CM 3 Episode #1 Help, I’m New to Homeschooling With Julie H. Ross and Shay Kemp

CM 3 Episode #1 Help, I’m New to Homeschooling With Julie H. Ross and Shay Kemp

Show Notes:

Meet Julie :

Julie H Ross believes that every child needs a feast of living ideas to grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. As a former school teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and Assistant Director of a Homeschool Academy, Julie Ross has worked with hundreds of students and parents over the past 20 years. She has also been homeschooling her own five children for over a decade. Julie Ross developed the Charlotte Mason curriculum, A Gentle Feast, to provide parents with the tools and resources needed to provide a rich and abundant educational feast full of books, beauty, and Biblical truth. Julie lives in South Carolina. When she’s not busy homeschooling, reading children’s books, hiking, or writing curriculum, you can find her taking a nap.

Meet Shay:

Shay is a homeschooling mom of 5 who loves enjoying the learning journey with her children and encouraging others in their paths of faith, parenting and homeschooling. She believes that the best conversations happen when you are comfortable on the front porch and blogs from there at passersbywelcome.com.

For the Children's Sake

Mere Motherhood

Cathy Duffy Reviews

Show Transcript:

CM EP


Julie -

Welcome to the Charlotte Mason Show. A podcast dedicated to discussing Ms. Mason's philosophy, principles, and methods. It is our hope that each episode will leave you inspired and offer practical wisdom on how to provide this rich, living education in your modern homeschool. So pull up a chair, we're glad you're here.

Today's episode of the Charlotte Mason Show is brought to you by Medi-Share. Find out more about this affordable Christian alternative to traditional health insurance at MediShare.com.

The Charlotte Mason Show would like to thank their sponsor, Operation Christmas Child. Many of you have packed gift-filled shoeboxes, but the journey of a shoebox doesn't end there. Discover how Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts, lead to evangelism, discipleship, and the multiplication of believers and planting of churches at SamaritansPurse.org/makedisciples.




Alright, hello everyone. I'm Julie Ross and I'm here with my friend, Shay Kemp.

Shay -

Hello everybody.

Julie -

We're here because we want to help you. So, we thought, so many people ask us how I'm going to homeschool my kids next year, and I don't know what to do. And so rather than, you know, we love answering everyone's questions individually, but we thought, maybe we should make this video. It will kind of answer some broad questions for folks. And, yeah, but ??? So, I know it can be a little daunting to think about embarking on this journey for next year, but unfortunately, because of the situation with covid, a lot of us don't have any other option. And so, hopefully, this video will encourage you and inspire you and you can make this year be really awesome for you and your family, so.

But before we get started, Shay, do you wanna introduce yourself?

Shay -

Sure. My name is Shay Kemp, and I'm married to David. I have five children. Three of whom I graduated from homeschool all the way through. I have two more at home. And so this is, we've just...are about to start our seventeenth year of homeschooling. And, I found Julie through the curriculum that I use. And have really enjoyed getting to know her for the past four years. And, this is just a journey, I'm learning something new every single year. And my heart is really to help people take a deep breath when they start homeschooling so that they can enjoy it, and it doesn't feel like a burden.

Julie -

Yeah. For sure. Yeah, so, I'm Julie Ross, I also have five kids. And two...well, one, is in college. The other one will be a senior this year, and then I have three younger ones. Twelve, eleven, and ten, that I'm homeschooling still. And, yeah, so I've been homeschooling for over fifteen years, and I created a curriculum called A Gentle Feast, which is a Charlotte Mason curriculum for the entire family. And I kinda explained a little bit about what Charlotte Mason is, but mostly, we wanted to kinda give an overview of homeschooling, just in general. And not any specific philosophy or curriculum, or anything like that.

So, first of all, the first thing to consider, if you're gonna homeschool, is, how to make yourself legal. Yes. So, what did you wanna say about that, Shay?

S -

Well, the laws really vary from state to state. Then there is lots of stuff online that I actually, yesterday, just in a few minutes, kinda Googling a few things for some people who had sent me some messages, that are not in my state. So, it's easy to find exactly what your laws are, but I really suggest that you...once you go online and get a broad overview, find somebody specific in your local area to get those specific local legal requirements. We're in South Carolina, and we have three options in this state. Most people fall into option three, but I know that it varies wildly from state to state. So, depends on where you are, and you're watching this, what you would need to do to get legal.

J -

Right. And, yeah. Google's great. There's also the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, the HSLDA. And they have state by state requirements on their website. But, finding someone that has been homeschooling near you is a great resource, because you can Google it and read it, and I know people, like it's all kind of... with these different options, are telling me stuff. And I'm like, well no, that's not what you have to do. Like, because we get all this wording, but this...what might actually happen in real life can be totally two different things sometimes. So, you know, having someone who can kind of navigate you through all that, here's what we do, you can call this person, and maybe that. It's super helpful too, but if you don't have that person that you know, Facebook is a great resource. Just type in your state homeschool group, your town. There's so many great resources and just post a question, what do I need to do for my legal requirements. And that's a great place to find an answer to that.

So, once you're legal, that's super important, usually, they'll have to send some kind of letter or something to the school that your kids are no longer gonna be going to, if they were going to public school before. So, now that you're legal, let's talk about kind of our mindset going into this. So, first let's think through what's our purpose for homeschooling. And I know a lot of people might just be like, we don't have another choice, so...but I...

S -

??? educate our kid right now.

J -

That, yeah. That, right. We have no other options. This is what we have to do. But, rather than see it as a burden or something like, we have to do, and I always say this to my kids too, and they're like, do I have to do my math? You know? And I'm like, no, you get to do your math. So, seeing this as a blessing and an opportunity to really invest in your kids and your family, rather than, oh, dear, what are we doing?

S -

Yes. I think it's really important to take a step back and just take a deep breath and really sort of consider, okay, I'm in this situation. What could it look like that would be really positive for our family? And just, you know, an afternoon, by yourself, with a cup of coffee. Or maybe even, I think the local support you're talking about is just really, really vital. Really, really key, to navigate that. Maybe somebody that you could sit down with and say, okay, what can this look like that could be positive for us? What are our goals? What are our purposes? It can be overwhelming for somebody that's never had the burden on them for the homeschool thing. For all the educating. So, sometimes you just can't even get your mind clear. It seems like a huge checklist. A lot of the people I've talked to are...they just have this to-do list. But before you get to that, take a deep breath, step back and say, what do I wanna accomplish through this? Do I want my child to really focus on some skills that they're really good at? Do I want us to, you know, their writing needs to be improved. Or, we really need to focus on family, positivity, right now, or whatever. Anything that, you know, you can sort of put a positive spin on it before you sit down and finish that to-do list.

J -

Yeah, and it really does give you a unique opportunity because, you know, in a traditional school setting, they're working with multitudes. But you can work with your individual child. So, take the time. What does this child actually need right now in their life? And you might not know that if you haven't been seeing what they've been doing in school. But you can, you know, do some math problems, do some writing, do some reading. Kind of see where they're at, right? And what they might need. You know, you know their strengths and their weaknesses. What habits do we need to work on? And Charlotte Mason talks a lot about that, as a part of education as well. So it gives you a unique opportunity during the day to work on habits when your kids are awake and energized, rather than when they come home and they're tired, and they have homework to do, you know? So you really can work on building the routines and structure of your family. Think through, like, what is your family culture. Like, what values and ideas and things you wanna instill in your children during this time. And so that will kinda shape, like, your homeschooling, right? Is that what you're kinda saying?

S -

Yes. I think it is so important to think of your purpose beyond just the particular set of subjects. So, it's easy for us to say, okay, in math, we need to work on, you know, multiplication tables. But, what we're saying is the days, the difficult days, when they don't want to do their multiplication tables, can be made easier if you think past, just the subjects, to more of a purpose of, why am I doing this in the first place? And yes, I'm getting a lot of messages and emails and texts, like, I'm doing this because we just cannot... you know, we don't have a choice. We can't deal with the options. But beyond that, not just what do we need to do in language. What do we need to do in math? But, I would like to build a stronger sense of unity within my children. So, I would like for them to own their education more, so they're gonna do more boundary. Those kinda broad ideas, yes, think about that, and then that can sort of drive the more specific ideas.

J -

Right. Yeah. And it doesn't...sometimes, we just want the specifics. Like, give me the textbook, we made the checklist, so I know I'm getting all the boxes filled in of what we're supposed to do for this grade, without taking the time to think, what...and it's really is...a unique opportunity to think about what do you want. What I...your child need? Who are they, right? What has God created in them. And tailor what you're doing at home to your specific family. And it really is a unique opportunity that you have.

S -

And when I...I was a public school teacher. And I know Julie was too. And, you know, as much as I adored my children and worked really really hard at my job, you don't get the opportunity at the individualized instruction that you get with homeschooling, which can be daunting. Because, you know, but at the same time, you know, you get to know your child in such a more...you know, in such a deeper way. In such a more specific way. Like how do they need me to help them in this area? That area? So, you may not know that in the beginning. I think we have to be honest that our purposes and goals will definitely change. You may start out with some, the first week of school, and then you get in ??? and you think, okay, we need to adjust here. And we need to, you know.

J -

Yeah. And, it's also a very unique situation where most parents are at least working part-time at the same time that they're homeschooling. You know, where a lot of us have the blessing of being able to just homeschool. So the first couple years, or just, some people are still doing that, right? But because of COVID, a lot of people that are homeschooling for the first time, they're having to balance, okay, I have to work this day, so dad's gonna be home homeschooling this day, but then, this day, I'm gonna be home with grandma or a neighbor. I mean it's...so many creative ways that people kind of handling this situation, so it does create unique challenges. When you're balancing that many different schedules and you're having to work and then worry, and answer phone calls, and they can't, you can't be interrupted. You know. Those kind of things. So, I think it does take some creativity though to fit in the things that are really valuable for you at that point. And I did a whole podcast if you go to Homeschooling.mom, The Charlotte Mason Show, there's a podcast on working and homeschooling at the same time.

S -

It's really good. I listened to that. Yeah, that's really helpful things in that podcast.

J -

Yeah. But, do you have any thoughts on, kinda that...

S -

I think one of the things that's super important if you're working from home, which most of us do in some way, shape, or form...

J -

Even if, yeah, even if it's not like a job you get paid, you still have to do the laundry, and make dinner and stuff. Yeah.

S -

Exactly, right? I think, flexibility, and really clear communication with your children. You know, I'm unavailable from eight to ten, or whatever, you know. You're gonna do this on your own. If you have questions, here's some sticky notes. You write your question on the sticky note, and I'll answer those when I'm done. So, I think, really clear communication with your children. And just being flexible. I mean, there's plenty times where I think I'm gonna work from, you know, nine to ten, but then, life happens. You know? And so, that's really important. And I really, I actually think it's such a beautiful thing to watch the people that I've communicated with find ways to make this work for themselves. Because, you know, I think some people get frustrated, you know, oh gosh, how am I gonna do this? I can't just dedicate eight to two, every day, you know, to get school done. But it says a lot to these children, you know, these are our values. And we're gonna do whatever it takes to work around to make education important. It might look like an hour and thirty minutes here, and, but, it, I think it communicates a lot of positive things to our kids to watch us solve these problems.

J -

Right. Yeah. And, they get to see the value of work, right? So, when you're bound all day at work, they don't...may not know what you're doing, right? So it's like, you go away, and then you come back, and like, money naturally appears at our house, right?

S -

Right.

J -

So, they get to be like, oh no, like, my parent does x, y, z, and they get to be a part of that, which is, I think, actually, really neat for them.

S -

And part of education. It's part of their education to see that, I think.

J -

That prepares them for the real world, right? When they're glad to be working too. And it's not like, yeah, they have to learn that respect and those boundaries and see that you're work is extremely important. But also, I really like what you said about kind of those little pockets of time to...we kinda have to get out of that mindset of, school only happens, learning only happens from eight to two. And that's not how education works, right? Like, education is happening all the time. And if you're intentional about what you're doing. So, you know, it can be, we're gonna have breakfast together as a family every day. And we're gonna do history, and we're gonna read whatever. Okay. Every day at lunch, we're also gonna add in this subject that we're all gonna do together. Right after dinner, instead of, just, everybody going off and watching something on tv, we're gonna sit together and do a science experiment, or read the Bible, or, you know, a million other things, you know. But, look at those different pockets of time and add in subjects to those as well. It doesn't have to be a formal, we're all gonna sit at the table and work from this time to this time. Cause it doesn't work... that's not life.

S -

And I think what people need really, from the people I've spoken to, is they sort of, they need permission to do that if that makes sense. Like, you know, I've had the...again, I do that. You know, yes, ??? to make this work for you. Yes. We have permission in this.

J -

Right. They might not know that. Because, like, legally... yeah, as long as you're getting the subjects done, nobody's policing to say, oh, you did it at eight o'clock tonight. Can't do that.

S -

So, you know, you do, you have the freedom to do that as it fits your family, and be flexible. And one week, it may look one way, and then the next week, you know, something may change and you tweak a little bit, and move it around a little bit. And, just keep moving forward and make it work, so.

J -

And even the weekends. You can get a lot done on the weekends. So, like family nature walks, or, you know, do some kind of project together on the weekend when you might not be working from home, too. So, you know, you do have those days that aren't typical school days, but you're allowed to do school then and count those hours for...

S -

You can get a lot done on Saturday. A lot done on Saturday. Because, there's no distraction. So, yeah, that's... I really think a lot of it is a lack, telling people they do have the freedom to think outside that box, and it takes a little bit. I mean, when I started homeschooling, I was kinda from a traditional home, traditional schooling, homeschooling situation. And it...we started out with the pledge every morning. Everybody lined up. That lasted like, three days. You know? Yes, because, right. And if you wanna do that, and that works for you, great. But if it doesn't work for you, the fact that it doesn't work is okay. I mean, you can figure out what works for you and...

J -

Yeah. And that's why I think it's important to think through your goals and your purpose before you start the next step. Which is, information gathering. Because, there is so much out there for homeschooling. And now, there's even more stuff that is being produced and sold, right? And so, ??? like, here's what I want, here's what works for my kid. This is the direction we're gonna go. You can be completely overwhelmed.

S -

Yes. And, I remember the first time I went into a homeschool convention.

J -

Oh, my gosh.

S -

And I walked into the vendor hall, which, if you've never homeschooled before, these, they didn't happen this year, because of COVID, but there's this huge halls that every kind of curriculum, every kind of product that you can possibly think of, for every age and subject of homeschooling is in these vendor halls, and everybody's telling you, mine is the best. This will solve every problem you have right now, but just give me your money. And it was, I mean, you know, your heart just...what have I done? I can't...so, it can be very overwhelming, and you can weed a lot of that out when you go back and start from step one. What are my goals? What do we actually need? We may not need a five-hundred-dollar microscope. But everybody says, you have to have this! You know. You may need to stop and really, you know, really consider first. So, yes, overwhelming is definitely...

J -

I think it's kinda like, you know, when you have a new baby, and you read all the stuff and you buy, like seven million thousand things. And when the baby actually comes, okay, I need diapers and onesies. Like, I didn't need all the million other pieces of equipment that are taking up my whole house. You know? But it's, ??? second kid comes along, you're like, yeah, we don't need any of that. We're fine.

S -

It really is very much like that, and I really encourage people not to spend a lot of money in the beginning. Really, find as much free as you can. As you are... inexpensive while you get your feet underneath you. And you really find out how your children best learn, or what you need. I remember when we first started, I paid like, six hundred dollars for this box...just boxed curriculum that had everything in it, cause I thought it was gonna be the solution to everything. And it lasted...well, not even two weeks. This is never gonna work. So, that's scary, I think, cause we want the answers laid out for us, but if you will say, I'm just gonna start with the basics, and I will add along little by little and it will save you a lot of stress. It'll also save your budget.

J -

Yes.

S -

It works for a lot of stuff in the beginning.

J -

Right. One thing that was super important for a lot of people with, you know, kinda the job situation right now, like, yes. Start small. Get some diapers and some onesies. And then add on, like the pack and play, and the Bjorn carrier and all that stuff, as you find that you need it, right? But, at first, you can start very simple. So what would you say that I paid? What's the simple things, like, you have to have these?

S -

The very first thing I would do is, I would get some really fun, I'm just thinking about my kids, some really fun school supplies that will make them excited. There's something about, like, I got to pick out my notebook. I got to pick out crayons. I got a new pack of crayons every year. ??? They gotta be Crayola. I'm gonna buy every type...

J -

...pencils.

S -

Yes! Yes. I named mine Tyco, when I was a little girl because I was so in love with those. Oh, I realize that I'm telling you... but I did do that. I mean, something about that is exciting for a child to have those things, you know, that, to me, is like the first thing you're gonna do. We're gonna get ya a pack of crayons, we're gonna pick out your pencils and a really cool notebook. I wouldn't go overboard. Those things...after that, the next thing is, library. I mean, now, I don't know about all states. In South Carolina, our libraries are open with monitored and sort of, strange hours. I can't exactly figure it out.

J -

You can order, like, stuff online and go pick it up, which is what I'd rather do anyway. So, I'm like, yay. Yeah.

S -

I think most are open at some capacity right now. So, once you get that little beginning that's gonna get your kid excited, then, I would start thinking about things at the library, just for the beginning. And the other thing that's really important is, a way to plan. Like, how are you gonna plan now, I'm a planner person, and I have, you know, a planner for my kid's social life. I have a homeschool planner. I have a...you know, cause that's fun for me. But, even if...I've seen some great planning people just use a spiral-bound notebook. I don't know if I was ten years old...yeah. There's a lot out there about...

J -

The ten-cent spiral notebook. Woo!

S -

Exactly. Right.

J -

Yeah.

S -

And so, I like to make mine pretty, just because I'm, you know, that's my sort of fun for me, but finding a way to track everything, whatever works for you, I think is super important at the very beginning, so you're not all over the place.

J -

Yeah, but don't make it too complicated. You just need to write down...you can even plan the first week of school.

S -

Oh, absolutely.

J -

And then, worry about the next week after...like, just plan one week.

S -

Exactly. Yes.

J -

You don't have to have the whole year planned, cause you know what happens? Life.

S -

Yes. And then you...

J -

COVID, like...the year might not go as you want it to.

S -

We learned that this year. Nothing. Cause, yeah, my planner is like...I have so many X's on it. Nope, that didn't happen. Nope, that didn't happen, that didn't happen. You know.

J -

Two months with nothing on it. Right?

S -

Exactly! But I think that any...whatever works for you and once again, that varies wildly from state to state. Like, some states really require a certain type of plan. And some, like, in South Carolina, the burden, if you're option three, is on the teacher, for...is on the family, to keep the records. Some, you have to send in, so that does have something to do with it. But, I think if you get that sort of under your belt, you can take a deep breath. Okay, now, at least I know how I'm gonna plan.

J -

Yes. Right.




Today's episode is brought to you by A Gentle Feast. A Gentle Feast is a complete curriculum for grades one through twelve that is family centered, inspired by Ms. Mason's programs and philosophy, and rooted in books, beauty, and Biblical truth. You can find out how smooth and easy days are closer than you think at AGentleFeast.com




And I'm thinking through, not necessarily having a schedule, but a routine. So...that's really well in school, when you have, like, children and you're all kinda doing all these things together. You have to have that schedule. From nine to nine-fifteen, we're gonna have circle time. And then from nine-fifteen to nine-thirty, we're gonna have language arts or, you know, we're gonna have math. Like, that works very well in a school setting. In a home setting... cause life happens, right? That doesn't work too well. So, I prefer to have routines. Okay, here's what we do in the morning and I think having a morning routine is so key. Even if you just spend the first week of school learning the morning routine, especially coming off of summer. They might just wake up and go play with the neighbors, or watch tv, or... you have to really get the structure of, okay this is school now. We gotta eat breakfast, we gotta make our beds, we gotta get dressed, we gotta do our hygiene stuff. Okay, that all has to be done before we can do this. This is the first thing we do every day. You know, kinda have that good start. Really helps. Otherwise, the whole day can just kinda go woo.

S -

I just, like the most important thing is that routine in order for your own sanity. And, how many people have I heard say, through the years, I could never do what you do. I could never do what, but, you do have your own routine at home. I mean, everybody knows what happens in the morning before school. Right? I mean, you do the same thing. Everybody knows what happens, like maybe Saturday, it's more loose, but you're gonna do chores. It's just an extension of that, and I even spend, normally, the week or two weeks before we actually start instruction, getting my children back into that routine. Every year. And I've homeschooled...this is our seventeenth year. But I do that every year because summer is just all over the place. And this year's been crazy. I have a college kid in the route. They've been, you know. So, it will help you six months from now, six weeks from now, to think through your routine and set that up. And that clear communication with your children is so important. Instead of coming down, saying, I'm the teacher, this is what we're gonna do. Okay, let's talk about how do you like your mornings to start? My rule is, you know, rear ends in the chair at eight-thirty. And, because, my children are older. So, some kids need to get up at seven am for their rear end to be in the chair at eight-thirty. Some kids just need to roll out, you know, and brush their teeth and they're fine. Whatever you need to do to be awake and aware at eight-thirty, that's fine with me. So, there's just a lot of freedom in that. But, oh, if I didn't have a routine, we would never get anything done.

J -

No. Yeah, no, not at all. Yeah. Yeah. So we kinda have like these posts throughout our day. Like, we have our morning routine, and we have our morning time. And I can talk about this in a second. And then, you know, we have our, this is our individual work time. This is what the expectations are. Then we have our lunchtime. And do our read-alouds and things. Okay, now we have our quiet time. Like, kind of these blocks of time.

S -

Blocks. Yes.

J -

Rather than, like I said, a schedule. So, this is from one of our favorite books, For the Children's Sake. If you wanna dive into Charlotte Mason, this is like, the gateway drug, so. Susan Schafer McCauly. What?

S -

It's life-changing. That book. Is life-changing.

J -

But here, she talks about routines and she says that routines form habit. Take the area of human relationships, routines do not make the relationship, but they are the frame upon which we can hang out experiences. Some families do not have a routine of eating meals together anymore. Anytime goes for snacking. That's another thing, just wanna let you all know, do not be shocked when your grocery bill quadruples. Well, I guess you all probably know that if you've been quarantined, like, homeschool kids, throughout the day, get so unbelievably hungry.

S -

First break, this. Second break, this first snacks. Second snack, first lunch, so yeah.

J -

Yeah, we're all hobbits, we eat multiple lunches every day. Anytime goes for snacking. People rush about at a thousand activities, any one of which could be good, but what is the sum total? Without the priority of a framework, nothing much happens. Few conversations, little time of togetherness, a family decides to read a book whenever there is time. This invariably becomes no time. It is essential to have these basic routines. And then she goes on to say, children love routines. It frees their attention for the activity at hand. Later on, other routines will help. When planning routines, priority must be given to the most important things. The person matters. So, I really like where she's saying that it helps children and I have seen that so much. Like, they get anxious when they don't know what's happening, what comes next, what is, yeah. When the habit is routine, they can focus more on their school, cause they know, this is just what we do, right? And I don't have to like, worry that, oh, you know, life happens. And stuff might happen to mess up our routine, but it, the routine means we're doing it regularly.

S -

Yeah, keep moving forward, keep moving forward. Consistency is the main thing, you know, okay, yes, today got messed up because we did a, gosh, we had to go run this errand that we hadn’t expected, there was a dentist appointment or something. But then you just gotta get up the next morning and just start again. Just keep moving forward, keep moving forward. And I think I use to worry more before I graduated my first one about that. But now that I have three out, and I've sort of seen, it's just the daily moving forward that really does keep you on track. Just moving forward, every day, following that routine. And I do wanna say this. I think we need to give ourselves and our children a whole lot of grace. And you know, we can go on Instagram, we can go on Facebook, and we see these pictures of children sitting at the table. And they all have, you know, their books that have been...they're smiling, mom looks great. She's got on makeup. There's a beautiful, perfect snack in front of them. This is not reality. These people put this picture... right? This is not the way it really looks in real life.

J -

Be okay with the fact that you are gonna adjust. You're not gonna do it all. And I think a lot of other people have started to feel this pressure, like, before we can start, I have to figure everything out. Everything should be planned and then everything will be wonderful. And I'm like...

S -

I have to buy every book for all their problems and I have to...right. Have it all written down? And this is gonna frustrate you. And, cause I've done it. I know it because I've tried it, so.

J -

You have to be willing to adjust midstream. Change the schedule. Change the routine. Find a rhythm that works for you and then be consistent with it. But sometimes that does take time. You've never done this before. Your kid's never done this before. You're just gonna have to kinda work together, but keep that communication open. This doesn't seem to be working. Is this working for you? Do you have another idea of what we can...you know?

S -

Right.

J -

Get them on board and excited. Okay, so we're gonna be home for lunch. What are some things you'd all like to make? What do you wanna eat? You know, like, get them to help plan for that. What are some things you'd really love to learn about? That's a crazy idea, right? Aks them.

S -

What are you interested in? What would you like to check out from the library that you can take some time on your own for free study in the afternoon even? You know, that's beyond regular study stuff, yeah.

J -

Yeah, and, you know, if, wherever you live in typical third-grade class learns weather, and weather bores the poop out of your child, but they love snakes, does it really matter? Are they never gonna learn about weather ever again? No. You could spend a good deal of time on snakes and other reptiles and things like that, and they're gonna learn more than they would if you're, you know, doing something just because that's what you're supposed to do at that grade. I'm not talking about, like math and things. You have to learn certain skills at certain ages.

S -

There's freedom within the structure. Yeah. And you know, I think this, to you and I, we've been doing this for, you know, a long time now, and we really understand that concept. But I do find that people who this is new to, they're like, what do you mean? Like, what do you mean I don't have to do weather? They're in the third grade, what are you talking about? You know, I think, and, when you decide that you're gonna step outside that box and really consider the freedom to really individualize instruction, and interests to your own child and their skillset, it's just huge. And it can really make it, that's what makes it fun. That's what makes me excited about homeschooling every day. And I will say this when you talk about routines if I don't...if I'm bored with it, my kids know. So, I try to find something every day that I'm excited about us doing on Monday. Whether it's a chapter in the read aloud or we're doing a science experiment. Doesn't have to be anything big, or I'm gonna make a fun snack. Or, I really love this person in history. Or whatever. Just something that will give me a spark every day, and that makes me look forward to it and then my attitude is positive and that really does bleed over into my children.

J -

Yeah. For sure. Your attitude is gonna set the whole temperature of the whole thing. So, work on yourself, and that's the other thing. I mean, we talked about that, and I don't even know what podcast episode it was, but, like, the importance of self-care, like, as a mom, when you start homeschooling, it is exhausting. So, you have to purposely plan time for you to take care of yourself so you don't burn out.

S -

Right. Even if it's just start the morning with a cup of coffee and, you know, whatever you need to do. Yeah, simple.

J -

Yeah. Whatever it is. Yeah. Get that time for you for sure, because it will...you won't last if you're just continually pouring out and continually pouring out into your kids and your family.

So, let's talk about morning time. You wanna kinda give people an idea what that is?

S-

Sure. Well, for us, morning time is, has some different specifics, but basically, it's a time where everybody starts the school day together and you cover a certain list of things that you can do as a group, no matter what the age or grade level. So, we start ours with Bible time every morning. And then, each day, we do something a little bit different. But normally, we learn about an artist or we learn about...we read a poem. We do a little bit of history reading. I normally do my read-alouds are in the morning time. But it's just an important time to start the day together, where you're doing things that you can combine all your ages. I mean, I've had, from senior to a third-grader, sitting down at morning time together and we're all doing the same thing. And it doesn't last a long time. Normally no more than like, thirty minutes. Sometimes forty-five if we really get into a conversation. And then we move on to individualized instruction. But, it's a great way to start the day where everybody comes together, starting together, you sort of get your feet underneath you for the day, take a deep breath and start with a positive note.

J -

Yeah, and I think that's a different kind of concept, probably, for a lot of people that you know, because so and so's in third grade, here's all the things they're doing. And someone sits in fifth and hears all the things that they're doing and, like, everyone's off. We're gonna do our own things, and I'm just gonna check and make sure you all do them. But you have this really unique opportunity to bring your family together and there are things that a senior and a third-grader can still love and appreciate together. And it does create that family culture that you don't get when everyone's off doing their separate grade-level work. So, it really is a unique opportunity that you have as homeschooling. So it might not...and again, do I have permission to do that? Can we learn some things together? Yes, of course, right?

S -

And also, what the younger ones get from the older ones, and what the older ones get from the younger ones, even in that small time period, is super important. And really valuable for their own relationship. When we...we start every morning with Bible time and then my children talk about what we read in the Scripture, and it's amazing the depth that some of those young people that the younger ones can give. You know, that the older ones, they're, oh, I never thought of that before, so. Yeah, morning time is just, it's tried and true, set in stone in this house. I mean, every single day, that's what we start. During the weekdays.

J -

Right. And I'm just gonna read. This is from Mere Motherhood, by Cindy Rawlins. I think she has another book called Morning Time. Right?

S -

Yeah. I think so. I don't remember the title, but yeah.

J -

She says, morning time is a way to collect little grains of sand. It should not be a way to complicate life, but rather simplify it. If you have something that you want your children to simulate, like poetry or Scripture or music or Shakespeare, forget the grand schemes, forget what the mom is doing down the street. Start giving that thing one or two minutes of your time daily, and watch the years roll by. And so, morning time, for me, is an opportunity to add in what might not be considered typical school subjects, right? I mean, more like art and music and things, but you know, you don't have to have a whole big thirty-minute separate lesson for their subjects. You know, bring in those things in little, like she's saying, those little few minutes every day, and they do add up to a life.

S -

And one of the things I love about that passage, and I've read that passage so many times. That book is like one of those dear to my heart books. But, she says, forget what the mom is doing down the street. And I do wanna say, you know, comparison is just death. It's just toxic. And I know I have thrown myself into a tailspin before, comparing my homeschool and my children's abilities to other moms, because I feel like I'm just, I can't hold up to that. I can't do that. Or my kid is not doing this. It really, comparison is just death, and so, whether it's morning time or whether it's your routine, whether it's the curriculum that you choose, it's important to get input from people that you respect and that have some experience. But, we can, we just can't compare. You know, well, I need to listen to the Holy Spirit for my children and do that little tug on my heart, I think that's just important right now. But, maybe we do a little character development on kindness, right? I don't need to worry about whether the kids down the street need that. I need to worry about my kids and what it looks like in my home and trust that. And it's very hard to get that, even, I've been doing this a long time, but, to really trust that you know what your kids need the most. That's so important. I love that passage.

J -

Yeah. And, yeah, that's super important too, cause, you know, there's gonna be lots of people to compare with now. But, you know, that you have to make decisions for what is best for your kids. It's not gonna be the same as everybody else's, and to be okay with that. It's not, everyone must do this, cause your child is in third grade. Like, you are giving that, you are, now, able to go out of the box, and have that freedom to educate your child with what your family values and what is important for them. So embrace that. Don't fear it. Yeah, so we talked a little bit about curriculum, and you know, start small. Don't spend a bunch of money. Do you have any other thoughts on that?

S -

You know, you can just, a simple internet search of homeschool curriculum will blow your mind. So, I think it's important to know that you probably won't finish with what you started with. You know, what you start with is probably not what you're gonna finish with. And, you know, there's, I mean, there's Charlotte Mason, which I completely believe in. But, you know, there's, of course, things that are more traditional. There's all in one school. There is, you know, all these different things. I think before you believe everything that you read, one thing that helps me is to find somebody, before you make a curriculum choice, that you respect about homeschoolers, even if it's somebody you find through a Facebook group, and talk to them, a real person, about what it could look like for you to use that thing. Before you spend the money on it. So, you may think Abeka is a awesome choice, because they're gonna give you the workbooks, and you're gonna say, this is what you're gonna use. Sit down, and you do it. And I mean, I have friends that use it and love it. But, before you invest in that curriculum, what does that really entail? What does that really look like?

J -

Yes. Those that can dive into it and look through it. And yeah. Right. Then, or even look on used sites, you know, eBay and if you ever used, we have used homeschool bookstores here. But really, just, you know, dive into it and say, okay, what would this actually look like on a daily basis. Come Monday, what are we actually gonna do with this book? And this program, right? And it'd be very tempting to have a curriculum where every day is scripted for you, for every subject. And that gets old really fast.

S -

Right. It does. And, I, there's also a resource, a lady named Cathy Duffy, I don't know if you have heard of her yet. She used to have books, like, I used to buy the books back in the day... I mean, I had to buy her book. Now, she has a website where she has very fair reviews of things that sort of tells you, this is what this is gonna look like if you buy this. This is what this is gonna look like. And that's really helpful to find out, other than just looking on the website because there are gonna...they want you to buy their curriculum. They're gonna tell you it's the answer to every single thing. So, if you go on there it will give you a more balanced view, I think. I really trust her. I trust her reviews. I always check there if I'm gonna purchase something.

J -

Yeah. That's a great resource. Yeah. She still has her, like, little website with all her different recommendations and things, yeah. But, the reason I say that for daily scripted lessons, it gets old because, by the end of the first week, you're gonna be on this page and this subject, and this...and then life happens. And, there, again, your child is not a part on a factory assembly line. So, they can't follow this day and read this much and this, like, things happen and your child is unique. And so, you're gonna wanna adjust it, but then the plan's all written like that, just, can become really overwhelming. So I recommend an...yeah, planning a week at a time. I sit down on Sunday, I look through our resources, kind of, you know, i have the general idea of where we're going. And I can look through the books and write out my little spiral notebook plans in like, thirty minutes, you know? Or...

S -

Yeah, that's what I do. Every Sunday night, I spend like twenty to thirty minutes in the overview of the week. And then, when I wake up on Monday, I can say, okay, here's Monday's work, yeah. It's a lot less than what I used to spend when I was flipping through specific, you know, when I started. Like, oh, okay, you're on this subject, you're on this page this week, and that was like, oh, crazy. Yeah.

J -

Yeah, I, and I recommend, you know, kinda having a general idea of what you...where you're going and what you want to accomplish, because otherwise, you could spend your entire Sunday on Pinterest printing out different ideas, right? And, I'm like, oh, this looks interesting!

S -

And then you have lots of plans but nothing every gets done, which is super...homeschool planning is super fun if you like that kinda thing, yeah. And then you wait til on Monday, and you're like, wait a minute, we have to have what? We have to have baking soda and this and this and this...I didn't go to the store and buy that. You know what I mean? It's like, oh, okay, well...

J -

So, obviously, we both use A Gentle Feast, which is a curriculum based on the educational philosophy of a woman named Charlotte Mason. So, you might have heard of her, you may not have ever heard of us, that. If you are interested in that kind of education, I'm going to read a little passage from one of her volumes of education. She wrote six volumes of educational philosophy, that, I feel like this passage is, does a good job of giving you kind of a, like a overview of what she was teaching and how she viewed education. So she says, this is briefly how it works. A child is a person, with the spiritual requirements and capabilities of a person. Knowledge nourishes the mind as food nourishes the body. A child requires knowledge as much as he requires food. He is furnished with the desire for knowledge, i.e., curiosity, with the power to apprehend knowledge that is attention. With powers of mind to deal with knowledge without aid from without suggests imagination, reflection, judgment, with innate interest and all knowledge that he needs as a human being, and with the power to retain and communicate such knowledge and to assimilate all that necessary to him. He requires that in those cases knowledge be communicated to him in literary form and reproduces knowledge touched by his own personality. This natural provision for the appropriation in assimilation of knowledge is adequate and no stimulus is required. But some moral control is necessary to secure the act of attention. A child receives this in the certainty that he will be required to recount what he has read. And Charlotte Mason circles we call this narration. Children have a right to the best we possess. Therefore, their lesson books should be, as far as possible, our best books. They weary of talk, that's key, and questions bore them, so that they should be allowed to use their books for themselves. They will ask for such help as they wish. They will require a great variety of knowledge about religion, humanities, science, art, therefore they should have a wide curriculum, a definite amount of readings set for each short period of study. The teacher affords direction, sympathy in studies, identifying a word here and there help in the making of experiments as well as the usual teaching in languages and mathematics. Pursued under these conditions, studies serve for delight, and the consciousness of daily progress is exhilarating to both teacher and the child. The reader will say with truth, I knew all this before and have always acted more or less on these principles. And then she says, whether the way I have sketched this out is right in the only way remains to be tested still more widely than in the thousands of cases in which it has been successful. But assuredly, education is slack and uncertain with the lack of sound principles exactly applied. The moment for decision has come.

So, you know, I don't wanna take too much of your time to break all this down. If you go on AGentleFeast.com, there's a button that says, learn more, and I have an email video course where I kind of go through her whole, very broad view of her philosophy, and how that applies to education. But there are some unique things in here that I think are just kind of highlights, as we're thinking through, what do I want my homeschooling with my kids to look like? So, what comes to your mind, Shay?

S -

One of the words I love that she uses is assimilate. When they assimilate the knowledge or assimilate the information.

J -

That's so fun to say too.

S -

Yes. Assimilate. It sounds...makes you sound smart, right? But, I love that because I made great grades in school, I did great, I loved school. I was...loved to read. I was, you know, a good student. But, I did not assimilate a great amount of information. Because I could learn it for a test and take the test and make an A. And I was really good at that.

J -

So the difference from assimilate and what you did is, you regurgitated.

S -

Yes. I regurgitated it, I could do great and do that and get an A, but to assimilate, to take it into myself, this is really the heart, my heart for my children. That they would assimilate, like she talks about, based on their individuality. You know, one child is gonna assimilate this history lesson one way. Another is another way. They're gonna take different things, which is how we are in life. And I love the part where she talks about a wide curriculum, rather than just, you know, some narrow, specific...right, right, the three Rs. Just a wide variety of things that we're just handing them these bites of, and then they can say, wow, that tasted really good, I would like to learn more about that thing. Then that is one of the things that keeps me going and helps me to...and I've seen the fruit of those things too, I think, is the thing out of the older children. Like, I've seen that it really does work, and it really does create like a hunger in them for the things that they're interested in.

J -

Yeah. Right. Yeah, and she's saying that kids have this innate curiosity. This is human nature, right? Where we need to feed our minds. It's a craving that we have. But we do that through reading really amazing books, and putting our children to repeat them, and not doing a lot of talking or a lot of questioning or a lot of workbook pages. And things like that, that kills that desire, right? And so she really talks about fostering that, and how we do that in a child's life, rather than kind of killing it, right? And having them be motivated from within to want to learn. And it's a total night and day difference. So.

S -

It really is. It really is, and when you go back all the way to when we talked about the beginning, the purposes and the goals, if you really have the goal and the purpose of creating learners, fostering learners, then this is such a beautiful way to do that because it really is putting it in their hands. It is their education. And you know, her quote of self-education, how important that is, that that's the only education that there is. And that all other education is just a veneer on their personality, just something that can be stripped off, but they're following their interests and their, you know, their skills, which does, yeah... It's a beautiful way to homeschool.

J -

Yeah. Yeah. And I'll link to some...we did some kind of overview packets, so. We did one on the role of the student, and the role of the teacher, so you can kind of listen to that and see how that would be different than maybe a traditional schoolteacher-student role. And then we did one, her...kind of overview is education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. So we did three episodes on kinda breaking down what each of those look like, that will be super helpful, I think, too. For those that wanna dig in more.

S -

I think we would actually talk about that all day long and we can talk about Charlotte Mason all day long, but if you're interested that's a great place to get started.

J -

Right. And you might not be, and it might not be the right fit for what you're doing and what you need to do for this current year. But, you know, if you are interested, those are some resources that will kinda get you started. Kind of going down that path. But I think most of what we have said relates to just homeschooling in general. You know you do wanna keep it legal, you wanna find support. You wanna develop your goals and your purpose. And then come up with your plan. So, it really can be done. It's not that daunting so. Do you have any closing thoughts?

S -

No. Other than, you know your children better than anybody else, and you know, I believe firmly that the Holy Spirit is my helper, and is their Teacher. And so, that's one of the things that carries me is that, you know, He knows them better than me and that I can trust Him to guide me. And you can do this and enjoy it. It does not have to be a physical burden. You can do this and really enjoy it.

J -

Yeah. And I hope you will and I hope this video has given you all some help and direction. If you are starting homeschooling, can't wait to hear how it goes. Alright, so thanks, Shay.

S -

Alright, thanks. Thanks, Julie, bye-bye.




J -

Thank you for joining us today on the Charlotte Mason Show. I'm your host Julie Ross and I would love to meet you in person. All of the Great Homeschool Conventions have been rescheduled to 2021. Go to GreatHomeschoolConventions.com to find a convention near you.

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