My February homeschooling slump/panic hit early this year, in January! I spent an entire weekend chasing after every homeschooling black hole I could find on the internet, looking for a new, better, plan. Searching for inspiration. Searching for something that would tell me what to do to raise an intelligent, well-rounded person. It wasn’t pretty. There were tears and feeling like a failure and wishing that I had thousands of dollars to invest in curriculum that would solve all my problems.
In the end, I decided to go back to my homeschool origins, which are a bit unschooly. To focus on reading, writing, and math, and to let my kids’ general interests be the inspiration for the direction. I love the idea of bringing them together for some of the learning time, but we have gotten into a good rhythm of individual lessons (with the older two girls mostly self-directed at this point) and I’m not sure where to sneak a “morning time” into that rhythm, though I certainly have plenty of ideas of what I would love to put in!
I thought I would share some of the homeschooling resources I go back to again and again, the ones I have loved from the start.
- John Holt books. My favorites are How Children Learn and How Children Fail, but Learning all the Time and Teach Your Own are high on my list, too!
- Carol Black’s essays. Wow. She lights a fire under me every time. A Thousand Rivers, On the Wildness of Children, Occupy Your Brain, they’re all good.
- The Moores’ book, Better Late than Early. They have a website; read this page especially. Their formula for learning: study, manual work at least as much as study, and home/community service. They are practical and encouraging.
Not homeschooling books, these are parenting books that have helped guide and shape who I am as a parent. Homeschooling, on so many levels, is about exactly this. Family culture and a loving atmosphere.
- Unconditional Parenting
- Simplicity Parenting
- Hold on to Your Kids
- How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk
Sometimes what I need most is to stop, slow down, go back to basics, listen to my own heart, and shut out all the “inspiration” out there. It is so tempting to join a movement, declare a method, and check all the boxes, but for me it always leads to burnout and fear. Fear that I am not doing everything right, fear that my children are failing at my method du jour, and that therefore I am failing as a homeschooler and as a mother. I want to homeschool from a place of strength and assuredness. I want to see the places they are excelling, not always be searching for the ways they are not.
I hope that if you have a February slump, you can take a step back and listen to your heart! It will always guide you in the right direction.