396 | Homeschool "Fall" Out (Jennifer Cabrera)
As fall comes speeding into view, homeschool fallout can occur from calendar conflicts, holidays & head colds. The need to do-it-all and enjoy the season may overwhelm, but remember, there’s no need. Relish your right to a homeschool slow down or hiatus!
Jennifer Cabrera, the Hifalutin Homeschooler, is the writer of homeschool truth, humor, and inspiration. Jennifer lives in Salado, Texas with her husband and three brilliant boys. She is a licensed Physician Assistant/MPH, but set aside that career for her ultimate life's work. She is also the author of Socialize Like a Homeschooler: A Humorous Homeschool Handbook and Revolting Writing, a hilarious writing, vocabulary, and illustration journal for reluctant writers. She is a featured speaker with Great Homeschool Conventions and her memes and witty insights are widely shared on social media.
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Jennifer Cabrera Hello and welcome to another Hifalutin Homeschooler episode of The Homeschool Solutions Show. My name is Jennifer Cabrera and I am one of many hosts here on the podcast. Each week, we bring you an encouraging conversation, inspiration, tips, tricks, and or humor from this busy and blessed journey of educating our children at home.
Now, while the title of the show is Homeschool Solutions, we do not pretend to have the answer to every question related to homeschooling, but we do hope to keep it real through lessons we've learned and urge you toward Jesus Christ and prayer with him as the greatest parent-teacher conference available.
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Homeschool fallout. Brace yourself, for a vortex of calendar conflicts, holidays and, head colds. From fall fresh to homeschool fall out. Fall homeschooling begins with bright attitudes and fresh, crisp air and workbook pages. The weeks pass and the days begin to darken. Workbooks and willpower begin to wither with the leaves on the trees. The days grow shorter, but the activities and expectations increase exponentially. What eager psycho person signed us up for all this junk? Oh, wait. It was me when it was 80 degrees outside. Now, if you're still in Texas it's probably still like 85 or 95 degrees. But we'll just pretend we're having a fall, like you crispy air to northern people. Fall spirals into homeschool fallout. As the days begin speeding and spinning into a vortex of calendar conflicts, looming projects, holiday prep work, and head colds. The pressure that builds during the not-so-picturesque homeschool hour, or week, or fortnight, or because of the game fortnite, I don't know. Well, it's going to find its release one way or another. So, do we press on with rushed inefficiency and sarcasm or lose our minds entirely? You know, some days I wish that the rumors were true, that homeschoolers don't get out much. Huh? Homeschool ventilation. Of course, pressing on or losing our minds are not the only two valves of ventilation that lead us to homeschool fallout. There is also crying, cavorting, staring into the abyss, donuts, denial, and giving up entirely to hide in the closet with a sleeve of cookie dough and to watch funny dog, not cat, videos.
Jennifer Cabrera I think I may have run through this complete list of options on a few Monday mornings over the years. However, I do choose laughter as often as possible, sarcasm mostly. Some of my best homeschool memes are doused in flammable truth. Such as part of homeschooling, is sitting around waiting to be needed, and then being needed 3 minutes after you start doing anything. Anything. Signs of homeschool fallout. There is nothing hilarious about the week that I experienced once that I'm going to share with you now.
Jennifer Cabrera I had a sick kid, and having a sick kid is never fun. He had a new symptom popping up every 3 hours. We had already spent the month's grocery money finding out all the infections that he didn't have, at a Sunday urgent care visit. And no, it wasn't COVID. Well, he's much too creative for that. So we were placing bets on the next symptoms, that he'd get out of doing his algebra with. The fairs and festivals and hay rides, all of these things are there to look forward to whether you do costumes or just pumpkin chunking. The respite of Thanksgiving is upon us, and its gracious gravy pours us into Christmas and our forgiving, elastic waistbands. Amen. Pass the pie. Just as the need to do it all begins to overwhelm. We must remember there's no such need. Relish the right to a homeschool hiatus. It's our homeschool, our schedule, our month-long cookie, coffee, cozy reading time unit study if we want it to be. Or our holiday homeschooling options to argue privately. No need to bring in the neighbors or the other family members that don't agree with homeschooling. But something's got to give. Even if we attempt and manage to check all the boxes, lessons full throttle, financial and health hurdles, and holiday happenings, something's going to give. And though it may appear you've got everything under control without leaving out a single ingredient of whatever you're making up. There's no such thing as perfection pie. I know, right? My holiday analogies are off the hook. Also, I like pie.
Jennifer Cabrera You might get lucky and all that will be lost or forgotten is a little sleep and the marshmallow topping on the sweet potatoes, which no one likes anyway. But likely nothing will be completed with the excellence and enjoyment that we hope to achieve. So my hifalutin advice for warding off the fall fallout, or picking up the pieces after the fallout comes hurtling down upon your planner. I suggest applying discernment, which means, on those days that you just aren't feeling it and something's got to give, only do what must be done and then what will be remembered fondly. Maybe you need to do a little bit of math, but do you really need to make all those crafts out of popsicle sticks? Because, let's just be honest, part of homeschooling is preparing for crafts that nobody wants to make. Seriously, your children are probably wishing that you'd throw the popsicle sticks, glue, and yarn out already. And let's go outside and enjoy the crisp fall air.
Jennifer Cabrera And, I don't know, light the curriculum on fire. By the way, don't waste good curriculum. I mean, even if you're in this complete fallout mode and the curriculum that you purchased this year just is not working out and you are ready to just throw it in the garbage, and watch it roll away with a garbage truck. Don't waste good curriculum. If you can't sell it or give it away, well, there's always a science project or a marshmallow roast that needs fueling, and it's fall. So, I mean, why not? Marshmallow roasts will take the edge off any day. And if this truly is your first year homeschooling, or maybe your second and you still haven't really found your groove, finding daily balance in the beginning is crazy. If you only know the public school schedule or even the private school schedule. Homeschooling is not scripted. There's not a punch clock. No one really needs to be herded. It's hard to learn to just be, and just learn and live. Have fun together and get a good rhythm with that and progress. But not simply through your textbooks and workbooks and completed tasks and checklists; but progress with actual learning and knowledge and growth and things that truly do matter to education. It's so hard to let go of that plan that's scripted, that we think shows that, hey, we are learning something because we checked all the boxes and that can really wear you out throughout the fall semester, especially your first year. Ask me how I know. We did every single lesson, and every single textbook curriculum that I had purchased that first year, and I deserved a trophy. My children and I were both burnt out and I thought, I can't do this until they graduate. This is insane. And it was insane. And until I figured out that, you know what? We really don't have to check all the boxes. We don't have to write down every single sentence in every single book. We can do this out loud because you know what? CPS never showed up to look at all of my lovingly organized and graded and bullet-pointed boxes of all of their work. And so that first 1-2.5 years, I really kind of went overboard. We have great memorabilia to show. I don't know, like bring it to convention sometime just to show everyone. Look how awesomely, overachieving, and controlling I was. But you really don't need all those things. And there's so much more to enjoy just talking and discussing and not making a craft out of every history lesson. But if you can't make it fun, make it edible. I'll stick by that until the very end because they still like to eat, regardless. And you can make anything edible and educational, you are winning. But you don't have to write everything down. So maybe when you need a fall break, but you are worried about not continuing to learn and they're going to head back to the screens and start zombifying themselves in front of Fortnite or what is the other ones? Roblox, and there's Minecraft. If you don't want them to go back to that, but you aren't feeling the full force that you were at the beginning of the school year, sit back a little bit. What can you change up that's still learning, but you take the edge off? And you aren't expecting so much written accountability, but actually brings you closer together. Maybe do some more read-alouds, maybe have game days where you're actually learning together, but you're doing Trivial Pursuit or Scrabble or who knows. . . monopoly with no one gets hurt. And one of my kid's favorite is Uno, which can get a little hairy, but I feel like we're learning conflict resolution. There's always learning involved. Maybe do more science projects, get outside, go for a nature walk, and draw every dead insect or mammal carcass that you come upon. Yes, that is learning too. It doesn't have to all be beautiful. By the way, I have all boys.
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Jennifer Cabrera Another way to shake things up would be to do more real-world tasks, like life skills. Things like, get out there and let Dad teach them how to change the oil in the car, or Mom if she knows how to change the oil in the car. Mow the yard for the last time of the season, and plant some fall flowers. Go collect flowers, go collect leaves, do those leaf-rubbing things. Those are always fun. Wait a minute. Is that a craft? No, that's art. Exercise together. Cook together. Did I mention food? Always include food. You don't have to write everything down. Don't have to separate every subject. You don't have to ring a bell. You don't have to put a time limit when they're actually enjoying learning something. Let that be the day that you do nothing but science. Because if they're having fun, why would you want to interrupt? So they follow a rabbit down the trail. I mean, that's hands-free homeschooling. You can just refill your coffee, and sit back and watch. Some of the things that, if computer screens aren't an option, kids can come up with all kinds of really neat things to do that you didn't even come up with. But also, don't forget its fall. There's festivals and art shows; and all kinds of hay rides and plays and Renaissance festivals and things going on. All those things that if you were ever in public school, you sat back and cried, probably because your hands were tied, and you couldn't go to the things. And when you could go to the things, everybody was at the things and then it was two people-y. So you just stopped going to the things. We are homeschooling now. Hello. You can go when everyone else isn't there and then do your math on Saturday when it's too crowded, and you don't want to be there anyway. It's your schedule. Take the break where you need it. Rearrange things to make it more doable, but don't become a victim of the homeschool fallout, especially if you've been charging ahead since August, or even before during the hot months. This is the homeschooler's best season. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today, while public school is still in session.
Jennifer Cabrera And if you're still looking for more ways to brighten up your homeschool during the fall, and need a list of activities to do, great articles for inspiration, and something else from Hifalutin Homeschooler, check out the Homeschooling Today Magazine. It comes in digital and print, and I have to say the print is pretty fabulous. Not just because you'll find one of my featured articles within there called, The Hifalutin Hints, but also because it is just beautiful. Thick, really just wonderful matte pages, great pictures, inspirational stories, lots of good tips and hints, and humor from yours truly. You can find the digital versions and you can subscribe to the digital, or in your box quarterly. That's four times a year. This great magazine comes right to your door. You can go subscribe at homeschoolingtoday.com and this autumn issue is all about how to handle trying to teach it all. How to deal with the overwhelming, overloading feeling that homeschool can sometimes give, which really kind of ties into what we're talking about today. Because as fall progresses, it seems to get heavier and heavier and heavier. Like all those leaves that are falling, are sitting on our backs like textbooks and expectations of the world around us. And all of the future worries of how our kids are going to turn out, and how much we can screw them up. But it's like I always say, if you're going to ruin a kid, you might as well keep them home and do it yourself. So check out Homeschooling Today magazine, you'll find my article inside entitled, How to Teach It All, All That and a Bucket of Worms. And that's all I'm going to tell you so that you stay very curious about what that means about a bucket of worms.
Jennifer Cabrera Another thing that's really cool about homeschooling today magazine, is especially the part where you can actually listen to me read my quarterly article on the audio version, which always makes it more fun and interesting. Of course, you still want to have that one in your hands so you can follow along because I try to keep it light and real and helpful. But of course, the hifalutin humor is there. And so enjoy your fall. Don't be the victim of homeschool fallout. Leave the rest of all that boring old stuff that you don't want to really get to, that just feels tedious and might ruin what you can get done. Leave that to boring old January, when even viewing annelids under a microscope is a welcome distraction from the cold and dreary of low-fat snacks after the holidays. Just remember, time is precious. Waste it wisely, said by someone like me who probably skips the warm-up problems, but will stop to take a picture of an insect molting because that's real. And there's lots of learning involved in the real. So until next time, stay weird, and homeschool on.
Thank you for joining me here on the Homeschool Solutions Show again. You can find show notes and links to all the resources mentioned at homeschooling.mom. Don't forget to check out my friends at Medi-Share for healthcare you can trust. To learn more about why over 400,000 Christians have chosen Medi-share, go to greathomeschoolconventions.com/medishare.
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Lastly, have you joined us at one of the Great Homeschool Conventions? The Great Homeschool Conventions are the homeschooling event of the year offering outstanding speakers, hundreds of workshops covering today's top parenting and homeschooling topics and the largest homeschool curriculum exhibit hall in the United States. Find out more at greathomeschoolconventions.com. I hope to see you in Texas.
Also, if you'd like to connect with me, you can find me at Facebook at Hifalutin Homeschooler and on Instagram @hifalutinhomeschooler. That's H-I-F-A-L-U-T-I-N Homeschooler. Also, you can email me directly with any questions, concerns, anecdotes. I love to hear stories from other homeschoolers. That's [email protected]. Until next time, stay weird and homeschool on.