Big Homeschool Mistake

Homeschool Burnout | One Mistake I Didn’t Know I Was Making

Free Yourself

Here’s my account of our third homeschool year. As of date, we’re approaching the second semester of our fourth year as a homeschool family. I wrote these sentiments months ago when I was in the thick of my feelings and a light bulb went off. Today, I’m finally posting what has been lying dormant in my Word documents since April 2018.

I share these real mom moments in hope that it can help free some of you from the unnecessary burden you’ve placed on yourself to raise the perfect homeschool prodigy. For some of us, this burden stems from the need to prove to outsiders that our children are meeting the mark. Don’t allow yourself to enter into the New Year still burdened and carrying the weight of everyone else’s expectations for your child.

Feeling Inadequate

I was one of those anxious moms, so to speak. I just sort of lived with it and attributed it to the stresses of homeschool. After all, stress is normal.

Or should it be?

I didn’t jump out of bed eager to start the day. I found myself tired even after a full night’s rest. I was constantly worried about my children’s progress. If they were on target with their peers—if they measured up.

If I measured up as a home educator.

Homeschool Quotes by Nike Anderson

I teeter-tottered with the idea of “traditional school,” thinking to myself perhaps my boys would be better off. After all, who was I to think that I could supply all their educational needs? This was the weight of other people’s words that I carried for a long time.

Abandoning My Homeschool Room

This year, I’ve noticed we’ve been gravitating toward a more relaxed learning environment. The whiteboard in our classroom has not met the stroke of an Expo marker in months. Our workbox drawers have not been pulled open in months. My boys have not sat at their desks in months. I have not stood at the top of the class teaching lessons in months. In fact, I kept telling my husband, “One day we’re going to go back into that classroom and actually use it.”

One day.

I felt guilty. Like I’ve somehow failed as a homeschool teacher. I feared my boys would never learn how to sit still in the classroom. I feared they’d never learn how to raise their hand and wait to be called on to speak. And even though they were still learning, I feared I wasn’t teaching enough.

Doing enough.

Yet, I was exhausted—burned all the way out. Some of the exhaustion stemmed from the war going on in my thoughts.

Mental exhaustion.

Some of the exhaustion stemmed from doing the absolute most.

Physical exhaustion.

Homeschool Quotes by Nike Anderson

I grew tired of force-feeding information to my children. Things that held very little value to them. Things they’d learn just enough to ace a test and then forget the next month. It all felt counterproductive. We weren’t having fun anymore. They went from “YAY, school!!!!!” to “Oh no! It’s a school day?”

They Hated School

I could laugh every time I think about my second-grader “spacing out” while I’m teaching him a new concept. His little eyes just glazed over with a blank stare. His default nod to convince me he’s paying attention. His sigh of relief when I’m finished explaining everything (I tend to be long-winded, haha).

Laughter escapes me whenever I think of my preschooler actually running from me whenever I pulled out his reading curriculum. All the excuses he’d make, like, “I’ve got to draw some pictures, first.” He was the one who initiated his reading journey, yet I sucked ALL the fun out of it by using a traditional teaching approach unsuitable for his learning style. The daily battles to get him to “do his school work” put a strain on our relationship. I’d say things like, “You’re the one who wanted to learn to read.” Yea, I’m sure this is a great way to ensure he shares his interests with me in the future.

My “Aha” Moment

A few months ago, I shared Three Things It Takes to Homeschool. But there was a piece missing; something only revealed to me very recently, after watching a video by Shelly Sangrey.

In that video, Shelly, a homeschool veteran, said something like this, “If you’re still holding onto the standards of public education, you’re missing out on the freedom homeschool has to offer.” The freedom of not being bound by age, grade-levels, and “what your child should know” propaganda. The freedom of not being bound by one teaching method that caters to one learning style. The freedom of not being bound by a classroom. Chairs. Desks. Whiteboards. These things work for some people. But for our family, they just don’t.

Homeschool quotes by Shelly Sangrey

So, if I were to add a fourth point to the post Three Things It Takes to Homeschool, I’d say unschool yourself.

That was my mistake. I was still bound by traditional education and all the stress that came with it. The emphasis on performance and looking good on paper over quality learning.

Unschooling Myself 

I’ve realized that, while we’re concluding our third year of homeschool, I’ve never officially “unschooled” myself. Each time I tried to break away from the traditional model of education, I found myself being lured back in, fixating on grade-levels, assessments, and teacher’s manuals. Why? Because that’s all I knew, and that structure worked for me as an “A” student growing up.

But it doesn’t work for my boys.

What is unschooling exactly? This quote by the late George Bernard Shaw sums it up nicely:

“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”

Child in Pursuit of Knowledge by George Bernard Shaw

Slowly, my new motto became, “if education isn’t organic, I want no part of it.” Each of my children have subjects they gravitate to. They burst at the seams with questions about all kinds of things, and I miss teaching moments because I’m busy trying to get them to remember the difference between mass and matter.

My boys retained more information about random questions they’ve asked during fifteen-minute car rides than information they’ve studied for two to three weeks. They don’t mind spending an hour listening to me read a book about architecture because that’s what they’re into. But it’s a struggle getting them to follow along on a book about medieval history.

Revisiting the Root of Education

I get it. There are just some things that children should know and learning won’t always be “fun.” But the heart of education comes from the Latin word “educare” which means “to draw out” and “lead”—yet, I spent more time putting information “into” my children rather than encouraging them to discover learning for themselves.

And, truthfully, children don’t need help learning. They’re natural learners. But they do need guidance; someone to help them develop their ideas and concepts, answer pressing questions, provide the right resources, and demonstrate the lifestyle of learning.

So, instead of “doing school” or “going to school,” we’ve made a point to ask God how to help our children learn to live intentionally with vision and purpose. If we do this, they’ll always seek the knowledge they need to pursue that calling. In that, we can help them develop the habit of “being in pursuit of knowledge.”

Until next time, friends…

Tag, You’re It!

What would you say was your biggest homeschool mistake? Write a comment below!

 

Why We REALLY Homeschool | The Truth

Why We Really Homeschool | The Honest Truth

 

Hi there! Join me this month for the My Journey to Homeschool series. In this series, I’ll be sharing the why behind our homeschool and the process it took to get there.

If you’re new here, welcome! My name is Nike and I’m entering my fourth homeschool year with a new kindergartner and third grader.

Black Homeschool Moms Who Blog

I’m doing this series for two reasons. One, it’ll help you get to know me better. Two, I really need to revisit my why for self-encouragement as the start of the new school year approaches.

Even though this blog is over a year old, I’ve never quite addressed the reason my husband and I decided to homeschool in the first place. I’ve mentioned the benefits of homeschool that appealed to us, such as flexibility and tailored education, but I never really got into the “heavy” stuff.

Well, that’s because I didn’t want to appear anti-public-school. In fact, you’ll read here that I actually don’t hate public school. I’m simply pro-diversity. I believe there are many paths to success and one of those paths includes alternative education.

Nevertheless, as someone who has experienced and studied education at a professional level, I have some pretty sober things to say about the public-school system. As great as it is to have free education in this country, like everything else in life—including homeschool—public-school has its flaws.

The following reasons are ones that spoke to my husband and I on a personal level. They are in no way meant to sway you in one direction or the other if you’re on the fence about homeschool. Instead, my hope is to inspire you to develop your own “why” if you’re feeling led toward the path of home education.

So, without further ado, here are five reasons we really chose to homeschool our two boys.

 

1. We Weren’t Taking Any Chances.

Racial disparity in the education system is a topic no one wants to discuss, but it’s a real concern for many parents who are raising black children in America. In fact, studies indicate one primary reason black families choose to homeschool is due to dissatisfaction with the low expectations for black students and how they are treated in the education system.

The school-to-prison pipeline for children of color is a reality my husband and I had to consider when discussing the future of our boys’ education. Since we grew up in the public-school system, both of us have witnessed this practice first-hand. While we’ve turned out “okay,” we couldn’t negate some of the psychological damage we’ve had to overcome.

If you’re not familiar with the school-to-prison pipeline, it is defined as followed:

“The policies and practices that are directly and indirectly pushing students of color out of school and on a pathway to prison, including, but not limited to: harsh school discipline policies that overuse suspension and expulsion, increased policing and surveillance that create prison-like environments in schools, overreliance on referrals to law enforcement and the juvenile justice system, and an alienating and punitive high-stakes testing-driven academic environment” (National Education Association, 2016)

It is not our goal to shield our children, but rather utilize homeschool as an incubator of sorts to help prevent premature exposure to harmful disparities in society before they are fully equipped to process these experiences and thrive on their own.

 

2. To Implement a Holistic Approach to Education.

Homeschool offers us the ability to prioritize development in core areas that are often neglected. Physical, social, emotional, and spiritual development hold equal importance to intellect in our home. Since public school comprises about 1, 170 hours of a child’s time each year, there’s less time in a child’s day to prioritize development in areas outside of intellect, unless a more holistic approach to education is adopted.

As homeschool parents, we have the freedom to implement a holistic approach to education without competing with the time restrictions of public school. That means having sufficient time to work with our children and be more intentional about integrating all core areas of development into their school day. This practice is often referred to as whole child education.

Whole Child Education in Homeschool

 

3. To Cater to Our Children’s Intelligence.

If you’ve ever studied developmental psychologist, Howard Gardner, you’re hip to the nine types of intelligence. However, while at least nine types of intelligence have been identified and legitimatized, public schools only cater to students who possess logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligence. That means if a child is not a math-whiz or book-worm, the likelihood of reaching their potential in the education system is slim.

So, what are the other types of intelligence that often get overlooked?

  • Naturalist intelligence or nature-whizzes.
  • Musical intelligence or children who are skilled in sound.
  • Existential intelligence or those who are referred to as “life smart.”
  • Interpersonal intelligence or those who are people smart.
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence or those who can perfect skills through a mind-body union.
  • Intrapersonal intelligence or those who are gifted in self-awareness.
  • Spatial intelligence or those who can think in three-dimension.

It was very apparent to my husband and I when our boys were babies what their dominant intelligence was. In short, they both exhibited strengths in spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, and musical intelligence. These are strengths we are able to fully develop by allowing our boys to incorporate them into their learning—maximizing their academic potential.

 

4. To Increase Their Quality of Education.

It’s no secret that as more emphasis is put on teaching to the test, more education budget cuts are being made, and the student-teacher ratio continues to increase, the overall quality of education has suffered. Couple that with a one-size-fits-all curriculum that is tailored for the average student and you’ve got highly intelligent students who aren’t being adequately challenged and low performing students who aren’t having their educational needs met.

This is a reality for many public schools.

Sending our children off to school just to become great test takers was simply not appealing to us. Nor was sending them into an environment where their success depended on becoming “average” students.

 

5. To Establish a Healthy Environment for Self-Development.

Our children are individuals and we want to keep it that way. Unfortunately, in most public schools there’s a “get in where you fit in” mentality where children are encouraged to become carbon copies of each other and individuality is frowned upon.

As homeschoolers, we aim to provide a healthy environment for our children to discover who they truly are and what they’re passionate about—outside peer influence. In other words, we’re removing the distractions and providing our sons the privilege of defining themselves for themselves and growing confidence in that identity.

Yes, peer pressure is inevitable. Yes, children are bound to make poor decisions. However, the more time our boys spend developing in confidence and character in a healthy environment, the more equipped they’ll be to make sound decisions in difficult moments, and the less likely they are to adopt an inauthentic view of themselves.

Homeschool and Self Development for Black Boys


In essence, homeschool enables us to redefine education by making it enjoyable, interest-led, and a natural part of our everyday life. it’s essential for our family to dissociate learning from something you only do in a classroom or to get good grades. Instead, our desire is to encourage our children to become lifestyle learners

As I mentioned earlier, homeschool is not perfect, either. But it is the better decision for our family during this season of our life.

If you’re new to homeschool, you may find the following posts useful:

10 Things You Should Know Before You Homeschool

30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins

7 Homeschool Must-Haves That Didn’t Make Your List

How to Prepare for Your First Day of Homeschool

I want to hear from you: Are you thinking about homeschooling? If so, why?

Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

12 Confessions of a Homeschool MOM

Hi! I’m Nike. If you’re new to this blog, my family is entering our fourth year of homeschool this year. I can hardly believe it!

My husband and I live in Middle Georgia where we homeschool our two boys, ages 5 and 8. They are entering kindergarten and third grade this upcoming school year.

I love blog posts where homeschool moms keep it real. I know that, for most of us, we enjoy homeschooling our children and want to highlight the many positives of being a homeschool family. However, not sharing the unglamorous side can be crippling for new families who may think they’re the only ones experiencing tough moments.

So, to all the moms (and dads) experiencing any of the following, you’re not alone. Here are my twelve confessions.

1. It’s challenging.

Contrary to what people, who haven’t a clue about homeschool, think, homeschooling is not an easy job. When done properly, it takes a great deal of time, research, knowledge, preparation, discipline, patience, coordination, and proficiency. Whether purchasing a curriculum or making your own, the work that goes into ensuring your children are well educated is extensive. Some bad eggs may give homeschool a bad name, but for the rest of us, we put in that work!

2. It’s uncertain.

Truthfully, I believe there’s a season for everything. I don’t know when our homeschool season will end. Whether it ends after high school or next year, only the good Lord knows. Anything can happen. My kids may want to try out traditional school. Homeschool may be outlawed (Lord forbid!). Or, it may just stop working for us. All I know for certain is, at the moment, we’re enjoying this time and hope it lasts as long as God allows it to.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

3. It’s lonely.

I’ve been blessed to meet and befriend other homeschool moms who invite our family out for parties and playdates, but at its core, homeschool is lonely. That’s because at the end of the day, it’s just me, my kids, and their curriculum. Being the primary teacher in my children’s life means that sometimes I’ll feel isolated and overwhelmed. And while the truth is I’m not alone and this is the plight of every homeschool parent, it sure doesn’t feel that way during those tough moments.

4. I get unmotivated.

I don’t jump out of bed every morning and greet the day like Mary Poppins. Sometimes I’m unmotivated. Sometimes I dread the monotony that homeschool routines can often fall into. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m sick. Sometimes I haven’t slept well. Sometimes I doubt myself. There are many motivation killers that can throw me off course at times. But I’ve learned that perseverance is what you do long after your motivation has left you.


5. I don’t know everything.

The truth is, I still have so much to learn. In fact, my boys are becoming smarter than me by the day. They’ve become experts on topics they’re passionate about and the beautiful thing is they’ve also become my teacher in that regard. As a homeschool mom, I’ve realized one of the best things I can do for my children is not to teach them everything, but to connect them to the resources they need to teach themselves.

6. We have tough days.

Most days are great, but some days my boys just won’t cooperate. Sometimes there are tantrums. Sometimes there’s defiance. Sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Yes, crying, yelling, and everything in between can be heard on any given day. We aren’t perfect homeschoolers.

If these walls could talk, they'd tell you we're not the perfect homeschool.

7. Unschooling myself is hard.

Since I was trained by the good ol’ public school system, I constantly have to unschool myself so that I can open up more to the reality that we don’t have to sit in a classroom doing schoolwork every morning. There are other ways to learn. In fact, children are learning even when we’re not actively teaching them. Still, it takes time to accept that my children can learn even when I’m not standing at the whiteboard lecturing.

8. I don’t hate public school.

I am a product of public school. So is my husband. So are my friends. We all turned out just fine. I went to an excellent college, earned a degree, and even earned a professional degree. I’ve had some of the most amazing teachers and some not so good ones. I don’t hate the public school system. I thank it, because it was an option when my family couldn’t afford to send me anywhere else. I didn’t take my education for granted. I used it to my advantage, making sure I excelled so that I’d be a great candidate for college. Whether my boys are homeschooled, go to public or private school, I’d make sure that they excel, too.

9. The house gets messy.

You can imagine the mess that accumulates when a family spends most of their time at home. Hey, we live here! In fact, the only time our home is spotless is when we have guests, and everyone panics to “get the house together.” Yes, we have chores and cleaning schedules, but somehow at the end of the day, it seems like every single item we own is covering the tables and floors.

I cleaned my house today... memes, inspiration, quotes

10. I’m glad I didn’t buy a curriculum.

When we first started homeschooling three years ago, I used every free resource I could find for my then kindergartner. He learned to read, write, spell, and do arithmetic without a boxed curriculum. You can find the list of resources I used, here. Holding off on purchasing a curriculum offered more time to study how my son learns, which helped me choose a curriculum that best fit his learning style. Even better? The money we saved that year was put toward extracurricular activities and family trips!

11. My schedules are for show.

I have what I like to call my “ideal schedule” and then there’s reality. That reality becomes our routine. The difference? When I schedule things, it puts our family on a timeclock and makes everyone stressed. When I establish a routine, it invites spontaneity and allows the day to flow organically. Believe it or not, we used to have an alarm that sounded when it was time to move on to the next lesson, eat, have recess, etc. It wasn’t fun for any of us.

12. It’s rewarding.

This is such a cliché, but it’s true. I love learning more about my children, their strengths and weaknesses, their preferred method of learning, how they tend to deal with frustration. I love seeing and being a part of their progression. I love spending the day with them. They are my little buddies!


 

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, it’s worth mentioning that even though some negative moments are highlighted here, the positive moments definitely hold more weight.

I want to hear from you: What are your homeschool confessions? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Free Homeschool Deals

30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins

Homeschool can get really expensive. But the great news is it can also be relatively free!

Read the updated post, here, featuring over 60 FREE legitimate homeschool deals you’ll actually use.

Here are twenty FREE resources to help you save some coins this upcoming school year. Of course, most of these resources require you to at least have access to a printer and some ink. Other than that, all you really need are some basic school supplies.

Taking advantage of free curricula is a great way to test what types of subjects, lesson plans, and teaching styles help your child thrive best.  It is also a great way to save money for what really matters—lots of field-trips, adventures, and social opportunities!

So, without further ado:

30 FREE Homeschool Deals That’ll Help You Save Some Coins!

 

1. Free Homeschool Deals

This site offers free unit studies, supplement materials, and much more. Free resources are available for any subject and grade level.

2. Easy Peasy Homeschool

This site offers free curricula in all core subjects for levels pre-k through high school.  This is also a great site for elective courses like physical education, foreign language, and more. The reviews are mixed on this curriculum, but people like it for the most part. The common complaint is that it’s not challenging enough for advanced students.

3. How to Homeschool for Free

This site offers free unit studies, electives, and other resources for homeschool families. You can find materials in all core subjects for all grade levels.

4. K12 Education

This is an online public school, not a homeschool. Therefore, you will be subject to public school laws. However, this program is great for families on the go. Some people love it. Others hate it. The common complaint is the program can be stressful because there’s too much busywork and not enough flexibility. A great benefit is that you will receive free school supplies, books, and other materials needed for your courses.

5. Homeschool Math.net

This site is a great lesson-plan resource for mathematics. The site only serves up to seventh grade so you won’t find much for high school students, here. The great thing about these lesson plans is they come with video instructions/lectures, as well as follow-up worksheets. You can find any math subject from simple addition to pre-algebra.

6.  Homeschool Buyers Co-op

This site offers a wonderful database full of free homeschool curricula and resources. You can even find promos, coupons, and great homeschool deals on just about anything you need to plan your curriculum.

7.   The Pioneer Woman

This site offers another great database for free homeschool resources, awesome tidbits on motherhood, and more!

8.  Khan Academy

This is free a virtual academy for pre-k through high school students. You may select a course in any core area of your choice, or create a course of your own. What’s unique about this academy is that you’ll find free courses in engineering, computing, economics, and finance, among others. They even have SAT prep and other prep courses for other standardized tests.

9.  Teachers pay Teachers

Not only can you find MY free resources here, but a plethora of other free resources and curricula for grades pre-k through high school.  What’s great about this site is that all materials are made for teachers by teachers. Check out my growing shop to find some free goodies! There will also be an upcoming Back-to-School sale soon!

10.  Encouraging Moms at Home

This site shares an awesome preschool weather unit freebie. Take advantage! You can also find other great deals and homeschool tips on this site.

11.  Midwest Modern Momma

This site shares a free United States unit study that can be adjusted for any age. The study comes with a load of free printables. Check it out!

12.  Cornerstone Confessions.com

If you’re looking for a free science curriculum for pre-k through second grade, look no further. Cornerstone Confessions shares a Magic School Bus science unit for the entire school year! This unit is full of awesome experiments and activities. If you already have a Netflix subscription (or other subscription that offers the Magic School Bus series) this course is completely free.

13. Ambleside Online

If you’re a fan of the Charlotte Mason method, you’ll love this free resource.  This site offers free courses from pre-k- through high school in all core subjects. Ambleside Online also offers free Bible courses.

14.  Budget Homeschool

 This site offers free study guides, lesson plans, books, and more!

15.  An Old Fashioned Education

Are you old school? Well, this is the site for you! It’s important to note that this site is Christian inspired. The site offers core subjects as well as other subjects like etiquette, speaking, and art appreciation, among many others.

16.  Classroom Freebies, Too

This site is a great resource for all things “freebies!”

17.  Curr Click

This site offers free classes and curricula in all core subjects.  I do advise, however, to make sure all the clickable links work for a particular course—especially BEFORE you start depending on them as your homeschool curriculum.   I’ve come across some links that no longer work.  However, there’s some good stuff on this site.

18.  Free Kids Books

This site has a book for every age from toddlerhood through adulthood. And, yes, the books are free to download! Or, you can simply read them online. What I really like about this site is most of the books have ratings. The site also offers a user-friendly category search so you can search for anything from coloring books to early reader books in a jiffy.

Free Kids Classic Books

19.  Lesson Pathways

This is a curriculum-building site that offers free resources for curriculum customization.  The resources offered covers grades K-5. Registration is free and gives you access to some awesome goodies.

20.  Guest Hollow.com

This site offers a free Science of the Seasons curriculum, Geography curriculum, and many others.  There are some great resources for all ages, including high school students. Go take a look!

21. Scholastic

Scholastic has a teacher’s corner that serves teachers of all grade levels. This site is full of lesson plans, unit plans, teacher guides, activities, and more. Not to mention, they offer recommendations on awesome books to accompany your lessons!

Free Homeschool Deals

22. Crayola

Believe it or not, Crayola offers free lesson plans for language arts, math, STEAM, social studies, and, of course—art!

Free Homeschool Deals

 

23. School Zone

School Zone has a program called Anywhere Teacher. If you sign up for a free subscription, you have access to 28 educational activities that rotate monthly. The program connects children ages 2-8 to online learning and resources.

Free Homeschool Deals

24. Hoffman Academy

It doesn’t get any better than free online piano lessons. We’ve personally taken advantage of this resource, so I can truly say that my kids enjoy these fun, quirky lessons. The lessons are step by step and offer units for beginner and intermediate levels.

Free Homeschool Deals

25. STEMfinity

STEMfinity offers a database for all things STEM. Check out their resources for activities and lesson plans for science, technology, engineering, and math.

FREE Homeschool Deals

26. Code.org

Code.org offers free videos, games, and lesson plans for all things code. This site serves parents and teachers of grades pre-k through high school. It is also user-friendly for independent learners. My second-grader utilizes this site frequently to improve his coding skills.

Free Homeschool Deals

27. Scratch

Scratch allows students to program their own stories, games, and animations. The site also includes guides and tutorials for parents and teachers. This is another site my kids frequent. It is very kid-user friendly. My second-grader coded several games and animations using this resources.

Free Homeschool Deals

28. Kidzone

Looking for worksheets for your children? Kidzone has got you covered. All worksheets are printable for early learning through grade five. You can find worksheets on letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and more. The site also offers worksheets for phonics, math, science, geography, and more. Lesson plans and thematic units are also available. This was my go-to source for Kindergarten worksheets.

FREE Homeschool Deals

29. Education.com

Education.com offers worksheets, lesson plans, games, and more for grades pre-k through high school. They offer resources for math, reading, writing, science, social studies, foreign language, and more. Be sure to check out their Teaching Tools section because you can read the ratings and comments on the lesson plans they offer.

Free Homeschool Deals

30. National Geographic Kids

National Geographic Kids is a great virtual dictionary for fun facts about animals, geography, the solar system, and more. The site also offers educational games, quizzes, and videos for kids of all ages. We loved it as a supplement to our curriculum on life science and habitats. We also used this resource to supplement our geography curriculum.

Free Homeschool Deals

 

31. Nike Anderson’s Classroom

As a bonus, I’m including my growing online shop, Nike Anderson’s Classroom. I offer free resources for pre-k through second grade. Check out my free geography resources, reading and comprehension worksheets, memory verse activities, Black history worksheets, and more! Be sure to follow me on TpT to be the first to know when I upload a new free resource. I literally uploaded five FREE resources today, so you don’t want to miss out!

Nike's Classroom


 

That concludes my list. I do hope at least one of these free resources is new to you.

Your Turn!

If you have other resources you’d like to mention, let us know down below! Sharing is caring!!!!

I Don't Fit In

10 Reasons I Don’t Fit In With Homeschool Moms

Everyone has their own idea of what a homeschool mom is supposed to look like—even homeschool moms themselves! I’ve come across many stereotypes of homeschool moms; some good, some bad. But all are generalizations nonetheless—an attempt to create a mold that makes others feel comfortable.

Oh if I could’ve just recorded the look on some of my peers’ faces when I introduced myself as the newest member of the homeschool community. I could only imagine what they were thinking. I look nothing like them and my story is nothing like theirs. Needless to say, it was difficult getting people to see past my differences.

Even more difficult? Learning to challenge “outsiders” who not only assumed they knew my reason for choosing to homeschool, but also assumed what kind of person I was based on past experiences they’ve had with homeschool moms.

This post isn’t an attempt to criticize homeschool moms who may fall under some of the following categories, but rather a way to illustrate not all homeschool moms are cut from the same cloth—an important thing to note for prospects and newbies who may feel like they don’t fit the “mold.” 

I remember feeling so out of place (still do sometimes) in my homeschool community. During that time, reading posts like these reminded me that there are no rules! So, without further ado…


10 Reasons I Don’t Fit In With Homeschool Moms

1.    I’m not wealthy.  Not yet, anyway. I may be rich in some areas of my life, but when it comes to finances…let’s just say it’s a work in progress. In fact, only about 16 percent of the homeschool population makes six-figures. The rest of us make a pretty modest income. So all that talk about rich people opting for homeschool only references a small demographic in the homeschool community.

I know that homeschool curricula, coop fees, and the cost of extracurricular activities can seem daunting for those of us with tight budgets. But I’m here to tell you that homeschool doesn’t have to cost you thousands of dollars. There are plenty of free/low-cost curricula available online, at your local library, and even your local secondhand bookstore. All of my children’s curricula are FREE, but I do pay for any additional supplements I may need.

For instance, my local secondhand bookstore offers materials like A-beka, Saxon, MUS, and more, for just a fraction of the cost—I’m talking under five bucks! I also have a homeschool membership card that offers awesome discounts on school materials.

Furthermore, you’d be amazed at how many free/low-cost opportunities there are to involve your child in extracurricular activities. If you are new to homeschool, please plug into your local homeschool group—they’re a wealth of information (notice my pun here).

2.    I’m not white. As if that’s not obvious. I can probably count the number of people of color in our local co-op on two fingers. However, contrary to my personal experience, homeschool amongst the African-American community is on the rise. In fact, reports from 2015 show that Black students made up 10 percent of the homeschool population in the United States. That’s compared to the 16 percent they made up in public school that same year. And while that percentage may not seem that big of a deal, consider that African Americans are the fastest rising demographic in the homeschool community. That means homeschool communities are growing in diversity every year!  (Source: The Atlantic)

3.    I’m not drowning in curricula and school supplies. As a budding minimalist, I’m always amazed at how much unused stuff is accumulated in homeschool classrooms. It’s understandable, shopping for your classroom can be fun—and addicting! However, I love how minimalistic and clutter-free our classroom is.

Listen, you don’t have to buy every on-trend curriculum, gadget, or office supply. Keep in mind that most popular bloggers and/or YouTube personalities showcasing this stuff are sent these materials for FREE in exchange for a favorable review.

If you’re new to homeschool, I suggest sticking to the basic needs of your classroom—age-appropriate school supplies, a curriculum that works, and a work desk. I found that resisting the urge to fill up my classroom during our first homeschool year really gave me the opportunity to see what our personalized needs actually were—and what we could live without!

4.    I’m not afraid to send my kids to public school. Rumor has it that homeschool parents want to keep their kids away from the big bad wolves that may negatively influence their children. I won’t negate that these so-called wolves exist, but I will venture to say that negative influencers are everywhere—including homeschool groups.

Kids will make poor choices regardless of their schooling. It’s all a part of the maturity process. Just as all homeschoolers aren’t unsocialized weirdos, all public schools are not bad news. While my experience wasn’t perfect, I’m a product of the good that public school can do. I was an honor student and a good (but not perfect) kid. I know many successful people who are also outstanding products of the public school system.

If you missed the memo in my earlier posts, I homeschool to give my boys a personalized education that comes with the flexibility and freedom to learn at their own pace and in a manner that best suits their learning style. I also homeschool to encourage a positive relationship with learning that isn’t solely based on memorizing facts and getting high test scores.

(Please also note I live in a district with good public schools, I may not feel the same way if I lived in a low-performing school district.)

5.    I hate sweats. I know this is random, but it must be said. One thing that hasn’t changed about me since I was a little girl is my love for dressing up. However, I’ve noticed in the world of motherhood that dressing nicely has a negative stigma attached to it. You’re often judged harsher by other moms, viewed as being selfish or a bad mom just because you don’t look like what you’re going through (pee on the walls because your boys wanted to see how far they can “shoot,” the hidden poopy diaper because pooping in the potty is “scary,” the bruise on your big toe after stepping on a LEGO piece…).

I digress.

Putting some effort into myself has always been a great practice for my emotional wellbeing. I like to listen to positive affirmations as I’m getting dressed and ready for the day—It’s my time to meditate and reflect while my husband minds the children. In short—it’s a part of my “me-time.”

6.    I wasn’t homeschooled. I’ve met quite a few moms (and dads) who were homeschooled growing up. Until then, it never occurred to me that homeschool was a family practice passed down from generation to generation—simply a no-brainer for some parents to carry on the legacy.

I’ve already discussed that I attended public school my entire academic career, but I didn’t mention that I never even knew that homeschool existed until adulthood. In fact, I was introduced to homeschool when I studied alternative modes of education during my master’s program. I was so intrigued with the idea that I just kept studying it—even long after I earned my degree.

Yet, even with all the studying, my knowledge doesn’t compare to that of former homeschoolers I’ve met. This can be intimidating if you let it be. I simply remind myself that, while I’m no homeschool expert, I am most certainly an expert in my own homeschool.

7.    I don’t believe homeschool is the only way. This is one of the common misconceptions—In fact, some friends and family members started avoiding me once they found out I’d be homeschooling my kids. I even discovered some of these beloved people unfriended me on social media (ouch!). I guess I was oversharing our wonderful experience!

I’ve found that some parents who don’t homeschool their children are automatically in defense mode once the subject of schooling comes up—as if they expect me to criticize their decision to send their children to public school. This inspired me to write this post on my Instagram…

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“Please don’t mistake my being a homeschool mom as a judgement against moms who work outside the home or send their children to public school. We all have different callings in life–unique, yet beautiful, journeys to experience. I respect moms, period, and I respect the decision you make for your family. Don’t get tripped up on my life. Homeschool may sound romantic, but it is hard work and will definitely test and strengthen your faith, character, and patience. But nothing of true value ever comes easy. 

Therefore, the challenge is what makes it beautiful. I share snippets of our life with you not to boast (or make you feel guilty), but to inspire you to walk your own path, no matter how outside of the norm that path may be. Believe me, people have their opinions, but in the end I always have the peace of mind that I’m doing what God called me to do at such a time as this.” (Words in parentheses added later.)

8.    I’m not that patient…really, I’m not. Probably one of the biggest deterrents for parents that are considering homeschool is whether or not they have enough patience to provide their children with a home-based education. My belief? Patience is not something you just have naturally; it is a muscle that needs to be worked continually.

Yes, I’ve gotten angry, raised my voice, sent my kids to their room, and had to do some serious “woosahs.” I can for sure tell you that I’m not the most patient mom, but the good news is that my patience grows every single day. Most seemingly “patient” people you know have probably had a series of unfavorable experiences to help them grow in that area. You do not have to be patient to be a homeschool mom, but you do have to be committed to grow in patience.

9.    I’m not a helicopter mom. I won’t pretend I wasn’t when my children were much younger. However, the older my boys get, the more I back off and give them opportunities to make their own decisions, and/or experience some of life’s “hurts.” I don’t homeschool them to be a helicopter mom. That wouldn’t be fun for any of us. There’s no way I can police their behavior for every little thing they’ve got going on. Soon, I’ll be dropping them off to sports practice, extra-curricular classes, a friend’s house, and much more!

Knowing this, I’ve committed myself to helping my boys develop good character that’ll enable them to make good decisions for themselves. I don’t believe in shielding my kids, but I do believe in providing them with a safe and nurturing environment to learn about—and interact with—the world around them. Unfortunately, though, some things about the world kids (as they mature) have to learn for themselves. I accept that.

10.    I’m not the poster child for motherhood. Some homeschool moms are like saints. They’re great at everything from planning, decorating, cooking, keeping a tidy home, running a successful business, and raising geniuses—all with a Colgate smile. And while I admit to being good at some of these things, I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say that I am not a perfect mom and I do not run the perfect homeschool.

I remember seeing a quote on Instagram that read something like this: “Some days I amaze myself…other days, I look for my phone while I’m talking on it.”

Yep, that’s definitely me! Some days are perfect, some days are in between, and some days I just want to lay in bed and wallow in self-pity. There are so many wonderful things being said about homeschool, but not enough testimony about the challenges that homeschool parents (and students!) sometimes face. If you’re new to homeschool, just know that you don’t have to have it all together all of the time!