Redefine Falling Behind

Posted by on Sep 26, 2016 in Parenting | 0 comments

Now that the school year is in 5th gear a parent can easily become terrified of falling behind. I released myself from such a burden many years ago, because I made time to redefine falling behind for our family.

falling behind

Your Falling Behind should be different than mine. It should be different than your best friend’s or even your bible study teacher. Yet we all want to put this term on and wear it around as if one-size-fits-all. Just like pantyhose … that’s a lie.

My youngest attends a one-day-per-week-private-homeschool. Every Wednesday afternoon he comes home with a beautiful yellow assignment sheet. Four days are listed with four assignments for each day and subject. It might be one page, 1/2 a page, or one large project broken up over four days. It’s lovely. I appreciate it. But there is very slim chance we’re going to complete everything on that sheet.

Years I begged, demanded, threatened, and even bribed the child to finish it all, because I like check marks. Check marks make me feel safe, warm, and comfortable. My son has no regard for check marks.

My son also has delayed fine motor skills, so writing 8 sentences can take up to an hour for him. I have to redefine “falling behind”.

My oldest son has joined a soccer team across town. And by town I mean major city. Even if we leave an hour early for a 40 minute drive, I still can not control interstate traffic. Often times we’re late. I have to redefine “falling behind”. When will we get there? When we get there!

Wouldn’t it be nice if we stopped keeping to others expectations and kept to where God has placed us? Falling behind should be different for each family according to those family’s needs!

A single mom friend turned down a request from the PTO. They wanted her to make dinner for the 5th grade teachers. Since she’s “just” a single mom and has time to serve others. She said no. People can think she’s falling behind on her service commitments or others can see she’s protecting her family time.

Maybe you need to have a chat with your husband and ask his expectations or needs. Once he explained he didn’t care if the oven was clean all he wanted were clean undies and towels in the drawers – life got easier around the house. I was able to prioritize than feel overwhelmed with everything.

Before you throw on your falling behind garment of shame, stress out, make life miserable for everyone, and go a bit crazy this year … take some time to decide what is realistic for your family and where you should place the “falling behind” measurement.

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Simply Ways to Make Geography Fun

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in Homeschool Helps | 0 comments

Simply Ways to Make Geography Fun

Geography has always been an interesting subject to me, but for some younger students it can be overwhelming. 7 Continents, 4 sometimes 5 oceans, imaginary lines, 4 hemispheres, and over 190 confirmed countries. Add the  different landforms, temperatures, and languages … the Earth can make students feel like it’s just a spinning sphere of confusion.

Simple Ways to Make Geography Fun

1. Invest in an inflatable globe. Globes are easy to spin, point, and even toss around for review. They make it easier to locate different lands because of reference points. I can easily see where Africa is compared to Asia – but if I print a map of Africa … I just see Africa.
You can also use a dry erase marker on inflatable globes to draw navigation or trade routes, regions, etc. It is much easier than printing out a new map each week.

2. Explore one country every few days. Do not be afraid to stick to one country and really learn about it. Discover landforms, major cities or rivers, borders, imports and exports, regional food, plus famous landmarks or famous people. Sure a child can sing a song and memorize words, but when asked to point to those countries on a map they look lost. Ask them one unique thing about that country and they can only chant the next country in their cute song. The library will be your best friend to check out books, movies, and reference materials.

3. Purchase Country Notebooking Pages. Let’s be honest. We all want to create the perfect curriculum, but just don’t have the time to make our way through Pinterest to piece it together. You can easily grab a beautifully compiled pack of almost 200 countries and study the world at your own pace! No mean teacher’s planner to bark deadlines and remind you how much you’re “behind” this year. Print a country and enjoy learning about it.

We might sing, It’s a Small World, but I disagree. It’s a big beautiful world full of interesting places – enjoy learning about them with your children.

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Curriculum Wars

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in Curriculum, Homeschool Helps | 0 comments

Curriculum Wars

If you are new to homeschooling or a ten year veteran … the questions and opinions about The Perfect Curriculum are endless! But be careful not to fall into the Curriculum Wars.  You’ve heard the conversations. Which curriculum is the best?

curriculum wars

Choosing the curriculum that is right for YOUR child is important. Being bullied into trying something just because someone else loves it does not mean it will be the right pick for you. Nor does it mean your choices are null and void!

A few years ago two friends were victims of the Curriculum Wars.  Homeschool Friend A couldn’t understand why Homeschool Friend B wouldn’t use Homeschool Curriculum C. So they stopped speaking to each other. One friend told me, “Well, you wouldn’t understand you pick all that “hands-on stuff”, but I know her daughter loves to write just like my daughter does. If she’d just use it I bet she’d have a better day.”

A word of veteran homeschool wisdom – do not push a curriculum war agenda! Sadly we do this about our diets, exercise programs, discipline style, bedtimes, sports teams, political candidates, and on and on. It’s word of mouth marketing – but we can become bullies. I have this soccer mom acquaintance who seems to think her opinion on every topic is right. Having a conversation with her is impossible.

Once you pick your curriculum – be faithful and use it for you. I promise it did not turn into trash overnight. And it sure didn’t become garbage because a friend does not use it.

It might not have worked for someone else, it might look intimidating, or it might have a bad reputation for not being difficult enough. That’s right, I still love Teaching TextbooksIf the stuff is a complete disaster, doesn’t work well with your children or your time … then chunk it. But you have to try it first to know.

Curriculum Wars

As homeschool moms we have influence. We’ve been doing this thing for awhile. Be careful what you do and do not recommend and how you recommend it. Not every family is like your family. Not every learning style is like your child’s learning style. Be gentle. Do not play the Curriculum Wars game.


Just this summer a new-to-homeschool friend asked for my opinion. I shared what I thought would be a good fit. She picked something completely different. I was not offended, nor did I tell her she made a mistake. I am still excited for her homeschool journey!

We should all be excited for each other rather than alienate the only people who actually get how hard it is to homeschool.

As new homeschool moms be willing to listen, but decide for yourself what will and will not work for you. You know your children. You are around them most. An opinion is nice, but it never should make you feel bad!

Do not feel pressured to try something just because “so and so” did it. When I first started homeschooling I copied the woman who introduced me to homeschooling. Her schedule, curriculum, and chore charts. I wanted to stamp out homeschoolers. It did not work – oh it so did not work for us!

You will find your groove and it will be great. Give your curriculum choice a chance and do not feel bullied into doing something different.  Then when you look back to help the next generation of homeschoolers be kind with your knowledge and we can all stop the Curriculum Wars!

Looking for more posts on curriculum?  Read: Finding The Perfect Curriculum, Signs that the Curriculum Is Not Working, and Free Lesson Plans

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