The end of the school year is very near and I have simply run out of motivation. I’m teetering on the edge of homeschool mom burnout.
Do you know what that feels like? I’m sure there are quite a few other homeschool moms who can relate!
So, what is the recipe for overcoming the end of the year slump? A mini homeschool retreat for me was just the answer!
Even if you can’t get away somewhere, you can have a refreshing retreat to encourage you as you finish the school year well.
I enjoyed a retreat from my bedroom. I grabbed some snacks and enjoyed a few evenings with an encouraging and enlightening DVD. Compass Classroom was generous enough to let me review Homeschool Made Simple with Carole Joy Seid.
And let me tell you, this little DVD series was perfect for my mid-semester retreat!
Homeschool Made Simple is a DVD series with 6 lessons, ranging from around 20 to 30 minutes each.
- Children & Reading
- Choosing Books
- Building Character in Children
- Math, Writing, Science, Art & Music
- Bible & A Typical Day
- Children & Media
- Teaching History Using Literature
Carole Joy Seid, a home educator and educational consultant and life coach, teaches each lesson. Carole sits with a circle of moms and chats about creating a simple homeschool that is based around excellent literature.
The lessons feel like sitting down with a homeschool mentor and gleaning little nuggets of homeschool wisdom as well as large doses of encouragement.
Let me share a few of my favorite quotes as well as my favorite takeaways from the program.
- Carole talked about how children are never too young to be read to. She also talked about how to make read aloud time happen in large families – older children can and should read to the younger children.
As a homeschool mom of six children, this was so freeing! I sometimes feel like I have to be the person to do everything in our homeschool. I felt such relief knowing that it was not only ok to let my older children help by reading to their younger siblings, but that it was encouraged.
- In the third lesson, Carole described homeschool as a 3-legged stool with the legs being study, work and character. She cautioned parents never to do anything for children that they were capable of doing for themselves. Carole talked about how work is where character is born and that children enjoy working alongside you.
I try to keep our children accountable for doing chores around the house, but I’m often met with grumbling, which leads to me feeling very discouraged about chore time. After watching this series, I felt empowered to keep pressing forward with our chore routine and to keep finding ways for the kids to work alongside me at home – whether during chore time or when I’m cooking in the kitchen.
- “Mornings are sacred. From 9-11 is the best time for learning.”
These quotes from Carole only confirmed that I am on the right track with our homeschool. I try to keep our mornings for school-related activities. We usually finish up our school day a little after lunch, which gives my kids plenty of play time. However, I have found that our school days work best when mornings are set-aside for homeschool time. I’m so glad I’m not alone in doing this!
- Carole also advocates that parents not teach reading at the same time as writing.
Yes! I’ve learned this through trial and error. If only I had heard this message a little sooner.
I would even take this one step further and caution parents to teach reading first, spelling only after the child is starting to read fluently, and then add writing last. The only writing I do with my kids before they are reading and spelling is copywork and dictation. This has worked wonderfully in our homeschool!
- I absolutely loved hearing Carole talk about children and technology. She presents research that shows how damaging screens and technology can be to young children.
We recently dropped our cable plan and made an effort to cut even further back on the amount of screen time our kids have (which was always very limited). Listening to Carole’s thoughts on technology encouraged me to continue finding ways for my kids to enjoy imaginative play or spend time in nature.
- In the last lesson Carole talked about her approach to history – starting with American history and not teaching world history until children are older. She gave a variety of reasons for her approach (and they are completely worth hearing).
This lesson inspired a change in our homeschool curriculum. I had already been considering a break from our typical history cycle and spending a year (or more) on American history. Carole’s words were the push that encouraged me to put this plan in action. My kids and I are thrilled about our new history studies for next year.
- Carole also shared many wonderful book and curriculum recommendations. I jotted down all the books she recommended and plan to add them to our homeschool.
So, as I finished my mini homeschool retreat, I came away refreshed and encouraged. Some of Carole’s thoughts mirrored my own and only confirmed the direction of our homeschool. A few of her ideas were new to me and challenged how I viewed our homeschool.
Overall, I found Homeschool Made Simple to be thought provoking and extremely encouraging. After what felt like a stressful and frantic homeschool year, I’m choosing to take a simpler and more relaxed approach to our next homeschool year. I think we’ll enjoy the journey so much more!
If you need a homeschool retreat for yourself, be sure to check out Homeschool Made Simple from Compass Classroom! I think I’ll be saving these lessons to watch every summer to help me stay focused and encouraged in our homeschool.
Interested in Homeschool Made Simple? Watch a sample lesson on their website.