EPISODE 179 | 

Well that’s a wrap to Season 4 of the podcast Homeschool Your Way!  It seems crazy that we have done 179 Episodes, including this one in four seasons.  We hope that the subjects and people appearing on our podcast have benefited you in some small way. Homeschooling is such a personal path for every family and as always we hope that we have helped you feel more comfortable about your family’s journey. Join Janna as she reflects on the past season and provides some pearls of wisdom from her journey and previous episodes. 

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Podcast Transcript

Janna  00:00

Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm your host Janna Koch and BookSharks Community Manager. In this final episode of season four, I am just going to be taking some time to encourage you regardless of where you are at in your homeschool journey. I know that some of us are finishing up our year. And we are feeling confident that we have done well and others are feeling less confident and really questioning their decision to homeschool. I'm going to address that in just a minute. But I do want to say that whether you are finishing up your year, or your season of homeschool or just beginning We here at Homeschool Your Way want you to know that you have the support that you need. 

Whether it's a podcast, whether it's an online community, whether it's an in person community, hopefully you have support some support through the curriculum that you chose. I know at BookShark we do have online community advisors that are available. We are all about making sure that homeschool families feel supported in their journey. So I really want to encourage you to focus on your child's growth. In a recent Facebook post, I saw that a mom of a third grader was incredibly disappointed at his low test score on a standardized test. She felt like a failure. But the response from her homeschool community was overwhelming.

 Remember, standardized tests are not the sole indicator of a child's knowledge. There were so many factors that would go into the test outcome. First of all, it was timed. She had mentioned that he didn't even finish filling out each of the sections. So right there, his score is going to be lower than it could have been had it not been timed. I would also like to know if he had been prepped for the test, how to take it in a practice test. Did he know what the expectations were for the test? He probably was in an unfamiliar location surrounded by unfamiliar people taking a test he was unfamiliar with. There is no surprise that he didn't do as well as he could. Doesn't mean he didn't have a good year doesn't mean he didn't make any progress or grow at all throughout his home school year. It just meant that the way that was chose to capture was not ideal for him. In Episode 129 Season 3 Marcia Stafford explains how tests are only one avenue to measure academic success in your homeschool. An alternative to standardized testing is homeschool evaluations. Check out this episode called End Of Year Evaluations to learn more about this method. Hopefully that homeschool mom came away with some new tools in her collection for measuring homeschool success. And you can to focus on progress and growth specific to your child in order to find success in homeschool. How did the year go? What went well?

 It is so easy to focus on deficits, isn't it? Think about your own personal growth? Are you able to see what you've done? Well, I know I haven't. I think about where I have changed. And while I could focus on that growth. For some reason, I tend to focus on what I have yet still to accomplish. What goals have you achieved this year? I think human nature tends to focus on how far we have to go. And we forget to look how far we've come. I don't know about you. But I tend to always look back in order to make my cell feel better about my progress. So whether it is a book, whether it is a project, I like to knit and crochet and I will constantly stop what I'm doing and look at what I've already done to help propel me to keep going forward to reach those goals. It is so easy to not look at the progress and just continually focus on what is not been done yet. And you are not alone. But let's not perpetuate that in homeschool. So, did your child learn their numbers? Did they learn how to write their name? Did they learn to share or accept defeat with their siblings? Was your child able to finish a chapter book or write their first paragraph? Did a math concept just click? Or were you able to see your child light up over a science topic? When you pause and dwell on what did go well, you will see the bright spots from the year. I encourage you don't let those hard days deceive you into thinking that your year wasn't a good one. Write down some things that went well and focus on how you can make more bright spots in your homeschool future. This year, we outsourced math for my youngest daughter. This was the kid who used to cry during math lessons. And I saw her get excited about algebra.

 In Season 1 Episode 47 Didi, Ximena and I talk about what you will lose if you stop homeschooling. You may not even realize the benefits of homeschooling that you and your family are currently reaping and I will tell you this podcast is the most downloaded episode It is Episode 36, Season 1 called Don't Recreate Public School At Home, we have decided to educate our children in a non-traditional way. And yet, we still want to measure that education from a traditional value. I want to encourage you guys to look at the progress, the growth and what has gone well, and continue on your journey. We all know that mistakes happen. But don't let them stop you from your progress. I could dedicate an entire season of all the mistakes I've made in homeschooling, and parenting my three daughters. This on the cusp of graduating my oldest two in less than 24 hours. 

But misery loves company. And so I'll share just a few. First, I tried to run my homeschool, like I was at a school. And I found out very quickly that this didn't work for our family. But that didn't stop me from beating this dead horse. I insisted that my girls wake up and sit at the kitchen table and go through each subject and a certain amount of time. And I really did do it from a place of love. I love education. I was that kid who wanted to finish her workbooks in the summer that she didn't get to finish in school. When I was publicly schooled, I would play school with my friends, my brother, I could never get him to play school with me during the summer. But I could convince a few friends. That was my heart I love to learn. And I always have. And so I thought naturally, my kids are going to want to learn the same way. They did not. Now, I found that lecturing to them day by day, was really sucking the life out of them. And now I know that maybe my calling is really instructing at the collegiate level where people paid to be lectured. Second, I stuck with a math method that did not work for my children. Instead of finding out what worked for them, I tried to make them fit the method or convention. And I spent an entire year forcing them to do math in a way that didn't benefit them. We will even say we lost that year of learning math. And I say that it's because of my pride. I didn't want to admit it wasn't working. 

Sometimes, as a homeschool parent, it may feel like you have to make something work. In order to prove that you made the right choice. I want to give you permission, that that's not the case. Just because you choose to homeschool your children and you chose a curriculum does not mean that you have to stick with it. Certain methodologies work for some that don't work for others. And that's okay. That is why we choose to educate our children for what works best for them. But I wasn't gonna give up. And that's a fatal character flaw that I continually work on. So, I have since learned that quitting when something doesn't work is actually part of a growth mindset. I can create space to try something new, to learn anyway, and to grow as a person. And you can too. Finally, there are times when I'm being honest with myself, probably many times, I made my girls cry, because I didn't take the time to really listen to their needs. My expectations, my agenda were drowned out their voice. I have come to realize that the biggest hurdle in homeschool had been me. The times when I chose to get out of my own way, or the best seasons of homeschool. I really felt like it had to look like the way I was schooled. Here's the irony. I was homeschooled. But I was homeschooled in a totally different way, in a totally different time with totally different curriculum. And yet, I tried to make that same way work for my girls.

Kinda reminds me of education as a whole. It has worked in the past and so we continue to try to make it work in the future. But guess what we don't have to! There are so many different avenues now that we get the benefit, we get to reap the benefit of all the hard work that has gone in to creating new methodologies and new ways. Now, I am a believer in classic education. My children are were taught with novels and literature based obviously BookShark was what we used and still use this day and love it. So I'm not saying that the way things have been done in the past don't work. But I'm just saying if something is not working for you or your child, you do NOT have to keep pushing through. Admitting that something's not working is actually a way to grow for both you and your child. And what a great way to show your children that you can still be learning as an adult. We don't know everything and we don't have to pretend anymore like we do. I understand when we were kids, I'm in my 40s We thought our parents knew everything. And maybe our parents thought they had to project that they did. We can know better and do better now. That doesn't mean we're not in charge. Believe me, I am in charge in my home, of my kids and my homeschool. But I have become a lot more flexible in a lot of ways, and it has helped our homeschool journey become that much more successful. And if you ask my kids, probably more enjoyable. I can't be the only one who makes things more complicated or refuses to ask for help when it's needed. So there's good news. We can start each day with a clean slate. 


Check out Episode 91 Season 2, Homeschool Do Overs. We all have things we wish we could do over but don't let those things keep you from continuing your homeschool journey. Now, another thing that we talk a lot about and I think it's a great source of encouragement is to remember your reason for homeschooling. We call it your why it can be stressful when you choose to educate your children outside the traditional box of public education. Keeping your why or reason for homeschooling front and center helps you stay the course. We all have a different reason why when we chose to homeschool, and I say we when my husband thought it was a good idea and I was not necessarily on board. Even though I was homeschooled successfully. We did it because we've moved to a small town that had a very small community and their K through 12 was about 84 students and I thought you are practically homeschooling so why not give it a try? There are other people who choose to homeschool because of academic struggles or successes, or neurodivergent students. There are people who choose to homeschool for health reasons. There's a gamut of reasons why we choose to homeschool and so it's important that as individuals and as families we remember what are why is because my why isn't gonna be the same as your why, my why and your Why are going to keep you motivated and keep you going. So it's important that you have a destination, because that's how you know where you're headed, and how you're going to get there. And ancient proverb states without a vision people perish. In Episode 42 Season 1, it provides a framework for this vision. And keep in mind your Y can change. It can evolve as your journey progresses. But don't let outside factors sabotage your homeschool goals. We all have well meaning family and friends with their own fears. And they love to share those fears with us. Keep your vision in focus. And remember, almost every objection to homeschool is also found in the public schools to find confidence in your choice and remember your Why. Why will remembering how about we remember that comparison is the thief of joy. 

In this social experiment of online platforms, life can appear perfect. We know it's not I had to step away from social media for a season, and even limit my exposure during other seasons. It was brought to my attention that my posts made it look like my life was perfect. Like I was living the dream. And oh, believe me, I was not living a dream. What those pictures didn't show was a tantrum that my kids were throwing or the arguments that my husband and I were having. But all of that was not captured in those pictures that I chose to post. Now. I enjoy my life. And I enjoy what we have built as a family. But it's on the foundation of hard work, sweat, and tears. So don't let a 3 second clip or a staged picture dampen your journey. Everyone's journey is unique. Each child learns differently at a different pace. This is the very reason that we're choosing to homeschool our kids. So it allows your child this space to become who they were meant to be. Without the confines of outdated standards and methods we get to give our children what is the best for their progress and their growth. And believe me, you are the right person to do that for them. 

In Episode 69 of Season 2, Kyra Anderson talks about how we can homeschool from a place of contentment. It is full of practical tips for homeschooling parents. Speaking of advice, Homeschool Your Way has four seasons of amazing tips and guidance from great guests with diverse perspectives. As we break for the summer, we would love to hear what you have enjoyed about the podcast and what you would like to hear more of in future episodes. So please email us podcast@ bookshark.com to share your thoughts. Thank you for making this podcast part of your homeschool journey. Until next time, bye bye