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The Top 5 Ideas that Have Shaped our Homeschool

by Lusi Austin, That Homeschool Life, first published in Simple Homeschool, reprinted with permission

If I could turn back time to the weeks before I had my first child, I'd stop wasting the minutes reading parenting books that told me almost nothing helpful about the journey that I was about to embark on.

I'd put those books away and instead, I'd tell myself a few important words, phrases and ideas that have become invaluable to me over the years of parenting and homeschooling:

1. Meeting Needs:

Rather than focusing on ticking boxes, whether we have the PERFECT curriculum or the best resources, I tried to focus on meeting the needs of my kiddos by being a good facilitator.

Thinking of myself sometimes as a middleman is useful. I see a need in my child and try to help them find a solution to meet that need. This demonstrates that life is often a collaborative work and that we can be a blessing and a help to each other.

2. Acknowledging Conflict with Grace:

Sometimes after an upset, acknowledgement of what happened is needed. Asking the question, “What could you/we do differently next time?” at this time has helped.

The hope is that by talking about it in the here and now (but not when emotions are at an all time high!) we can try and work through HOW we got here in the first place so that we can avoid doing that again. It has reminded us that we are works in progress who need to show grace to each other as we evolve in our connections and relationships.

3. Sticking to my Vision:

We have all had “one of those” days. On them, I have to remind myself WHY we are homeschooling in the first place. Knowing my vision helps me to continue to persevere, to humble myself when I need to and to keep from trying to always control things!

It helps me relax and think about the importance of character development and connection. It helps me to remember that we want our kids to LOVE learning! Having my vision written down somewhere where I can see it reminds me of the bigger picture. It has given me a true perspective that I have desperately needed at times.

4. Remembering that we Work as a Team:

Working as a team has helped us, especially when it comes to keeping some semblance of order at home. And it has also helped the kids understand why they've needed to miss out on an activity when one child (or parent!) has been ill.

Triaging needs is something we have to do often as a family dealing with chronic illness. This helps us all remember that we are one unit and together we can do, create, rest and play!

5. Saying “I love you”:

I believe that “I love you” can't be over-said. You won't look back at the end of your life and say, “Gee I wish I hadn't wasted so much time telling my family I loved them!”

Yes, it's true that we demonstrate our love to our kiddos (and spouse/friends/family etc) in actions, but for those of us for whom ‘words' are our love language, it is like life-blood! Learning the love language of our children can help us understand them more. It helps us connect in ways that are meaningful to them. We get a chance to really honour and cherish them in ways that they MOST value.

These words, phrases and ideas have helped us keep focus on what is most important to us in our homeschool. Articulating key ideals and values for your family will allow for a more thriving, freeing, and relaxing learning environment.

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

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