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It’s that time of year! When the regular homeschooling year has drawn to a close and there’s probably some time off before everyone hits the books again. Many homeschool moms are taking stock and looking ahead to a new phase of academics- whether it’s a new school year or the continuation of one in progress after a little time off. If you’ve been homeschooling a while, it can be difficult to build in encouragement along the way especially when you are in the midst of homeschooling older children. Encouraging Resources for Veteran Homeschool Moms shares different kinds of encouragement from a variety of sources which I have found helpful for me- a homeschool mom with over eleven years on the job.
Who Qualifies As a Veteran Homeschool Mom?
Maybe we ought to get this right out of the way. Who is the veteran homeschool mom? How do you know if you fall into that category?
- She’s been homeschooling more than a few years
- She’s probably teaching middle schoolers
- She’s got teenagers
- She could be homeschooling high school
- Maybe she’s graduated a few kids or some are very close
- Sometimes she is tired and weary from the task
- She can always use new ideas and encouragement- even if she doesn’t think so!
Is that you? Read on and plan some time for yourself to read, listen, and learn regularly.
The Importance of Teacher Inservice Time
Do you make regular time to get in some homeschool professional development? No matter how long you have been homeschooling, it’s important to keep learning and adjusting to your students. Every stage of homeschooling offers new challenges. Knowledge and encouragement go a long way to staying equipped for the task.
- Be Encouraged– I love to read and listen just to hear some of my homeschooling mentors and heroes speak into my homeschooling life.
- Get Answers to Questions– Depending on what you are learning or working toward, you can get questions answered.
- Transition to a New Level– If you are going to be teaching middle or high school in the immediate or near future, professional development time can help to unlock those secret planning doors and help you to see what’s ahead. There are always resources on planning for the high school years. Take advantage of them.
- Get Help for Your Student’s Specific Needs– Many times speakers who address particular types of students or situations will give you a new perspective on your child’s issue.
- Refocus– Sometimes we need to redirect our energies or get a new perspective on our homeschooling in general. Certainly immersing yourself in the words of like-minded families and mentors will help you to readjust goals and reorient yourself to your homeschooling mission.
Book Resources for the Veteran Homeschool Mom
A book that is read, re-read, highlighted, filled with notes, and referred to often is far more beneficial than ten wonderful books that sit on your shelf gathering dust. – Valerie Bendt, Unit Studies Made Easy
I’m sure we all have our favorite homeschooling books we’ve gathered throughout the years. Which ones encourage you the most? Those are the ones to revisit and gain insight from long after you’ve begun homeschooling.
- The Read Aloud Handbook– This has been a favorite of mine since graduate school and it’s my new mom gift to every family. How is this a great book for a veteran mom? The facts and reasons in this book are compelling. When you are tempted to skip the reading aloud with your older kids, read this one again and be inspired to keep going!
- Educating the Whole Hearted Child– I love this book for its view of the big picture. When you need a reminder of why are doing what you do, this is a book to revisit.
- Teaching from Rest The Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace– This is a short read and probably the best chapters for veteran moms are in the front and back. Your schedule might look different with older kids, but the principles on learning for yourself and what you are called to do are the same.
- Project Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self Directed Learners– I love this book. It puts a name to the sort of homeschooling we’ve been doing for a long time. Authentic, student driven work is a hallmark of our homeschool and when I need encouragement for the job, this is where I go.
- Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything– This book sort of opens up the possibilities for homeschooling which are not conventional but provide lots of learning experiences.
- College without High School: A Teenager’s Guide to Skipping High School and Going to College– When I talk to my high schoolers about finding their niche and working toward that goal, this book has a lot of solid ideas on how to navigate that with your student. It’s actually written to high schoolers, but as a parent it gave me some insight. This is a great resource if you are looking to identify pieces of course work for a high school transcript.
- Unit Studies Made Easy– This book was a huge source of encouragement to me as we started out and it’s one that I’ve marked up a lot. The charm in this book is the simplicity of using books to learn with your kids. I apply many of these principles when working with my high schoolers.
- The Writer’s Jungle– This is a new resource to me and I have enjoyed filling my homeschool mom toolbox with Julie’s ideas. We’ve been teaching writing this way for a long time (as this post illustrates), but even this veteran mom is glad she made the investment! This book is written to the parent and is a handbook on teaching writing in a relaxed way.
- Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope with Explosive Feelings– This is a great example of the need for continuing education for homeschool moms. I first learned about this book during a You Tube video on gifted kids and it struck home. I’ve been reading everything in sight since then and it has been an amazing experience for us to understand how one particular kid sees the world. Worth every moment I’ve spent in it and I’m still going back.
- Some of My Best Friends Are Books: Guiding Gifted Readers– This one is a great resource for using books with gifted children. Though I adore almost any book on books, this one speaks to the need for gifted children to find companionship in books- particularly because a well chosen book can speak into their lives in a way peers cannot.
Podcast & Audio Resources for the Veteran Homeschool Mom
Do you listen to podcasts and audios for inspiration? Sometimes it’s easier to listen while you work rather than taking the time to read.
- Read Aloud Revival– Sarah has free podcasts and more master classes and author events in her membership area. You’ll find encouragement in reading to and with kids of every age.
- Homeschool Snapshots– Pam interviews homeschool moms to get a peek into their homeschool. These are less than a half hour and a lot of fun to listen to. In fact, I was happy to be part of two Homeschool Snapshots Podcasts (A Picture is Worth a Thousand Worksheets & Are You a Unit Study Homeschooler?)
- Brave Writer– Julie has been encouraging homeschool moms for a long time, but she’s busy now on Facebook and Periscope sharing her wisdom on teaching kids of all ages.
- Audible– Audio books can provide great background information on the things I am teaching. I often listen to lectures from The Great Courses or related books so that I can be better at leading discussions with my kids (this topic would actually make a great post all on its own!). Not to mention it’s a great way to take in classics and other books our kids are reading while I do laundry or wash dishes.
Websites for the Veteran Homeschool Mom
I’m sure we all have our favorite places to visit and find encouragement on the internet. We find bloggers we resonate with along with curriculum sites and communities of like-minded homeschoolers. Here are a few of my favorite places:
- Read Aloud Revival– While I know this is just a popular place right now, I have to say that as a veteran homeschool mom it is one of the few places where I am consistently encouraged despite my years of experience. I think the biggest downside is that the community is largely moms of younger kids who are talking about books for younger kids. However, there’s a lot to gain from moms who are readers! And folks there are always ready to talk about books for older kids. Membership has been a huge blessing for me and I have to be honest and say I loved teaching a master class on engaging teens with books!
- Brave Writer– Not only does Julie Bogart encourage moms who are teaching kids to write, but she is an all around encourager too. I have enjoyed the perspective of a mom who has taught five teenagers of her own. She has a lot of resources as well. If you are a Facebook user, the Brave Schoolers Facebook group is also a lot of fun. I love seeing snippets of other families and their homeschooling day.
- You Tube– Sound crazy? You’d be surprised at all the things you can learn on You Tube whether it’s a skill you want to refresh or something new you are trying to tackle. I’ve found a lot of great channels that I like to share with our students too. There are also a lot of homeschoolers and homeschool publishers vlogging and hosting panels on You Tube on a host of topics important to homeschool moms.
Encouraging Posts from Blog, She Wrote
- Scheduling Time for Creative Pursuits– How do we build in time for our students to work on their creative projects. This is so important for our creative kids.
- Why We Fell in Love with Audio Books from Audible– A look at how we use Audible in our homeschool and how to use it well in your home.
- How to Engage Your Teens with Books– Families with teens are busy! How do you find the time to prepare to have discussions and how do you get started?
- Best Educational You Tube Channels for Homeschoolers– I subscribe to quite a few channels. This list is broken up by category and you can even learn how to make a You Tube playlist to watch later on with or without your kids.