Friday, May 9, 2014

Freak-Out Homeschool Moms

I've only been homeschooling for 5 years, so I'm still new at this, but if there is one thing I've learned in my short time of homeschooling, it's that the homeschool mom has to be flexible. Life circumstances change from year to year and not every method meshes with every child. No homeschool mom out there can successfully make a 10-year, or even a 5-year plan, and expect things to go smoothly. Homeschool plans need to be tweaked yearly, if not monthly!

Last year, God led us to do Classical Conversations.  We have only been doing it for a year but we all have thoroughly enjoyed it!

When I began homeschooling, I just assumed that we'd stick with My Father's World for the long haul. I loved all of the fun projects we did together during our 2 years of MFW Kindergarten studies. I still highly, highly recommend their curriculum, but know that with the number of kids that I have, and their personalities, I personally am unable to do MFW anymore. For my sanity, I need a more-streamlined curriculum.

If you have been to a CC practicum, you are probably aware of the term "Freak Out Homeschool Moms."  At our practicum last summer, our speaker, Andy, described them for us.

Andy did a little skit in which he showed us a History timeline card and what the typical FOHM does. Instead of just training their child to memorize the phrase (for example: The Fall of Rome) and perhaps read a brief description of it, the FOHM goes ballistic trying to get their kid to understand everything there is to know about the Fall of Rome. They build a model of Rome, and/or read 10 books on Rome from the library, and/or try to do a play on the subject. Meanwhile, the child's brain, in the grammar stage, is a sponge, ready to easily memorize the phrase in the timeline, but not ready to absorb all the extra info. Later down the road, as the child matures and grows, he will enter into a stage where he can process more details and have an understanding of what we can learn from history, and if he has memorized the facts as a younger child, he will have the memory "peg" in his mind from which to start from.

 Andy's little example really hit home for my friend Lori and I. Lori and I both try to make school as fun and interesting as we can and we go overboard trying to immerse the kids in literature and information, without realizing how simple school really can be!  When Andy talked about how LESS IS MORE and KNOWING FEWER THINGS WELL rather than many things vaguely, I felt as though a 50# weight had been lifted from my back. You mean, I don't have to add a bunch of extras to the weekly lessons to be doing an okay job as a homeschool mom? You mean, we don't have to learn all of the "Why's?" right now, and we don't have to understand everything we are memorizing or studying? You mean we don't have to do everything the curriculum suggests to succeed in homeschooling?

Andy's solution to Freak-Out Homeschool Mom syndrome is:

Love God.
Love your husband.
Love your kids.

A few times during the conference, he had us repeat this with him to remind us what is truly important.

Regardless of what schooling method your family is doing.
Regardless of what curriculum you choose.
Regardless of how organized or academically proficient you are.

Love for God and our families is what is truly important. Because we care about our families deeply, it's all too easy for us homeschool mamas to become FOHMs and forget the basics.
Sometimes we need to just breathe and consider what is eternal.

If you are a FOHM, or just a FOM in general, take a quiet moment to breathe deeply and focus on what really matters.
Love God.
Love your husband.
Love your kids.

God is with you friend!

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