A Relaxed Homeschool Morning.
We started homeschooling Arrow again towards the end of term 1 this year. I got out the camera to bring you along on one morning last week.
Blessings Peta xo
Things I’m loving/not loving in my life this week.
Hi lovely readers,
I thought it would be fun to write a recap of my week! Here goes!
What I’m Loving this week:
The school holidays. The relaxed mornings are what I love the most about the holidays. Every morning this week after breakfast, we all head out for a morning walk for an hour or so. The house is left, dishes undone, hair unbrushed. All that can wait until we get back. If I got all the stuff done before we left we would never leave! After our walk we have a warm cup of tea and something to eat and I notice the children play really happily for the rest of the morning into the afternoon because they are feeling refreshed from the fresh air and sunshine and relaxed from getting out excess energy.
Today is Willow’s 2nd Birthday! Wow I can’t believe my baby is two! Yesterday we had a fun day out in the city eating lunch and buying presents and celebrating Willow! Of course, everything she wanted was Peppa Pig! We had lunch at the mall and afternoon tea at the botanical gardens.
What I’m reading:
Fast Food Genocide by Joel Fuhrman. M.D
A book I borrowed off of my parents. It certainly makes you want to stay away from fast food!! It’s scary to learn about what processed food can do to your brain!
What I’m Watching:
I can’t put down Sarah’s YouTube vidoes from ‘Our Tribe Of Ten.’ Her channel is my absolute favourite! I’m learning so much mum wisdom from her and am enjoying watching her beautiful family.
What I’m Eating:
This week I turned a Dahl soup recipe into a casserole type thing by adding sweet potatoes, white potatoes, broccoli and spinach to the original recipe. It was so yum! I didn’t take any photos though!
I also made my fav sweet potato and apple brownie recipe this week. Most of my children love this too and it didn’t last long.
The recipe for this brownie is in my ebook Yes You Can Lose Your Pregnancy Weight
Challenges I’m facing:
Luke’s back keeps getting hurt at work. Eight years working in Aged care have really taken it’s toll on his body (lots of lifting people and rolling large uncooperative people around in bed). His back is getting worse and it’s looking like a career change will possibly be necessary. He does graphic design and web design on the side but the business is very slow. If you have a website you need designed he has a very unique style CLICK HERE to be taken to his website. CLICK HERE TO GO TO HIS AWESOME FACEBOOK PAGE!!
I have also gained a couple of kilograms slowly over the past month or so. I like food and in general I think I have just been eating too much. It’s enough gain to make my jeans feel really tight, so I will be trying to lose this weight again in the upcoming week.
Term two of the school year is coming up on Monday for us. This term I have Arrow at home homeschooling. I’m very pleased to have him home again. He is studying grade 2 and doing really well. We have a good plan worked out and a gentle approach to home education so not to get overloaded. Francis and Savannah are still in school for a while longer before we work out the right time to begin home educating them again too.
I hope to film a home school day this week and put it up on our YouTube channel.
Thanks for reading!
Leave a comment and don’t forget to like our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram.
Blessings, Peta xo
Why It’s Now Hip To Be A Homeschooler.
I’m here to spread the word about homeschool.
I’m not sure how many people in Australia realise what homeschooling is exactly and why you would want to homeschool.
I’m here to share with you that not only is homeschooling a legal and ingenious way to educate children it also has many benefits and can be a real joy.
I have for you some of the benefits (there are MANY!) of homeschooling your children. As well as sharing my own experience of being homeschooled for a year as a child.
Children can learn about what interests them.
As a homeschooling parent you can arrange your child’s curriculum to suit their interests. And it need not be complicated. With the foundations of English (reading and writing) and maths in place, the rest of their time can be spent learning about what they enjoy. Perhaps you have a child who loves to play piano – when they learn at home they can get a little English and Maths out of the way (EVERYONE needs to know how to read, write and do basic sums) and then spend several hours practicing piano. Or reading, sewing, painting, dancing, or writing or designing computer graphics. Other subjects which are compulsory in regular school settings such as social studies, science, history, etc are learned along the way through real life learning. If this is not for you then go with a boxed curriculum such as ACE which has all lessons and subjects all planned out for you.
However, remember, there are other means to an education besides being force-fed facts and information that is of little interest of the child and is likely to go in one ear and out the other.
Children are more likely to retain information when they are learning about something that excites them, in a way that they find interesting, and gives them a flutter of thrill when they think of it.
There is a new wave of homeschooling parents who see flaws in the education system and can clearly see that their unique child is not suited to fitting into the ‘system.’ They have taken it upon themselves to see their unique child gets the best education they can and doesn’t get lost in a sea of faces.
Imagine if you yourself were given several hours a day to dive deep into a subject or skill that interests you. Imagine you were given all the supplies you need and tutoring you require how good you would be become at the skill (painting nature for example) or how knowledgeable you would become at the certain topic. (World war 1 for example). The learning part of your brain would become very engaged and the facts and information would infiltrate deep into your mind.
I may sound dreamy and idealistic, however, this is the exciting reality that home education can be with a little planning and enthusiasm.
I was home-schooled for a year. It was grade five. My parents were fed up with school. They were fed up with, what they described as the, ‘rubbish’ that goes on at school. Bullying, worldly agenda government-based curriculum, social status among the students and peer pressure, teachers who swore and yelled. They were fed up with getting me there. We lived 30km from town on a sheep and cattle farm and they were tired of the drive to the bus stop and all the traveling back and forth.
So began my year of adventure, my most cherished school year I ever had. My mum taught me using the ACE curriculum. I could wake and eat breakfast when I pleased but had to be dressed by 9am when we would sit down at a table in the lounge room. I would complete around three pages each of my five subjects. English, Word Building (spelling), Maths, Science and Social Studies. This sit down book work took me anywhere from between 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the tasks and amount of writing involved.
I whizzed through this work. The pages of my workbooks were colourful and interesting and filled with Bible verses to learn. I thoroughly enjoyed this curriculum – all except maths! The maths books were pages and pages of sums – something I wasn’t used to in regular school.
The year I was home schooled I was different. It is hard to describe but it was like my brain had been switched on for the first time to all the possibilities of life and learning. It was very freeing.
Yes, home-schooling is freedom!
Suddenly I was free to be me. I became so excited for life and was fascinated by everything around me. And because my book work only took me two hours I had the rest of my day free to live, learn and explore. I showed interest in Art so mum let me switch on the Telly when Art Attack came on in the morning and we would watch it together. Mum would often go and purchase the supplies I needed and we would make our own versions of all the interesting art works we watched on the show.
That year I spent so much time outdoors! It was very fortunate that we lived on a farm in a beautiful setting. On my parents 3000 acre farm we had native scrub lands, hill country as well as swamp lands. There was so much land to explore. I love the outdoors and I spent many many hours exploring nature while I walked the farm. I learned the names and can still identify today, many native birds, wildlife and native trees.
I lived in a positive environment with no peer pressure.
One huge thing I noticed in my year of being homeschooled is that I stopped caring about what other people thought of me. Without the pressure of my peers pushing fashions and worldly ideas into my face I became me again. The me I was before I began public school at age 5. I had only positive people around me. My mum, dad and big sister (My older sister left school early because she was interested in being a farmer. My other 3 older sisters had left home and were at uni or working at this point – I am the youngest child in my family) treated me with respect, no one teased me or told me something I was doing was not cool. I had a strong support system and felt very safe. I really thrived.
I also noticed that my learning level was more advanced for my grade level when I returned to school the next year. I knew what matter was and all the names of every type of cloud. The kids in my class hadn’t heard of such things.
This is why I believe homeschoolers can have such freedom to be themselves and learn at their own pace. It is freedom and it feels wonderful!
I wish I was able to continue to be home schooled for all the rest of my schooling, however my mum is a quiet lady and was used to having her thoughts to herself during the day and home schooling became a bit too much so I returned to school the next year for grade 6.
My mind goes wild with imagination as I think of what subjects I could have dove deep into if I had continued to be home-schooled. I began guitar lessons when I was twelve. And I remember being much too tired and having way to much homework required of me, so I wasn’t able to practice as much as I wanted to. In the summer school holidays I practiced everyday and in those six weeks, myself, and my teacher saw a huge improvement in my skills and ability on the guitar. I would like to think that if I still had been homeschooling when I took up guitar than I would be twice as good as I am on the guitar right now. And what exciting paths that could have led me down.
I understand that everyone’s experience with homeschooling will be different than mine, just as every family and individual is different. The only negative thing I have to say about my ‘year of adventure’ is that I missed my friends a bit during the week. However, I believe this is unique to me, as I lived out on a farm and didn’t attend other extra curricular activities at the time. My parents did make an effort to drive me into town and have me visit or sleep over at my best friends house most weekends which I really looked forward to.
Homeschooling in a town or city would be much different than my experience out on the farm as there are all sorts of things homeschoolers can attend. Nearby where we are living now is a weekly home schooling meet up group that do all kinds of interesting activities together. There is also a scouts club, a children’s choir, dance studios, music teachers, sports clubs of every kind you can imagine, churches, art classes, cooking classes and much more!
Homeschoolers can have the opportunity to meet with many different people and make friends their own age as well as all other ages. In real life as an adult we must socialise with people young and old, not just our peer group of same age people, this is something homeschoolers learn because they are not forced to spend the majority of their time in a room filled with children the same age as them. You gain greater wisdom from people who are your elders than from peers the same age, at the same level as you. This dampens the ‘socialisation argument’ most people begin if you tell them you are home schooling/being homeschooled/thinking about homeschooling.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20
The Bible states it very clearly that we become like the people we hang around. This is one of the huge deciding factors for my husband and I when we decided to home school our own children. We want them to be raised around people who show respect for others like their parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles and other members of our church and community.
Unfortunately due to my own health problems we sent our two oldest sons to our local public school last year. This may be temporary, we would like to homeschool again but are waiting for when the time is right. Homeschooling has always been myself and my husbands ‘ideal’, however it hasn’t always been easy nor a smooth road.
That doesn’t change how strongly we both feel about what we have learnt about homeschooling and I would encourage you to consider it for your own family.
I am happy to answer any questions you may have if you are new to the idea of homeschooling – especially if you live in Australia, I know a lot about the legal process to begin. It really is not all that complicated. You can begin in your own time and don’t need to be registered as a homeschooler until your child turns six.
Thanks for reading!
Leave a comment if you have something to add to this or have a question.
Don’t forget to look up ‘2 punks had a bunch of kids’ on YouTube. click here to go to our YouTube channel
You might also like to read:
When Home Schooling Doesn’t Work Out – Dealing With The Disappointment Part 1.
Blessings, Peta xo
When Home Schooling Doesn’t Work Out. Dealing With The Disappointment Part 2.
Here is part two of our story. We went from having a full on ‘it’s homeschooling or nothing’ mentality to sending our children to public school and eventually finding peace.
We were all prepared for homeschooling at the beginning of this year. (2017) I had ordered all the curriculum we needed, shopped for supplies like lead pencils and notebooks and had made up a schedule that looked doable.
I had been feeling a bit stressed with the children home all summer holidays though. It does seem to get to me a bit after a while. All the mess, demands, questions and sibling squabbles that go on when all the children are home at the same time for a long period of time.
Other parents I knew COULDN’T WAIT for their children to get back to school
…and I guess I can understand why. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children so much and love being around them and spending time with them. It is a true blessing and privilege to be given children by God and I do enjoy caring for them. But sometimes I do need a bit of quiet to catch my breath and perhaps think a clear thought.
Also one of my children has some very intense moods, and that, has always made homeschooling very challenging. He reacts in anger and when he’s in one of his ‘moods’ the whole household suffers.
By the fourth week of term one I was not very well. I became so stressed that it pushed my nervous system completely out of whack. I was in bed for days and couldn’t function properly. I guess I had some sort of nervous breakdown, I’m not really sure what to call it. My shoulders were so tight and painful, my pupils constantly dilating and in ‘flight or fight’ mode, and my body wouldn’t stop trembling. I was so wound up and began taking it out on my children by snapping and screeching at every little move they made. This triggered off my anxiety that I also suffer from. I saw doctors and a psychologist. I was put on medication, which I only took for a month because of the awful side effects. I did a lot of research and dove into some natural remedies and a herbal supplement regime instead. I was in bed for days and didn’t go out anywhere for weeks. It took me a few months to fully recover.
While this was going one Luke and I made the decision to send them to school.
It was clear that the pressure of homeschooling really got to me, and to him as well.
We did a lot of prayer, discussion and wrote up pages of notes on the weight of our decision. It became pretty clear that school was the right move to make. Our first choice was a private Christian school 25 minutes away in a nearby rural city. However it was sadly beyond our budget. Our second choice was a small local public primary school only a few minutes away from our house.
We are really happy with this school. It has small classroom sizes and a good behaviour management system. It seems to care a lot about each individual student. Being close to home means the boys feel secure that mum and dad aren’t far away and has made the drop off and pick up doable.
The first couple of weeks were hard. The boys didn’t really want to go and all the packing of backpacks, lunchboxes and buckling everyone in the car took some getting used to!
It was hard emotionally as well. I felt like a failure.
Was it really happening that homeschooling was not working out yet again!? Why can’t I be like other parents who make one decision for school and stick to it? Will my children recover from the roller-coaster ride of being pulled in and out of school? I felt lost for a few months and didn’t quite know what to do with my time during the day when I was usually homeschooling. Even though I still had 3 little girls at home to care for.
I knew I needed something to take my mind off the two boys being in school so I began a project of setting up a veggie patch in our backyard. Something I had wanted to do for ages but just hadn’t had the time for while I was homeschooling.
As the year rolled along I began to see how the Lord has used this situation for good.
Many positive things have happened through us sending our kids to school. – I have began getting out in the local community more and actually meeting other mums from this town. I have been taking the younger three to playgroup – something I couldn’t do while homeschooling and I have had the opportunity to witness to other mums.
I now get excited about all the new opportunities that our children are having at school like doing a swimming carnival and being involved in a musical. The boys are now thriving, have made friends and have both won respect for learning awards. I like doing other ‘regular school mum’ things like watching my children swim at the school lessons and seeing all the creative things they have made. The little crafts they made me for mothers day was so cute – I’ve never had that before because they have always been homeschooling during mothers day. Just little things like that make me smile.
My nervous system is so much better. The pressure of managing their education is off and I can just be mum instead of teacher. I no longer feel wound up and am better able to deal with stress. I have noticed that I am enjoying my boys so much more because I have a break from them during the day . When I see them at 3:10pm I get excited and can’t wait to hear about what they’ve been up to. I am well rested and a calmer, better mother than I was before. Having a rest during the day charges me up for a full on evening of homework, after school activities, dinner and bedtimes. I have been able to give the younger ones more focused attention too.
I have replaced worry with prayer.
Everyday I get up and pray for the Lords protection over them physically and spiritually as they go off to school. I pray for their salvation and pray for the Lord to lead them out of any temptations. It has bought me deep joy to see the boys being a witness for Christ in the classroom. They have given their classmates gospel tracts, Super Book DVDs, and spoken to others about Jesus numerous times.
We have nightly discussions about what the children at school do and say and how we, as Christians are to behave different. For the first time in their lives they are hearing swearing and atheist concepts like evolution. However, it gives us a chance for us to explain to them what the truth is and for them to see how unbelievers think and behave. They’re seeing for themselves how lost and hurting many people in this world are.
I’m now actually looking forward to having three children in school next year. As miss Savannah joins them for her first year of school. God is using our family for good in this community and in our local school. I’m excited about this next chapter of our lives. I know they will be okay – they are in the Lord’s hands.
It’s possible that we may try homeschooling again in the future if we feel like it’s the right thing to do. But not for now and not next year either. We will assess at the beginning of each year what the education path will be for each of our children individually.
How about you? How do you deal with the stress of homeschooling?
Have you sent your children from homeschooling to public school?
Are you plagued with guilt and fear from sending your children to school or have you also found peace?
May God bless you as you press on with the challenging and important role of parenting your precious children.
You may also like to read:
When Homeschooling Doesn’t Work Out – Dealing With The Disappointment Part 1.
Having a homeschooling mentality while your children are attending school.
Homeschooling and managing a home while in the third trimester
Homeschooling – What I Love and What I Really Don’t.
When Homeschooling Doesn’t Work Out. – Dealing With The Disappointment. Part 1.
I’ve wanted to homeschool my children since my eldest was still in the womb. I wanted to protect my children from worldly influences and keep them close by my side. Luke was learning a lot about the benefits of homeschooling too during this time and was fully supportive. We spent the next few years studying home education and all it’s exciting possibilities.
When my eldest son turned 3 and a half I ordered some pre-school type workbooks and I began sitting down with him on most days doing a few pages from his workbooks. Homeschool began naturally and slowly. We would bundle our three youngest children up and go for walks around the nature park near our house. Learning happened all around us, through our conversations, through being in nature and through the different people we met at church, play group and through friends and family members we welcomed into our home.
I wanted my children to be close by my side so I could spend lots of time with them shaping their character and ultimately, teaching them about God every opportunity I got.
As my first born son approached school age I began to doubt myself and my ideas to homeschool. I had a lot of opposition from various people and the negativity began to get to me. I didn’t know anyone else at that time who homeschooled. We felt all alone in our quest for an ‘outside-the-box’ education and lifestyle. Different fears began to present themself to me; what if I’m ruining my children? What if they miss out on things they need that other regular schooled children have?
On top of all this, the year my son was starting his first year of real school, I had a 5 year old, a almost 4 year old, a 3 year old and and a 5 month old baby. I was snowed under with my own household chores. The laundry was always piled high, the meals and dishes were never ending, the house was a constant mess. I had very little help besides my husband. I was recovering from quite severe depression from my recent pregnancy. I was very discouraged, I lost my ‘spark’ and I needed a break.
We enrolled our son in the local public school. It was the only option, as we were living out on a my parents farm and it was the only school within reasonable driving distance. But still 30km away.
It was hard going getting him there. He didn’t want to go and got very upset. Once we had to rip him out of the car onto the school bus while he was kicking, screaming and crying. My heart was breaking as the bus rolled away.
He spent one term at that school. One day he was in the car and was upset yet again and didn’t want to get out. I was not going to create another distressing scene of pulling him onto the bus. I had three other little ones in the car that I needed to get home and still feed breakfast too. I was tired of trying to get him to school. I was tried of everything. I got out of the car and told the bus driver that our son would not be getting on the bus today. Got back into the car and drove him home again.
I didn’t take him back to school again for another year.
I ordered some more curriculum and homeschooled him for the rest of the year. It did get a little better and I began getting some of my homeschool spark back. We took him into town for weekly piano lessons and to the library every Friday and I was beginning to find my ‘groove.’
The following year we moved to a new location and suddenly found ourselves surrounded by other families who also homeschool their children. It was the support I had always hoped and prayed for. They even have a weekly meet up where homeschooling families all get together and do activities and make friends at. But I was expecting our 5th baby and decided to enroll our eldest into the local public school because I was worried about how I wound cope homeschooling while I had a newborn. I kept our second born son home for reception though as I felt he was too young and not quite ready for school.
By the middle of the year I was feeling much more confident. Our 5th baby was settled and happy and both Luke and I agreed that with the support of other local homeschooling families things would be much better. We agreed that it was time. Finally time to dive deep into homeschooling for good and not look back.
We pulled Francis out of school for terms 3 and 4. And homeschooled our two eldest sons then aged 5 and 7. These were probably our best 2 terms of homeschool ever. We began using the ACE curriculum and, though it still had it’s challenging moments, I was thoroughly enjoying myself and my role of ‘homeschool mum.’
This post is getting long so I decided to divide it into two parts. Come back next week and I will share the rest of our story and go into why we had to choose public school again and how I’ve gone from deep disappointment to excitement and hope.
Having a homeschooling mentality while your children are attending school.
There are many parents who want to home school their children but for a number of different reasons are unable to. Perhaps they begin homeschooling but need to send the children to school for a while. Or they might want their children to finish up their education in a school. Perhaps the children have gone to school while mum or a family member deals with a health issue.
Luke and I have always planned on homeschooling our children right from the time I was pregnant with our firstborn. We started off homeschooling but it hasn’t been an easy road. The beginning of our home school has had a few hick ups. The pressure of being responsible for my children’s education while managing a home full of little ones has been hard on my sensitive nervous system. At the beginning of this year I made it to about week 4 of term 1 before I got very sick. My nervous system went completely out of whack. I couldn’t function for a few weeks and it took a few months to be feeling much better. During this time we made the difficult decision to send our oldest two boys to school for a while. Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions that are right for your unique circumstances. I can look back and regret it or I can be confident that we made a good, well thought out decision.
While the boys are attending school I want to keep a home schooling mentality. What I mean is I want to still continue to intentionally keep up with the things that are most important to us, the things we value the most as a family. I don’t want to throw away the vision we have as a family just because the children are attending school.
Here are some of the ways I am keeping a home schooling mentality during this time:
- Keep doing devotions as a family. The first thing we used to do around the table before they would begin their book work was ‘discipleship time’. I didn’t want to stop doing this when they began school so I now read them a children’s devotion while they eat their breakfast and we read out a memory verse and pray for their day.
- Home schooling them on ‘sick’ days. The boys have had a few colds and there have been a few days where they are too sick to send back to school but they have been well enough to sit on the couch or at the table doing an activity. I bring out the school books when I can and do some school work with them.
- Keep seeing the children’s homeschooling friends. We’ve been blessed by meeting lots of new homeschooling families in the last few years and making some lovely new friends. I make sure we keep in regular contact with our Christian friends.
- Home schooling the little ones. Just because the older two are in school doesn’t mean I can’t do some pre-school work with the younger ones. Savannah (aged 4.5) has been doing some home school book work with me a few days a week. The pressure is off because she’s not official school age yet. It’s just for fun and to keep her occupied.
- Pray a lot. Every morning I get up and pray complete protection physically and spiritually for all the children. I pray that the Lord’s will will be done and he’ll guide me towards the best education and parenting decisions for all my children as individual each and every day.
- Don’t feel guilty and enjoy the stage you’re at right now. Even if it is just enjoying little moments that happen throughout your day. Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks either. Be happy and be confident.
- Even though the children have a different teacher doesn’t mean that you are not still in charge of their education. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your child so if they are struggling with anything they will feel comfortable telling you. Go to the parent teacher interviews and make sure what they are learning is satisfactory to you. Also add extra curricular lessons here and there if you feel like your child needs to/wants to learn something extra.
Have a great day and keep soldiering on with the great task of motherhood.
Blessings, Peta xo