3 Myths about Homeschooling that Might be Keeping You from Enjoying it (or Deciding to Start)

 
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There are several ideas that tend to create concern around the idea of homeschooling. These myths can keep those of us who have been homeschooling from fully enjoying it and they often keep those who are considering the lifestyle from even beginning. If we can reframe these issues and shift the way we are thinking, I believe we can really savor our days home educating.

Myth #1: Homeschooling means giving up on having an orderly home.

Myth #2: Choosing the right curriculum is everything.

Myth #3: Only the children’s personal growth and education matter.

Let’s talk about that first one, Myth #1, Homeschooling means giving up on having an orderly home. Here’s what you might be thinking: It will always be messy. There will no time to clean or do the laundry or cook dinner except in complete chaos and we will just have to endure that chaos until our kids are grown. If we like a neat house and peaceful days, we will just have to grin and bear it. When we can no longer tolerate the chaos, we might have to send everyone to school.

Truth: You can make home management a beautiful part of what you are teaching your kids in your homeschool. Housework does not need to get in the way of the lessons and activities you want to experience with your kids. Homeschooling is as much teaching our kids how to live life as it is how to do math or observe nature. Charlotte Mason said, “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline and a life.” Teaching kids how to create a home is important too!

And then there’s the curriculum dilemma, Myth #2, Choosing the right curriculum is everything. YES, it does matter that the Math curriculum works for your child and choosing the right History books can make studying it more enjoyable for your family. However, learning together at home is not just about replicating traditional school. Adding in what I call “the true, the good, and the beautiful” will end up having a greater impact on how much you enjoy homeschooling than simply checking the boxes of traditional subjects. So what do I consider “the true, the good, and the beautiful” and why do they matter more? These are the activities that can be experienced as a family. They are the ones that children of many different ages and personalities can enjoy together and respond to in their own ways at their own developmental levels. I’m talking about reading literature and poems together, listening to music, doing art, getting out in nature, and creating traditions. You will remember these shared experiences most because they strengthen relationships, awaken the imagination and build camaraderie. They bring the element of JOY to your homeschool and that will carry you through when you grow weary.

Myth #3, Only the children’s personal growth and education matter, is one we tend to automatically believe when there is no time for ourselves as moms. Our days are filled with driving, scheduling, and supporting the endeavors of our children and there is little time to even consider what we would like to do or learn. But our own personal growth is tremendously important because our kids are going to do what we do in the end. Our ability to parent effectively and coach our children to have healthy mindsets depends upon our own emotional health. We are not just teaching our children how to be good at academics or their chosen extracurricular activities. We are showing them how to live life well. This is good news - not just another to-do for us. It means that our own self-care is actually necessary. Our own curiosity and interests are important. If we want our children to become lifelong learners, making time to pursue our interests is an example we want to set. You are more than just a supporter, you are a unique and creative person, mama!

I’ve been creating a new course for homeschool moms and I’ll be offering part of it as a FREE CLASS starting next week. The FREE CLASS is called 3 Secrets to Creating Order in your Home while Homeschooling: How to get the Housework Done and Meet Each Person’s Needs without Missing All the Beautiful Experiences You Want Your Children to have in Your Homeschool.

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I’d LOVE for you to join me!!! Just go to jillpulver.com/freeclass or CLICK HERE to register and choose the best time for YOU!

As always, I’m cheering you on, mama!


May Day

May 1 is this Wednesday and it always creeps up on me so I wanted to share, a few days ahead of time, a fun project we did when my kids were younger. You might want to gather supplies and set aside time to do this in the next few days.

When my kids were little, I was always looking for traditions we could create - fun ways we could celebrate the everyday and enjoy the rhythms of the year together. One of our favorites was May Day. We didn’t ever figure out how to set up a May pole and dance around it, but we did make bouquets of flowers for our neighbors to welcome springtime and let them know we loved them. I’ll show you how we did it.

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We started with patterned paper from a craft store like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. it’s prettiest when the paper has designs on both sides, so look for a pad of paper like this. It can be useful for many other crafts and school projects.

1) Form the paper into a cone and staple in place.

2) Staple a long ribbon to the inside of the paper cone to serve as a handle.

3) Put a grocery store produce bag in the bottom with wet paper towels in the bottom to keep the flowers somewhat watered.

4) I usually purchased a few bunches of flowers at the grocery store to anchor the bouquets.

5) Have kids select flowers and greenery from the yard to complete the bouquets. Show them how to arrange them, but let them be the floral designers.

6) Deliver them to neighbors, friends, family, etc. by hanging on their front door early in the morning on May 1.

Enjoy this fun springtime craft, nature study and neighborly act with your children!

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For more Springtime inspiration, grab my Spring Picture book List - I’ve gathered all our perennial favorite read-a-louds for you to enjoy with your children. You can take this list on your next library trip, to the bookstore or choose one next time you have a gift to give. Enjoy!!!

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Bouquets ready to be delivered.

Bouquets ready to be delivered.

How to make a Christmastime Birthday Special

My daughter was born on December 28 - right between holidays and in the middle of the week when most people are absolutely exhausted and tired of the hustle-bustle and socializing. I wasn't sure how to celebrate that first year - how could we make her birthday feel set apart and special?

I received a gift that December - the gift of a great idea - and it’s given us a creative way to slip into birthday mode in the midst of the holidays.

It’s the Birthday Tree.

On Abby’s birthday each year, I take the Christmas ornaments off the tree and transform it into the Birthday Tree. The first few years I bought new ribbon and shimmering balls in the theme colors.

On her first birthday, the theme was Angels:

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I found ribbon in soft pastels with hints of golden glitter. Guests brought an angel ornament and I added in the ornaments we already had that referenced angels. I love this picture because the painting in the background was me, painted by my grandmother but it looked so much like Abby - she thought it was her for years!

Vintage angel cake toppers, wooden angels from our whirligig, angel tree ornaments and mercury glass candles surround the homemade carrot cake.

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Birthday #2 was a vintage 1940’s theme. I chose ribbon in patterns and colors that referenced our favorite children's books from that era.

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Birthday #3 was the Princess Birthday and Abby was ready to help decorate her tree - so much fun!!

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Birthday #4 was a polka dot theme - all the ribbons were spotted and wrapping paper too! On this birthday, I decorated with old photos of the birthday girl.

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Another year, the theme was ballet to match her passion for dance and the kids were all old enough to help make a Bûche de Noël for her.

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As Abby got older, we reused some of these original ribbons, mixing them and hanging what felt right that year. We decorated with the ornaments she had received each year. Some years there was more of a theme than others. As I look back, there are a few years when we didn't make much of the birthday tree and there are no photos.

One year, when life circumstances had made the holidays particularly painful for me, I took the Christmas tree and decorations down right after Christmas (I needed it to be over) and made the Birthday Tree out of a large branch from our yard. It felt like a fresh start to a new year as well as a special “tree” for my girl.

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When my kids were babies, I made up little songs for them. Abby’s was sung to the tune of Hark the Herald Angels Sing perhaps because she came at Christmastime. I’ll never forget the look on her face at the age of 3 when we were sitting in church and she heard the entire congregation singing “her song”. There is joy to be found in the imperfect and having a birthday at the holidays is one of those lovely limitations that inspires creativity.

I’m not sure yet what this year’s theme will be - perhaps Hygge, since my girl is now 13 and loves that style. Looks like I’ll be shopping the after Christmas sales to find little wooden ornaments and creamy neutral textures.

Do you have a family birthday during the holidays? What has your family done to make it feel special?

Homemade Advent Calendars

Happy December 1st!! Can you believe it’s here already?? We put our tree up last night - the earliest date ever for our family and I’m loving it! I’m ready for the music, the cookie-making, the Advent season at church, and that joyful energy of anticipation and celebration.

Today I’m sharing a sweet tradition - making homemade paper Advent calendars.

Years ago, I found a cardstock template with the little windows already cut out but that product hasn’t been available for awhile, so my kids have been making their own. Here’s how we do it…

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1) Use the back of an old advent calendar as a template, tracing the little window openings.

2) Using an exacto knife and a self-healing mat, carefully cut along the lines, leaving one side still attached.

3) Turn the page over so the pencil lines won’t show.

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4) Use high quality colored pencils to create a design that covers the entire front of the paper. Christmas books, cards or magazines can inspire the design as well as favorite things like sports teams or pets.

This one tells the Christmas story…

This one tells the Christmas story…

This one reveals what was top of mind for my 10 year old boy one year…

This one reveals what was top of mind for my 10 year old boy one year…

5) Number your windows.

6) Place a matching - sized sheet of paper underneath and trace the shape of the windows onto it.

7) Decorate the bottom page so little images or words fill the places the windows will reveal when opened.

8) Use a permanent glue stick to seal the two pages together.

9) Hang your Advent calendar and open the numbered windows for December 1-25.

Here’s Abby’s for this Christmas.

Here’s Abby’s for this Christmas.

Have FUN and take JOY, friends!! Let me see what your kids make - in the comments here or on Instagram Merry Christmas!!