The Power (and permission) to Slow Down

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Homeschooling high school can sometimes feel like jumping onto a moving treadmill. Everything counts, we’re told. And in truth, it mostly does. Feeling the weight of this (not to mention the unspoken but always present specter of post-secondary education and/or job prospects), our efforts at educating our teens can feel rushed, frantic— and more than a little stressful for all involved parties.

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Keep Calm and Don’t Quit

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Nearly every homeschooling mother I have ever met has admitted that February is her nemesis. Oh, plenty of times we stumble around trying to find the swing of January after the blessed break that is December. And yes, there’s the long, slow march that is April. But February? February pulls us under and leaves us slogging through not just the gloomy muck of rain and cold outside our windows, but the tiresome repetition of yet another math lesson, “can you please spell that word again?” and “no, for the last time, we are not done with school for the day!”

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Let the Games Begin!

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We had a half-way decent snowfall last week.

It was lovely.

Of course, it stuck around just a bit too long for my personal liking, messing up schedules and setting things just the tiniest bit off-kilter. But I am in the vast minority; most of the members of my family would take a full winter quite happily. Me? I grew up with a guarantee of six months of snow and am rather fond of the kind that comes and goes in less than a day.

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Signs {On Mathaus’ senior year}

I remember when 2018 seemed so far away. Mathaus was still a young boy with a mop of strawberry blonde hair and a mouth full of baby teeth when I charted out a progression of Sonlight cores, year by year, for my family. His side of the chart stopped at 2017/2018, and I marveled at how many years sat between my present and my future.

And here we are: that future is now.

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The #1 Tool in Your Homeschool Toolbox

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Like every homeschool parent I’ve ever met, I’ve invested hours and hours in cultivating my educational philosophy. Though I was drawn to literature-based learning from the very beginning of our homeschooling journey, I still vetted it thoroughly, weighing the pros and cons against all the other methods out there. After a pretty exhaustive survey of everything from textbook-based school-at-home programs to the Thomas Jefferson Education model, I landed here, in a comfortable (for us) zone of relying on a rich selection of living books to form the foundation of our homeschool.

But you know what I’ve learned? It’s not just the books that make the homeschool. It’s the conversations those books bring to life.

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Back At It

After a fabulous break, we are back at most of the normal things that frame our days— namely, homeschooling for six of the kids and me, teaching for Christopher and Mary Hannah, a Dual Enrollment class for Mathaus, and the various and sundry other outside activities that have found their way onto our calendar, from speech therapy to youth orchestra, by way of Civil Air Patrol and other stops along the way. Mary Hannah’s classes haven’t yet resumed, but otherwise, it’s full steam ahead here. It’s only been a handful of days since our rhythm has returned, but I’ve been surprised at how good it has felt. The truth is, I enjoy the hours spent showing my children how to use a grid to be sure your ones stay above your ones and your tens stay above your tens when you’re adding them up, and I find a sense of joy and purpose in running a cup of tea to my husband while he’s explaining Charles Dickens to high schoolers online.

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Why We DON’T Take A Year-By-Year Approach to Homeschooling

Now Elisha had been suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. “My father! My father!” he cried. “The chariots and horsemen of Israel!”

Elisha said, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he did so. “Take the bow in your hands,” he said to the king of Israel. When he had taken it, Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.

“Open the east window,” he said, and he opened it. “Shoot!” Elisha said, and he shot. “The Lord’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declared. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.”

Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.” —2 Kings 14-19

 

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