Education, it’s about learning little things that translate into big things and how those little things can have the biggest impact on how we view the world or how we live in it. The official start to most of our educational journeys is preschool, where the world starts to expand. But really what is preschool? Ask people and you can get different answers but intentional learning or teaching seems to be a theme. But not everyone, children especially learn at the same pace.

 As we age we talk about the seasons of life but on the chat today hear education compared to a set of seasons for each individual and the benefits that Erin (today’s guest) believes homeschooling brings to each child's life. Learn about how she was called to homeschool her children and what that looks like for her family. 

ABOUT OUR GUEST | Erin Cox is a joy-chasing homeschool mama to 4 babies, elementary to young adult. She married her grade-school sweetheart over 20 years ago and lives to love him well. Erin writes about homeschooling, taking challenging moments captive, and loving her family well at Life, Abundantly. She is the author of multiple early-years Charlotte Mason and Classically-inspired programs at The Gentle + Classical Press. She is the Founding Editor in Chief of On Mission, a quarterly culture-focused geography magazine. You can find her on Instagram @gentle_classical_press

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Podcast Transcript

Janna  00:01: Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm your host, Janna Koch, and BookShark’s Community Manager. Today's episode is all about preschool. And my guest, Erin Cox is a homeschooling mom of four, from adult down to elementary. She is the creator of the Gentle Classical Press. And we're going to be just discussing maybe some of the things you don't think about. When you hear the word preschool. You may be thinking, What numbers do I use? Or how far do I go? Or what should they be learning? We're gonna get into that a little bit. But I think we're really going to be focusing on maybe the questions you don't even know you should be asking. So let me bring my guest in. Aaron, thanks so much for being here.

 Erin  00:41: Janna, thank you for having me. I'm excited.

 Janna  00:44: I'm excited too, because I, unfortunately, did not formally homeschool my children at the preschool age, and looking back, shoulda woulda coulda. I think as we all get into a certain age range, we start looking back and reminiscing about the things we could have done, and the types of things that probably I think I would have wanted to do. If I were to homeschool my child from the very beginning, is really contrary to what really needs to be done at this age. So you are going to really set me straight and all of these things I would love to hear first and foremost, how did you come into homeschooling?


Erin  01:27: Okay, so we've been homeschooling for 12 years now. And um, I had homeschooling like, just on my heart from the time I was pregnant with my oldest child, I didn't know any homeschoolers, I knew nothing about it, but somehow, and all of my goodwill and thrift store shopping for her nursery and her first you know, all the things that you need when you needed to have a baby, I ran across the Charlotte Mason companion from Karen Andriola. And I just remember sitting there in her nursery, I had it all prepped very, very pregnant with her and reading this book. And it just introduced me to ideas about education and about parenting that I had never been exposed to before. And it just planted little seeds in my heart, about goodness and beauty and gentleness and parenting and education. And all the things that are our education that were very contrary to what I would have considered education being a public school student, myself. And so I just kind of like those little seeds were planted. And but I needed to work I could not just, you know, not work at that time. And so fast forward a few years, my younger daughter was just starting preschool, and my older daughter was in second grade. And I was in a super stressful job, like one of those jobs, this just like, if I don't leave this job, now, I'm going to lose my sanity. And I just quit one day. And I felt so much conviction to pull my daughter out of preschool and just try it and really, preschool at the time. So I was unemployed. And fortunately, everything worked out where I just took this big leap of faith and jumped in with both feet with her. And my husband's income doubled in like two months to make up for my lack of income. And then by Christmas of that year, my second grader was like, Mom, I want to be homeschooled too. And so that was a lot more terrifying because it was a lot easier for me to start with a preschooler who really doesn't have to learn things like it was very, like, there was no pressure, there was no expectation. So over Christmas break that year, I pulled my older daughter Isabella out of second grade. And we just kind of gave it a test run during that, you know, that two-week period. And we started with Little House on the Prairie because why not? You know, we just did all the things that they would do. We smoked meat and everything that they did in there that I could think oh, we can do that we just kind of jumped in, I guess was very much like a unit study with hands-on learning because that was so important to me. That's what I felt like I missed out on in education was just experiential learning. And so we fell in love and just really haven't looked back since then. And you know, over time, of course, Charlotte Mason was my very first introduction to homeschooling at all. And then we moved into I learned about classical education through the Well-trained Mind and then I've just dug deeper and deeper and deeper into those philosophies over these past 12 years. And so now we have four kiddos that well the oldest is graduated, so I do have a homeschool graduate. So we have three that we are still currently homeschooling.

 Janna  04:48: For the listener who may be hearing these terms and is new in the homeschool world, who is Charlotte Mason, and the classical way of learning. Can you give us just a quick overview of what those two specific things entail?


Erin 05:00: No, absolutely. So Charlotte Mason was an educator in the Victorian era, the late 1800s, and early 1900s. And her educational perspective, and her philosophy of education at that time was a little countercultural. And it saw the children as whole people like they are born persons, they're not just like empty vessels or empty lumps of clay, that you're just molding into something. They already are just people who have specific natures and personalities and interests and abilities. And so she saw children as, as that and that you would just pull from them and help to help them realize their natural innate potential, and that she would do so in a way that like that is living to children. So not dry, boring textbooks, endless memorization, learning, you know, maybe Latin when they're seven years old, those types of things, but exposing children to ideas that really engage their imagination, that create pictures in their minds of everything that they would be learning about. So it's a very literature-based type of learning, you're not really reading textbooks, you're reading books, which are living books, and a living book would be defined as a book that was written by someone who is truly passionate about a subject so that when they describe it, you feel like you're standing beside them, watching everything happen. So that was kind of in the having children out in nature and letting them be little and play for as long as possible. And just all of those things are very, like Charlotte Mason's ideas, and then classical education. And, you know, not to get into the weeds at all. But there are people that argue that Charlotte Mason is a classical educator and some that say she isn’t a classical educator. So classical education is just like, the type structures of education that have been around for literally 1000s of years, from like, Greek have Greek and Roman origins. And it's basically an idea, again, that you're exposing your children to ideas that are bigger than them that are newer, that are new to them, and helping them join into, like the great conversation in the world of talking about, like, ultimately, when they're in high school and college, like big ideas that are important to like, the development of human culture, and, you know, individual nation culture and stuff. So it's very, like, kind of lofty type things. And it can get like, a little bit, it can feel a little disjointed from the reality of everyday home education. But that's like where I geek out at, but really, you know, when you those are the philosophies and then you've got like the application, like basically, you're reading good books, you're treating your children like they are fully formed people, not just empty things for you to pour a bunch of facts into, and you’re educating them in a way that does like just enliven their soul and helps them be engaged and excited and enthusiastic. And I think that's probably the best way to kind of summarize it. I don't know how much of a summary that was.

Janna  08:22: Well, I think it's important because we do really forget that we have options in education. I think that when you are coming out of the public school system, and you're venturing into homeschooling, it's like you're leaving one country, and you're coming into another country. And there's all of this, the vernacular is different, and the culture is different. And so if we don't have a basic understanding of these terms, I think we can we can hear them and go oh, yeah, yeah, but then it's like some of those words, even as an adult, I'm like, I know what the word is, but I couldn't give you a definition of it. And so yeah, yeah, one of the great things about homeschooling is that my children will say, what does that mean? Um, I know what it means, but I can't define it for you. And so that's in those moments, I geek out because I'm like, Yes, we're both gonna get educated here. Because I can't put it in a sentence, then do I? Am I truly knowing what it is?

 Erin 09:26: That reminds me of just the idea behind like, your listeners will have maybe heard of narration but not necessarily know what that means, or what the value of narration is? Well, you may have heard those words and you have like this kind of like, functional knowing of it. But if you can't put it into words, you can't teach someone else, so you don't truly know it. And really like not being able to do like, define a word, or an idea to our children means that we haven't quite been educated in it yet. And we need to be able to narrate what we know. So to our children so that they can understand it. And they don't understand it until they can tell it back at their own level. And so that's like a real-life application of some of these lofty kinds of ideas that feel with the vernacular, everything. They feel very different. Calling it narration feels very different than just being like, tell me what you just learned. Do you know? Sorry. Yeah, it's it really is just like a bunch of different words, potato potahto. Really?

Janna  10:30: Yeah. Well, what's interesting is that, as parents, we have these beautiful little babies. And yes, they may keep us up all hours of the night, and we're exhausted. But we, we do it all again. And we naturally are, in a way transferring, right? We're teaching our children without even recognizing that we're giving instruction, right? We teach them how to speak, we demonstrate for them, we're constantly talking to them. I baby-talked my dogs, I never baby-talked to my kids. Yep. I always talked to them. Like, even as an infant, I just always assumed that they knew what I was saying. And that has come back to bite me a little bit now that they are teenagers but revert a little bit. But it's like this mindset that when they reach a certain age, they feel like we're ill-equipped to continue that natural process of learning. And I have seen in my own experience, that sometimes education can actually kill natural curiosity and the love of learning in children. If we're, if we're not letting them explore and do things, and just kind of making them fit into a mold, which is why I love homeschool, and homeschooling you know your way, how it works for you and your family. So when a child reaches a certain age, and for everyone, that's different, right? Because in some states, you don't even have to start recording that you're in school until like seven. And then I started preschool with my youngest when she was three. And that was partly just more daycare than anything. I'm just going to say it out loud in my own experience for me. But when we start talking about preschool, is there really an age that it starts in the homeschool arena?

Erin 12:26:  If you can, I guess D school your yourself enough like kind of on pack what you believe education is and get away from the whole sit down workbook textbook writing things testing like that formulaic that we are like, if you went to public school, which is most of us and even private school, if you went to a traditional school setting, that is automatically what we think of. And so if you think of a school that way, then really, you don't want to really start doing anything until they're like six or seven, that would be kind of what Charlotte Mason would say would be six. But if you look at living as an education, and that's what home education is, it takes us years and a lot of conscious and intentional effort to unpack all of that. And get away from all those schoolish expectations and really start to see every experience in every moment as a way to educate your child. The education starts, from, you know, the from birth, as you said, you went through, we teach them to speak, we teach them to eat, we teach them to use the potty. And if you can do those things, you can teach your child anything, if you can be patient enough and kind enough and faithful enough to teach your child those things, then there's nothing you cannot teach them. And so when we think of like that kind of like formal preschool, sit down type stuff, yes. Like, that's more of don't do preschool if that's what you want to do for preschool, just let them you know, wait till they're ready for kindergarten, first grade. Um, for our philosophy of education, when it comes to preschool, we start around two or three, because the goal is habit formation and character formation. Once our child has begun to really get control of like, their limbs of like, they're potty, and they know how to feed themselves and they're able to go in, you maybe be potty trained, or maybe be potty learning. But when once they're at that point, then they can start to really pay attention to things that are outside of their body. I like to think when I look back at all four of my children, they would go through these different seasons of life where they were very much in their body with a lot of physical development, and it seems like language and those types of things kind of took a pause. They were having a big growth spurt, their sleep patterns were changing, they were dropping a nap, they were eating a ton of stuff at one time, you know when they go through those physical changes. They're not quite like I feel like in their in their head, but then all of a sudden the physical will slow down. And we get a ton of new oral language and a bunch of new light. We go from, you know, short incomplete sentences to speaking in complete sentences and asking more questions and following three-step directions, and all these different types of brain work type things. And so for me, whenever we see our children kind of like settle into their body, and a lot more than development kind of shifts upstairs into their minds. And they're starting to really have the language explosions and following longer directions and being more attentive when you're speaking to them, when they can repeat back to you what you've just said to them those types of things in short phrases, then to me, that's when you can start to do quote unquote, preschool work and preschool again, as we define it, not sitting down and doing workbooks. And so that, again, is all about character formation, and habit formation for us. Because the fact of the matter is, your child does not need to know their alphabet until they're in, you know, kindergarten or first grade like that's you can expose them, there's nothing wrong with that at all. But the right expectation would be that, who they're becoming their ability to listen, obey, have self-control, respect others, have space to pick up after themselves, brush their teeth, take care of their bodies, and understand who their family is, who their community is, where they belong in the world, who's a safe person who's not a saved person, how does my body work? Where does my food go, when I eat, all these different things about existing as a human are so much more important than ABCs and one, two threes like when it's time for them to learn that they're going to learn it for the most part, unremarkably with very little effort. But the other things being a healthy, emotionally healthy person that has good manners and has developed strong character virtue and the foundation of all of those things like, that's, that's harder. And learning the ABCs and 123 self-control is harder than the alphabet. And that's why you have adults like me that still struggle with self-control. But you know, I know my ABCs and one, two threes. And so that's, that's our kind of like hallmark for when you would start is when you see them kind of coming out of all this intense physical development, and you start seeing them follow the three-step directions and have a lot more like kind of that verbal explosion that happens. And even then, I would say they're we went through seasons with my boys, especially because I was a lot more attuned to them as an educator, um, where we would have like, seasons where we spent a lot of time on some memorization like in our home as Christians, we memorize God's word from an early age. But then also like affirming character statements, and affirming manners and hygiene statements where they could recite those, and we could kind of implement those and watch those play out in our day in a very real applicable way. And then they would go through seasons where they were back in their body again, and they were eating five times as much food and they're changing their sleep patterns were changing and stuff. And so we would do a little less that kind of work and just more of, you know, just letting them be because they weren't gonna really get much out of it at that moment. So does that make sense?  

Janna  18:43: It does, I think our society has devalued the idea of seasons. I mean, we don't, we don't follow food in seasons anymore, because, to us, it's available year-round. Even though if we actually ate seasonally, we probably would be in a better place. In our health than we are currently, we really don't give cadence to even time change and seasons, when there's less daylight, we still keep the same amount of hours, we still keep the same amount of sleep. Unless you're like me, and you're like, you know what I'm just giving into this. And I'm gonna have to sleep more in the winter. But, really what you're talking about is being intentional with the seasons in our children as they are going through their different development stages. And I would say that there are some parents who understand on a surface level and they're not even really paying attention to the fact that they're understanding that and they're moving through it. But I know that you and I both have seen in our own lives that when we recognize something and then we're intentionally honoring it, it changes exponentially. And that is so exciting. I think as a parent even, now as I have teenagers and, and young adults are, you know getting ready to move on? I mean, I know we're talking about preschool, but really we're talking about the whole process the whole child. And when we see that, you know, there are times when they that that phase when they're like, they ask why about everything. And now we know in our society, we have more education to say, okay, instead of getting frustrated, as a parent, really take this and capitalize on their curiosity and create a space where they know if they don't know something, they can come and ask us. And if we don't know it, we can go find the answer. I mean, that's the holistic approach to education, right? It's not just don't ask me about that, I need you to learn this. And instead, it's like, asked me about that. I'll sneak in some of the other stuff that maybe we feel needs to happen at the same time. But it's really honoring the season more than the development. And I don't know about you, but you know, I feel like most people in America read What to Expect When You're Expecting. Yeah, and we, I mean, we're on there, even though we've read it, we're back on there in the same week, like what's happening with my baby right now. And, so we honor those seasons, even as they are developing inside of us. And I think it would be beneficial for people to remember to honor those seasons, as they are developing from birth all the way into adulthood. And I would even argue, as adults, we need to continue to honor those seasons for us. But recognizing that there are times where they are naturally more curious, because their energy isn't spent in growing bones, and all of those other things, and then you know, their mind is expanding. So I really like how you put that together that those two things are, you know, what energy has to be used that what is that energy is neither created nor destroyed. So it just moves, right? So we need to be mindful of that. So when we're talking about readiness, and we see those when we can honor those things, as we see our child developing. Let's talk about habit forming, what does that look like at this age?


Erin 22:13: So the way that we do things in our, in our home, and in our program like general classical preschool, is that we pick just a few things to focus on at a time because habits are developed through repetition and intentionality, we are always developing habits, it's just whether we're developing the habits that we want to develop or not. So we pick uno in our preschool program because I feel like just fundamentally these are the three most important, one is attention, and self-control, and obedience, I believe because you can't obey until you can pay attention like you can't do what someone told you to do if you can't sit there and actually listen to what they're telling you to do. So those are three kinds of character habits that we want to develop. So it's so important, and to have a definition for what a character trait is, I just try to think, I have self-control, I think before I act, and I put others first I have self-control, we even have a song for it. And so like it just giving our children like not just have self-control, or be attentive, but be attentive, listen, with your eyes, your ears, and your heart, like being able to have those very short statements that not only help you to explain what your actual expectation is from this word but then be able to like very specifically indicate like, what is self-control? Like, I think first before I act, and I can put other people first like I couldn't hold myself back and put other people first. And just having those working definitions like as an adult, I mean, like, when I was exposed to the idea of having actual working definitions for character traits my mind was blown if it made those character traits more tangible to me in some way. Like I kind of like kinda like you were talking about, like, I know what self-control means, but I can't define it to you, well, we need to be able to define to them any type of character that we want them to have so that they can say what it is that we're shooting for. And then we use those definitions over and over and over again. So throughout and for a whole three-month period, we're going to work on tension. Okay, are you looking at me with your eyes, or do I have your ears? Do I have your heart? You know, every time you're really trying to talk to your child and requiring the attention of those three things to help them to I like the habit of all through all of it, my eyes, not yours and my heart are all focused on Mom right now are all focused on Dad because they're telling me something that I need to listen to you. And just those definitions have been kind of like, so we have definitions for every type of virtue imaginable, but because we want parents to have the language to help their child develop the skill, because that's very important, we're giving our children language. So a lot of times we think once our kid gets to that, like, Okay, so maybe around for a lot of times, they have a very good strong command of the English language, they may still glide and have some speech things, but they do fully understand so much, and they're able to articulate so much, but our job with helping them develop language is not done at that point at all. Because there are still so many concepts, that they still need some teeth to it, they need the words to put some teeth to it. And they can't know what it is, if they don't, if they can't define it, just like we can't know it either. And so that's what the habit formation is for us is understanding what the habit is that we're shooting for being able to define the habit, and then habitually repeating that over and over and over again until it's time to maybe move on where they seem like they have a good command of attentiveness or self-control. And then, those are the virtue habits that we focus on. And those take much longer than something like I can brush my teeth, right, or I can brush my hair, I can put my pants on by myself, those types of things. So then we have like a manners and hygiene type thing, where that's our intentional focus about those types of things like self-care, and then you know, not interrupting people when they speak or, you know, having like self, you know, applying self-control situationally, how do we have self control at the dinner table? How do we have self-control out in public, those types of things, and just taking one thing at a time, and then consistently repeating that intentionally giving them language for it, getting the language for it ourselves, and then living that out until that is now a habit in our home. Now, we're going to go to the next thing. And that's the redemptive for all of us, like, I don't know how much more character I have developed, not just through the trials of parenthood, but through intentionally helping my children also develop character and in getting those meaty definitions and kind of like working that out in our everyday lives.

 Janna  27:38: And I think you are speaking directly to this. It's not a new idea. But it's a concept that I think a lot of people haven't heard, although we're finding out it's not, it's kind of coming back is emotional intelligence. Because we can, like you had given the example you can know your ABCs and your numbers. But if you don't know how to put those into everyday practice, they really have no value. And as you were talking about the different things for preschool, I just was reminiscing about my own children. And I felt like Wow, I feel like I do that with teenagers again. And I think I feel like I do that with myself constantly as well. So if it's like if they get it as a foundation, and then we will be it does cycle back through, right, like throughout each phase three will never, we'll never get out of it. But we also want to have those types of character traits that do make us good citizens and solid individuals and the type of people that we want to be around.

Erin 28:45: Yeah, absolutely. And that's what's important. I mean, that's the ultimate goal is raising children that have a place in the world that are responsible citizens of our country, that are kind and generous and loving, and that do what they say that they're going to do. Like, you know, they're not, no one's ever going to be perfect, but we want to give them all of the tools, the more positive habits that our child has, because again, if you're not giving them positive habits, they're going to develop habits, and some of them may be positive. But if you're not being intentional about it, it's more than likely because I know my natural inclinations are most often not positive, like my natural inclination is not to go to the gym and work out. And so I have to kind of like overcome what at my own little lazy body wants to do and go do the thing have the positive habits so left to their own devices, most of their habits will not be positive. They are going to develop habits in every single aspect of their life. So the more we can help them understand and bring into submission and bring into practice. Really positive basic character attributes, then they're able to apply those in different areas. And I think it's very true. There's the seasonality and then how we have to repeat these things as they go through. I think we both have three things as we go through these different developmental stages. Where Yes, I am, you know, I've just finished working with my, my first grader again, on attentiveness we never my house is, filled with ADHD, we never stopped talking about learning how to focus and take in our thoughts like captive and flick Dalian on that thing we need to be paying attention to for a few moments, and then exercising the ability to do that. But I've been I've struggled the same way with my teenagers, even though they've been hearing the same thing for years. So it's like they go through seasons of being able to focus and then they go, then life happens. And they get out of that habit. Something interferes with that habit. Maybe TikTok would be a thing that interferes with the habit of attention. And then we have to re-learn that habit again and redefine it in this. And when you continue to redefine it as they're older, you can get more in-depth. And then you're applying these teachable moments in their reality as a teenager, not just the reality of a preschooler. And that's so needful, like our children are not, you know, even their brains not even done until they're 25. And I feel like my brain is not done at 41. So it may just be in degradation now, I guess. But yeah, I'm really telling my girls, I'm like, I think what I said, just fell through one of your holes. So I think I have to say it again. And then yeah, I think once a time, by the time the holes close, it starts to break down. So it's really, really like one take here. Yeah, one piece here. And then it's all downhill. Yeah.


Janna  31:51: Although that sounds a little bit like Debbie Downer, it probably is very true in a sense. But yeah, I think it is so important as parents who are choosing to homeschool, they're coming in whether they've been doing it for a long time. Or they're new to it to just know that some things that are the most important are not necessarily academic. And that's like, Oh, why? How can you say that? Because of the things that you're saying when you have those habit form, so habits, forming habits, I have one who is just naturally a great keeper of time, she does not need help to manage really anything. She's just naturally innate for her. And her twin is the complete opposite. She, it's like somehow it broke up in one of these extremes in my children. But it's like she gets frustrated with me even now at almost 18 When I'm constantly like, hey, checking in, where are you at with that? And the answer is she needs to be doing it. But she doesn't want to admit at this point that she must do it. But that's what was it. That's what it was like when she was four to 18. There's something but there are some things that we're never going to master because of personality and traits. But it doesn't mean we give up just yet. Oh, well that's just not how we operate. So I guess it's going to be okay. But I think that going back to your attention and hearing with your eyes, your ears, and your heart, how many times can you and I listen to something with our focus, we appear to be focused, we even appear to be listening. And yet, I am making a list of things I'm doing later. Like I am so guilty of it. And when you said not interrupting people I get really passionate when I'm in conversations and I want to jump in and my husband had to point out to me, he was like, you know, you interrupt people quite a bit. And I was like, that was hard to hear but needed. And it was spoken in love, which I appreciate. And so I am more aware of it. I still do it. But I am definitely doing it less I'm more aware. But these are skills that nobody ever sat down and said, Hey, Jana, we know you have a lot to say. And you're going to contribute a lot when you say it, but you need to just wait. You need to really be listening. Instead of forming, and formulating your reply, you need to listen. And again, I think in our society as a whole, we don't value the pause. There is no time for a pause. And so when we can take a step back and go, Okay, that's like I see why now people have like, a second set of children. Right, like you think they're done, but then they start over and you're like, that's us. Yeah, why would you do that? But I, you know, the more I learn, I'm like, Oh, I would have done things so differently. And so I think part of the beauty of having conversations like this is that okay? I'm not going to start over, I'm good. I hopefully will be a valuable resource to my children when they decide to have children. But we can then tell people who are just coming into it like, hey, yeah, maybe we did or didn't do it or, you know, have you ever thought of it this way. And this is why so again, when people hear preschool, they think of academics and, and learning in a traditional way. To me, preschool is all the time.

 Erin 35:35: Well, I love what you talked about, you know, part of our culture, like, no one ever sat down and said to us, you know, your example about interrupting people. And so we like to go one step further. And not just say, because I'm like the world's that I'm so keen on my kids not interrupting because I'm so bad about it. But I think like, some of it's just how your brain works. Like, if you have a very fast-paced brain, I've already moved through what I believe you're going to say, I've finished it out in reality, and I'm now responding to it. And in me and my sister, both finish people's sentences all the time, and my husband is freaked out by the accuracy as I've never finished, I could finish a stranger's sentence, and I'm not gonna have gotten it wrong like I'm 100% on that, which is rude. And you should not finish people's sentences, but it's just like, you know, my brain already got there. But teaching our kids what to do. So okay, not just saying it is rude to interrupt, and we want to let people finish but giving them the steps to help manage their thoughts, while they wait for the other person to finish, like, keep listening, because they may say something that's different than what you saw it. Or if you want to take some notes while someone is speaking to you, because you think you hear a couple of things and you want to kind of be able to say, address each of those things, then take notes, like you always, you know, our teenagers, you always have your phone with you. And then like, you know, put those things like in your pocket, like put it in your pocket, like just because you think it doesn't mean you have to say it, you need to finish listening first. And so put those things like in a little brain pouch and hold on to them. And then try really hard to keep listening because my kids all have to some degree, some level of ADHD and they get it so honestly from my husband and myself to different degrees. And like, they just don't understand how to hold on to a thought in a weight on the other person to finish their thought. And I understand that because I struggle with it too. I have to take notes, every time you say something that I want to respond to, I have to write a note about it, or I will never, by the time you get done talking, I will not listen to you, if I want to hold on to it. And if I do listen to you, it will absolutely be gone. And so just helping them like first of all relate to them. But like, I do that too. Like I understand why you struggle with that habit. But this is how I cope with the habit. So being self-aware. And then using what you've learned to be very intentional in instructing your children and how to overcome whatever, you know, bad habits they may have. But helping them develop that at the preschool age, just that ability to like talk about emotions, talk about character and habits and all those types of things from like, that being part of the culture of your home, that you're setting that tone of humility because Mommy does it too. And this is how I do it and just being able to admit wrongdoing or unhealthy habits or unkind habits or whatever they may be. And just being able to like dialogue with your child from that age, it just helps them become so self-aware and so intentional, as they get older. And honestly, I think there is no greater gift than that. Just because then they can be a good neighbor, no matter what their degree ends up being in or what their job ends up being.

Janna  39:16: I would also add that when I stop myself from interrupting, I literally like put my brain on pause. Like I almost like okay, that's my coping skill right like posit, let him finish then you can replay I find that I don't need to say what I was gonna say some of the time. And really that I think if you ask my family that makes me a better person to be around. Because I agree. Yeah. Yeah, cuz I'm not always like coming off as Oh, I know more or what uh, you know, ask another question and, and it can just personally come off as a No at all. And that's not my heart or my intention. I don't want children, I don't want to produce children that walk around that think they know everything, and they are going to educate everybody on everything. So it's interesting, I mean, I think we could probably do a whole podcast on that alone. Yeah. It'd be better for people. But I'm going to ask you one more thing. And that is to share a homeschool hack.

Erin 40:22: My favorite homeschool hack. And this is kind of something that I say over and over and over again in all kinds of different ways. And all the teacher's for our program, different programs is just own your authority as a homeschool parent, your home, your home is yours. And therefore the education that takes place in it is yours as well. And so and I know this can vary by state based on regulation. So I will throw that little disclaimer up in I sometimes forget that I live in Alabama. And so we have basically no regulations to really speak of whatsoever. So we don't ever have to do testing or anything like that. But to the extent that you are legally able to own the authority over your home education experience, make it work for you, even when it comes to and I say this in our curriculum, like over and over and over again, like this is a guide. This is a suggested roadmap of education. But there it is not lined with barbed wire and electric fences. Like you can go off the path, you can go a fork, you can stop for a while, like there's no particular pace, like, whatever, no matter what it is, whether it's those core subjects like reading and math or fun stuff like science in history, make it your own, make it fit your children's needs, the needs in your family, the culture of your family, and in in that makes it so unique and so much more memorable to them. And it creates an environment of a living education, not one where mom feels trapped, the curriculum says do this, we have to do this today. Well, if you want to trace chase a trail that has popped up, chase the trail that has popped up and then still mark that you finish that lesson and go to the next one, or pick it back up the next day. There's, there's as long as you are faithfully educating your children, then you're not going to be doing it wrong. And you can let go of all the constraints and the pressure and the fear and the expectation that comes along with this idea of not doing it, right. Just like let that go and just enjoy all of the freedom that you get to have when you're homeschooling.

Janna  42:47: Then super important thing to remember, I think regardless of how long you've been doing this, because I think we can kind of forget, as we get into rhythms and seasons, and we kind of have to be reminded of those basic tenants of why we choose to homeschool and what it really does afford us. Erin, I want to thank you so much for coming on today. If someone wants to get in touch with you read more about your curriculum, where could they find you?

Erin 43:17: The easiest thing to do is just go to sharp, gentle We have that our blog is linked there as well. And then all of our teachers guides are free. So if someone wants to kind of figure out what we're all about and learn more, they can download those completely for free in their entirety. And they can also email us and contact us through that as well. And we're also on Instagram and Facebook. And it's like gentle underscore classical underscore press on Instagram or just search, you know, classical pretty much anywhere and we will pop up. 

Janna  43:52: Great. We'll also put that information in the show notes. We want to thank you guys for listening today. Erin, thank you so much for being here. 

Erin 43:59: Thank you, Janna. I really appreciate it. 

Janna  44:01: Until next time, bye bye