427 | What Do We Do Now? When Favorite Homeschool Pastimes Abruptly End (Jennifer Cabrera)

427 | What Do We Do Now? When Favorite Homeschool Pastimes Abruptly End (Jennifer Cabrera)

Show Notes:

Sudden and unwanted changes in our familiar homeschool activities and social circles can send our confidence skidding off the road. We can cry on the side of the road, or use these sudden exits to get on a new road to the undiscovered interests and opportunities God is preparing.

About Jennifer

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.


Gross-Out Grammar and Revolting Writing - Humorous, Colorfully Illustrated, and Engaging Language Arts Series


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Show Transcript:

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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What now? When favorite homeschool pastimes abruptly end. One thing that always stays the same with homeschooling is that everything is always changing. It's one of our best qualities. We can roll with the punches, alter our speed, swerve to miss failures, and then right the wheel on a new path that offers what our kids each need. We can join a group study course one year, a boxed curriculum the next, and later decide to go solo on all subjects. We can switch homeschool methods at will, mix them all up in our own thing, make new ones unique to our own family, such as when I decided to make my Gross-Out Grammar and Revolting Writing Language Arts series for my reluctant writer. He needed some extra motivation — something colorful, exciting and laugh out loud hilarious to write about. And it worked. So I put it into a series that you can use on your reluctant writer too, if they need that extra push. Or the older kid that might be looking for a good grammar review with some laughs and creative writing fun, full of illustrations — even some practice on that cursive handwriting with some hilarious themed copy work — writing prompts that excite middle school aged writers with themes that are really get down into their interests and actually have them writing without being caught up in all of that language arts jargon that kind of makes their eyes glaze over, but rather subtle prompts to get them writing different types of essays and really enjoying themselves and saying, "Hey, I can do this through laughter instead of tears." So check out Gross-Out Grammar and Revolting Writing for your reluctant writer today at HifalutinHomeschooler.com/books. Okay, so back to homeschool change. We're eclectic homeschoolers here, and homeschoolers like us are always changing curriculum, sometimes each season, sometimes each month. When new events or opportunities arise that interest homeschoolers, we can all usually find time to give them a whirl and experience new things. Even our daily start time can fluctuate day to day — 8:00 a.m. on a Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. on a Thursday. Friday can be part of the weekend and Saturday night can be a history documentary lesson with popcorn till 1 a.m.. And we might do math at the kitchen table today and on the back porch tomorrow when the wind calms and the sunshine beckons. All this randomness may appear disordered and floundering to onlookers, but it's actually a dynamic and shrewd way of educating in the now. And there's a perfectly effective personal pattern in the appearance of pandemonium.

However, despite all the elements that can change at our discretion, many of us have those tried and true activities, hobbies, friends and groups we plan to stick with no matter what all the way to homeschool graduation do us part. And then sometimes even after that, because moms have plans. Okay, maybe a habit or must maintain a level of comfortable, predictable control. So it's obviously distressing when a sudden upheaval rips that contentment from our planners and personal web of allies. Suddenly a door closes. Well, slams. One we were maybe counting on to see us through, a long term friend that we will no longer see, a comforting routine is gone with the wind and with it a sense of place and belonging. Unexpectedly, we're left untethered and adrift. Cut off. Who are we and where do we belong? If we're not a part of X, Y and Z and hanging out with do-re- and me. Help! What now? Desperate to find the door God must be preparing to throw open, sometimes we let our minds wander into the minefield of what ifs and are we doing something wrong? And should we put them back in school? What now? Clear heads hopefully prevail, and we soothe our angst with faith and logic. Evidently, there's something else we're supposed to be doing — learning, experiencing, people we're destined to meet, skills to acquire. Right? Or maybe we're being forced from complacency or a comfortable slide into catastrophe. Perhaps we've been jolted awake and saved from squandering precious time in a cozy rut. Right? That's it, isn't it? She screams into the lonely abyss. What now? A sign please. Is this thing on? If you're listening now and have homeschooled long enough to find your people, I hope you can't relate and haven't suffered the premature loss of a well-loved tradition or the confidence and retreat in the company of once good friends. Graduating two at once and seeing them off on new adventures was a huge change for us, especially for my youngest — now a lone homeschooler, getting all the attention, oversight, and nostalgic mom coddling that he doesn't necessarily want. It's too quiet around here most days with the older guys gone, and so all their friends are gone, and the families that we used to do things with and see all the time with those friends, which is great and how it's supposed to be. Everyone is off to new jobs, schools, life experiences.

So we've leaned into our usual homeschool studies and activities for comfort around here, and of course, we're always on the lookout for all the field trip opportunities we can distract ourselves with until the guys come home on breaks and hang out with us again. But next thing we knew, we were being forced away from a beloved activity that all of my boys have enjoyed for years. When my oldest two relished through their senior year and we took for granted, would do the same for my youngest. But after this year it's being ripped out from under him mid high school. Not because of anyone's fault or mama drama, just that the activities location is moving too many miles away from us to justify the gas mileage, and an entire day away from academics and other endeavors. He's only a bit sad. Okay, mostly totally cool with it. Seriously, his transcript has way too many fine arts credits on it already. Too much to even sound remotely plausible to an admissions counselor's agenda. But it's the end of an era for our family.

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As the older, more experienced adult in this period of homeschool heartache, I understand more than him that this means we will probably no longer see a lot of the folks who've become a fixture in our lives. I know that this time next year, the sting may burn a little hotter when he truly is an outsider in the audience. So much so that I have offered to make it happen if he really wants it. I'll drive across the state of Texas every Thursday to ensure he gets the socialization he loves. He said no. He wanted to focus on other endeavors, new activities, strengthening his academics and figuring out what he might want to do after homeschooling high school. All right, so it was just me. My husband was laughing and rolling his eyes at me as I offered to drive across the state of Texas every Thursday for my son, if not being a part of this tradition was going to rip his heart out and leave him feeling cheated and forsaken. But this son of mine was being all logical and looking forward to new things to learn and do and where they might lead him after graduation. And I was trying to hold on to what I knew and using him to keep ties to great memories. Honestly, my kids activities is where I've gotten the bulk of my own socialization over the last decade and a half. However, when we come to potholes like these on our homeschool road, it's best to have faith that God is guiding us to swerve, however jarringly, into a new lane of learning and life experiences. We just have to be vigilantly looking out and being hopeful we spot it right away and aren't wallowing in self-pity, paralyzed by nostalgia and questioning every other homeschool decision we've ever made — head down, running off the road and getting stuck in the ick of isolation. I know my driving metaphors are on cruise control. Well, there's another one. I'm in the throes of driver's ed with the third manchild, bear with me. Jesus, take the wheel.

It's easy to look over at the public school complex and think, well, if my kid was in school, the extracurriculars are cemented there, safe and sound. They don't just pick up and move across town or get canceled or cost too much money. Friends are built in and can't escape, no matter how weird and indecisive my kids behave. Maybe we don't have enough security and consistency as homeschoolers. Don't fall for the allure — Schools have a specific menu of activities and electives that rarely changes and is limited to tryouts, districting, and the balance of activity funds to administrative salaries and input of the parent booster club/slave labor. Also, requesting off menu items for a change-up is not an option. Neither is a private garage apprenticeship with grandpa every Tuesday at noon. You get the point. Also, it's not necessarily friends, but simply same aged peers that follow students from year to year in school. Plus, school supported activities may cost less money, but they definitely cost and the price is much more precious than cash. We homeschool so we can pick from a world of activities and friends, locate new ones, and change things as often as we want or need, and thus we can quickly accommodate the changes we don't want to make but are forced to endure. Well, endure isn't the word. Brave — that's the word. Unwanted change can leave a hole in our planners. The silence of quieted schedules and friendships is deafening. Let's brave the sudden change from the comfortable rut in our homeschool, and get excited about what God has in store for us that we needed to be shoved into. Moms, we can't spend time looking back with tears dripping in our cold coffee in defeat. We can be a mug half-empty or a mug half-full kind of homeschool parent instead of crying, "Now what will we do? Boo hoo!" It's, "Look at all this free time and possibilities." So I'm going to choose half-full with that new oat milk and a shake of brown sugar. Yum! Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "For everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven." God has a plan, and we're thinking positive and keeping a lookout for the detour signs. Lil D and I are excited to look for the bright, beautiful experiences we're going to use to patch the hole in our planner. He's already picked out some wild ones. We're actually headed to our first 4-H shooting competition this weekend, where we know no one but plan to meet new people there. I'm also shopping around and brainstorming life skills and learning experiences that we can add, but also working to keep mine and my son's opposing appetites for Fandango curriculum in balance. It's difficult, but freeing, to let go of my angst and control freak tendencies and say, "All right, God. So that time has passed and we know you have a plan. Point the way."

What now? And Romans 8:28 tells us just that, "And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Unwanted change often leads us to undiscovered interests and opportunities. So going forward with faith and trust, we sometimes must brave the disappointing changes in our homeschool routine with hope and excitement of what's in store that we couldn't imagine or would relax our hold and allow to happen on our own free will. Unwelcomed changes may be making room for things we didn't know we needed, forcing changes we couldn't make on our own, and may become the things we thank God for showing us how much we needed. God knows what we need more than we do for sure. When our homeschool plans are suddenly shoved off course, we need to be on the lookout for God's road signs, ready to be wowed when his path has more purpose than the one we tried to make for ourselves. And suddenly we're so thankful for the diversion. Just like becoming a homeschool mom in the first place — all the distressing situations, worry and confrontation that led up to it, it was hard. And then I found that homeschooling was everything I never knew I always wanted to do. And I feel like from this point on, there's going to be a lot of things that God shows us, that it's everything we never knew we always needed or wanted to do. So stay flexible and faithful homeschoolers. We can't begin to know all of God's plans for our kids, but we are blessed to be along for the ride with our planners eagerly filled but tentatively in pencil. 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.

Now, if you haven't already, please subscribe to the podcast, and while you are there, leave us a review. Tell us what you love about the show, and this will help other homeschooling parents like you get connected with our community. Also, you can find us on Instagram @HomeschoolingDotMom and on Facebook at Homeschooling.mom. So let us know what you thought of today's episode. Leave us a comment. Let us know what you think.

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.

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