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Hi Everyone! 

It may not be summer officially, but it sure feels like it here in Texas! 

But it's not all about the weather. Lots of parents are switching gears coordinating schedules, planning vacations (or stay-cations!).

And some parents are struggling with the idea of homeschooling their kids. School simply isn't working. They have tried and tried and TRIED to make it work. But they know in their heart of hearts, it's not the best place for their child. This update is for them. On one hand, my heart breaks for them. They've struggled so much. And on the other hand, I know that something wonderful - beyond their wildest dreams, even - is just around the corner. Please feel free to share this newsletter (or the link to that blogpost) with anyone you think might be helped by it. I think of it as parents tossing each other a lifeline. 

Next weekend, I'll be in California for the CHN Family Expo. If you're there, PLEASE stop by and say hi! It's always a little weird to be at conferences without my family, so I welcome any interaction from internet friends!!  And, it's so cool to put faces with names. My daughter, Katie, may be there for some of the time so you might be able to meet her too! I'll be talking about my book, Homeschooled Teens,  a new talk called The 3 A's: Adventure, Attitude, and Adjustment, and giving the Commencement speech at their Homeschool Graduation. I'm going to try to do live streaming from the conference, so be sure to connect on Facebook.

So that's plenty for now, right? Have an awesome weekend!

As always, if you need a little 1:1 help, just hop onto my calendar from the website.

Hey there!!

Whew! You wrapped up another school year and I know some of you are wondering if you’ve really got it in you to do this all over again in a couple of months.

Let’s face it, it’s been a rough year. You can’t even count the number of nights you spent wrangling with your kid about homework and trying to spin the idea that, yes, this is all necessary despite their protests. Because truthfully, you have your own doubts. All those “necessary” classes and subjects from your own school days – long forgotten! Besides, no one ever asked you about the Pythagorean Theorem or the date of the Battle of Hastings. Heck, you don’t even use your degree! Neither do I! (Talk about a waste of time and money.) Yet you’ve spent the year deputized by the kids’ school as their “Homework Police.,” making sure they memorize all those same irrelevant facts.  And that was not fun.

But what are you going to do? You used to remind yourself that this is simply what everyone must endure until they’re 18 and graduated. But school these days? It doesn’t look like your school days with so much emphasis on testing, the pressure and the stress. The bullying that happens has really gotten out of hand and the teachers seem incredibly frustrated. I don’t know whether the system got too big or too removed from what really works… I don’t know how it has gone so wrong. But you’re pretty sure your kids are not going to look back on these days with a lot of happy memories.

So as you’re wringing your hands and wondering if there are any viable options at all, you’ve started to notice a few more families deciding to homeschool. They’re not all ultra-religious or crunchy granola types either.

And it has you wondering:
DO REGULAR PEOPLE LIKE ME HOMESCHOOL THEIR KIDS?

And as soon as that question slips in, the flood of counter-questions surface!

  • Is homeschooling even legal here? Are their a ton of hoops to jump through?
  • Would I even be qualified to do this?
  • How would they make any friends?
  • How would they learn anything?
  • What if we can’t stand each other?

So I just want to tell you,
YES. REGULAR PEOPLE DO HOMESCHOOL THEIR KIDS.

I did. I had no plans to homeschool as we were trying to make school work for my little kindergartener. But as first grade rolled around, it became clear that the classroom experience was not a good situation. His enthusiasm for learning was already starting to wane. His curiosity was being squashed. His individualism and self-expression – well, there was no room for that. So I started to investigate the homeschooling option. It was the 1990’s and the landscape looked a lot different! Ha!

But the times have changed. And more and more moms like me (and you!) started leaving the local schools venturing into this learning no-man’s-land. Interestingly, there were plenty of people choosing home education back then and thousands more now. It’s a subculture that exists in every community.

To address the questions that popped up first:

1. LEGALITY. Yes, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Each state decides it’s own rules for what hoops homeschoolers must jump through to legally homeschool. A quick google search can take you to your local and/or state homeschooling group and they will have an explanation as to how the community is dealing with the compulsory attendance laws. Some states require nothing of homeschooling families. Others want periodic testing, some want an end-of the-year evaluation. Send me an email if you have trouble finding out about your state and I can help you out.

2. ARE YOU QUALIFIED? Of course you are! Do you know everything? Of course NOT! No one said you have to know everything. You simply have to be a good resource finder. Being able to tap into the local community (libraries, museums, friends with skills, the Internet, etc.) is all you need to be able to provide a wonderful rich learning environment.

3. AHHH… SOCIALIZATION! That question always pops up. They make friends the way any of us do that aren’t sitting in a classroom – shared interests and experiences. These are the real friendships anyway. I can remember being “best friends” with someone for a year while we sat beside each other in class. And then the next year, we had no shared classes and that friendship was gone. :::poof::: Homeschooled kids aren’t missing out on anything by skipping those kinds of shallow “friendships.”

Remember earlier I mentioned a subculture you may not be aware of? All over the country, homeschoolers are getting together at parks and homes, libraries and recreation centers. They’re off on “field trips” together, meeting for “game days,” pool parties, and mid-week (gasp!) sleepovers.

4. HOW WILL THEY LEARN? Life provides SOO many opportunities – many you can’t even plan for! But when you’re open and flexible, you can stop to learn more about whatever is crossing your path. Between the internet, books, movies, conversations with people “in-the-know,” you will be shocked at how much your kids will learn. And, you’ll probably learn a little along the way too! Learning really doesn’t have to be dull drudgery to get through – it can be exciting and fun. That’s what will make your little learners engage! Not a stack of worksheets.

5. WHAT IF IT’S TOO MUCH TOGETHERNESS? If this is really the case – and not just one of those unfortunate social kid-slams people say – then you will have the opportunity to work on it. You’ll be able to create rhythms in your day that work for you and for your kids. You don’t have to be side-by-side 24 hours/day! But when you remove the rushing around and the pressure that happens in those precious hours after they come home from school and before they hit the pillow, you’ll be surprised how much everyone’s attitude improves! And, if it’s a big concern of yours, I have an awesome book reference – Parent-Teen Breakthrough: A Relationship Approach by Mira Kirshenbaum.

So there are my quickie answers to the first five questions that popped up. I’m sure there are more percolating in there. And we have all summer to talk more. I’d love to be able to help you figure this out. There’s nothing worse than feeling you don’t have any options.

At least in this case, that’s not true. You do. 

xo,
Sue

Top 55 Reasons to Homeschool
National Home Education Network | The Homeschooler Post
Years ago, the NHEN asked homeschoolers why they chose home education. They collected all the answers and it's shared here. If you think all homeschoolers are alike, you'll be surprised to see all the different motivations and reasons families chose to homeschool. 

Free Chapter of Homeschooled Teens
If you're thinking that your child is too old to start homeschooling, grab this free pdf. In it, 75 young people share what they consider were the advantages of homeschooling through their teen years. Plus, I toss in more about why we chose to homeschool in the introduction. Or go straight to the sign up form.
 

 

If you’re new to homeschooling and overwhelmed with what the next steps are,
this is for you! :)
My new 12 week support group/mentoring program is coming soon!
We’ll talk about deschooling, socialization, dealing with unsupportive family,
building relationships, and more.
Click here to get on the list for updates about
Chaos to Confidence.

Are you looking for a HOMESCHOOL COACH 
or  UNSCHOOLING MENTOR
I work with parents who are frustrated with their current educational approach.  
I provide the information they are looking for and help them create a homeschooling plan that will actually work.


Wouldn't it be great to have someone who could help you figure this all out?

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Copyright © 2016 Sue Patterson, Coaching/Mentoring, All rights reserved.


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