Looking back at my journals from August 2020, I’m feeling the same way today I was then: vague dread about getting my household back into schooling again. Though I hear rumors of boredom from my children that do rather seem to call for school—“Mom, we never *do* anything anymore.” Sounds very odd to a parent’s ear…the pool/the pond/the park/the ice cream/ the garden frolic count for nothing?!
But of course she means we don’t do anything with regular structure. Meaning, she wants structure!
I’m actually hearing this from my pre-kindergartener, which is cause for reflection. Pre-kindergarteners are so ready. They seem to know themselves in a way that startles you. When my first graduated kindergarten, I remember noting: they graduate as Greek gods, benevolent beings who walk around with their own sense of justice. Third child: still feels true.
Nice things I do when I’m feeling less-inspired:
Message a friend who homeschools and ask her what she does to feel more excited.
Take her advice and re-read, Teaching from Rest.
Dip into the closet of things from last year, organize a bit, admire all the things that were written and drawn and put into binders.
Make a list or two of what might be nice to have happen this year. No expectations, just: ideas.
Read aloud and remember how much we all love reading aloud together.
A video course to make you a homeschooler in a matter of hours
Ok—since you are subscribers to this newsletter, this next recommendation might be for a friend of yours. Here goes: if you've wanted to homeschool but have no idea what it would look like or how to do it, this is the video class for you. Two experienced moms who have both homeschooled multiple children have developed Homeschool 101. They walk you through every step in an efficient yet substantial way.
When watching the course while on vacation at a lake house in July, I, a four year veteran, was taking notes! They’ve put the absolute best of what they’ve learned through years of experience all in one place. This is the ideal way to jump in if you’re new to the homeschooling world. I love the video format in particular because you get to see what they are talking about, as they talk about it. Particulars such as favorite curriculums for each subject are discussed, as well as more overarching ideas like how to organize and approach your homeschool philosophy.
Speaking of substantial—they are offering a 50% discount to readers of this newsletter. The course is $149 without a discount. Preview & sign up here. If you decide to try it, the discount code is: RACHAEL50
Please feel free to forward this to anyone to whom you’ve talked recently about homeschooling. A course like this could bring a person from “Someday I’d like to…” to “I’m ready!”
disclosures: I was not paid to promote this course at all, but I was given a free subscription so I could preview all the course material before I decided to review here. I am an emphatic A++ on what they’ve built.
Lurking on Instagram
This is a fun time of year to follow homeschoolers on instagram. It’s like the unboxing trend of youtube, or the “empties” talk of beauty-social-media. What did you order? What did you love last year? What are you trying for the first time? August is our best ambitions, best plans.
+Jodi Mockabee, a curriculum writer I really admire, shared that she orders a pile of books using Ambleside Online’s guides, notebook and narrate through them, and that covers everything for her beside math. Click her “More Homeschool” bubble on her saved stories for more.
+Maggie M shared a mixup of curriculum sources, some new to her, others tried and true. Click the “Curriculum” bubble on her saved stories to see.
+When a homeschooler-instagrammer you admire makes a list of the podcasts she admires by a renowned writing teacher…you take note. Elsie Iudicello’s favorite talks of Andrew Pudawa’s—downloadable audio, $3 per talk.
I’m definitely feeling this “show up” reminder from Kristen.
An Incredible Book, by an Irish teenager
This book did more to renew my love of nature than the many naturalist books I’ve read since moving to Vermont. Dara McAnulty loves nature, and his respect and adoration for it seep from every sentence. Reading it, I was reminded, over and over again, of the power of watching, and just seeing. You can’t help but want to be just as excited as he is. And to know your backyard bird visitors as well as he does.
I wake in the tiny hotel room, light slicing through the thin curtains. There are rooks on the roof clattering above me, and the screeching song of swifts. A good soundtrack to wake up to in a strange place. I feel refreshed and ready for the excitement of what’s to come. More goshawk tagging.
It always amazes me how Dad can talk, look, and find all at once—I just can’t do that. It’s too much for me. I’d miss everything if I did.
Why am I including it in a homeschool newsletter? Because he shares freely about his own autism and his family’s (his mom, sister, and brother are all autistic). I have never read anything like it. He tries to bring the reader inside his mind, to feel things the way he feels them. He writes so carefully about the hurdles his brain has to go through to settle into the complexities of modern life. Reading it, I oftentimes forgot that he was autistic. Only when he would remark that he’d been watching the birds for over an hour, and the rest of his family had left, and it was pouring rain, would I remember he was operating entirely differently than I would in his place.
The final thing that was just wonderful to encounter: he writes openly of how carefully his parents care for him. It’s a love letter to the whole world, but you understand it could never have been written without the meaningful foundation he found at home.
A modern must read:
Diary of a Young Naturalist, by Dara McAnulty
Something I've signed up to learn
Molly Wizenberg talking about the software she loves to write her books on.
The video course I linked to above is on teachable, and this is a one-off webinar with the recording sent to paying participants afterward. Can I just say I am obsessed with the new world of learning from wherever you live, from whomever you want? It’s the best.
And, a Quote for You 🌿
The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing.
Is there a coupon code for the homeschooling course? Thanks!