environment. Admittedly, there have been times when I just ask incredulously respond, “What on earth makes you think I lock my child in a dungeon all day and don’t let him communicate with anyone?” I do not recommend this response, however, I do understand it…

This week, as I was catching up with a teacher of mine from when I was in school myself, she asked how I was doing and I said, “Busy. My six-year old’s social calendar is fuller than mine.” She laughed and nodded, saying she understood as a mother of three herself. So far in the coming week, my son has the church, two playdates scheduled, indoor soccer, swim lessons, and cub scouts – all with peers his own age. Beyond this, we will go to the library at least once and if there’s a nice day we will, of course, hit up a park or some other outdoor play space. My son is learning social skills by interacting with people in the “real world.” He talks to librarians, cashiers at the checkout line, bank tellers, my work colleagues, on top of all the peer interaction he gets throughout the week in environments where generally he gets to be his lovely, wild, six-year-old self. In cub scouts and soccer and swim and playgroups, he gets to socialize plenty and build appropriate peer interaction that is so crucial at this age. Sure, he needs some prompts from me – but what six year old doesn’t occasionally need the reminder to say please and thank you or to ask their friend what they would like to do?

As many homeschooling parents undoubtedly come to know early on, our learning does not only takes place at home when it is just my son and I. Our learning takes place all over … on cool field trips we get to take with our local homeschooling group, in the car as we practice spelling and reading road signs, at the grocery store working on a budget for “want” items versus “need” items, and at the playground with other children. And all of these learning opportunities are social opportunities as well, which has been a gift to us. He is being exposed to the world as it is; not only is he exposed to same age peers throughout the day but all kinds of people from all over the world, since we live in such a metropolitan area. Yes, we do some of our learning at home of course, but by no means is my homeschooled child suffering from a lack of social interaction. He is getting to explore the world and all its diversity of people throughout his day in truly wonderful and exciting ways!

Melanie Ollett is a mom of one joyful little boy whom she adopted from foster care in 2018. She lives on Long Island with her son, dog, and two cats who all insist on sleeping in her bed more nights than she really prefers. Melanie is the solo pastor of a United Methodist church in the New York Annual Conference and loves working back home close to where she grew up with the support of friends and family to help support her crazy schedule.

The post But How Will Our Homeschoolers Socialize?! appeared first on Home School Facts.

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Cruise Control vs. Defensive Driving: Metaphor for my Current Season of Homeschooling

A recent long distance road trip provided an invaluable lesson for our homeschool season right now. I was driving a brand new rental car with all the bells and whistles. I was looking forward to using the fancy cruise control options, but traffic proved too heavy to take advantage of anything.

My big kids are middle schoolers now. When they were young, a veteran homeschooler encouraged me to keep going through the harder, younger season because it will soon get easier. It felt like the right kind of wisdom. Back then, they needed me for every worksheet and the early reading skills were so slow to develop. I thought that if I put the work in when they were little then I could switch to “homeschool cruise control” in future.

Nope. Not really. At all.

Maybe my veteran homeschool friend had a different breed of kids than I do, but I tried her way for a while and it simply didn’t work. Just as I thought I could list out the assignments for the day and walk away, things became really tough. The task of homeschooling was unpleasant for all of us.

When I thought back to why I was disengaging and assuming my kids were autonomous learners, I realized that even I don’t like to do big tasks alone. I dislike tackling that mountain of clothes to be folded or packing away a household full of Christmas decorations. Hard work can be super lonely if done without support. So, I made a focused effort to sit closer to my kids, stay engaged, offer support, slow the pace and help carry the weight of higher learning. This time in our homeschool career is a lot more like driving in heavy traffic at high speeds. I need to be alert and aware of everything around me. At any moment, hormones, hungry bellies, frustrated brains and, of course, the ever-distracting little brother, can knock us entirely off track for the day.

I can’t homeschool on cruise control.

It’s actually ok, really. The cruise control in my 13 year old SUV doesn’t work either and that requires me to stay more mentally engaged while driving longer distances. My right calf muscle gets a workout during car trips since it sees constant work. Cruise control is a nice tool to have, but it isn’t for my stage of life right now.

Have you noticed that your bigger kids need you more now than they did a few years ago? What ways have you found to stay supportive as they work hard to tackle these mountains of learning?

Looking for resources to support your current homeschool season? Global Student Network has a variety of online curriculum options. Test drive one today!

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.


The post Cruise Control vs Defensive Driving – A Homeschool Metaphor appeared first on Home School Facts.

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‘Twas the night before the first night of homeschool and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, save for a very nervous mother.

After over a year of my son struggling in school, after over a year of him being miserable every day and crying going onto the bus, I had finally made the decision to try homeschooling. I was exhausted from the constant phone calls, emails, and texts from school personnel. I couldn’t imagine how exhausted my son must have been from the real challenge of sitting still and staying focused for such long periods throughout the day, not to mention the actual learning taking place which was tiring enough! He was only in first grade, and he barely made it through each school day. It broke my heart. Finally, I decided to get over all my fears about becoming his teacher as well as his mother, and I sent in the paperwork to our school superintendent stating that I would be withdrawing him after Thanksgiving break. There was no going back.

I had spent a few months toying with the idea of homeschooling, trying to figure out the logistics of what it would entail for both my son and I; I am a single, working mom so it would require some major adjustments to both of our schedules. I had thought about what I was looking for in curriculum and what I would like him to learn. But taking the final plunge was admittedly terrifying. No one in my family had been homeschooled, in fact, some of my family were teachers. Some had mistaken notions like homeschoolers not being socialized and missing out on important educational opportunities. I had to spend over an hour being lambasted by school officials for my decision. I wish I could say that it was a sunny, rainbow-filled path that was easy for us both but it was not. However, I found peace knowing that I was doing exactly what my son needs at this moment in time. He needs me to advocate for him. He needed more freedom in his day and in his school curriculum than any traditional public school could provide. So, yes, everything was new and frightening but my son reminded me daily that I was making his life “so much better, Mom!”

‘Twas the night before homeschool, and as I tucked my son into bed he leaned in to hug me and said the words I never thought I would hear: “I can’t wait for school tomorrow!”

And when he woke up the next morning, he ran out of bed and excitedly shouted “Is it time to learn yet??”

By the first morning of homeschool, I wasn’t so nervous anymore.

Melanie Ollett is a mom of one joyful little boy whom she adopted from foster care in 2018. She lives on Long Island with her son, dog, and two cats who all insist on sleeping in her bed more nights than she really prefers. Melanie is the solo pastor of a United Methodist church in the New York Annual Conference and loves working back home close to where she grew up near friends and family to help support her crazy schedule.

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Homeschooling in Connecticut is rather easy and without constraint. Thanks to many wise people that defended our freedom to homeschool, there is little we have to worry about in regards to meeting state regulations.

Based on the data from the www.cthomeschoolnetwork.org, the Connecticut state law is as follows: “Sec. 10-184. Duties of parents. School attendance age requirements.

All parents and those who have the care of children shall bring them up in some lawful and honest employment and instruct them or cause them to be instructed in reading, writing, spelling, English grammar, geography, arithmetic and United States history and in citizenship, including a study of the town, state and federal governments.”[1] In layman’s terms, parents have to make sure their children receive an education and have the authority to decide with type of education is best for the child.

2018 proved to be a year that these regulations came into question as some in politics and the media attempted to make things much tougher for homeschoolers. Following the terrible tragedy of Sandy Hook in Newtown, CT in December of 2012, some people pointed to the shooter’s “homeschooling” as a way that his mental health was hidden. However, the shooter was not actually homeschooled; he was merely a “homebound” student of the public school. This began a short-lived conversation about the way homeschool families can potentially hide abuse or mental health problems from doctors or other professionals that might interject to help. A few individuals felt adding regulations to homeschooling families would help prevent this type of abuse. So far, not additional requirements have been added. One positive point of discussion that arose from these attempts for more regulation is that it caused more families to participate in peaceful protests and communicating with the government (writing letters and calling offices).

Despite the discussions at the capitol in Hartford, nothing has changed for homeschoolers. We still have extreme freedom to educate our kids in any way we see fit, as long as they are getting an education. Everywhere I look, I see and meet homeschoolers in my community. Also, in all types of non-homeschool-related clubs or activities that my kids are involved in, there are always other homeschoolers attending. Homeschooling is so popular and well received in Connecticut, that, as a parent, I seldom get strange or snobbish looks or responses from onlookers. Daytime homeschool activities and co-ops are so plentiful here in our state that entire weeks could easily fill up with outings. You will find all types of homeschoolers here – classical, Christian, secular, unschoolers, outschoolers, and all things in between.

[1] http://cthomeschoolnetwork.org/home-schooling/link-legal/ct-state-law-2/

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.

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When I think back to my 7th grade year, I cringe with moments of embarrassment and stress. I am always a little confused about the people that say they enjoyed middle school….how is that even possible? Now that my daughter is that age, I was interested to see if she was also feeling the same stress I felt even though she is homeschooled. Despite feeling like I know my kids pretty well, I did learn a little bit about her. Welcome to our short little conversation…

What school do you go to? I am homeschooled.

What is your favorite subject in school? I don’t really have a subject, but my favorites are math, history, writing and music.

What kind of music do you do? I play the piano and I normally sing.

What is your least favorite subject in school? I don’t really have a least favorite, but chemistry is kind of boring. So far, I only take notes.

Are you glad you homeschool? Yes.

Why? Because I get stressed easily and being homeschooled gives me….there is not a certain time I have to have things done. If I get stuck, I can take my time and figure it out.

What kinds of things stress you out? Like, if I am having a bad day, my brain gets stressed easily if I can’t figure something out. I don’t want to ask for help, so I get stressed.

Outside of school time, what is your favorite thing to do? I don’t really have a favorite thing to do, but some of them are building Legos, singing, art, soccer, anything that has a lot of imagination.

What do you want to be when you grow up? That is a hard question. I want to be a lot of things. I want to have albums, I want to be a Masterbuilder (Lego). I want to be a mom. There is just so much. I want to design Lego sets.

What is something you see your friends dealing with that you might not deal with? I see them getting stressed out from a hard day of school and I can tell they don’t feel their normal self because something bad happened that day.

What are your favorite books? I don’t have a favorite book. But I like Crenshaw and the Narnia series.

You have a totally free day. How would you like to spend it? I would like it to start with the Lego company calling me to build a Lego set. I would spend it singing without being told to stop. I would paint a little bit. I would read. Food, definitely food. I would have a little ice cream at the end of the day.

Would you go anywhere on your free day? I would go to the playground or a quiet place, like a museum or something, and just sit there and look up at the sky or at the paintings on the wall. And then I would imagine what it would be like if I was there [a part of the painted scene]. And if the Lego company actually called me, I would gather ideas from all around me.

What’s your favorite thing about being a 7th grader? I can do a lot more stuff. I have a bigger brain which means I am smarter and when I am writing, I get more ideas and it sounds smarter. I feel like some part of me has changed and is ready for a little more action.

What kind of action? I mean action like getting my comics published and it would be one of my great wishes.

People say that middle schoolers are hard to understand and hard to work with. Do you think that’s true? Well, sometimes it depends on the kind of person. If it’s a kind of kid that doesn’t pay attention, then they would be hard to work with. But it all depends on the personality of the child in middle school and if they are bored or not.

People say that middle school is the worst. Do you agree? I don’t think so. I know it’s tough to do the workload, but as long as you don’t quit, you will be fine. If you act a certain way, the whole thing will turn horrible.

Do you wish you had a locker? Kinda. A locker sounds cool.

What is the hardest word to spell? What word always stumps you when you try to spell it? Expectations.

…….

So, the interesting part of this interview is how relaxed my kid is despite living through a rapidly changing time in her life. She is fairly confident in who she is and only gets stressed by being rushed. I can work with that. I remain thankful that we are able to provide her with a relaxed learning environment. Lastly, as sure of herself as she is, it’s evident that she is still learning who she is by her responses that began with “I don’t really have a favorite…..” but then continue with a short list of her top picks. She makes me chuckle.

Have you ever interviewed your children beyond the popular beginning of the school year questions? I challenge you to steal five minutes and ask your kids a few questions. Their responses might surprise you!

Looking for resources for your middle school homeschool student?

Check out online curriculum from Global Student Network or electives from United Digital Learning.

How about an online school with teachers? Go to International Virtual Learning Academy.

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.

The post Interview with a 7th Grade Homeschooler appeared first on Home School Facts.

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