S5 E18 | The Top Five Mistakes Homeschool Moms Make and How to Fix Them (with Ana Willis) | REPLAY

S5 E18 | The Top Five Mistakes Homeschool Moms Make and How to Fix Them (with Ana Willis) | REPLAY

Show Notes:

Episode summary

Every homeschooling family is going to make mistakes, so Julie and Ana Willis address five of these that are common to so many of us.

Guest biography

Ana is a wife and homeschool mom of three turned homeschool blogger. She is also a women's pastor, entrepreneur, and a passionate Bible and Hebrew teacher. She loves helping homeschool moms to find joy and fulfillment in their homeschool calling. Her goal is to help moms go from stressed to blessed, nurturing a restful homeschooling through a living education, and living a beyond blessed life.

Ana studied Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has a double Bachelor's degree in Biblical and Jewish Studies from Israel College of the Bible in Jerusalem.

She is the founder of Hebrew for Homeschoolers, a course that teaches homeschool families to read, write, and speak Hebrew in only 4-10 weeks.

For the past six years, Ana has been mentoring thousands of homeschool moms through They Call Me Blessed, The Homeschool Sisterhood, and co-hosting the Charlotte Mason Inspired Online Conference.

Ana loves bringing God's people together and above all, she loves bringing people closer to God!

Host biography

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 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 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.

Connect

Ana Willis | Instagram | Website | Facebook | YouTube | Pinterest

Julie Ross | Instagram

A Gentle Feast | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Website

Homeschooling.mom | Instagram | Website

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View full show notes on the blog.

Show Transcript:

Julie –

Welcome to the Charlotte Mason show, a podcast dedicated to discussing Miss 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.

Before we jump into today's episode with Anna Willis, I wanted to give a listener shout-out to Casey Burner, who left this review in iTunes. She said this podcast is such a gift. I just started doing some simple homeschool preschool this year with my four-year-old son. The last several months I've been taking a deep dive into Charlotte Mason's philosophy and have fallen in love with it. I found this podcast just by typing in Charlotte Mason Podcast on Apple Podcasts, and I'm so glad I did. Because of what I've learned from Julie and her guests, I am now reading Charlotte Mason's Home Education book and reading really good living books with my kids and focusing on the habit of obedience. I've also been encouraged to continue to spend much time outdoors and memorize scripture with my kiddos. I'm so thankful for a Christ-centered, practical, and deeply thought-provoking podcast. Thank you for all you do.

Wow, thank you so much. Wow, you said so many kind things. I really appreciate that. And thank you taking the time to do that. I know how busy our lives are, especially with little ones. And Casey, I just want to say like I think that is so awesome that you are diving into Charlotte Mason's own writings and kind of figuring out what she has to say. I so wish when I had started homeschooling that I had had the opportunity to read through Charlotte Mason's writings. Unfortunately, I did not, so I had to learn a lot of things the hard way and make a lot of mistakes. And that actually ties in with today's episode.

Today I'm going to be interviewing Anna Willis, who is a blogger at theycallmeblessed.org, and she also runs the homeschool sisterhood. And we're going to be talking about the top five mistakes that homeschool moms make and how to fix them. And really, this is j ust like a confessional session, I kinda felt like it was us talking about yeah, we made all of these mistakes and what we've learned from them and you know what we would like to tell other homeschool moms. They don't have to make the same mistakes that we did.

Anna is a homeschool mom of three, but she's also a women's poster entrepreneur and a passionate Bible in Hebrew teacher. She loves helping moms to find joy and fulfillment in their homeschool calling to be more organized, to grow in their faith, and even make an income while working from home. She studied theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and has a double bachelor's degree in Bible and Jewish Studies from Israel College of the Bible. And she's the founder of Hebrew for Homeschoolers, a course that teaches homeschool families to read, write, and speak Hebrew in only four to ten weeks. And Anna is just such a pleasure to talk to. She's so authentic. She's so fun.

And like I said, it was just the two of us just kind of walking back through memory lane and talking about the things that we wished we would have known when we started homeschooling. So, I hope this episode is super practical just to give you some really meaty things to kind of think about, but also some steps that you can take to make some changes in your home school, which will hopefully just make life a little bit easier for you.

So, let's dive in with this interview with Anna.

Hey, I'm here today with Anna Willis. Hi, Anna.

Anna -

Hi, Julie.

J -

Thanks for coming on. And I'm so excited to talk to you today because you are just a wealth of homeschooling wisdom. You run the homeschool sisterhood, which is a fantastic resource for homeschooling moms and you really have a heart on kind of what homeschool moms struggle with. So, you're going to talk to us today about five mistakes that homeschool moms make and how we can fix them. And these are just, yeah, things that I am all guilty of and you said I'm continually learning and growing so yeah, I have a lot to say as well on these, ‘cause I definitely am guilty of all of them.

But before we get started, can you share a little bit about your family and kind of your homeschool journey and what it is that you do currently?

A -

Yeah, it's well, and thanks for having me here. It's always exciting to talk to you. I always feel like you're my like bosom friend you know.

J -

I'm your kindred spirit.

A -

You are a kindred spirit. Yeah, so my name is Anna Lewis. I'm a homeschool mom of three kids. I'm a homeschool mentor at the homeschool sisterhood and I write a blog called They Call Me Blessed and I'm also the founder of Hebrew for Homeschoolers and other things.

J -

And really different things. Winner of the Charlotte Mason-inspired conference.

A -

I recently launched a new series of Hebrew scripture studies that is called Devoted which is just amazing. I love love writing cause that's what moms need. This is for mother culture time.

J -

Yeah, oh good.

A -

So, it's really a blessing. I need to send you a copy, Julie.

J -

Yeah. I need it.

A -

So, we've been homeschooling for eight years, almost nine years now. I started out of conviction that my kids needed to be educated God's ways. And at that time, both Brian and I, we were pastoring a church, we were very busy parents, very busy at the church. Three little kids under the age of six. And my son went to quote-unquote public school. It was supposed to be a Catholic public school where we thought it was going to be a little bit better experience actually. We were horrified by the things that he was being taught there and the books that we were being sent to read at home to a five-year-old child.

So terrifying stuff. Yeah, we got really convicted that we needed to bring him home and start homeschooling and teach them to have a Biblical worldview. To teach them the word of God and to give them a better education. A custom-made education. So that's how we started this wonderful journey. I just have to pause and say that my first three years of homeschooling wasn't that wonderful.

J -

Me too. It was like trial by fire.

A -

Exactly, I had no clue what I was doing, Julie. I had no clue. It wasn't until I got a copy of For the Children's Sake and I started reading that book. Then all of a sudden it was like, oh my goodness, now I understand what education is. I had no idea, which leads me to our first point. Before I get there, before I get there, you know, let me just tell you this little bit of story.

So three years into homeschooling, I was overwhelmed. My kids were overworked. We were just like not liking this homeschool thing at all, but for me, sending my kids to public school was not an option. I knew that God had to give me the grace and the divine strategy to continue to educate my kids at home. So, I was praying, I was fasting and a friend of mine gave me For the Children's Sake and that's when I finally heard of Charlotte Mason.

All Angels singing. I'm like my life is about to change, you know? And I began to read that book and devour everything. And then I start, you know, reading other things on Charlotte Mason. I didn't get the volumes until very late on, but that alone began to change my mindset. See, we come into homeschooling with a pre-concept of what education is. Because hey, we were indoctrinated for twelve years—that this is education, and there's no other education besides the public school, right?

J -

Right.

A -

Well, but this is how we come into homeschooling. And then of course we go through, you know, homeschool mistakes college and we graduate, get a Master’s degree and the Ph.D. and making mistakes. Finally, we realized that there is a better way to homeschool.

So, as I was, you know, reading through this book and changing, doing some changes in our homeschool and adding some living books and all of these great things into our homeschool, I actually met a local community in Prince Edward Island where we were living that were very Charlotte Mason inspired and I learned a lot from those veteran homeschool moms and it has been a blessing.

J -

I didn't know you lived on Prince Edward Island. So, you are ???

A -

Yeah, Green Gables was my neighbor.

J -

So, tell us right now. Sorry, tangent, go ahead.

A -

We did, we did. We lived in PI, we call PI, right? We lived in PI for three years before we moved here to British Columbia four years ago. So yeah, we went to the beach in Cavendish in every summer we watched Anne of Green Gables musical. The musical. But there is a better musical than Anne of Green Gables musical that is called Anne and Gilbert and my kids know every single song in that musical. We absolutely love Anne of Green Gables, so….

J -

I think you made a really good point and that was my experience too like because I was a public-school teacher, I was like, okay, well I have a degree in this and I've been teaching school for five years. Like I know how to do this, I can homeschool no problemo. And then yeah, three years in, I'm like this sucks. Like is this what I signed up for?

Because this is no fun.

A -

Right. Yeah. Well, that's exactly how it happens to us. You know, I'm like this is not the right way. There must be a better way to do it. And thank God for the light at the end of the tunnel, so everything began to change from there. That transition was just so beautiful and I was so excited about it. You know, like when we first give our lives to Jesus, then we want to tell everybody about Jesus. Well, when I first get to know Charlotte Mason and start using a Charlotte Mason philosophy education at homeschool, I just wanna tell everybody about it. So, I...

J -

You're still doing that.

A -

Oh, I'm still doing that passionately. Oh my...

J -

Like, with the homeschool sisterhood and the conference and everything, yeah.

A -

Oh everything. Everything. So yeah, so everything began to change. But we got to fix some major mistakes in our home school. Major major. And we're going to talk about five...

J -

I think that's so great for homeschool moms to hear. Especially moms with covid. I know there's a lot of them who are listening. And we go into it and we think we have to have it all figured out and we have to do it all perfectly. And if we don't, we're going to totally screw up our kids. And, and that's not true, because when you talk to a seasoned homeschool mom, most of them will say exactly what we're saying. And the key is not that we're going to like magically arrive at this certain level, or we gotta read these certain things to get to this level. But coming in it with this kind of like growth mindset of I'm going to make mistakes. I'm a human being. I don't know what I'm doing. And we're going to grow and learn together. And I'm going to change and adapt as I learn and grow, and that's what your kids should be doing too, right?

A -

That's right, that's right. See, we have all these limiting beliefs that we need to be perfect, and we need to know it all. That you know if what if I'm gonna mess up my kids right? Those are limiting beliefs that hold us back. But then we need to also think about the liberating truth as we learn and we walk, you know, and one of the best liberating truths in my life, in general, was that we don't need to get it right, we just need to get it going. We need to make it happen and I believe that this is the first stage of homeschooling and this is what we teach in the homeschool sisterhood out of the three, four stages that we teach, the first stage of homeschooling is make it happen. Make it happen. You gotta start someplace and...

J -

Like Nike, just do it, yeah.

A -

Just do it. And as you do it, and as you learn, it will make it better, right? He will make it better. So yeah, I came into homeschooling having no clue how to do that. And, to now I mentor other moms and I do what you do. We love love pouring into other moms and helping them make their homeschool better.

J -

Yes, right, yeah? So, let's dive into this first one here. The first mistake that we both did was trying to make school what we're doing at home. Mimicking school at home, right?

A -

Yeah. Yeah.

J -

So why is this a mistake, first?

A -

Okay, first thing is, your home is your home. It's not school. You know it's not this, you don't teach the same way. If you try to teach the way they get teaching public school at home, let me tell you, you're gonna ruin your relationship with your kids. Your kids are gonna hate you forever. They're gonna be overworked, overwhelmed, and so will you.

So, you have to keep the home in the homeschool. You are their mom. You don't magically just become a teacher overnight. I believe, Julie, with all my heart that God has created us to be their facilitator. Right? So, we're not like...

J -

Charlotte Mason talks about that. Like it's not our job to be the Fountain of knowledge pouring into them, right?

A -

Right. Our job is to spread the feast of ideas before them and make them curious and help them love things. So, I became and that was my biggest mistake. Not only I wanted to try to mimic public school home, but I became a drill Sergeant overnight. I am so honest with you. My ??? kids hated me so badly. They already called me Pastor Mom back then, cause I was ??? pastors and everybody called me Pastor so you know.

J -

Did they start calling you, Sir?

A -

Pastor Mom, you know now it's almost like Sergeant Mom, you know. And I had this big list because I am a go-getter. I'm very like ??? leaving and you know and, I need to cross off every box out of my to-do list. And I just had this big list of things for them to accomplish every single day. And I kept them so busy, but not necessarily learning.

J -

Yes, there, that's a big distinction, right? Yes.

A -

So, their brains were exhausted and so was I. I was completely exhausted.

J -

Yeah, me too. Yeah, I was like up at midnight looking up things on Pinterest for us to do the next day and like printing it out and cutting it all out. And I'm like why am I doing all this work? And I think that's what's the key of the Charlotte Mason method is that it's the students are responsible for their own education. They're doing the hard, they're carrying the weight, you know? I hear from moms all the time, like, well, I don't know chemistry, or I don't know algebra. Like how am I supposed to teach my kids? I'm like, you're not. You're supposed to put them in touch with the people that actually know chemistry and actually know algebra.

A -

Yeah, and there's, listen, you guys. Outsourcing your homeschool is liberating. Right?

J -

Oh yeah. Focus on the things that you feel good at. Yeah. For sure. I love outsourcing stuff, yeah.

A -

Yeah, but the best thing that we can do and that's what transformed my homeschool is that I began to understand that I was learning with them instead of just teaching them. I was learning with them. And as we begin to add some living books and we began to read stories, then we begin to read science, well-written books that were so passionately written and history and literature. As we begin to read those books, cuddling on the sofa, we begin to learn so much more than we did with the tax books and the workbooks and the busy work that we were doing.

J -

Yeah, and I think too of like you know, Charlotte Mason like her first volume, well it was a series of lectures. Home Education. Home education.

A -

That's right.

J -

The only educational philosopher who wrote that students are best taught at home and geared her philosophy and her teaching to teach governesses to be in home. So I think that's why I just, it resonates so well and it works so well because the purpose in her vision was for students to be at home and this atmosphere of learning all the time.

A -

That's right, that's right. So, we begin to do things naturally, as a mom will do it with their children. You know, let's sit on the sofa. Let's read the books. What do you understand of that? And let's observe the pictures. And it just like it brought a whole new dimension into our learning time together. And he was relaxing. It was joyful. It was enjoyable and my kids were asking for more. ??? Mom, can we read that book? And everything began to change this, so do not mimic the public school at home and make sure that you're making home the center of your homeschool. That's very important. Remember that you're mom, you are facilitator, and you are, your job is to bring a feast of ideas into the table every day to spread it out and help your kids to taste and see what they like the most and go for it.

J -

Yeah, and I think you had a really good point about you being relaxed and finding joy because when mom is relaxed in finding joy, that naturally sets the temperature for the whole house right? When Mom is at rest and mom is overwhelmed, then that the kids pick up on that. It’s like you can think they don't. But they do, even if you're not saying anything, they feel that from you. And when you're relaxed and you're enjoying this, and like, it's feeding your own mind and soul cause you're growing at the same time they are, like they pick up on that and they want that too. It's contagious. So yeah, that's a really good point.

A -

It sets the attitude of everyone in the homeschool. So, if you're peaceful and you're joyful then your homeschool's going to be peaceful and joyful. But if you're stressed out and you're burdened, that's exactly how the attitude of your kids are going to become because the atmosphere becomes like heavy. And it's not enjoyable.

J -

Yeah, and that kind of feeds into this next point of, you know, trying to mimic school and having a schedule versus a routine. And I talk about this all the time and it's in the For the Children's Sake. I should have pulled that out. She talks a lot about routines, kind of kids need that kind of structure. It gives them calm and peace. But it's different than micromanaging and setting fifteen-minute increments of what you're going to do all day.

So kind of explain the difference there for people.

A -

That's right. Okay, so let me tell you when I first began, I sought out a schedule for the kids.

J -

Oh, but they're so pretty to make. Can we just be honest? Like I color-coded stuff. I had little different colored post-it notes for each kid. I mean it looked awesome.

A -

I did too. They look so pretty and it's almost like my life is all solved now. There's 7:15 AM until 7:45 AM. ??? with 11:25 until 5:05 you know? And the reality is, Julie, that it doesn't really work like that because life happens. Things take time. The younger kid needs a little bit more of attention and you know...

J -

Or like at my house, like my son when he was...

A -

??? start recording this this part again. ???

J -

Like my son when he was two poured a whole cup full of rocks down the toilet and flushed it. And as it went through the pipes, it sounded like a machine gun was like at our house and also like screaming and running around and like what the heck? And I had to call the plumber. Like stuff like that happens, right? But that doesn't fit between 11:25 and 11:40, my son's gonna flush rocks down the toilet. Like.

A -

And there goes the science lesson update.

J -

It's all plumbing works children.

A -

So, but you know we need to understand. I mean, we need to be realistic. We need to be realistic. You know our kids have different, they have different styles of learning styles. They have different pace of learning. So, when you to combine them into this block of time that God forbid is going to pass, you know 10:16 ??? You're putting so much pressure in that child, and you're putting a pressure on yourself. Right? So, having a schedule, it's helpful, you know, like have a clear sequence to follow.

J -

Yeah, I think that's important. Yes, I agree.

A -

Don't be so caught up on the time of how long you spend with each thing, don't time it.

Don't put the alarms off and like go like you're ringing the bell at school and say, oh, class time you know, close your language arts books and let’s open the math book. Don't do that. I believe, Julie, that the best routine that you can create for your family, it's one that is naturally weaved into your natural rhythms.

So, if you have a family who gets up later in the day like we do in our house, it really doesn't matter if you start your homeschool at nine or ten or eleven, as long as you follow your routine and it's natural and everything gets done and it just works so much better than trying to force something you know into your family. I'd say you got kids who get up at nine in the morning and you're grumpy for like half an hour at least, and then you're trying to get them up to do language arts at eight in the morning.

J -

Yeah. Or math. We should start with math. Let's start with the subject everybody hates that will motivate us to get out of bed.

A -

Well, I gotta say something. My kids absolutely love math and they...

J -

??? That's your family that works for mine.

A -

I have a weird family.

J -

Nobody is going to get out of bed for that, right?

A -

Yeah, so, so you know, look at your family, your natural rhythms, and how your family function, and then you weave a routine into it that just feels natural. It feels comfortable, it feels easy to to do it every day. So that's what we did in our house. Of course, after three years of misery, but it has been working so well for us, we get up in the morning. We do all morning time, you know, when we go through our book basket and then the kids, the language arts and math. And then we'll do our history or our science. I actually don't do history and science both for the same day. I take her, I take turns. One day we're doing science. One day we do history. And even decided the whole week we're gonna do history that's what we did this week here and the next week I'm gonna do the whole week science. Guess what? It's my homeschool. I do whatever I want.

J -

All right girl.

A -

So, it's your whole school. You have absolutely control over what you do, how you do it.

Sometimes we feel like, hey, we need to do a little bit more of writing, so let's do more writing this week. And let's you know, we've been doing so well in math, we can put the math aside for a little bit. You know, so you have perfect control over everything. Make it natural, make it fine. It doesn't have to be boring. It doesn't have to be a burden to you. So, routines work 100%.

J -

Yeah, yeah, and kids like to know what's expected. That really helps them. For us, it's very similar. We do our morning time. And after years of you wake up, you come downstairs, you get your breakfast, you come sit at the table. We're going to start morning time like there's no arguments. There's no like well, I was playing with so and so and I don't wanna come down. Like you eliminate kind of some of the tension by the expectation of this is it's a habit, right? Like, I wake up, I brush my teeth. Like you don't even think about it, you know? And then we do our lessons time and, that, like yours, like it'll flow of what we're doing when and what kid needs this more of me for this and whatnot. And then every day at lunch I read aloud to them like our fun kind of story, literature, book, and then we have, you know, quiet time. ??? Like teatime or handicraft, whatever. And we have had that routine for so long now. Now there are other days when that gets messed up. Of course, there's days where like so, and so has ??? but you go back to that. At least you have something to turn back to. And some people are like, well, I don't plan anything because there's like it might get messed up. Of course, it is. But it gives you a structure to your days and it does help your kids kind of think through. Cause it is anxiety producing when you don't know what's gonna happen.

A -

Yes. Yeah, and it no one of my most downloadable resources on my blog is actually a weekly checklist of routine templates. It's a set of templates. Nine or ten templates that moms can download it and they can personalize for their kids. But just having a routine and the kids being told or they if they know in advance what is next to be done right? If they have a checklist that they can follow, that's what my kids do. They don't even need to look at a checklist because they know already what is next, right? So, you eliminate so much frustration. Your kids are not like what's next now mom? I'm done.

What's next?

J -

What time's lunch? Yeah.

A -

Yeah. They know exactly what do they have to get done so it makes it easier. The other thing with routines too, Julie, is that routines bring, it gives them a sense of safety.

J -

Yes, I agree with you.

A -

It brings peace and order to your home. Right?

J -

Without the rigidity of schedule. Exactly.

A -

That's right. So, I don't always do things at the same time. I don't start homeschool every day at the same time, but our routine is every day the same. So, they know what to expect. There's this feeling of you know, order and safety that you know the day is normal and nothing is disturbed and no matter what time we're starting or we're ending.

J -

Exactly. Right. Yeah. That's so helpful. I'll definitely link to that, those checklists you're talking about. That would be a great resource for people.




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 Miss Mason's programs in 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.




Okay, so the third mistake is huge. I failed in this miserably for years and that is that homeschool moms neglect to take care of themselves. And I think for a long time I thought I took care of myself, that was being selfish, and I felt like I needed to take care of everybody else first and if there was time then I could take care of myself.

A -

Big mistake.

J -

And I was burned out, depressed, just miserable, and then Mommy's miserable, everybody else is miserable and then it dawned on me. It's like wait a minute if I could take care of myself first. If I value myself, I am setting a good example for my children. I don't want to set this example of a Mom who's like strung out and stressed all the time, right? I want to show them that like I can be a good steward of my body and my time and mom has passions and interests and that's okay. Cause I want them to grow up to be that kind of person, right? And so it was huge night and day difference. Now I'm like a self-care junkie. I'm like what's some more fun stuff I can do in my day. And how could I value myself more? Because the more I value my own mind and my own heart that makes me a better mom and I've seen it. And so now I'm like. Everybody get a load of this. Yeah. So. ???

A - Okay, that is so important. So, I don't know if you know my story, but I actually just recorded a YouTube video this past Monday about it. I burned out completely six years ago when we were leaving MPI. We were pastoring churches at the same time with three little kids juggling, you know, we're homeschooling and everything else. And I end up paralyzed from head to toe for three and a half hours in critical care. I was hospitalized five times. I actually had to step down from full time ministry and it took me over a year to recover. So, physically, emotionally, spiritually, it destroyed me in so many ways. And and for those who don't know the reason why I started to blog was to help moms not to burn out the way that I did. I, actually, I'm still suffering, you know health consequences of my burn out six years ago. So, neglecting yourself brings so many more consequences that you can ever imagine.

J -

Yeah, yeah I was hospitalized too. Like it's, I thought I was having a heart attack.

A -

And I was having a panic attack.

J -

Yep. That's what happened.

A -

I just, I just had talked to her mom today. She was so graceful. You know, she was grateful that I met with her on Zoom, but she's going through the same thing and I said, listen, and she's like oh I can't believe you're taking the time to talk to me about it. I'm like no, no, this is the whole reason why I do what I do. So, you don't end up the same way I did, right? So, put your mask, your, first, that's what, when you enter a airplane, right? Well back in the days where we had the freedom to travel. When you enter an airplane you know...

J -

If we ever get to go on the airplane again, this is what it's like.

A -

I am ready to go back to the Little House on the Prairie days. I am so ready. I'm telling you.

J -

I'm not, girl. I like me some technology. And I like me some delivery groceries. I ain't doin' no prairie life. Nope.

A -

See, I was like that, Julie, and now I'm like, ???

J -

Well, Laura Ingalls, she knew how to take care of herself.

A -

Oh, she did.

J -

If you read the files, yeah.

A -

You know that I, like I, I'm listening to The Long Winter on audiobook.

J -

Oh, they're so good on audio, yeah.

A -

I love it. I love it. I always listen to Little House on the Prairie. I am, like I love Little House on the Prairie. But getting back up taking care of yourself...

J -

But that's self-care, girl. Yep exactly.

A -

I'm going to say. You don't know how much ten to fifteen minutes of things like that, in increments, you know during the day can do for you, for your mental health, for your physical health, right? So, there's this pretty cool Christian dance videos on YouTube and it's called Rev Fit, I think or repeat repeat. Okay. So, they have all like TobyMac songs and all kinds of fun songs. So, I go there and I can do like for two, three, five minutes and I do something for myself and my girls love to dance with me. Like I stop whatever I'm doing, take ten minutes for myself and a little bit of exercise and then in the afternoon, we take another ten, fifteen minutes. Oh, let's just go down to the pond cause we live in a beautiful place. You know we're right in the woods out in the country. There's a big pond and with some Canadian geese and blue herons. And so, we walk down to the pond. Ten minutes, fifteen minutes. Come back. I feel so refreshed. And then later on you know or in the morning. In the morning. I always do reading in the morning. I always do it reading in the evening cause I'm obsessed with reading books. My goal actually this year is to read a hundred books. So, I sit down and I listen to a audiobook. And it could even be while I'm folding my laundry or doing anything else in the house, or just taking a bubble bath or just laying down in bed, you know? Those little mother culture moments that we have throughout the day, even if just for ten, fifteen minutes, make a big difference. When you wake up in the morning, change your clothes, you know, brush your hair. Put some lipstick on. It's gonna make you feel better about yourself, right? Make the bed. I never leave my room without making my bed. Looking nice, right? So those little things that you do, I sit down, and I do my devotional or before I go to bed, I'm actually reading a great devotional, a ninety-day devotional on goals and vision and it's just so great. ???

J -

Talking my language.

A -

So, I sit down, and I review my goals. I have my vision boards right in front of me and I go through that devotional and I write down my Journal. I love the devotion, cause it has a page for you to journal every night or every morning when you read. So, I sit down. I do that and I feel like I'm taking care of myself. I am so, you know, I'm focusing on the priorities in my life. I'm spending time with God, you know. So, I'm investing in myself because the more I'm investing myself, the more I can invest on others, right? So, going back to the airplane scene, when you sit on the airplane and they're gonna teach you to first, put your mask first. Your emergency mask first, right? And then after that take care of your children. And we need to learn that. When I burned out completely, Julie, I was so hopeless because I was so weak. My body became so weak that my body stopped absorbing iron, so that's why it was very very weak. Till this day, I have trouble absorbing iron. So, my body became so weak I couldn't hold a glass of water in my hands. I couldn't walk out of my bedroom, go to the kitchen and cook for my kids and take care of my kids. So, I had to depend on people coming, people from the church coming in, washing my dishes and bringing us meals. My in-laws moved in with us so my mother-in-law could help. I felt so hopeless. So, if you burn out, Mom, who's gonna take care of your children?

J -

That's a good point. Right. Yeah.



A -

Right

J -

You need to be there for them. I love what you said about just those little increments.

Cause I think we could think, oh, I have to go to the gym for an hour and a half every day and I have to like read a novel in a month and you know. No. Like little chunks. But I think if you, you have to plan for them because they're not going to magically get an hour in your day somewhere so, you have to say, okay, here are the things, here's my self-care plan. And I really recommend like, okay, so I'm gonna do like ten minutes in the morning. I'm going to do, like I always have like my personal teatime right after lunch. My kids go to their rooms. It used to be naps, but not any...it hasn't been like that forever. You know. And I just have fifteen minutes where I can have a cup of tea and I put on some music and a candle and I can just be quiet. So, I don't hurt anybody.

A -

I keep my fake handle on when I sit down my desk to do my thing.

J -

But thinking through like what do you really love to do? What makes you happy? And do at least one of those things, you can make a list, and look at it and do one of those things every day. We do dance parties. I'll go for a drive sometimes and just put on loud eighties rock music with the windows down and just singing at the top of my lungs. You know, like cause it makes me smile, you know? And what makes you smile can be different than me and it doesn't, you know sometimes it's highbrow and I'll read some poetry. And sometimes it's you know, Poison. Like music. Like it's just like you, you do what's you, what makes you happy. Don't try to fit in with what other people are doing.

A -

That's right. Sometimes it's just sitting on the sofa staring at the nature outside, or whatever you know? Whatever it is, whatever it is that relax your mind and your body and help you to take better care of yourself. And I wanna leave this, you know cause we have to at least talk about, like, don't focus on the hour that you don't have. Focus on the twenty minutes that you do.

J -

Oh, I love that. That's so good. Yes, yes.

A -

Right? Don't focus on the time that you don't have. I'm actually, right after we finish here, I'm gonna go to the gym with my husband. We're gonna go for thirty minutes. min. And guess what? I'd rather go for thirty minutes than not go at all.

J -

Exactly, yes, yes.

A -

Don't focus on the hour that you don't have. Focus on the twenty minutes that you have.

J -

That is so good.

A -

Carve that twenty minutes. Help your kids to be independent readers, independent learners, so you can actually sit down with your cup of tea while they're doing their reading, while they're working on their math, and you have your time alone.

J -

Yes. I think that's such a good point, ‘cause moms feel the need that we need to do everything and we don't teach them to be independent. Charlotte Mason talks a lot about that because it is their self-education. But then at the same time, like we're also feel the need to over-schedule our families. And maybe the reason you don't have mother culture or time for yourself is because you're running around doing things you really don't need to be doing and looking through your schedule and be like, okay, what can I take off my plate so that I can get more of this? And then it's amazing, I don't know how it works, but it's like when I add in time for myself and I'm doing these things for myself, I actually have more time to do the other things. But if I focus on all the other things first, ??? myself it's, I don't know. It's one of those weird laws of the world that I don't understand, but it works.

A -

I believe that the secret of the restful homeschool journey, right? A restful homeschool experience is to do less, but to do it better. And you don't have to actually learn four, six, seven, eight hours a day. We do our homeschooling about two hours a day. And we feel like we get so much out of it. So, I can do that. That's the secret. And that goes into I think, our next point there.

J -

All right, so mistake number four is valuing to-do lists over relationships.

A -

That's a big one.

J -

Especially for us achiever people. I like me to check out some boxes, okay?

A -

Well, checkboxes sounds like me too, but here's the thing. My expectations now are very different than the expectations that I had when I started to homeschool. Right? When I started to homeschool, I kept comparing myself to the other moms who had kids in public school and their kids went to school from eight in the morning to two in the afternoon or three in the afternoon, right? And I felt like I had to have my kids doing busy work from the moment that the yellow bus picked up the neighbor’s kids until the time that the yellow bus came back with the yellow, you know, the, with the neighbors kids. ???

So now I understand that my kids don't need to sit down on the kitchen table doing work for six, seven hours a day. They can actually accomplish in so much less.



J -

Right, yeah.

A -

So, for me, I'll tell you. For me, it's so much more important that they're doing things with excellency. But they are putting the best effort in what they do. That they are loving what they're doing. They're not doing anything forced and something they hate, right? Thank God I think that one of the things that the Charlotte Mason philosophy education that's for us is to help us to teach our kids to love learning and to be lifelong learners. Right? So, we like we have the basic things that I check off the box every single day. Did you do your Bible study? Did you do your math? Did you do your language arts? Did we finish your science lesson or history lesson, depending on the day, or whatever it is, those are like the basics? But the rest? It comes because we enjoy it, and it's always get done at the end of the day.

But above all things for me as a homeschool mother, my relationship with my children is so much more important than my to-do list. So much more important. That one at one time with my kids, understanding that they are not cookie cutters. Right? They look, they have completely different personalities. I don't know. ???

Different personalities, different pace of learning, different interests and passions and talents and gifts. So, it's very important that you are seeing each one of your children as an individual, as a whole person and then you know you value and honor that child. Use your, but I don't know if you if you use that, Julie, but this was a game-changer for me. Learn your kids love language. Oh, and use it to engage them. It is fantastic. So, my child, whose love language is quality time, all I need to do is like one on one. Hey buddy. Get down here. Let's do this. My other child whose love language is words of affirmation. Oh, cheerleading her, you know, like oh, you're so awesome. That's all she needs. Cause every child, that physical touch is her love language. Hey, do you wanna come sit down the rocking chair Mommy, let's read the book together? And it changes everything. It changes everything. So, it's accomplishing both things. Engaging them in learning and building the relationship.

J -

Yes. And, yeah, that's so key, like, Charlotte Mason's first principle is children are born persons, so you need to know them, what they need and that gives us the blessing of homeschooling. Going back to the first point about you're not mimicking school at home.

See at school everybody is in this grade and they're supposed to be doing these things because they're this age and we can't adapt and we can't change those, because that's the grade that you're in and this is the expectation. But at home, we have the flexibility to go okay, well, you might be reading at this level, or you might need more math help at this grade level and be able to customize it, but also take into account the person that God created them to be like you're saying with the love languages book and focusing on what their needs are and being able to provide that for that specific child. And as someone who, I have two kids out of the house now, like the thing that's going to last is your relationship.

A -

It's the relationship.

J -

Like, I just love the fact that, you know, they left and then they call me all the time.

Like that warms my heart way beyond, did they finish the math book at the end of the year?

A -

Actually, you see, we were just talking about that before we start recording the podcast. The reality is that you know the physics lesson and the math lesson and the biology lessons, they're all gonna be behind one day. But your relationship is something that you cannot afford to lose with your children. But, I believe, Julie, that you know, home education for me is discipleship, right? I'm teaching my kids. I am parenting the heart of my children. So, if they're struggling with something, I'll stop, and I will help them overcome their struggles. You know, if there's something that they're frustrated about it, I'm not going to carry on. I'm gonna stop and I'm gonna give that child attention and say hey buddy, what's going on? And you know how can we solve this problem right now? How can I help you? It is a blessing. You are a mother. You are there to nurture your children. To nurture that relationship with your children as you teach that child as you facilitate learning in that child's life, right? So those things are so important because later on in life like you said, Julie, later in life, even when they leave the nest. Hey Mom, can we talk about something? You know, hey Mom, I need help with this. right? That relationship continues. It is so sad when I see families where parents don't speak to the children. Children don't speak to the parents, and siblings don't speak to one another. For me like families above all things, you know, like God, of course, God comes first, but and then comes family, and those bonds are very important.

J -

Moving on to the last mistake, and this one is so deep to my heart as well. The last mistake that homeschool moms make is they forget to have fun. And homeschooling becomes a drudgery and a chore. And when you have the attitude that this is really hard and I'm not doing a good job. Like we naturally move away from pain and toward pleasure as human beings. And so when you're viewing your homeschooling from that mindset of this is difficult. I don't like this. And you don't want to keep doing it right? Cause nobody wants to keep doing something that's painful and hard, right? So you have to change your mindset. And that will change how you view your homeschooling and the key to doing that I really think is having fun. So how do you do that?

A -

I believe that. And Charlotte, Mason says that, and moms need to go out and have fun. We need to do this. It's important even for our health. We need to be laughing. We need, you know, it changes everything when we're doing things that we're having fun together and he could come like it could be, like, let's go and ride our bicycles outside to let's read a book, they're really going to make us laugh. You know, there's so many books that we love to read together that will just make us laugh. And there's so many ways to have fun. For some people might be, you know let's build, do some crafts. Like we loved, my girls and I we love crafts. We love handiworks, handicrafts. We love weaving and cross-stitching or whatever it is. And or painting and it's fun to do those things together. It's fun to be creative together. You know I have to say I had to learn to be a little bit more fun. Because I am not that fun, when I'm very driven and I got my goals in front of me. Like, I just got it, got it. I learned to be more relaxed and more fun. Like these past two years have been such a transformation, not only my homeschool but in my life in general. Right? So, look for ways that you can have fun. Sometimes it's bring some game boards to the table. There's so much that we can learn by playing games together, right? It doesn't have to be with your children only. You need to have your time too. Right? Maybe is getting together with your friends for coffee.

My friend Connie and I...so Connie, I think Connie is what? She's fifteen years older than I am. And we're good friends. I love love love Connie. Connie came over the other day, we had a sleepover and then Ryan took the kids out Saturday all day. And you know what we did? We created vision boards and we cut magazines and we had worship music blasting. And we made all these different snacks for us to eat. And it was so much fun. It was refreshing and it helped me so much, just to you know, do something for myself, but also something that will set me up for the future.

J -

Right, yeah, I totally agree, yeah. We have to have fun ourselves and then that like we're saying with the kind of the mother culture like that's contagious. Another thing that's been really helpful and we touched on this in the beginning is celebrating. So, at the end of every term, after my kids have finished their exams, we have a celebration, and we make food that goes with our time period. They read their poems. They show their nature journals too, and before COVID, family, we'd invite grandparents and things to come and to celebrate all that they'd learned. But I think I mean I didn't used to do that and adding that practice in was so meaningful because I would just go from one term to the next, and okay, we're gonna make it through this year. And I would stop. But even in the middle of our days, being like oh my gosh, you read that whole chapter. That is so amazing. Or, wow, you got all those things wrong in your mouth thing. Like not to just go from one thing to the next thing but take the time to pause and to celebrate and praise in your day really does unchangeable attitude, yeah.

A -

Celebrate your accomplishment, like small or big, doesn't matter. Everything needs to be celebrated. Here we celebrate the kids when they finish a book. You know they got so excited they get rewarded actually. We take them shopping with the money that they get rewarded for finishing their...we're not...this is not bribing them, you guys, like let me tell you this is a reward. Something to be worked towards, but it's not really a bribe. So, we do this. We do those things and in the homeschool sisterhood, we celebrate at the end of every lesson that we have together online. So, we do something, Julie, that is so much fun and the kids look forward to the end just to do it. We pointed out to the screen to each other like that and we say you are awesome. And everybody does that at the same time and we high five everybody in the, online. You know, we celebrate and then at the end of the month we do show and tell, and the kids can share their accomplishments. And sometimes you got dance choreographies. You got violin. You got piano recitals. You got Lego buildings. You got all kinds of different things. But we got to appreciate and celebrate each accomplishment and that is so important that we do that even for ourselves. I did a big happy dance today because I was promoting something, and I got third place. And got a microscope.

J -

That's fun, yeah?

A -

Celebrating, you know, and that is important. You know I could say like oh yeah, I got third place, you know like, or oh, she had gotten first place. But no, we were celebrating the victory. And then I think, you know, not a big deal, but it is a big deal, and our kids should be celebrated for the things that they accomplish too. And so do we, Mamas. Pat yourself on the back. Awesome, you are awesome, you know? I did it.

J -

Yeah, I did that in my curriculum, like on the lesson plan thing for each week, there's a blank box that says ??? moms to write down three things that went well because what happens is when you focus on the things that went well, when you have gratitude and you're full of praise for things that went well, you naturally find more of those good things in your life. When you're focused on all the things that are wrong and hard and what's lacking, you're going to find more of those things. I say it's kind of like, I don't know if you ever bought a new car and you suddenly see that car everywhere you go. It's not like magically, everyone went out at the same time you did and buy that car. Like there's always been that many cars on the road, but because you have it, you now are focusing on it and you see it everywhere. And so, focusing on those wins and we're celebrating the good things that are happening in our lives, we find more of those things to celebrate.

A -

That's right, that's right. And we're teaching our kids to do the same. Focus on the good. Focus on the things that worthy of praise, right? Focus in on the accomplishments that you have and not on your failures. Hey, listen, we may fail like a hundred times before we do something really good, but we have never given up and we finally got it. We did it.

J -

Yeah, exactly like, you know the light bulb, right? Like how many times did he fail before the light bulb came? All we remember now is the light bulb. We don't remember all the times he failed.

A -

That's right, that's right. But you know what? Also reading about people's failure and how they succeed, how they overcome, help us as well. And I think that's a good way, Julie, that you can practice self-care and celebration is that you need to be always reading biographies or reading good books that will help you to become a better person and to celebrate that right? I don't wanna be the same person a year from now. I'm going to be a better person, right? Right now, I have a goal. I want to lose 44 pounds. I already lost nineteen and...

J -

Wow, that is amazing.

A -

That is amazing.

J -

Go you.

A -

It took me forever to lose...

J -

You are awesome.

A -

But I still have 44 more you know, and I know the next year, Julie, when we record another podcast, we gonna celebrate that right? So, it is important. Celebrate your accomplishment. Whatever accomplishment is. How big or small it is, you are worth celebrating. Everything that you get done every single day. Hey, it's Friday. Let's celebrate you know?

J -

We're all still here and the house hasn't burned down. There's always something to be thankful for. Nobody has covid. Like, I mean, there's always something right?

A -

Yes, yes. So, look for reasons to celebrate in your homeschool, and in your personal life too.

J -

Yeah, I love that and that just makes you, like we're smiling. We're laughing. We're having a great time. Like, that just changes everything when you have that approach. So, thank you so much for coming on and sharing these. These are so so vital and such things I wish someone would have told me when I first started homeschooling, cause it would have saved a lot of misery and a lot of burnout and consequences. Like you said, I'm still having to deal with so. Yes, thank you so much for coming on, Anna and I will have these links so everybody can connect with you and check out the homeschool sisterhood. It is fantastic. Yeah, you've just shared a wealth information, so we have those all linked up for everybody, so thanks again for coming on. I appreciate it.



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. But you don't have to wait until 2021 to experience the amazing speakers and vendors at the Great Homeschool Conventions. They now offer an online convention that you can find on greathomeschoolconventions.com.

Also, if you would like the show notes for today's episode, go to homeschooling.mom. If you would take a minute to subscribe to this podcast in iTunes and leave a review, I would greatly appreciate it. It helps get the word out about this podcast to our audience.

Thanks for joining me today. Until next time, may your home be filled with books, beauty, and Biblical truth.

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