My Unschooling Manifesto

unschoolers-manifesto
Sometimes it helps to get really clear what we believe about unschooling. Here’s my list of 25 items that are important in my own personal Unschooler’s Manifesto.

Would you add something to my list?

Would you be interested in creating your own manifesto? 

1.) Stop dividing the world into Educational and Non-educational. Everything is educational!

2.) Nothing is more important than the relationship between you and them – not some worksheet, not a banana peel on the floor, not what time they go to bed, not when they learn to read.

3.) You don’t have to artificially divide the world up into subjects. One thing really does lead to another when learners (children and adults) follow their interests.

4.) Figure out what your family’s rhythm is – and recognize that it may change over time. And! It may not look like someone else’s. But that’s the beauty of truly being able to individualize for your family too!

5.) Be curious about the world yourself. Invite your kids to be curious with you. Support them as they begin to wander with their own curiosities.

6.) Be Interested and Interesting. Unschoolers focus on living a rich, stimulating life with their kids.

7.) Role model critical thinking skills.

8.) Unschoolers recognize that the schoolish ways of lesson plans, curriculum, assignments, quizzes or tests, required memorizing, and grades are totally unnecessary and more about the “teaching” than the “learning.”

9.) Don’t suck the fun out of something by turning it into a “teachable moment.” Take your cues from your kids – a little conversation about it may be fine with them.

10.) Create a support system for yourself – people you can turn to when you’re not sure what you’re doing is working. Best if local, still good if online.

11.) You don’t have to use the term “unschooling” if it bugs you. A lot of options exist. And you may use different terms when you talk to different people – based upon their level of understanding. “Homeschooling” is fine for friends/family who don’t know what the heck you’re doing! Unschooling, at it’s simplest definition, is a homeschooling method. But if you want to call it Whole Life learning, or say, “We’re doing an experiential, individualized approach to learning,” that works too.

12.) Do everything you can to stay focused on TODAY… don’t beat yourself up about screw-ups in the past, and don’t play the “what if” game about all the things that could happen in the future.

13.) Take your cues from the child standing right in front of you. Staying tuned into who they really are (not that imagined story in your head) , will point you toward how to support them to grow and learn.

14.) Deschool yourself as well as your child. Read about how schoolish thoughts creep in, simply because they’re familiar – and because we are inundated with them from society.

15.) Ask yourself Why? And Why Not? Move away from arbitrary reasons. It may not have to go the way your knee-jerk thought wants to take you.  Think about the rationale behind the decision – does this work best for your family today?

16.) Get rid of comparisons. Every person is unique – their interests, their experiences, their internal wiring! The sooner we embrace people for who they are today and not wish for them to be something different – the better!

17.) Recognize that when you are making comparisons or wishing they were different, they’re picking up on your disapproval, your disappointment. If you’re trying for unconditional love – don’t make it conditional.

18.) Observe without judgement. You’re taking in data so you can be the best resource finder or facilitator for them.

19.) Learning is naturally hard-wired into humans. It’s possible that your child has had that negatively affected by schoolish techniques – but it can return if you’re supportive and patient. It’s human nature.

20.) Parents have to have a lot of trust in the process of learning – and in their own children – when external pressures are so strongly pushing for traditional schooling.

21.) Stay flexible and continue to learn about unschooling. What sounded insane in the beginning, may make more sense to you later down the road. That’s ok. What you embrace is entirely up to you. We all evolve as parents and as learners ourselves. Thank heavens, right?

22.) Because unschoolers aren’t following a typical scope and sequence, they will likely have gaps in their learning… at least according to what schools expect. But truthfully, we all have gaps – either we weren’t paying attention, or we transferred schools, or we were out for an illness.  And everyone can easily close up a gap with a quick google search or Siri question! 

23.) 18 is not a magic age – they will learn when they are ready. Sometimes before 18, sometimes after. But the pressure to get It all done by 18 is gone.

24.) Your days will look more like summer vacation – with all the fun, connection, and exploration that can go with it.

25.) Enjoy your life with your children. If this is hard for you, talk with someone to see where your obstacles are.

 

If you’re new to unschooling and wish you had a little extra support, I have a couple of great options for you!
Creating Confidence – A private membership group approach
Stress-Free Start – a 1:1 Coaching plan with a free ebook.

Dear Suburban Mom

 

Suburban MomHey 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’re  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

P.S. If you already know you want to homeschool, but you’re overwhelmed with what the next steps are, a new 12 week support group is coming soon!
We’ll talk about deschooling, socialization, dealing with unsupportive family, building relationships, and more.
For more info: Chaos to Confidence.

 

 

Chaos to Confidence: For New Homeschoolers

 It’s Time!

Homeschooling helpA Group Mentoring/Support Program starting August 1st, led by Sue Patterson.
If you’re a new homeschooler/unschooler, Chaos to Confidence is perfect for you!

  • Everything a new homeschooler needs to know to be successful
  • Get answers to questions you have and didn’t know where to get them answered
  • Join a community of new homeschoolers exploring this path together
  • Group coaching from me for those critical first 12 weeks!

Don’t miss out!!!
Space is limited, so sign up soon!





From Chaos to Confidence

You can do this – and I can show you how!

If you’re just embarking on this homeschooling journey,
I want to invite you to this mentoring program:

Chaos to Confidence.

Chaos to Confidence is for you if:

~You’ve just removed your kids from school and you’re unsure about your next steps.

~Your kids are now “officially school age,” so you’re ready to commit to homeschooling/unschooling.

~You’re overwhelmed by all the info on the internet – but wondering who to listen to.

~You have plenty of people who think homeschooling is nuts, but something deep down is telling you that this is right.

~You’re wishing you didn’t feel so alone.

I’ve created this group mentoring/support program because I know what it’s like to be so new that you’re not even sure what questions to ask!

In our 12 weeks together, I give you the foundation you need to be successful and take you from chaos to confidence!

I can help you.  Every Day.  Walking beside you.

I’ve been where you are now – I remember it clearly. I was so afraid I was going to screw up my kid, or that they’d hate me when we were all done with this. But I knew that school wasn’t where they needed to be. I had to figure out what the heck was the right thing to do – and fast.

I saw what worked and what didn’t. Over those years while my three kids were homeschooling, people began to come to me looking for support and advice. They’re grown now, in their 20s. They are not screwed up nor do they hate me! (In fact, they’re successful, socially savvy and really happy with their lives!)

But maybe you want to know more about them…

The oldest went to community college, transferred to a university and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He also spent a lot of time doing community service, got his Eagle Scout award, went to Japan as an exchange student at 16, joined the Peace Corps after college and worked in Nicaragua, moved back to Texas, got married and just bought a house.  He is 27.

The second spent most of her teen years doing community theatre, taking acting, dance and vocal lessons. She took community college classes and went to an acting conservatory in New York City. She finished her conservatory classes in Los Angeles and ended up with an associate degree in fine arts.  She lives and works as an actress in Los Angeles now. She is 25.

My youngest loved people and all the pop culture type of things. After only unschooling, she went to the local high school for a year and half, made the dance team, did fine in school, but decided it wasn’t worth it. She left to go to cosmetology school and now works in an upscale salon in Austin, Texas. She married a local firefighter, bought a house and had a baby in 2015. (Adorable, I might add!) She is 22.

I’m not saying your kids’ paths will look like my kids’ paths. I shared this for you to see how different they each were and yet we were able to support them in ways that were totally individualized – not the cookie cutter one-size-fits-all (even though it’s called an IEP) ways schools have to use.

I can show you how you can focus on YOUR kids’ strengths and help them unfold into the person they’re meant to be. I focus a lot on helping you, the parent, undo the fear and the assumptions that the school way is the only way. It’s not. My kids are living proof of that.

If your kids have been miserable in school, I want you to know that a better way DOES exist! And I’m so happy we’ve found each other because I want to show you how to make this work!

Sometimes families made the leap to homeschooling but got distracted by curriculum and headed off on the wrong path. They ended up feeling isolated, frustrated, and disappointed in their homeschooling experience. Many ended up putting their kids back in school. They wished they had had someone who could have been a guide or a mentor to them – just someone to help them start off on the right foot or guide them along the way if they get stuck.

So that’s 2 types of families that Chaos to Confidence is built for:

The Brand New Homeschooler who is feeling overwhelmed and doesn’t want to waste time going in the wrong direction.

The New-ish Homeschooler who started probably last year and ended up unhappy with their approach.

Here’s My Plan…

INFORMATION & KNOWLEDGE

You need practical information. Operating in the dark is scary and the info that you’ll get in this program will wipe out a lot of your fears. We will start with the basics – getting legal, thinking about what “learning” really means, finding reliable resources.

CONNECTION & SUPPORT

Sometimes homeschooling/unschooling moms can feel really isolated. They really need to feel connected to other parents on this path. So, I’m creating a private Facebook group for you and the other new homeschoolers in the 2016 Chaos to Confidence program. Over these 12 weeks, we’ll be able to get to know each other and give support. Members can pop into the group to share success stories as well as fears that show up. Learn where to find support locally, in your state, regionally, globally, and online.

REASSURANCE & INSPIRATION

Chaos to Confidence is the reassurance you’ve been looking for! I want to share everything I know with you so you have success and confidence when you feel like you’re swimming against the tide. As you work your way through the program, you’ll find yourself on steadier and steadier ground. Your anxiety and fear will begin to evaporate. Your kids will be happier and more engaged. You’ll see changes in the way the entire family gets along. You’ll be able to see learning in a way that might be different from what you’re used to – richer, exciting, much more enjoyable. And I’ll be with you every step of the way!

Here’s what we’ll do each week!

(I’m soooo excited!!!!)

Homeschool Coaching

And here’s the framework for the entire course!

homeschool coaching

Sounds great, right?

Sometimes we just need a little hand-holding to get started.

I’ve made the price super affordable – just $90 total for 3 months of reassuring support and boatloads of information.  That’s group coaching from me on our private FB group for a $1/day!

But I want to keep the size of a group manageable, so don’t delay.

And now, it’s time to sign up!





Before working with Sue I had tried every method I could think of to make my son’s traditional schooling work for him. I was feeling confused, defeated by all the bad advice I was getting, and very alone in my decision to teach my son at home. Sue helped me to realize that other options existed that were actually better for my son and his situation. I now feel confident and excited about his learning experience. He is now thriving and enjoying this unschooling experience in ways he could never have done in the traditional environment. It has been an amazing transformative experience!
~ Becky M., Michigan

A Wonderful Coach + All That Knowledge = EXCELLENCE!
~Tracy M., Kentucky

Before working with Sue I had tried every method I could think of to make my son’s traditional schooling work for him. I was feeling confused, defeated by all the bad advice I was getting, and very alone in my decision to teach my son at home. Sue helped me to realize that other options existed that were actually better for my son and his situation. I now feel confident and excited about his learning experience. He is now thriving and enjoying this unschooling experience in ways he could never have done in the traditional environment. It has been an amazing transformative experience!
~ Becky M., Michigan

We’re Not Going Back to School!

A lot of people have been enjoying their kids throughout the holiday break and are NOT looking forward to sending them back to school. And this isn’t just the parents, the kids have been dragging their feet and unhappy for some time now. 

But homeschooling? Really? Are you kidding? Me?

Lots of kids are not thriving in the school system. I know this often makes my teacher friends defensive, but it’s a fact. Just like bullying, boredom, peer pressure, crowd control, over-testing, and labeling are facts. Despite the best efforts of many many teachers, all children do not thrive in a school setting. Their resources are limited and politics has made their jobs incredibly dfficult. And while a huge percentage of American families are satisfied with their school, a decent number of parents are exploring their options. 

Are you one of them?

Lots of people homeschool/unschool now and the reasons are countless. It’s not just the realm of the religious or the hippies. Suburban parents are waking up and saying, “Enough!” The good news is that this awakening has been happening for a long enough time that we’ve been able to gather some data on some of these grown homeschoolers. I surveyed 75 of them and asked about what their lives were like as homeschooled teenagers.

Here’s a link if you want to read the book, Homeschooled Teens.

My kids are grown now, each in their 20’s and happily pursuing their own dreams. They learned and grew and discovered so much more than they would have, if they had been in school for 12 years. It’s not that outrageous of an option.

If your child is suffering in school, be their advocate. Learn about the very real option of homeschooling. School may seem like the only way to “get educated,” but that’s not true. It’s just one way. And, in my opinion, not the best way.

What if instead of dreading the spring semester, you and your kids were able to open up to all the creative possibilities that exist? What if you just said, “No.” to the idea of going back to school?

_____________________________________________

Sign up for my FREE newsletters!

 Children of all ages can start homeschooling immediatedly. It takes a certain amount of courage, on the parent’s part, but you’re already on the path of gathering your resources! 
I’m creating a monthly newsletter filled with resources and inspiration AND a weekly Q & A email spedifically for new homeschoolers/unschoolers,

Sign Me Up! 🙂

and receive this free PDF that will help you get started: 

Back to School is A-OK

This time of year, the whole country is focused on giving up playtime and getting kids ready to go back to school. Some homeschoolers/unschoolers take advantage of the sales, others plan their own NOT-Back-to-School parties, and others head off on adventures with no nod toward society’s preoccupation whatsoever.

Regardless which camp you fall into, I’d like to show you Ten Reasons we should all be just fine with this time of year:
Summertime extension :)

  1. Since it’s still August, we don’t have to end summer prematurely. It’s still hot out and all of our fun summertime activities can continue until fall actually arrives. We are in Texas, so that’s not until DECEMBER!

    Shorter lines!

  2. We will enjoy shorter lines at the waterparks, the museums, Six Flags, Sea World, Fiesta Texas, NASA – everywhere! But hurry, school field trip groups will start up soon!
    21044955570_35abe40391_o
  3. We will find less people playing at the beach, area lakes or neighborhood parks – let’s plan some get-togethers!consider-homeschooling - No Sleep Deprivation!
  4. Our kids won’t experience any giant disruption in their sleep patterns. None of the horrible side effects of sleep deprivation due to early morning class times for us!Fed Up - You should watch it!
  5. Healthy food is available all day long for unschoolers. Did you see the movie Fed Up?? You’d be shocked at how the schools are pushing such poor nutrition for the kids there.
    Boys-Creek-Unschooling
  6. We continue to enjoy uninterrupted creativity and play. We know the importance of guarding their children’s imaginations and realize that from creativity, kids learn problem solving and critical thinking skills. These will be so much more useful in their future than memorized facts – especially since the phones in their pockets can give them answers to questions immediately.Playing-UM2M
  7. Our kids can pursue their passions all day long instead of trying to cram their interests into those tiny windows of opportunity after school between homework, dinner, and bedtime.
    Friends two girls and guy sitting on floor in summer jeanswear street urban casual style talking, having fun, top view
  8. Our kids can explore topics in whatever ways they choose. They can flit across the top of many different ideas and concepts or dive deeply into a particular interest. No school bell rings to tell unschoolers when to start and stop thinking.
    Family time can last longer!
  9. Our calendars are up to us – our own families and our own schedules. No vacationing only if the school allows it or working around the calendars set by the district.
    teens
  10. We have unlimited hugs, reassurance, games, books, sleepovers, potlucks, playtime, puzzles, music, projects, learning in all shapes, sizes, and forms.

First published in the TexUns Newsletter, September 2014

 

Don’t Do It

Do They HAVE TO go back to school?
Normally, I don’t write anti-school blogposts. Many wonderful families who love their children use the school system and many more see school as their ticket to the American Dream. That’s fine.

I’m usually perfectly okay with people making decisions that differ from mine. But this time of year, I have twinge that doesn’t want to go away. It persists for about a month or so. I’m sure it’s exacerbated by all of the hoopla surrounding all the Back-to-School sales. Something in me wants to step into those shopping aisles, turn to those moms with their supply lists, and say, “Don’t do it.”

I know the reactions that would get.

The raised eyebrows.

The defensive posturing.

I hear those mothers who loudly announce to each other, “Only four more days…” With their kids within earshot, we all know the rest of that statement, “…until they go back to school and get out of my life.”

I also know there have to be mothers in those stores who don’t agree.

Something is tugging at them to maybe explore something else for their child.
They are mothers who want more time with their sons and daughters.
Mothers who see their own family as the most important unit, and not their child’s homeroom teacher and class.

And these are the mothers I want to lean over to and say, “Don’t do it.”

For years, these mothers have been conditioned to stop questioning the status quo, get back in line and ignore their gut about keeping their kids home. Quickly they rationalize that sending them to school is The Right Thing To Do. All of the pro-school marketing comes flooding back into their heads.

They think, “But they’ll have fun at school.”  Have you forgotten the boredom? The frustration with canceled field trips (only 2-3/year)? The staring at the clock waiting for the bell to ring? Sure, you can probably remember some fun times. But were there really that many? As compared to when you were out of school in the afternoons or in the summer?

Or they think, “They learn so much in school!” That’s not even true compared to the thousands of hours they actually spend there over the child’s lifetime. Studies show that children really only receive about 75 minutes of instruction time per day – that’s not even an hour and a half!  With so much time shuffling to classrooms, waiting for class to settle down, bureaucracy and busywork, collecting and passing out paperwork, going to assemblies, lunch, recess, not to mention that the instruction is aimed at the center of the bell curve and is obsessed with test prep, it’s pretty clear that not a lot of learning is happening.

Others argue, “They love being with their friends.”  They might – but not AT school. They have only three minutes to get from class to class, and a brief lunch period to hang out together IF they are lucky enough to have the same lunch periods. And, really, how many other kids did you hang out with after school? My school day was spent making plans  for how we would eventually get together in off-school hours or weekends. But it wasn’t that fun hanging out with them during class time. And what about the bullying so many kids have to endure? They end up creating all kinds of maladaptive coping mechanisms, learn that no one will rescue them and are forced to be in these situations for most of their waking hours.

Maybe the worry is:But I couldn’t homeschool – I’m not a teacher!” It’s not necessary! Most of the education they received in school to become teachers has to be shelved because of the way the system is set up. Even if teachers are good, most of their time is spent on crowd control and test prep and creating lesson plans for the entire class. It isn’t individualized  the way you could with your own child.

Still…

I want to tell them, “Don’t do it.” And if they didn’t roll their eyes and push their shopping cart away from me, I would add a few more things.

  • Life is short. Spend as many hours with your kids as possible. As I look back at the years my kids were living at home – it really did fly by!
  • Life is an adventure. Real life waits outside those school doors. Parents can have the incredible opportunity to become tour guides joining the kids on these adventures and learning alongside them.
  • Learning is everywhere. Learning happens everyday all the time. It doesn’t have to divided up and parceled out in boring, dull, disconnected ways.
  • You’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of kids are homeschooling. They are all discovering that schools do not have a corner on that market of learning. They are living in a way that allows them to pursue their interests, practice personal responsibility, learn on their own or in groups, make friends, and create entire communities out in the real world.
  • You really can do this. Resources abound!   Homeschooling books and magazines, articles, blogpostsFacebook groupsPinterest boards – even coaches – are out there to give you the support you need.

So, if you’re wondering if some option exists that could work for your family…or you have that uneasy feeling that you’re trying to ignore, maybe it’s time to make a change.

This article isn’t for those who are perfectly happy with their school choice.

But if you’re hesitating about whether or not to send your kid off to school, imagine me, leaning over, whispering to you:

Don’t do it.”


And if you’d like more support, Chaos to Confidence started August 1st!
It’s basically coaching for $1/day for 3 MONTHS of mentoring/coaching!
Find out more here!


 

That Time of Year Again

You can’t miss it. “Back to School” ads. “School Clothes” shopping. Even conversations among complete strangers who run into each other at the grocery store, eagerly anticipating their child being away from them soon. It’s August, and there’s so much excitement surrounding the kids starting their new school year.

For homeschooled children, this can often leave them feeling a little left out. They’ve forgotten the horror stories the kids told them of their school year last April or May. For some reason, by August, the slate is wiped clean and most of them sound pretty eager to head back to their schools. Or at least that’s what the marketing would have you believe.

Over the years, magazine articles, and now blogs, give great suggestions to help combat this:

  • Find a Not-Back-To-School Party hosted by a local homeschool group
  • Go out to breakfast (brunch in our case) on the day the school kids go back
  • Sleep in that day
  • Host a mid-day potluck for your homeschooling family friends
  • Let your kids have a slumber party – on a “school night!” :::gasp:::
  • Make a week or two of great day-trip excursions that your kids would enjoy – children’s museums, nature centers, amusement parks (think of how short all the lines will be!)
  • Head to the beach or camping – the places will be cleared out and you can avoid the hype altogether!

But what if you, as the mom or dad, are a little wistful about all this Back to School stuff?  Sure, you know in your head that homeschooling is a better way. Still, something nags at you. It’s called American Marketing! And it’s been working on you every August since you can remember.  So when all of society is pushing one way, and you’re swimming the opposite way, you might need to bolster yourself up a little bit.

You should pull a few things to the front of your mind:

  • Jot down all the reasons you chose to homeschool your child. You might even keep this in a journal so you can add more reasons that come up as time progresses.
  • You will be able to protect your child’s love of learning – finding amusing opportunities and fun experiences
  • Your child will avoid one of school’s big lessons: intellectual and social conformity
  • Your child will be able to develop at their natural pace and have a truly individualized approach for learning
  • Your child will have far less peer pressure
  • Your child will be able to truly learn what’s before him, instead of just remembering and repeating
  • Your child will be able to avoid the constant test prepping that happens in schools
  • Your child will be able LIVE in the world, instead of just read about it
  • Your relationship with your child can be so much deeper and richer because of the experiences you are going to have together!

These are just a few ideas that come to mind for many homeschooling families. I’m sure you’ll be able to create a list of your own!

Just remember, all the Back-to-School hype will end after Labor Day, so why not try to celebrate your family during these few weeks of chaos. Remind yourself and help your children to see that your family has an exciting year ahead too! Maybe the last couple weeks of August can be full of new traditions for your family. Go ahead and ride this wave of enthusiasm that we’re being bombarded with. Harness it and let it be a celebration of your family’s freedom to choose home education!

And, when you run into that mom who says, with her child beside her, “I can’t wait! One more week until school starts!” You will be able to just look at her and say, “I know! We’re so excited!” My best advice is to move away quickly at that point. She won’t really know how to respond and all YOUR child needs to hear is that the road ahead for them looks GREAT!

Originally written for Linda Dobson’s August 31, 2012, PATH Newsletter, , which she retitled it (I’m terrible with titles!) Tips to Help Your Homeschooled Child through the Back to School Hype.