Can you believe that it is almost a new year? In this time of transition from one year to the next let's take a moment to be grateful for all that we have and for our guests, who have given us so much wonderful insight into their homeschooling journey. Join Janna as she reflects on the coming new year and some key guests featured in the last few seasons who speak on their Why for homeschooling. How they chose it. How they maintain it and why they feel it is so important in continuing their journey.
See each of the full episodes here;
EPISODE 42 - KNOW YOUR HOMESCHOOL WHY with guest Candice Kelly
EPISODE 120 - BEING PRESENT with guest Kelli O'Brien
EPISODE 71 - RETURN TO JOY with guest Camille Kirksey
EPISODE 124 - GETTING BACK ON TRACK with guest Tanya Warpula
EPISODE 133 - SHARE THE LIFT with guest Natasha Henderson
EPISODE 134 LITTLE HABITS, BIG IDEAS with guest Erin Cox
Janna 00:04 Welcome to Homeschool Your Way. I'm your host Janna Koch and BookSharks Community Manager. As another year comes to an end. Let's take some time to remember why we homeschool. And while no two y's are like the theme of reflecting on your Y can help you enter the new year with a stronger resolve to continue your journey. This episode is a compilation of clips from the last three and a half years of the Homeschool Your Way podcast. First up was taken from EPISODE 42, KNOW YOUR HOMESCHOOL WHY with Candice Kelly from Homeschool on the Hill. She shares how her why keeps the goal in focus.
Janna 01:18 And so tell us a little bit of why understanding and knowing why you're homeschooling your child is so important.
Candice 01:27 I think there are a couple of reasons why it's so important. And one, I feel like it has to do with the long haul. Like it can really help sustain you when it's rough or when it's not new anymore. And the other one really is more for the beginning. And just really helping you focus and get a vision for your homeschool.
Janna 01:47 Now kind of explain to us the long haul. Why and why is that important?
Candice 01:52 So, you know, in the beginning for me, like if I had to sum it up, I would say Oh, I just wanted to have more time with my kids, right? And then in the long haul when you're around your kids all the time. That's not like the desire of your heart anymore. Like I just really want to be around my kids, like I'm on my kids all the time, all the time. So that's not going to carry me through because that is our day-to-day routine. Now I can go back and think about, okay, what it felt like but my current reality and the reality for the last several years has been, we're already together all the time. So I ended up picking up all of these things as we're going through this homeschooling journey where I'm like, oh, yeah, I wouldn't want to give up homeschooling, even a rough day because oh my goodness, we were able to we had some family emergencies. In the fall, we were able to put a pause on everything, go tend To the family emergencies, help our family members as they needed, and then come home. And it was like just pick up where you left off. We all do makeup work, we're not jumped in. So all of a sudden, I was like, Oh man, I absolutely love like that we have this freedom, or someone's I'm struggling with this, and I'm going to slow this down and work with him or I'm going to switch something out, you know what I mean? So it was just all of these different things that kept getting added on. I mean, if you're homeschooled, I could change entirely, or it just grows. And I feel like the more homeschool moms I've spoken with, the more I hear that it's just I just keep finding more reasons to continue homeschooling. And that and that's been the case for me.
Janna 03:13 You know, understand that it doesn't, it's so different.
Candice 03:18 Yeah, it's really you have to take a look inside your own home. What is your family's dynamic? You know, what's, what's the work situation? You know, do you work from home? Does your husband work from home, you know, whatever the schedules, kids ages, their personalities, what you desire, this experience to be like, maybe you're doing this and it's temporary, but all of a sudden you're like, but you know, if we're only doing this for just this year, whatever I'm like, all in though I want to have fun with this. I want to do all the projects, you know what I mean? I want to I've always wanted to make all of these unit studies and do all these things. So just knowing you know, what, what does? What's it like in my house, it's your home, you know, and that's why it looks so different. Because our families, our homes, our schedules, our jobs, they're all so different.
Janna 04:06 And I think we're so used to taking all these differences and putting them in a brick and mortar and trying to make everybody kind of conform and it's out of necessity and there's nothing, there's no negativity to that type of conformity because it's necessary when you have masses, but opening up the idea that when you are home, what is what works in your home, and what your schedule looks like that it can be so different from those rigid ideas of how it should be done. Alright, so we've talked about how the Y can change and how it definitely looks different when you bring something inside your home than when you're going outside of your home to do something with the masses. So can you just kind of touch on what do you think is important about your why?
Candice 04:57 I think I think what's important is that you can recall it, you know what it is. So, for me personally, that means I write it down because I can't remember things if I don't write them down. Because when that bad day happens, or bad days happen, and the feelings are very different than whatever led to the decision to homeschool, I mean that why is gone. And so I think that that can come in the form of a mission statement. I know people have crafted their homeschool why and their homeschool vision into a mission statement. I have not done that. Instead, I actually keep a pro-con list where I can access it. And the cool thing I think about just keeping that list is that I add to it all the time. So it's just a running list where if I had like this mission statement, all fancy-schmancy I think I would have to constantly go into it and add this and not that, you know, I had this. And so I do I keep it close by because there are things that pop up that I'm like, this kind of a drawback to homeschooling. And then there are other things that pop up. And I do I'm fair and balanced with it. I'm like, Nope, it goes over here. This is a con like, you know, I want to acknowledge that. And then sometimes just running into something like that. And you're like, Man, this just, this is not good. You know, it was this one situation within our homeschool, something we ran into. And then I look over at the pro side. And I'm like, but this is still the better option for our family. So I like being able to do that. And just because I like to be thorough, and we have that long public school background, I actually have a pro-con list for public school as well. So they're both together so that I can make sure because I mean, we didn't have horrible negative awful experiences, right? So I don't have like all of these terrible things that I write down about public school. So there are some pros there. And then there are some cons there. And so I like having both there. And I can refer to that, that way when my feelings are all wonky based on whatever's happened that day or that week. I can refer to that and go, Oh, okay, I see what we're doing here.
Kelli 07:17 I can do that. But should I like it? Is that what I shouldn't be doing? And that goes back to Part of the reason I want to be president is because it brings me to my to my principles it brings me to why do I want to do this? Right? Why do I want to educate my kids? Why do I want to have them? Why do I want them educated at all? Right? But I want them to have a life of learning, I want them to just enjoy learning not so that they can go to college, it but so that or they can graduate 12th grade its so that they can read books their entire life so that they can travel and experience that their whole life had just read a young, you know, book about a girl who runs away. And she goes to the Metropolitan Museum? Like, what kid would want to do that? But how fun, right? Like those things? And then it brings it back to yourself though, because you're like, What am I doing that at 40? Something? Am I living those principles? Am I continuing to educate myself? And am I pursuing? Am I sitting on my phone? Or am I going to an art museum? What am I doing with my time? Am I sitting in a cubicle? Or am I you know, like, what?
There's all these options out there. But we have to keep it in line with our principles and keep ourselves present with each other in those principles.
Janna 08:51 Yeah. And talking about it. It's kind of like, oh, yeah, that makes so much sense. But when we start to actually walk that out, it can get messy, right? Like because I've worked all day or I've homeschooled and I've worked part-time, it's the end of the day. I deserve to just relax. And there's nothing wrong with resting. But if we want our children to pursue the things that we value, but we're not demonstrating to them that we're willing to pursue them when we're down and tired. And you know, it's just such an interesting road as a homeschool family that the culture that we create, like you can be very academically inclined. And yet as soon as every T is crossed and I's dotted then all of a sudden, your downtime isn't that same inclination to learning where if it's a lifestyle of learning and a love of learning, your downtime is going to lend itself towards reading for pleasure for watching, you know for information
And you know, when when you're viewing things it's, you know, yes, entertainment is super fun. And don't get me wrong, I love to binge-watch things from time to time. But I often look at my kids and I'm like, What am I demonstrating for them as a whole person, not just academically, right? Not just professionally. But what kind of principle do I want them to take from me in their adult life, being present kind of helps me remember that what I'm doing is demonstrating what I value. And so for them, I value them, I need to be present. But I also need to be taking it with me as I'm doing my leisurely activities too.
Janna 10:43 Next up comes from EPISODE 71, RETURN TO JOY with Camille Kirksey, founder of the World Homeschoolers Day and author of Coming Home, a quick and practical guide for preparing a mother's heart, mind and home for homeschooling. Camille's life starts with gratitude. And this sustains her on her hard days.
Camille 11:07 Gratitude is such a great way of remembering why you're doing all this. And it can give you peace in those moments when you feel like you're not doing enough. And it doesn't have to always be journaling, or you know, affirmations.
But they're just moments of I found myself over the years saying, Thank you for the hard times. Because in those times, is when I found myself growing the most being the most creative being the most, you know, flexible, because I had no choice I had to surrender to that, those situations. So it's just stopping and remembering how far you've come.
And anytime I do that, I'm always snapped back to reality, like I am, I'm doing pretty good. Even when I don't think I am when I really think about just, if you've ever looked at what you've done in a day, like just from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep, you're a powerhouse, like 100%, if you have shown up as much as you can, even if you couldn't get out of bed, you are here for your children and your family yourself. Just say thank you, you know, if you pray, you can, you know, do it that way, whatever you need to do, but those moments of gratitude is what really keeps you going. Because it reminds you of how far you've come. And just like I tell my kids, you know, you may not know how to do this problem or how to answer this question. But you have learned things that you didn't know how to do before. You know, look how you've learned how to master this, and you didn't know it when you start it. But the process gets you there and you've overcome it. So that doesn't change. You know, just because you’ve become a parent, you just have to go back to basics and be thankful for how far you've come for you to be able to do even more.
Janna 13:05 I love when my kids are just, they wake up, they're teenagers, they're just not they're not excited about what the day could bring. And I say okay, well what are you thankful for? And they're like, nothing, nothing. And, and it's, you know, that's very frustrating. But then I have to I have to like walk them through Well, are you breathing right now? Did you did you wake up from your sleep? Because then I go into like the morbid statistics of how many people didn't wake up this morning.
Camille 13:30 Oh, my goodness.
Janna 13:33 I was very like, I just keep it real over here. Right? My kids are definitely going to need therapy. So don't worry, we have we have set aside money for that.
Janna 15:49 The following clip is from EPISODE 124, GETTING BACK ON TRACK with Tanya Warpula, who is a military wife and a BookShark advisor. She clarifies how your Y can get you back from a derailment from your prescribed schedule.
And of Week 16 Yeah, I think it's a testimony to what homeschool really is all about. Right? If we go back to we've said it over and over our why. Why we choose to homeschool, we all have our different reasons. But if your why is lining up with kind of the derailment, right, it's to be together as a family, it's to be able to vacation or holiday together, then we have to just take a deep breath. And know that we can get back on track. We can reset whenever we want. And so what does that reset? How did that look for you and your family this week.
Tanya 16:42 So I set expectations over the weekend and said we will be starting school on Monday. Now we've been doing school the whole time. But it's been very light. It's been like math, a little bit of reading, it hasn't been like the rigorous schedule that we typically keep. So on Sunday night, I felt like it was super important to clean out the homeschool area, as if I was starting in the fall. And get out all my supplies for the week, all the books that were to be read that week. And I gave them an expectation at dinnertime, on Sunday night, we'll be waking up at this time we'll be starting. And this is what's expected of you. And we did that. And we started Monday and here it is Wednesday. And we've completed day three week 16. And I think we're ahead on some of our books. So I feel really good about that.
Janna 17:30 It is amazing that if we just stop and kind of go back to the beginning, right, we have recently released that the BootCamp accelerated so people can rewatch those first nine weeks of how to get into BookShark and how to use your curriculum. But it's okay to start over. It's okay to start again, you don't have to feel like you're a failure. This is your schedule your plan for your family. And although you know your curriculum will have a set time you can use it however you want. I think part of my problem is that I get bogged down with my unmet expectations.
Janna 18:12 Next is a clip from EPISODE 133 SHARE THE LIFT with Natasha Henderson, director of a micro school and a former BookShark convention representative Natasha explains why we may have some fear around homeschooling, and why we can walk confidently in this journey
Natasha 18:30. I think there's a lot of fear associated with like not feeling like you know what you're doing. I mean, like, as a parent, you're like, you know, I'm entering my oldest is about to be a teenager, and I'm like, Oh my gosh, I have no idea what's ahead what I'm getting myself into. And I feel like parts of our homeschool journey, when their knowledge base, and what they need to know is beyond what I understand. And I'm like having to study so I know what to teach them. I think what I've learned is that, like, I always tell my kids, you can do hard things. And I'm like, You know what, I can do hard things too. And whether or not I am the one that's literally doing that for them. Or if I'm finding someone else or another way, like a micro-school where I can put them in a situation to get the things that I want them to get out of it. I think that's an important thing to remember to like, as a homeschool parent, you don't have to be the sole educator of everything that they're learning. But you know, you have that role in helping them find ways to get the learning that they need done. And but it doesn't have to fall on your shoulders. And and I think that it's, it's freeing once you realize that, but it's a little scary when you're first stepping into it and you're like, oh, wait, I'm responsible for all of this, but I don't know, really. I think it's important to you know, find a community that helps support that and that's what I've loved about microschooling. I feel like we've really built a strong community for the kids but for myself, too.
Janna 19:52 So our final clip comes from EPISODE 134 LITTLE HABITS, BIG IDEAS with Erin Cox, creator of the Gentle Classical Press, she shares her ideal reason behind her why.
Erin 20:08 And that's what's important that 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 they 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 gonna 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 workout. 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, what about like the seasonality and then how we have to repeat these things as they go through. I think we both have a sort of thing as we go through these different developmental stages.
Janna 21:40 And that's it for this episode of Homeschool Your Way. I hope you were encouraged by the messages shared on this episode. Be sure to check out the full episode of any and all clips shared today. Thank you for listening. Until next time, bye-bye.