Reasons We Don't Homeschool

Why Homeschool? 3 Reasons We Don’t Use

As a homeschool family going into their fifth year of home education, we’ve been asked many questions about the whys of our homeschool journey.

I knew I wanted to homeschool the very day I was introduced to the idea. My firstborn was just a toddler then, and I was only into the second semester of my master’s program.

I remember my sources presented homeschooling as:

A lifestyle that allowed parents to customize their child’s education according to their  learning style and needs.

As a mother who knew—even then—that her son learned differently from how children were expected to learn in traditional classrooms, the idea of homeschool intrigued me and I decided to perform more research.

By the end of my extensive research, my husband and I were sold on the idea. Not only did homeschool seem to fit our son’s personality, but also our family’s personality. We were—and are still—travelers who would benefit from the freedom that homeschooling had to offer. But I must admit, at the time, homeschool was just a fantasy; something I wanted to do but didn’t think we’d be able to commit to financially. My husband and I were a new young family trying to establish our career paths and we needed two incomes to survive. 

My son went on to attend a preschool program that he enjoyed some days, but there were concerns I’ll refrain from mentioning. His teachers loved him and he graduated knowing sign language and other important concepts taught in preschool. Unfortunately, the issues he experienced left him ill, aloof, and straying from his happy-go-lucky nature. The idea of homeschooling still registered with me.

The timing, however, could not have been worse. Not only did our family just relocate, but we relocated to a town where there weren’t nearly as many resources for homeschoolers as there were in the metro area we once resided. Not to mention, we were crashing with our in-laws and our budget was tight. Homeschool seemed like a no-go.

But then something happened. I found myself researching again. I reread all the reasons why I should and shouldn’t homeschool—all the pros and cons. I read forums and even sought counsel about it. I revisited the idea with my husband, but we were still on the fence. This indecisiveness went on until one month before my son had to register for kindergarten at the public school.

We finally made a decision. I knew if we didn’t at least try homeschooling, we would always wonder. So with the support of my husband and family, I filed my declaration of intent for homeschool.

It took a while for my husband and I to fully grasp why we felt led to homeschool. You can read that post, here. Even to this day, our reasons continue to expand and evolve. What’s for certain, however, are the reasons why we didn’t choose to homeschool.

Here Are 3 Reasons We Don’t Homeschool

1.    To shelter our children. 

This was the major question I had to ask myself—am I homeschooling to protect my children from potential peer pressure? Rejection? Failure? Or any other fears that a parent may have? Let me just say that there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect our children—it is both instinctive and maternal. However, sometimes we can get so caught up in protecting them that we forget to teach our children how to stand confidently on their own two feet.

The truth is, social pressure and all of life’s unfavorable experiences have the potential to happen anywhere—even in our own home. So, unless I planned on my children not having any friends or social life whatsoever, I would have to teach them how to make good decisions in addition to healthy ways to deal with rejection, failure, and whatever else life throws at them. And let’s face it, these experiences don’t necessarily have to be all bad, as they are teachable moments.

2.    To be their sole educator. 

The saying is true that it takes a village to raise a child. And I knew that if I was going to homeschool, it was going to take a village to teach my children. Yes, I would be their primary teacher, but there’s a time when our children benefit from learning from other people. Whether it’s their peers, grandparents, coach, music teacher, or the cashier at the local grocery store—I know that other people have something valuable to teach my children that I can’t teach them myself. This is especially true when experience is the teacher.

Therefore, I didn’t go into homeschooling with the attitude that I was the only competent person to provide my children with a sound education. Rather, I only wanted to homeschool if I knew there was a community out there to help me teach my children and help them to reach their full potential. We were blessed to find not one, but multiple communities we can share experiences with and learn from. Our boys take extracurricular classes, play sports, and participate in many educational field-trips. You can read about it, here.

3.    To control how they’ll turn out as adults. 

We are a family of faith who—naturally—desire our children to share our belief in Jesus Christ. As parents, we desire and encourage our children to share our values. Whether those values have to do with faith, being a good citizen, or simply rooting for our favorite sports team, the more we share them with our children, the better our children get to know us—and what matters to us. 

We also understand that our children are individuals who will choose their own path one day. We cannot control them and we have zero control over who they’ll turn out to be as adults. For this reason, keeping our children home so that we can be the helicopter parent and govern their every move or influence their every decision wouldn’t be a wise investment of our time.


That’s all I have for now, friends. I hope you enjoyed this post.

If you’re on the fence about homeschool, just try it. Try it for one month. One semester. One year. You can always re-enroll your child into public/private school if things don’t work out. Just make sure you make your “why” clear. And remember, your “why” is unique to your family and no one can tell you it’s wrong.

Until next time, friends…

Great Wolf Lodge Review

Pressing the Reset Button | Tips for Planning a Stay at Great Wolf Lodge

Homeschool is great. Sometimes, however, we become so stuck in our mundane routine that we don’t even realize how far we’ve traveled from our vision.

If you’re new here, our vision for home education is this:

To foster a healthy relationship with learning that inspires a lifestyle of educational, mental, and spiritual growth.

While field trips, extra-curricular classes, and formal lessons are great ways to execute this vision, I strongly feel that just being can teach our children the value of rest. In rest, we discover the balance we all need to prosper.

Let me give you an analogy.

You’re probably aware that, when it comes to working out, rest is just as important as the physical activity.

Why?

Because it allows our muscles, tissues, nerves, and bones to rebuild after being broken down by an effective workout routine. Too much physical activity, when not coupled with resting periods, can take a toll on the human body.

In the same way, too much education, without adequate resting periods, can take a toll on childen—and their parents.

Enter the “reset” button.

You know, that button you press when your Wi-Fi has been running a little slower than usual? Yes! I press a similar button to reset my family when things have been a little—slow.

This spring, after pressing that reset button, we took a little trip to the Great Wolf Lodge resort. We called it our mini family getaway where for just a few days we could just be. Let me tell you, it was everything we needed and more!

Before I delve into my tips, I must disclaim this post is not sponsored. We paid our own money to stay at this resort and all opinions are my own. If you missed the video footage of our GWL adventures on Instagram, you can rewatch them on our Instastory highlights under the title “Today” for a limited time.

Now, here are some helpful tips if you’re planning a family getaway to Great Wolf Lodge (GLW) this spring. 

GWL 4


1. Sign up for emails.

Before you book your stay, I highly recommend signing up for emails. All you need to do is go to the company website and create an account. After doing so, check your inbox over the next few weeks. You’ll be surprised by how many promo deals GWL will send you for up to 50% off your stay. Without doing so, you could end up paying $400-$500 per night!

 

2. Your waterpark passes are included.

You probably know this but, in case you didn’t, when you purchase a hotel room for the night, this fee includes your entry to the waterpark for all the guests who’ll be staying in that room. So, if you booked a room for a family of four for $300/night, you will NOT have to purchase additional tickets to the waterpark. Each family member will receive a wristband upon check-in that grants them entry into the park.

 

3. Check for “Homeschool Day” offers.

If you’re a homeschool family, your location may offer “Homeschool Days.” Homeschool Days are basically days the resort invites homeschoolers to enjoy their facility at a discounted rate. Our location’s Homeschool Day was last month during Spring Break. They sent out offers as low as $99 per night! We were unable to take advantage of that deal but will be looking out for it in the future.

 

4. Don’t purchase a day pass.

From what I saw, day passes are around $55 per person. For a family of four, that’s $220. Trust me when I say, you can get a room (which includes your waterpark passes) for the same price, sometimes even less if you watch for promo deals. I highly recommend staying a night at the hotel if you can manage to book it for a lower value. You’ll be able to take advantage of the fun evening activities without worrying about driving/flying home. Plus, how cool is it to sleep at a hotel that has an indoor waterpark?

 

5. It’s an indoor waterpark and it’s warm!

Great Wolf Lodge Review

Again, I’m probably insulting your intelligence, but GWL is an indoor waterpark. Although, I also don’t want to assume you know this information. Some people I spoke with actually didn’t know. All major attractions are indoors. No need for sunscreen or sunglasses unless you’re enjoying the outdoor pool/hot tub. It’s also very warm, about 80 degrees indoors. The water temperature is warm, too! And, yes, it’s open during winter.

 

6. Arrive early.

Standard check-in is at 4pm, but we were allowed to arrive as early as 1pm to have access to the waterpark, which we took advantage of. We simply checked-in, received our wristbands, and enjoyed the water park until our room was ready. And as a side note: our room was ready by 2:30pm, so we were actually able to get into our room earlier than the standard check-in time! However, this is likely because we visited during low-traffic hours.

 

7. Leave late.

Check-out is at 11am, but you don’t have to leave just yet. After checking out of your room, put all your belongings back into your car and enjoy the waterpark (and the rest of the resort) until it closes at 8pm (sometimes 9pm). Your wristband will still work for entry to the waterpark! If you want to keep your room a little longer you can always pay extra for what they call “late check-out.” You won’t necessarily need to, though, because everyone can shower and dress in the waterpark locker rooms. The locker rooms even have a machine to spin-dry your swimsuits.

 

8. You don’t need your wallet.

The wristband you receive upon check-in is attached to your credit/debit card on file. Simply scan it to make purchases at the resort. The wristband is also your room key so don’t lose it! This is pretty handy because you can keep your wallet in a safe in your hotel room and you won’t have to rent a locker ($10-$18) at the waterpark to host it.

 

9. Don’t struggle with your luggage.

If you’re not valet parking (which is an additional cost per day), send someone (your hubby or oldest child) to the front entry and have them bring a luggage cart to your parking space. There’s no additional charge for this service. Simply load up, check in to your hotel room, and leave your cart outside your door when you’re done. A staff member will bring the cart back downstairs for you.

 

10. Skip the upcharges.

GWL offers Wolf Pass packages for up to $60 per child. This is an additional charge. You get the following:

  • One MagiQuest game
  • One wand to play MagiQuest
  • One round of mini golf
  • One entry to the Moonstone maze
  • One climb at the ropes course
  • One arcade card with 20 points (this will go quickly)
  • One candy cup
  • One ice cream scoop
  • One pair of goggles

I personally did not think the passes were worth the money. There are plenty of free events to enjoy at the resort after the kids tire themselves out at the waterpark. There’s morning yoga, face painting, crafting, and story time. There are also several evening parties—including a dance party for the kiddos and more! Make sure you receive an activity schedule when you check in. If you’re staying for more than three days, perhaps the passes could be worth the money, but I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise.

 

11. You can pay for activities/attractions separately.

A Wolf Pass is not the only way to enjoy the resort’s activities. You can save money and just pay for the activities you really want to enjoy. MagiQuest, one of the resort’s most popular attractions, will cost you around $33 per person for the game and wand. That’s nearly half of what you’ll pay for the Wolf Pass. Save your wand to avoid purchasing another one if you plan to return to GWL. Additionally, bowling is only $6 a game. No need to pay $60 for a Wolf Pass if you only want to bowl! I will say the Wolf Pass is worth it if you plan to do more than two activities.

 

12. Visit on weekdays and off-holidays.

GWL 2

Part of the reason we had a wonderful time was because we visited on low-traffic days when the resort wasn’t crowded. Judging from other reviews, visiting on weekends, spring break seasons, etc., is a no-no. When we visited, the lines at the waterpark were not long. Some slides had no wait at all. There were also plenty of chairs to relax in, plenty of tables to eat lunch at, and plenty of room to move about in all the pool areas.

 

13. Take advantage of Camp Howl.

This is the only upcharge that could be worth the money. For $25-$30 per child, you can put your kiddos in a program called Camp Howl and enjoy a child-free evening from 5pm-9pm. This gives you an opportunity to sip some wine (if you drink), enjoy the hot tub, sit by the cozy fire and chat—whatever you and your spouse/friends want to do at the resort!

 

14. Beware of the towel return policy.

Be sure to return your towels before the waterpark’s closing hours. Failure to do so will result in a hefty charge to your credit/debit card. When returning your towels, you MUST ensure you swipe your wristband and hear that “beeping” sound. Some attendants may let you know about this policy (ours did), but judging from other reviews, some of the park attendants failed to relay this information to guests.

 

15. Stay an extra night.

This may not happen for you, but our resort sent us a promo code on the second day of our visit inviting us to stay an extra night for only $75. A huge savings from the $400 per night average! If you’re willing to take a risk, just book one night less than you’re planning to stay and see if your resort will offer an additional night for a fraction of the cost. Keep in mind that we stayed at our resort during low-traffic days, so more rooms were probably available to give us this offer. If you can swing it, you could save over $325 for your last night’s stay.

 

16. Don’t overpack.

GWL 5

The waterpark supplies a seemingly unlimited amount of beach towels, free of charge, but make sure you return them when you’re done! The waterpark also offers certified life vests and flotation devices. You will not be able to bring your own floatie into the park, but you can for sure bring a certified life vest if you’re picky about those types of things.

 

17. B.Y.O.F.

Yes, bring your own food if at all possible. As with any resort, prices are inflated and the food is just so-so. GWL allows you to bring a cooler into your room (not to the waterpark, though). There’s a nice size mini fridge to store it all. We packed sandwiches, cereal, apples, bananas, Gatorade, water, and more! For dinner, we simply drove about 8 minutes to the nearest Chick-fil-a. And I will add that the waterpark states “no outside food” but I saw plenty of families bring in their own food at our location. According to other reviews, some locations will check your bags so BYOF into the waterpark at your own risk. No worries, though, there’s a restaurant inside the waterpark should your kiddo swear they’ll die of hunger.

 

18. Not teen-friendly.

My boys are 6 and 9-years-old and I agree with the people who say this resort is for families with children ages 12 and under. I saw MANY bored teens. Unless your teen has a “kid at heart” personality or is a low thrill-seeker, they’ll probably hide in the hotel room glued to their cell phone. There’s only one high-thrill slide. The other slides were so low-thrill that I saw toddlers get on them. There were also moderate-level slides suitable for 9-12-year-olds. However, there’s an outdoor pool that teens might enjoy, but it’s only open during the warmer months. I’m not a high thrill seeker, so I was happy to get to enjoy the slides with my boys free of fear, haha.

 

19. You can relax.

The lifeguards and staff at my location were phenomenal. They were alert, friendly, but stern. If your kids are pretty well behaved, you can totally relax in the chairs next to the waterslide area and let them go at it! Honestly, I didn’t encounter one child misbehaving (although I know this is rare). The lifeguards are quick to blow their whistles and put them in check. My husband and I did enjoy the slides quite a bit with our children. However, after an hour or so, our thighs started burning from climbing all those steep stairs. We opted to stay in close range while our boys went on the slides as much as they pleased, and we felt like they were in good hands.

 

20. Coffee (and other adult beverages) onsite.

For all my coffee lovers, the resort does have a Dunkin Donuts on-site and the prices are actually reasonable. My husband and I paid about $5 for two medium coffees. For a resort, that’s not a bad price point.  We are not drinkers, but we’ve also peeped that the resort offers beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages in their restaurants. There’s even a bar in the waterpark.  Also, feel free to BYOB to the hotel.

 

21. Celebrate a birthday.

GWL 7

My youngest son’s 6th birthday gave us another excuse to splurge on this getaway. It worked out since his actual birthday landed on our homeschool field day last week and we didn’t get to throw a party. He had a great birthday with his friends, but GWL definitely took it up a notch. They made him feel extra special the entire stay, from singing happy birthday GW-style, to giving him special party hat wolf ears that alerted everyone to grant him birthday wishes. He kept asking how everyone knew it was his birthday. He loved it! Be sure to let the resort know you’ll be celebrating a birthday and get your camera ready to capture the moment.

 

22. Visit the Lagrange, Georgia Location.

If you’ve got options in regards to locations, choose the Lagrange, Georgia location. For starters, the customer service is great (shoutout to Ms. Kim at the check-in counter). The rooms are nice and clean since it’s a newer facility. The Lagrange location is also the prototype for future Great Wolf Lodge’s, as there are newer attractions that other locations do not have. So go and check it out!


GWL 3

Well, that about sums it up! Have you traveled to GWL before? What are your tips?

 

 

 

 

 

34 Things You Didn't Know About Nike Anderson

34 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Last year, I wrote a post titled, 50 Facts About Me, to welcome my new supporters to the family. The post consisted of random questions I pulled from Google’s search engine that varied from where my hometown is to what countries I’ve traveled to. Considering this post garnered a lot of traffic to my blog, making it among my top ten blog posts of 2018, it’s safe to assume you all enjoyed it—or at least thought it was interesting enough to click on?

In any event, we’ve got some new members to our blogging family and I figured I’d write a similar post to help everyone get to know me even better. Last week, I celebrated my thirty-fourth birthday, so it’s fitting that I offer thirty-four fun facts about me that I haven’t mentioned yet. The first few questions are related to blogging. The rest are random, yet interesting. I hope you enjoy this post!

34 Things You Didn't Know About Nike Anderson

 

1. How did you first get into blogging?

I believe it was the year 2010 when I first got a taste of the blogging world. I sort of fell into it. I joined a social media platform for women with natural hair and started sharing my natural hair journey with other women of color. Although this platform no longer exists, some of my writings are still floating around the Internet to this day.

 

2. What inspired you to start your recent blog?

Loneliness. When I started homeschooling my children, it felt like we were the only black homeschool family in the world. My blog allowed me to connect not just with other black homeschoolers, but with homeschoolers from many racial, cultural, and geographical backgrounds. It was my way of saying “I’m here and I’m with you” to all those homeschool moms that felt the same loneliness.

 

3. What is your greatest blogging failure so far and what did you learn from that?

Hmmm. I would say not doing adequate research. When I first started blogging in 2010, I would share any old info’ that popped up in my search engine and it came back to bite me. These days, I seek scholarly sources and am more thorough with my research when applicable.

 

4. What is your proudest achievement as a blogger so far?

Hands down, the number of people I’ve helped. Whether I’ve helped them find a valuable resource, peace of mind, or encouragement, it always warms my heart to open an email from someone who just wants to say thank you.

 

5. What is your greatest achievement outside of blogging?

I’d have to say my mental and spiritual growth. My skin’s a little thicker, I’m more confident, more spiritual, and am pretty much happy and thankful to be who I am and where I’m at in life.

 

6. Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

 

7. Is blogging your profession or just a hobby?

My blog is definitely a hobby right now. While it has helped me earn money, I simply haven’t had the time to make this a full-time gig yet. Contrary to what some people think, even blogging part-time is very time-consuming.

 

8. How often do you communicate with your followers?

Pretty regularly. Join me on Instagram where I post family snapshots and video stories at least four times a week. Follow me on Facebook where I share inspiring stories, budget-friendly resources, and snapshots of our day-in-the-life. I also like to read your blog posts on a weekly basis (if you’re a fellow blogger), so it’s likely you’ll see me drop by with a like and/or comment!

 

9. What do you do in your spare time?

When I’m not blogging or teaching, I’m creating educational resources for Nike Anderson’s Classroom, reading self-help books, writing musings, listening to motivational podcasts or Youtube videos, getting my blood flowing, helping my husband run the family business, exploring local (or far away) beautiful places with my family, eating Mexican food, window shopping, hanging out with friends, laughing until I cry, drinking coffee, or sleeping.

 

10. What are some red flags you watch out for in daily life?

It may seem weird, but too much praise. Sincere compliments are wonderful, but too much flattery makes me suspicious of a person’s intentions. Why? Because it NEVER, I repeat NEVER ended well when my relationships/friendships started off with incessant praise. Sometimes people use flattery as a manipulation tool, so be careful!

 

11. What “old person” things do you do?

Use slang incorrectly, say things like “Is that what the young people are doing these days?” or “What happened to real music?,” declare how “hip” I am, get excited about coupons, retell the same stories to anyone who’ll listen—okay, I’ll stop embarrassing myself now.

 

12. What makes you roll your eyes every time you hear it?

“Natural hair is not for me.” Oh, the irony of that statement. God gave it to you. It’s for you, boo.

 

13. How do you judge a person?

By how they talk about other people and/or treat people with lower economic status. I once read a statement that said, “How people treat others whom they believe are beneath them is very telling of their character.” So far, so accurate.

 

14. When was the last time you were snooping and found something you wish you hadn’t?

I Googled myself once (under my then blogging alias about 8 years ago) and found someone had shared one of my blog posts. The comments underneath that shared post were hateful and non-constructive. It took a while for me to get over it. But it was a lesson learned in so many ways. The primary lesson? It’s none of my business what other people think about me. 

 

15. If you were moving to another country, but could only pack one carry-on sized bag, what would you pack?

  • My Bible.
  • My cell phone.
  • My laptop.
  • My intimates (bras in my size are difficult to find and are expensive).
  • My family photos.
  • My important documents.
  • My makeup.
  • My good jeans (they’re high waisted and very forgiving).
  • Some leggings and comfy tops (I know how to pack military style).
  • My favorite bathrobe.
  • My Ninja to make smoothies.
  • My natural hair products.
  • A converter for my plugs.
  • A pair of heels.

 

16. If you could have an all-expenses paid trip to see any famous world monument, which monument would you choose?

The Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It’s currently the tallest skyscraper in the world and I would love to take my boys (who love architecture and skyscrapers) to see it in person.

 

17. What’s the most ridiculous thing you have bought?

During my undergrad years, I thought I was purchasing a $99 refurbished laptop from eBay (I know, I know). It was supposed to be a gift for my fiancé (now husband). Turns out when I received it, it was basically a shell with NOTHING inside. No motherboard, no nothing. The computer techs practically laughed us out of the store when we asked if there was anything they could do to “fix” it.

 

18. What outdoor activity haven’t you tried, but would like to?

Zip-lining. My husband just tried it last weekend and I would like to work up the courage to try it one day.

 

19. What’s the worst backhanded compliment someone gave you?

“I love your home—My husband and I are considering downgrading to something small like this.” It’s probably not the worst backhanded compliment, but it’s all I can think of at the moment. Believe me, homegirl was being super shady when she said it. It was a home my husband and I shared when we lived in Atlanta, Georgia nearly seven years ago.

 

20. If you were given one thousand acres of land that you didn’t need to pay taxes on but couldn’t sell, what would you do with it?

Grow crops for food. I’ve been liking the idea of growing my own food more and more lately, and I just might do it one day.

 

21. What about the opposite sex confuses you the most?

The thought-process behind throwing dirty clothes onto the floor NEXT to the laundry basket. Didn’t know this was an epidemic until I spoke with other wives with the same problem. Love you anyway, hubby! It’s all in fun!

 

22. What kinds of things do you like to cook or are good at cooking?

I’m told I make a great spaghetti meat sauce, baked mac n cheese, homemade BBQ sauce, and homemade chewy sugar cookies—just to name a few. I actually don’t like cooking, but I love when people enjoy my food—especially my hubby and children.

 

23. What life skills are rarely taught but extremely useful?

How to handle and overcome adversity. I think too many people give up way too soon. We’d have more successful people if we were taught to expect adversity and were given the tools to come out on the winning side of it.

 

24. What’s the most historic thing that has happened in your lifetime?

There are a few; the 9/11 attacks on the WTC, having the first black POTUS, and the 2015 presidential election in Nigeria—which was the most important election in that country since 1999, and I happened to be visiting during that time. I missed my flight back home to the States due to demonstrations happening in Lagos.

 

25. What’s the most awkward thing that happens to you on a regular basis?

The long, awkward pause when someone asks me how old my children are, what grade they’re in, how many years I’ve been married, or how old I am. For some reason, the answers don’t come to me straight away. Like, I swear I know how old my kids are, haha.

 

26. What’s the most annoying noise?

The sound of my children asking for water for the umpteenth time after going to bed. Haha.

 

27. What animal is the most majestic?

I love lions and tigers (you know you want to finish the song). But seriously, I am a fan of big cats. Have you ever looked into their eyes? So beautiful and regal.

 

28. What seemingly innocent question makes you think “It’s a trap!”?

The good ol’ “What do you do for a living?” I think most creatives hate this question because it simply can’t be summarized in a way that’s pleasing to itching ears. Also, I’ve found that this question stems from one of two places; 1.) Someone wondering how you can afford something they deem a luxury. 2.) Someone waiting for the opportunity to brag about what THEY do. Whatever the case, either your answer will cause them to feel inferior or superior. Neither is a good outcome. I do understand, however, that in some cases this is harmless small talk.

 

29. What small change greatly improves a person’s appearance?

A genuine smile. There’s nothing more beautiful than a face that reflects a heart at peace.

 

30. What topic could you spend hours talking about?

Ugh. natural hair. I low-key get excited whenever someone brings up the topic. I love everything about natural hair from the spiritual journey I’ve experienced, the discovery and acceptance of self, to the science of taking care of it. It’s all so fascinating. So much so that I was once a regular contributor to an online natural hair care magazine. Best hobby ever. But actually, I like talking about anything that’s helped me grow as a person, really—faith, homeschool, family, parenting, you name it!

 

31. What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you while working at your job?

A couple years ago, I was hit on by a married man in front of his wife (and ALL my colleagues). I was working the front desk at a part-time job after relocating from Atlanta to Middle Georgia and the man blatantly flirted with me while his wife was standing next to him. She said nothing at all but stood there nervously smiling. And, yes, I’m sure it was his wife as I was helping them fill out pertinent paperwork. I thought I was on a prank television show or something. I couldn’t fill out his paperwork fast enough. Mortifying.

 

32. What are some of the most common misconceptions people have about you?

  • That I’m shy.
  • That I’m high maintenance.
  • That I don’t have a sense of humor.

In all fairness, I can see why that’d be an initial impression, as I’m a woman of few words around people I don’t know very well. That’s because I’m trying to discern what type of people they are. You’ll discover a lot about people when you close your mouth and just listen to them speak.

 

33. What was the biggest realization you had about yourself?

I am super TMI. Typically, this happens around people I’m comfortable with. I don’t know how many times a friend has lovingly said, “I didn’t need to know that.” I’m getting better though. It took a few unfavorable experiences for me to wise up and learn when to keep things to myself.

 

34. What values are most important to you?

Faith, peace, love, family, education, health, authenticity, and persistence. But above all; faith, peace, and love.


 

Can you relate to any of my answers? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time, friends…

Frugal Homeschool Field Trips to Take This Year

Frugal Homeschool Field Trips to Take This Year

Hi!

If you’re new here, my name is Nike (nee-kay) Anderson and I am a fourth-year homeschooler of two boys, ages five and nine. Welcome to the family!

The field trip conversation emerges quite often in homeschool communities. I’ve noticed most moms would love to do more with their family but they just don’t know where to begin. So, I figured I’d make a post about some of the awesome field trips we’ve taken that are kid and wallet approved! Some of these field trips were hosted by our homeschool group while others were family adventures. I highly suggest joining a homeschool group or co-op if you haven’t already. Having a community takes care of the burden that often comes with planning field trips. It also ensures you’d get to take advantage of discounted group rates and free tours.

Here are Other Reasons to Take Group Field Trips:

  • To expose your children to different experiences that inspire learning beyond the textbooks.
  • To give your children the opportunity to fellowship with their peers.
  • To create pleasant memories of your homeschool experience.
  • To give your children the opportunity to learn from other people (tour guides, teachers, volunteers, etc).
  • To get out of the house!
  • To expose your children to possible new interests of study.
  • To encourage your family to do things you wouldn’t normally do on your own.

What are some personal benefits we’ve experienced with group field trips?

  • I’ve met awesome people whom I’ve had the pleasure of developing friendships with, and suddenly homeschool doesn’t seem so lonely.
  • My boys are more confident in building friendships because they know they will see the same faces.
  • Meeting a couple times a month breaks up the monotony of homeschool life, and takes the pressure off of me to provide my boys with social opportunities.
  • My boys are more aware that they are not the only homeschool kids in the world, and now feel a sense of community.
  • We get to integrate, and form connections with, people who don’t look like us as well a people from different walks of life.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it, shall we?


27 Frugal Homeschool Field Trips to Take This Year


 

1. Tour your local creamery and learn how they make their ice cream.

Coldstone Creamery Tour | Homeschool Field Trips

Be sure to check out your local creamery to inquire about group tours. Our homeschool group has been able to arrange a tour with our local Coldstone Creamery for the past couple years. The field trip typically takes place in the morning during low-traffic hours. Our host gives us a brief history of how the creamery started and an in-depth tour of how their ice-cream is imported, stored, and made. She even shows us how they make their famous waffle cones. Of course, there are yummy samples to taste during this tour. The creamery is also kind enough to offer us a group discount on ice cream. It is the one time our kids get to have ice cream after breakfast and they love it!

 

2. Tour your local orchard and learn about the fruits in season—and pick some of your own!

Strawberry Patch | Homeschool Field Trips

We typically visit the orchard during strawberry season. Not all orchards are created equal, so be sure to choose one that specializes in field trips if you can. It makes a huge difference! Orchards that specialize in field trips typically have awesome learning centers, tour guides, thorough instructions on proper strawberry picking, group discounts on strawberries, and maybe even some complimentary fresh strawberry ice cream! We were able to learn about the plant life cycle, plant our own seeds (which we were allowed to take home), learn about bees and their significance in pollination, taste some yummy local honey, learn about the life cycle of strawberries, and of course pick our own very own strawberries to take home and enjoy.

 

3. Tour your local pizza shop and learn how they make their classic pizza.

Who doesn’t want to know how to make pizza? Take advantage of group discount rates and arrange to have a tour and lunch at your local pizza parlor. Our homeschool group arranged this field trip last year and it was great to not have to worry about packing lunch. There’s just something about eating together that solidifies bonds. Our children not only learned a new recipe, but they also learned the importance of safety and hygienic precautions when handling food in the kitchen.

 

4. Tour your local aviation museum and learn about historical events.

Museum of Aviation | Homeschool Field Trips

If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area that has free admission museums, take full advantage! Some museums also host free events or days when admission is free. I remember traveling to Washington, DC and all the museums were free to explore! Here, in my small town, we’re fortunate enough to have an aviation museum full of history and awesome aircraft exhibits. We’ve visited there many times and it’s a great place for kids to learn about historical events like the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and WWII. Not to mention all there is to learn about the many different aircraft, military vehicles, and notable service men and women.

 

5. Tour your local news station and learn the ins and out of news production.

News Station | Homeschool Field Trips

You may find favor at your local news station, so call around and arrange a tour! Our local news station was gracious enough to give our older children a tour of the facility. Our host was a meteorologist from the weather team. This was perfect because he was able to show us some really cool behind-the-scenes adventures. One of those adventures included some interactive green screen fun! I’d say that was the highlight of the field trip.

 

6. Tour your local police department and learn what officers do when they’re not out patrolling.

Of course, learning how they catch criminals is exciting, but there’s much more that goes into being a police officer. Our homeschool group took a field trip to our local police station, where we received a tour of the building—even where the criminals go when they first arrive. The most exciting part of the trip, aside from getting a tour of the police car and seeing how the siren works, was getting a peek inside the forensic department. The forensic department showed us how their latest technology can accurately analyze collected evidence from crime scenes. Oh, how the kids loved the magic of the blue light, which made invisible things visible!

 

7. Visit the aquarium and learn about aquatic life.

Aquarium | Homeschool Field Trips

We’d have to travel over an hour to visit the huge Georgia aquarium and pay over $100 for the experience. Luckily, we have a local aquatic center for just a fraction of the cost. The kids can see freshwater aquariums, underwater habitats, and learn about native aquatic wildlife. The 200,000-gallon outdoor aquarium houses over 50 species that include trout, alligators, and more. Our group even got to watch the divers clean the tanks and feed the fish.

 

8. Tour your local post office and learn how mail is handled and transported.

Post Office | Homeschool Field Trips

Ever wonder what happens to a letter after you slip it into the mailbox and bid it farewell? Taking a field trip to the post office is a must! Our kids were quite surprised to learn just how much behind-the-scenes it takes for a letter to “magically” end up in our mailbox every afternoon. Our tour guide showed us the entire process of a letter from the time it enters the post office to its departure for delivery. The kiddos even got to check out the mail truck, pictured above, which was a huge hit. The wonder of children always amazes me; they’re impressed by the simplest things we often take for granted.

 

9. Get fishing lessons from your local education center.

Fishing. | Homeschool Field Trips

This is one idea you don’t see on the field trip list very often, but fishing is a beautiful skill worth acquiring. This field trip has been on our list for the past three years. We aren’t a fishing type of family, but we were happy to learn the basics at our local education center. Since it’s a catch and release system, we don’t get to keep the fish we catch (not that we’ve ever caught any, haha), but it’s fun practice and a great pastime for kids. Afterward, we washed our hands and ate our packed lunches with our homeschool group at nearby picnic tables.

 

10. Tour your local fire department and learn about fire safety.

This is a pretty standard field trip, but if you haven’t visited the fire department yet, I highly suggest it. Parents and children alike will learn proper fire safety precautions as well as what firemen do at the fire station. At the very least, you’ll be convicted to change those batteries in your smoke detectors and implement a safe procedure for your family in the event of a house fire. Our children also learned about the safety equipment firemen must wear and their different functions. And since their masks can be pretty scary, the firemen made sure to let our children know that if they’re ever stuck in a fire and see someone wearing a mask, that person is there to help so never hide from them. But, of course, the highlight of this field trip was getting a tour of the fire engine!

 

11. Tour your local farm and learn how to care for farm animals.

Farm | Homeschool Field Trips

One of the perks of living in Middle Georgia is that there are farms everywhere. We’ve visited quite a few farms and have petted our fair share of cute furry pals. Something special happens when children connect with animals. They learn so much just by observing; the gentleness of a sheep eating from your hand, the way horses stand when they’re asleep, how content a pig looks wallowing in the mud. It’s also important for children to understand how important it is to treat animals kindly, and to be shown an example of what taking proper care of animals looks like.

 

12. Arrange a hike and discover nature.

Hiking | Homeschool Field Trips

We love trails! Thankfully, there are plenty to choose from in our neck of the woods, so we’ve hiked quite a few. Taking a nice hike along your city’s most gorgeous trail is such an easy and low-cost field trip that everyone can enjoy. The kids get to explore and burn some energy, and the parents get their exercise in for the day. Everyone wins! If your trail has a welcome center, grab a brochure of the native flora and see how many you can find along the way. Pack a lunch to eat later with your group and bring plenty of water.

 

13. Visit a nature center and learn about native wildlife.

Nature Trail and Center | Homeschool Field Trips

Zoos are pretty popular, but have you ever visited a nature center? Our local nature center was originally a rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned native wildlife that couldn’t be released back into the wild due to the severity of their injuries. We’ve seen a variety of owls, eagles, cougars, aquatic animals, and more. These beautiful creatures are now used to teach children (and adults!) the significance of each species and the role they play in our big world. It’s a beautiful depiction of the interdependent relationship between humans and animals.

 

14. Attend seasonal events together and bond.

Solar Eclipse | Homeschool Field Trip

Arrange to meet up and fellowship at your local fall festival, Thanksgiving parade, Christmas lights show, spring break carnival, Independence Day celebration, etc. In fact, we’ve actually run into a few of our homeschool friends at these events and arranged to enjoy the experience together. Pictured above is our children at the 2017 solar eclipse experience hosted by our local museum. It was our very first field trip of the school year and was very much impromptu. The museum provided education pamphlets, maps, telescopes, and delicious food trucks. How wonderful was it for us to experience this rare occasion with our homeschool friends? It’s an event we can all remember and talk about for years to come.

 

15. Tour your state capital or local government building and meet some of the nation’s leaders.

State Capital | Homeschool Field Trip

Does your state have a Homeschool Day at the Capitol event? If so, arrange a field trip with your homeschool buddies and go! Homeschool Day at the Capitol is when homeschoolers across the state gather to meet and thank legislators. It’s a full day of learning and activities from classes to tours and fellowship with other homeschoolers in your state. But you don’t have to wait for this annual event to schedule a field trip, most capital buildings are open to the public during normal business hours. Pictured above is our trip to the nation’s capital, where we toured the grounds of the Capitol Building and learned its purpose and history.

 

16. Organize a Field Day and work on sportsmanship and team-building skills.

Field Day | Homeschool Field Trips

Field day is probably our most popular annual homeschool event. We find a nice park to host it, ensure proper booking, and then meet and coordinate the events of the day. We accommodate all age groups from preschool through high school, and it’s typically an all morning and afternoon affair, so definitely more like a day trip. Best of all, our children get to bond with their friends while practicing important skills like sportsmanship and team-building.

 

17. Tour your local library and learn how to search for books on your favorite topics.

Library Tour | Homeschool Field Trips

Do you visit the library often? A guided tour might be just the thing to help your children become more familiar with the space, services, and resources the library has to offer. Guided tours offer lessons on how to search for books by author, keyword, or topic, how to identify and search for call numbers, how to request a book through Inter-library loan, and how to access ebooks, periodicals, etc. Our tour even included an interactive call number search game, where students were given a sheet of paper with a list of books that they had to search for and check-off as they found them. It was so much fun!

 

18. Visit a science museum and take a STEAM class.

STEM Class | Homeschool Field Trips

Science museums have much to offer, but did you know some of them also offer extracurricular classes? It’s worth looking into! Our recent trip to the Museum of Arts and Sciences included an interactive lesson on states of matter followed by a craft. The craft required students to make a piece of artwork using a liquid (melted wax), solid  (crayons), and a gas (colorful air bubbles). They also enjoyed a lesson on different habitats, which featured live animals. So, if you’re dreading teaching science lessons to your children, make it easy on yourself and gather a few friends to take advantage of low-cost classes in your area. Be sure to note your museum’s minimum student requirement to ensure you have enough participants.

 

19. Visit the planetarium and learn how to identify constellations.

Planetarium | Homeschool Field Trips

Turns out our local science museum also has a planetarium, which is an awesome field trip idea for astronomy lovers. If you have a planetarium in your area, this is an experience you won’t want to miss. A planetarium is a large room with a dome ceiling that allows you to see what the night sky looks like. It also serves as a theater that presents educational shows right inside the dome. You’ll have to recline for this experience! We couldn’t take pictures while inside the planetarium, so pictured above is the Science on a Sphere exhibit right outside the entrance. Inside the planetarium, we learned how to identify planets and constellations in the night sky. We also watched a 3-D presentation exploring galaxies.

 

20. Visit your local ranch and learn how to make corn flour.

Ranch Corn Flour | Homeschool Field Trips

Not only did we learn how to make corn flour by hand at our local ranch, but we also got to take a dive into the corn bin, among other things. Maybe your local ranch doesn’t offer this service, but I’m sure there are other great services they might offer, like seasonal field trips or guided tours. One seasonal field trip we took advantage of at our ranch was the guided program, Pilgrim to Pioneer Days, which taught the history of Thanksgiving. It included interactive lessons, a tractor wagon ride tour of the 1,500-acre farm, and access to the farm’s attractions. Prices may vary depending on the facility, but for our family of four, this trip averaged $36 for a full day’s experience.

 

21. Visit one of the tallest skyscrapers in your city and learn about its history.

Atlanta Skyscraper | Homeschool Field Trip

Our boys love architecture, especially skyscrapers. Last year, we decided to take a trip into the city and go inside one of the tallest skyscrapers of Atlanta—The Westin Peachtree Plaza, also known as the Sun Dial. Of course, we wanted to visit the tallest one, but we had to settle for the skyscraper that offered open viewing to the public. For a small fee, we rode an elevator up 72 flights of the 723-foot building, the fifth tallest in the city. We read about its history, had a 360-degree view of the Atlanta skyline, gazed through the complimentary telescopes, and pointed out famed landmarks. It was an amazing experience. Even more so through the wide eyes of children. Afterward, we ate lunch and walked the Northside trail (I told you we love trails!).

 

22. Visit your local pumpkin patch during the Fall and enjoy seasonal activities and a hayride.

Pumpkin Patch | Homeschool Field Trip

It shouldn’t be hard to find a local pumpkin patch that offers hayrides and other seasonal activities. Where we live, there’s much to choose from. The patch we like visiting offers face painting, story time, unstructured play activities, a fun hayride, and an array of different types of pumpkins available for purchase. Like most of the field trips I’ve mentioned, this was an organized field trip by our homeschool group and it was completely free!

 

23. Attend a Saturday workshop at Michaels or Home Depot and pack a lunch to eat at a nearby park afterward.

Workshop Class | Homeschool Field Trips

Did you know that Home Depot and Michaels hosts Saturday workshops for kids? If you didn’t, now you know! We used to take advantage of Lowes’ Build and Grow Kids’ workshops in the past but they’ve been discontinued. Thankfully, Home Depot hosts similar workshops where kids can learn how to make different objects out of wood. These workshops take place on scheduled Saturdays each month at participating Home Depots nationwide. Best if all? It’s FREE! And if that wasn’t awesome enough, the kids receive a free kit, apron, pin, and certificate of achievement. Michaels also hosts a $2 Kids’ Club craft project on scheduled Saturday mornings. This is a great, budget-friendly, field trip idea for your family or homeschool group.

 

24. Watch an outdoor movie hosted by your local park.

Outdoor Movie | Homeschool Field Trips

Another awesomely free field trip idea is to enjoy an outdoor movie at your local park. All you have to do is follow their social media pages to stay up-to-date on these types of events. Pictured above, we enjoyed a beautiful day at the lake that ended with an outdoor viewing of the movie, Moana. We enjoyed complimentary popcorn and hot cocoa, and we packed our own picnic. If you want to make this experience more “educational,” read or watch videos about the history and/or making of the movie. My boys loved learning how CGI movies are created. They also followed tutorials on how to draw some of the Moana characters and attempted to learn how to play “How Far I’ll Go” on the keyboard (bless my ears! Haha!).

 

25. Visit a Butterfly Garden and learn about different butterfly species.

Butterfly Garden | Homeschool Field Trips

Ever visit a butterfly garden before? There’s no time like the present to give it a go. I don’t want to assume everyone knows what a butterfly garden is, so I’ll offer a brief definition. A butterfly garden is where live butterflies are in an enclosure and you can walk through their habitat. They are also called butterfly houses and/or farms. It’s an absolutely beautiful observatory, where people can learn about the many species of butterflies and their native habitats. As you can see from the picture above, the butterflies are typically friendly and will interact with you and your children. We even fed them nectar. Most gardens are open to the public, so research your area for the nearest butterfly exhibit.

 

26. Organize a “Lunch & Lesson” and learn something new together over a tasty meal.

Lunch and Lesson | Homeschool Field Trips

Is it weird to take a field trip to someone’s home? We don’t think so! Lunch & Lesson is something my friend and I arranged this month for our children to learn Black History together. The event took place at my home, where I prepared a lesson, craft, and lunch for the kiddos. Pictured above is last week’s Lunch & Lesson. We ate hot dogs and french fries, and learned about Bessie Coleman. Since Bessie Coleman was the first black woman to earn a pilot license, we built and painted wooden airplanes while listening to Newsboys. It was awesome! If this is something your speed, you could arrange something similar and invite people over. It doesn’t have to be Black history, you could cover any subject of interest or simply get together to craft.

 

27. Go to the skating rink, burn some energy, fellowship——and perhaps learn a new skill if you’re new to skating.

Skating | Homeschool Field Trips

Our monthly skating events are not only fun, but an opportunity for my boys to hone their skating skills. In a world where “book smarts” is glorified, sometimes we forget our children also learn through developing gross motor skills. Roller skating works all parts of the body and is especially good for the heart. Like most physical activity, skating is also a great way for children to relieve stress. Our local skating rink is kind enough to open its facility to us during non-conventional hours, so long as we continue to have enough people participate. If your local skating rink doesn’t already offer something similar, you could gather enough homeschoolers and petition for it. It’s worth the group discount rate, and your children will have a place they can regularly fellowship each month.


 

That concludes my list of frugal homeschool field trips that we’ve enjoyed over the years. This list is not at all-comprehensive, but it does include the field trips I can remember off-hand—and also the ones I remembered to document on camera. If this is your first homeschool year and you’re feeling a way about not taking enough field trips, please know this wasn’t our reality our first year either. It took time for us to find a homeschool community we could feel a part of. However, not being plugged in didn’t stop us from enjoying family adventures of our own. I do hope this list inspires you to make the most of your homeschool experience.

Until next time, friends…

 

Merry Christmas Black Family

A Christmas Note For You

Merry Christmas, friends!

I hope this greeting finds you full of health, joy, and prosperity. I just want to hop on this blog quickly to wish you well. And since it’d be awkward to write a two-sentence post, I’ll share what we’ve been up to.

Yesterday, we enjoyed a relaxing day with our family. I was able to just be because I’d already completed my Christmas shopping before December and did most of my wrapping this weekend. I also organized and got rid of a ton of stuff via donation.

Family Christmas 2018

It was a great day here in Middle Georgia. It was an unusually warm winter day. All we needed was a light jacket and a smile. The sun was blindingly beautiful and very much welcomed after a couple days of gloomy weather. My boys took full advantage and rode their bikes up and down the street with their friend next door.

Later, we had a gift card to Chick-fil-a so it only made sense to bypass cooking and have a tasty drive-through dinner at our favorite fast food joint. Their spicy chicken deluxe sandwich is my fav! I love how our local Chick-fil-a decorates during this time of year. The giant cone tree filled with sparkling lights. The bedazzled manicured bushes. The fairy-light trimmings adorning the building. It’s so fun and festive!

FYI: My meal didn’t survive the drive home.

That night, we let the boys open one gift. When I was a child, my mother always allowed us to open one present on Christmas Eve, so we kept up this tradition with our children. The boys ended up opening their gifts to each other. I love to take my boys on individual shopping trips to pick out gifts for one another. It encourages them to be thoughtful and strengthens their bond.

Since my little-one loves stuffed animals, his brother got him a plush horse. It walks. It’s loud. It’s annoying. But little brother LOVED it. Although judging from the disapproving look on my husband’s face, I think Munchie will have a mysterious disappearance soon. And, yes, Munchie is the horse’s name.

For older brother, my little-one picked out a Perler bead kit. My eldest son had asked for this kit (and many other things!) during one of our shopping trips to Hobby Lobby. But it was NOT on the list, so I said no. No worries, though, little bro had his big brother’s back and gifted him the kit full of thousands of beads that’ll probably end up in the vacuum. Big brother loved it and the entire family had an impromptu crafting session.

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During our crafting session, I asked the boys what they thought Christmas was all about. We’ve had this conversation last Christmas, but I was curious as to what they’ve extracted from it. I love hearing things from a child’s perspective. My eldest son said it best, “It’s about celebrating Christ being born and saving us from our sins.” Oh, how this celebration should take place every single day of our lives!

After watching Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas on Netflix and sipping some hot cocoa, the boys were fast asleep. Soon, the presents rolled out of the closet and made their way underneath the Christmas tree. Join me on Instagram to get a glimpse of my Christmas Eve winddown on Instastory.

When it’s all said and done, I’m truly thankful for the life God has given me.

I want to end this post by saying this Christmas, please take the time to pick up the phone and call someone who could use it right now. Some people have a difficult time during the holidays. I, myself, have a friend who’s entire family literally just fell apart after her husband walked out on them. Today will be tough for her and her children.

And if you’re the one going through the holiday blues right now. Take heart. I empathize with you. I know there’s very little I can say to ease your pain. But just know that nothing lasts forever. Your pain won’t last forever. May you experience comfort during your season of grief, sadness, depression—or whatever you’re going through. May your suffering not be in vain. May you smile for the first time in days. Weeks. Months. May you make it through this difficult time stronger and more resilient.

Peace be with you, my friend.

Until next time…

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10 Homeschool Mistakes

10 Mistakes That Almost Ruined Our Homeschool

 

The title of this post is a bit dramatic, but let’s roll with it, shall we?

If you’re just joining me, I’m Nike (nee-kay), a third-year homeschool mom of two energetic boys, ages 4 and 8. Welcome to my little corner of the internet where I share my passion for faith, family, and homeschool!

I love when moms share their homeschool “hiccups,” so I’ll go ahead and share mine today. Here are ten things that proved to be unhealthy for our homeschool. I’ll spare you the long intro and get right to it!

1. Doubt.

For me, doubt can stem from the insecurity that we may have made the wrong decision for our family. This insecurity is at its peak during the trying moments of homeschool. You know, when my boys refuse to complete assignments, complain about not seeing their friends, or are just completely uncooperative. I have to remind myself during these moments that all callings in life have their fair share of trials, and just because things are tough doesn’t mean we made the wrong decision. In fact, tough moments are an opportunity to gain perseverance and grow in faith.

2. Unclear expectations.

I found out very quickly that it’s impossible to successfully manage our homeschool without effectively communicating to my family what’s expected of them. This was especially true when it came to delegating roles to my husband. When we were just starting out as a homeschooling family, I carried the bulk of the burden until I realized I couldn’t do it by myself. I needed my husband to know how to assist me, and I needed my children to know exactly what I expected out of them to make this homeschool journey successful.

3. Lack of routine.

Routines are important in our homeschool because my children thrive better when they know what to expect. Although I’ve always been adamant about routines, there were moments when we fell off and those moments were tough on everyone.

4. Being unrealistic.

Everyone has their own struggle in this area. Mine was expecting that my boys will catch on quickly to learning new concepts ALL the time. When they didn’t catch on quickly enough, I most certainly struggled in the patience department. I had to learn how to slow down. After all, one of the perks to homeschool IS being able to slow down when needed. And, even as intelligent as they are, I had to learn that they, like most kids, have areas of weakness that need extra attention.

5. Too much socialization.

I never in my wildest dreams thought my boys would get too much socialization as homeschool kids, but they most certainly did. Between extracurricular classes, playdates, fieldtrips, parties, taekwondo, and family road-trips, I had to scale back tremendously to ensure there was enough time for formal learning. While I value providing my children with social opportunities, I had to realize that it couldn’t be at the cost of their education.

6. Too little socialization.

And, of course, there were the days when we didn’t belong to any homeschool groups or co-ops and struggled to get any social interaction with children my boys’ age. Not having that community made homeschool feel lonelier—mostly for me, though. My kids were 5 and 2, so they were at the age where they didn’t really notice much. But too little socialization for momma was no Bueno.

7. Peer pressure.

Peer pressure in adulthood DOES exist. It looks a little something like this: ALL the moms in your group use a certain type of curriculum and uphold it as the holy-grail to which no other curriculum can compare. Or, those lovely mom chats where moms try and one-up each other on how early their child learned to do this or that. Yep, it got to me. I admit it. And I did feel the pressure to use the curriculum everyone else was using and to teach my kids what everyone else was teaching theirs. Thankfully, that ship has sailed and I’m wiser now. Putting pressure on my family to be like another family certainly caused unnecessary stress on our homeschool.

8. Trying to prove myself.

Anyone ever take a million pictures of your kids with other kids to prove to your disapproving family members that your homeschool kids have a social life? Or, pop-quiz your kids in front of family members to prove they’re learning just as well as any other kid? I’ll raise my hand on that one. It took two years to build the confidence to realize that I didn’t have to prove anything or answer to anyone when it came to our family life.

9. Zero me-time.

I’m home with my kids all day every day so I’m going to need some me-time. And, no, I don’t feel guilty about it. Yes, it was my decision to stay home and homeschool my kids, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to feel tired, annoyed, overwhelmed, or in need of some time alone. Doesn’t mean I hate homeschool. Doesn’t mean I hate my kids. It just means I need to recharge—ALONE! It’s called self-care. When I don’t get me-time everyone and everything in the house suffers—especially our homeschool.

10. Too many curricula.

For our family, it can’t be all about learning from textbooks. There’s a whole world out there that my boys need to explore and learn from—something that textbooks can never teach. The world is our classroom! We can learn about plants and animals, U.S. states, and some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, but experiencing them for ourselves will always hold more weight than memorizing facts.


 

That concludes my list of homeschool “hiccups.” Do you have any? Don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments.

Homeschool of Shame

Homeschool of Shame | 8 Things I No Longer Do

There are many wonderful things we do at our homeschool that I’m always eager to share. Now, it’s time to share what we don’t do that many moms think we probably should. Up until very recently, I used to do ALL these things as religiously as possible. These days, I’m becoming more aware of what works best for my family. That means doing away with some practices I’ve forced on our family for so long.

I’m not suggesting you stop doing the things I’m about to mention. My hope for this post is to inspire homeschool parents to get rid of what’s not working and do what suits their family instead. Here are eight things I no longer do now that I’m in my third year of homeschool.

 

1. Wake up before my kids:

That’s right. I no longer make it a priority to wake up before my kids. That’s not to say some days (like today) I don’t, but these days I refuse to punish myself for not living up to the unsaid expectations of stay-at-home moms. I’m a night owl by nature and often forced myself to turn-in early to awaken before sunrise. Not only is it extremely difficult to fall asleep before midnight, but late nights are often when I’m most productive. My body would rather work until 2am and awaken at eight in the morning than go to sleep at 11pm and awaken at five in the morning to get work done. I’m learning to accept it.

 

2. Morning devotionals:

Nope. I typically do my devotionals at night and my declarations in the morning. It just feels right. I like to do my declarations as soon as I open my eyes. This includes thanking God and declaring some truth over my life according to scripture. Declarations are not just a morning thing, they are something I speak whenever I start to fall into negative thinking. I’m not perfect at it, but it’s becoming more of a habit with each day. Here are some examples:

I. Negative thought: Replaying failures in your mind.

Declarations: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). I will focus on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, and anything that is excellent or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8).

II. Negative thought: Comparing yourself to others.

Declarations: I will examine only myself and be proud of my own accomplishments without comparing myself to others (Gal. 6:4-5). I refuse to let envy destroy me, but I choose to have a peaceful heart that gives me life (1 Cor. 3:3).

III. Negative thought: Feeling angry or frustrated.

Declarations: Today, I choose to be patient and kind. I refuse to be rude, easily angered or keep a record of wrongs. I will persevere because love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

IV. Negative thought: Worry and fear.

Declarations: I refuse to worry about my life. I know that God will provide everything I need (Mat. 6:25-34). God did not give me the spirit of fear but His Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim 1:7).

 

3. Read about homeschool:

I noticed the more I read about homeschool, the more I compared myself to those seemingly perfect veterans. I stopped making a habit of this. I guard myself by limiting my exposure to any triggers. When I find myself falling back into the negative thought-pattern of comparison, I arm myself with some of the declarations I mentioned in my second point. I’d like to remind you that your homeschool is unique to your family. You don’t have to do it like everyone else!

 

4. Mimic the traditional classroom:

My teaching method once very much mirrored that of the traditional classroom because that’s all I knew. These days, we learn side-by-side wherever we are comfortable. That can be the couch, dining room table, the library, or outdoors. We LOVE our classroom setup, but we aren’t bound by it. Truthfully, we get tired of being in there by the third quarter.

 

5. Plan enrichment activities:

I’m sorry for those of you who followed me for the awesome enrichment activities. I simply don’t plan them much because I don’t have to. These days, most enrichment activities we do are those our curriculum suggests. If I happen to think of something extra fun, I’ll execute that idea. Other than that, I simply can’t be bothered. I now have several side projects that consume the bulk of the free time I once administered to being crafty. In the end, I realized I was only creating more unnecessary work for myself.

 

6. Follow the curriculum verbatim:

I’m more interested in staying true to our homeschool vision than applying ineffective aspects of a curriculum. I’ve seen some moms suffer through a curriculum for the sake of completion. Not at our house. If it doesn’t work, I don’t force it. I recently had to do away with the entire third quarter of my son’s reading curriculum because they assigned reading he simply couldn’t relate to. Forcing him to understand medieval language became counter-productive. Instead, I assigned reading he could enjoy and required him to write summaries of the assigned chapters. Yes, there’ll be some things in his curriculum he MUST do, but I decided the originally assigned reading was not one of them.

 

7. Get dressed every day:

If we don’t have plans for the day, we don’t accumulate laundry. That’s that. I figured it was more important to be resourceful than picture-perfect. So yea, you may have noticed on Instagram that my kids are sometimes wearing pajamas or “house clothes” in the afternoon. I know there are tons of articles that make compelling cases for getting dressed even if you don’t go anywhere. However, I’m at a place in my life where, if I want to be super productive, my pajamas sure aren’t going to stop me. More importantly, my boys don’t seem any less productive than before. This is not to be confused with self-care, which they are most certainly required to do every day.

 

8. Uphold the perfect homeschool image:

I was trapped by expectations. Not so much on this blog (where I share my not-so-perfect moments), but in my daily life where other homeschool moms gave me a smug look if I mentioned using a free curriculum, not participating in expensive extra-curricular classes, or not vigorously training my then toddler how to read Shakespeare or multiply fractions (slight exaggeration, here). This blog felt like the ONLY place where I could speak freely about homeschooling on a narrow budget and in a way that works for ME. These days, I endure smug looks for the sake of releasing another homeschool parent from the bondage of other people’s expectations.


 

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Kudos to all the homeschool parents that do all of the things I mentioned and it works for YOU. This post is no way saying that these practices aren’t valuable. They just no longer serve our family. Let us know in the comments some things you’ve done away with in your homeschool. See you next week!