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Are You Stealing Your Homeschooler's Joy?

None of us set out to intentionally steal our homeschooler’s joy.

It can creep up on us, especially if we have a child who is a pleaser or a child who is especially hard on themselves.

If you are a parent who prides herself on checking off boxes, being “diligent” in your children’s education, and maintaining a predictable schedule, it could easily happen to you.

One day your homeschool is buzzing along - of course you have the occasional bad day (just like everyone else), your children are completing their work - they are even being compliant and diligent.

And then it HITS you. (Or, maybe it doesn’t hit you - which is why I’m writing this post… consider yourself hit.)

Your children - and you, for that matter - have lost their joy. Everyone is functioning and getting the task of homeschooling completed, but the shine, sparkle, and JOY of learning are gone.

It’s happened to me (on multiple occasions), and I want to give us all reminder, pep talk, and encouragement that we need.

Are you stealing your #homeschool child’s joy?

Put Yourself In Your Children’s Shoes

Yesterday it was SO HOT here in Georgia. 93 degrees in the middle of September isn’t right.

I had to get out of the house, so I dropped something off to a friend and then stopped for a cold drink at a cute coffee shop on the way home.

As I was sitting there enjoying this break in the day I thought about my 14-year-old at home. He was at his desk working through his list of assignments for the day. Math, Latin, Debate, Logic, Piano Practice, Reading, Science.

I COULDN’T HAVE DONE THAT.

I had already maxed out after a few hours at home in the morning. I needed a change of scenery, something cool to drink, and a little bit of human interaction (with people not related to me!).

He’s a good worker and puts pressure on himself to finish his assignments each day so he can have free time in the evening. He likes to leave for basketball at 3:30 knowing his schoolwork is complete. I’ve started to feel like he’s almost robotic going through the motions of checking off the boxes.

I immediately was convicted that we need to work on more JOY and flexibility in our homeschool. If I truly put myself in Grant’s shoes I would have been feeling bored and not incredibly inspired to dig much deeper into my subjects than beyond what was simply assigned.

Here’s the Instagram post I made (click if you want to read all of my thoughts and the insightful comments, too!)

Then I also thought back to when my kids were younger.

How many times did I put off the “fun” until all of our work was accomplished? Our best days were those where we put the fun first - and turned our learning into a field trip, hands-on activity, or a game. Because guess what? My college girl now remembers the JOY over the academics.

I know I can’t always scrap a day of school in favor of a day of joy with a teenager who has a challenging curriculum. And, it is important to teach diligence, perseverance, and fortitude - but I also know there are simple ways to make life and learning more joyful - that are applicable to all ages.

5 Ways to Put the Joy Back in Your Homeschool

  • Shock Your Children! Don’t be afraid to hop in the car and go get ice cream. Or, if it’s an excruciatingly hot day, head to the local creek (with swimsuits) and take your current read aloud. Try it - this week do one spontaneous thing that will shock your kids! Depending on the type of parent you are, these activities will vary, right?

  • Change Your School Location How about going to the local coffee shop to set up for school? Or, if it’s a nice day, how about heading to your favorite outdoor spot to do school? How about you let the kids decide the location (within reason).

  • Go to the Library. Really. It’s so simple, isn’t it? A trip to the library can change everything for the day.

  • Go to the Movies. I did this a few years ago with my kids. I remember it vividly - it was a Thursday and we woke up with everyone in a bad mood. At lunch time we headed to the movie theater to eat popcorn for lunch and see Chimpanzee. The best thing was that there wasn’t another SOUL in the theater. We had the place to ourselves. We learned a lot about chimpanzees and made a memory.

  • Declare a Theme Day You’ve probably heard me talk about our famous Angry Birds Day. I woke the kids up and declared the entire day Angry Birds. We played the game on the iPad. We did a Chalk Pastel art project. We had a physical Angry Birds game. We did all things Angry Birds and it was a blast.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but you get the point, right?

GRACE - and Be Vigilant!


Moms, I know we are famous for being our own worst critics. If you feel like you have been guilty of stealing your homeschooler’s JOY, remember that GRACE abounds.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. You care enough to homeschool your kids. I always contend that my kids worst day in our homeschool was better than any day in public school.

Just remember to be vigilant - on the lookout for kids that seem to have lost their spark and love of learning.

Put yourself in your child’s shoes every now and then and see how YOU are feeling about learning.

I pray we all can be intentional about joy in our homeschoolers’ lives.

Do you have a way you spark joy in your homeschooler? Share it with me in the comments below!

Weekly Homeschool Roundup - 9/14/19

I’ve been struggling in this space.

You see, my life as a homeschooling parent has drastically changed since this blog began 10 years ago.

I now have a homeschool graduate and a high schooler. My role is shifting to one of counselor, mentor, encourager - and (my favorite) cheerleader.

So often I come across things during the week, or remember something that really worked in our homeschool. I want a way to share this information with the Homegrown Learners community, but social media is so…. well…. social media. Know what I mean?

I no longer have the cute lesson plans and pictures of happy children living that carefree interest led lifestyle. I now have one teenager at home who works independently - and most often that isn’t very blog (or photo) worthy.

So this space remains of value to you, I’ve come up with a solution: each Saturday I will post a weekly homeschool roundup - interesting articles, posts, books I’m reading, homeschooling tricks that work - you name it - if I think you need to know about it, I will share it here.

Each week I will post FIVE things that have stuck with me during the week.

I’d love for this roundup to be something you look forward to with your Saturday morning coffee.

So stick with me, and let’s get going with the first weekly homeschool roundup!

Weekly #Homeschool Roundup - curated content each week for the homeschooling parent

Teaching Diligence to My Teen is a Hill I’m Willing to Die On

Wow, this post from Annie & Everything is exactly how I’ve been feeling recently.

We’re going through that oh so lovely time in our household when my youngest seems to have lost his mind. He’s a good kid, but let’s just say a lot is escaping him right now. I remember this phase with my daughter, too.

If what it takes is being the water that drips and drips and drips on the rock until it forms an impression, then I will be that drip. I will be a gentle drip, a more sensitive sergeant, if you will — but I will just keep dripping, just keep dripping, what do we do? We driiiiiiip.

I agree with Annie - it’s a hill worth dying on to teach our children diligence. So let’s be diligent about this, shall we?


A Wonderful Historical Fiction Author

We’ve now read two books by Steve Sheinkin.

Both Undefeated and The Mysterious Benedict Arnold were wonderful read alouds for my 9th grader. I suspect they would even be good for your upper elementary and middle grade students, too.

Your children are never too old to share a read aloud with.

Remember that thing about diligence from Annie’s post above — do that with reading aloud, too. (wink)

There Are No Words

I wish I wasn’t posting this as the thing of beauty this week, because it is in remembrance of September 11, 2001.

This posting on Facebook from the United States Air Force Band is truly beautiful.

Take a few minutes to share this with your children.

What Should I Read Next

My go-to person for all things books and reading is Anne Bogel. I’ve been listening to Anne for a couple of years now, and had the chance to meet her in person last year - she’s lovely, by the way.

Her 200th episode of her podcast, What Should I Read Next, aired this week.

This list of 12 Favorite Episodes of What Should I Read Next makes for a lot of good listening.


Five In a Row

We have so many precious memories of the Five in a Row books in our homeschool.

If you don’t know what Five in a Row is - you need to!

If you have been rowing books, then I hope you know about Blog, She Wrote and all of the FIAR resources there.

Our favorite FIAR title has to be The Story About Ping (oh, this is such an old blog post!)…. I’ll never forget the week we spent schooling at a local lake to make the most of this story.

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Did you spot a good thing this week?

Feel free to share it in the comments below!