*This giveaway has ended. Winners to be announced shortly.*
This summer I was a part of an ebook project that I wish I could have read when I first began homeschooling.
"You can do it too: 25 homeschool families share their stories" is the brainchild of Lorilee Lippincott, who blogs at Loving Simple Living. Along with her family’s journey to minimalism and simplicity in their lives, she is also passionate about encouraging families that homeschooling isn't as daunting as it might seem.
Knowing just how different every homeschool family looks and functions, she chose 25 very different, very average families to share answers to a series of questions. What I love about the end result is that there is something here to help and encourage anyone, whether your children are 5 or 15, whether you’ve been homeschooling for 7 years or are just thinking about starting out.
Each family answered 26 questions including:
- What does your typical school day look like?
- Do you follow a specific curriculum or method? What and why?
- Are there specific challenges you face with home schooling? (physical, legal, family)
- Have you thought about quitting before? Why and what changed your mind?
- How much time to you spend preparing lessons? Have you learned any tricks to plan better?
- What do you see as the biggest misconception that people have when they think of home schooling?
- Why do you keep home schooling? Is it different than why you started?
- If you could tell someone thinking about starting home schooling one thing, what would it be? or what about someone feeling burned out and unsure they can continue?
Best of all, there are no right or wrong answers, and this doesn't read like a how-to book. It's regular families talking about their everyday lives as homeschoolers. Ups and downs, victories and struggles, good days, bad days and all the in-between days. Real life stuff.
To give you just a little sneak peek, I thought I would share a couple of my own answers from the book…
Are you worried about socialization? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. In fact, I'm grateful that my children are avoiding the negative socialization that they would receive in a classroom or school playground! Think back to your own school years… what was your socialization experience really like? My public school experience included learning about things I wasn't mature or old enough to handle (sex, alcohol, etc.) struggling with peer pressure to be disrespectful to teachers or to make fun of other kids, being left out and feeling emotionally crushed, being concerned with being cool and popular and adapting to the current trends and fads, and ultimately prioritizing my relationships with my peers above my family. Need I go on? My experience is NOT uncommon. Is this the type of socialization that we are worried about our kids missing out on?
By keeping my children home with me, there are plenty of opportunities for positive socialization. They are learning to love and appreciate their siblings, to be a part of our family and do their part through chores and other acts of service, and how to obey and respect their parents. I am able to supervise the great majority of their social interactions with other children and I can carefully choose ones with children that I feel will be positive friends and playmates, that will encourage and build up my children rather than drag them down. My kids have a lot of adult interaction, and because they are not so influenced by their peers, they are learning how to speak both respectfully and also intelligently to adults (rather than being one of those kids who answers in one-word sentences while looking down at the ground). My children are less dependent on peer, age-based groups, and are happy to play with children that are both older and younger than they are. I can guard their exposure to things beyond their understanding and maturity levels, and be there to talk through the things that we may hear in a song or watch in a movie or read in a book-- I don't have to wonder how they will internalize these new ideas, because I am right there to discuss it with them.
After 3 years of homeschooling, my oldest is an articulate, fun, engaging and confident little girl, who makes friends easily anywhere that she goes. Other adults frequently comment on how polite she is and how well she engages in conversation with them. My daughter isn't a superstar (well, I'd like to think so, but I'm a little biased!). In fact, I've known plenty of other (older) home schooled kids and teens who also exemplify these wonderful traits, which I believe is a direct result of homeschool-style socialization.
What are your concerns with home schooling now? Are they different than when you started?
Recently, my husband and I have gone back and forth, weighing the decision of whether or not to enrol in our province's government-funded homeschool program (you still choose what and how you want to teach, but you receive money for purchasing curriculum and are then held accountable to a teacher who checks in on your progress, gives reports cards, and ensures that you meet up with the grade level requirements). Our other option was to simply forfeit the money that we have been receiving and go it alone. After much consideration, we've decided not to enrol, and it's a decision I feel very satisfied with. Every state and province is different in what it requires of homeschooling parents, and over the years I have recognized that I am a better homeschooler and that I am more focused on our family's goals (as opposed to the outside requirements and expectations of others) when I have no one to be accountable to but myself, my husband and the Lord.
My biggest challenge in it all is learning how to balance academic study with the other aspects of developing our children (love for God, character, responsibility, etc.) as well as nurturing a creative and inspiring environment. In other words, my concern is that I would use these years and months and days wisely, knowing what to focus on in each season, so that our family can reap the rewards of a job well done. I don't want to spit out children that conform to the mediocre standards of a government-sponsored education system which I have chosen to opt out of. Doesn't that defeat the purpose? Instead, I want to give my children something far superior, and therein lies the challenge… knowing what is superior and what is worth our time and energy and then figuring out how to do it. My concern with homeschooling these days is knowing how to provide my children with a truly excellent education.
When I first began, I don't think I honestly knew what to concern myself with. I wondered how I would choose and afford curriculum, and if my kids would listen to me, and could I actually teach them as well as someone else. I wondered if I had the patience, and how our extended family and friends would react, and all of those other things that parents worry about when they first start. Now, I've stopped worrying about all of that and started to worry about the actual substance of what I do and why I do it. I'm not concerned with what others think but only concerned about being faithful to my task.
Taken from my interview in the book You can do it too: 25 homeschooling families share their stories
How to get your copy
"You can do it too" is available here for $9.99. The PDF version that I'm currently reading is a meaty 253 pages, so it's a full length book.
Or, you could win a copy...
I'm going to run this as a simple, 24-hour giveaway for 3 copies.
To get entered, all you have to do is leave a comment telling me either:
a) Why you homeschool and one thing you love about it
b) Why you're considering homeschooling (if you don't yet) and one question that you have
That's it. As my 7 year old daughter would say, easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy. :)
Giveaway ends Wednesday, August 29th at 9am (ok, so it's technically a 30-hour giveaway, but I'm not crawling out of bed at 3am to end it :). Giveaway has now ended. Thanks, everyone!