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Transform Your Homeschool in Shifting Seasons

Are you having a “homeschool moment”? You know those times when life is changing quickly, and your homeschool plan isn’t keeping up? Everyone has their moments, their seasons. In seasons of change, learn how to transform your homeschool and roll with the punches. This post shares the highlights from my LIVE chat with Kelli Turner, and the video – so you can choose to read or watch! 

A little boy with head down at a table

If you want to watch the live video chat, here you go!

Otherwise, you can read on for the edited conversation:

Transform your homeschool during seasons of change

Kelli Turner is of my homeschool mom friends. She is a health coach, a former Miss Michigan, a trained speech and language pathologist, and she is also a homeschool mom!

She has made many transformations in her homeschool this year. Kelli shares the many challenges and changes that happened along the way.

In addition to transforming her homeschool to meet the year’s challenges, Kelli also had a very personal transformation – losing 50 pounds and starting her own health coach / weight loss business! It’s helped her feel better, reduced inflammation, given her the energy to serve her family well, and allowed her to work with dozens of clients to help them achieve the same healthy life goals. 

If you’d like to contact Kelli about her program, just email: [email protected] or call/text (860) 323-3236 – let her know I sent you! 🙂

And now for the homeschool help!

How to make decisions about homeschool

For many families, the homeschool journey starts with preschool years when they have to make that first decision about their child’s education. But this year, a lot of people’s homeschool journey started abruptly and in the middle of raising of their family.

Although Kelli’s family has homeschooled their three children from the beginning, 2020 brought many additional challenges. 

Kelli describes herself as a minimalist, sometimes chaotic, homeschooler who reflects often on her kids’ needs and adjusts dynamically to change: 

I’m a reflective homeschooler. Because life isn’t static. Life is dynamic and, kids change. Situations change, jobs change, your home changes. We’ve had to move around all of the rooms in our house this year. My husband’s home now working. I think it’s very easy to get in that pattern of feeling stuck. We’re kind of kind of fluid homeschoolers. I have always consistently chosen curriculum that has fit the needs of my children.

She loves to make use of all the resources available to her and keep her family circle and worldview tight.

Homeschool moms are always making changes. That’s part of the homeschool life any year. In 2020, we all faced additional changes and limitations. Even homeschoolers who are used to being home a lot, faced major shifts: museums were closed. Libraries closed, field trips canceled.

How do we accommodate for all the changes that come at us in our homeschool? Because they happen every year, not just in 2020. 

Accommodating for educational choices and challenges

Taking a break can help transitions

Kelli: Our family was very, very sick in January and February. We were out back in the real world for one week before the March 15th lockdown. Our whole last year was kind of shot, but…we kind of kind of scrambled and picked up the pieces. When we caught our breath I said, I think we’re going to take a break from everything, we need a break. 

We laughed like: we were homeschooling anyway, it’s not that big of a change.

Evaluate the impact of big shifts

Kelli: I underestimated how often we were gone and doing things. I ran a small co-op for families of young children to explore homeschooling so they could see if homeschooling would be a good fit and meet other homeschool moms.

And so, we weren’t doing that. We weren’t doing the Bible Bee, December Bible Club, cycling was canceled. Soccer was canceled. I think my husband and I really took for granted that we had woven into our homeschool day. We realized mid-summer we had some pretty sad kids and it was really surprising.

Insert some fun and fresh air

I called around literally everywhere to see if there was anyone, any place that we could do some online interactive things.  There was no really good fit for that. I started an online Friday homeschool games group. We started doing hikes outside. Just anything we could do to make our lives different because we needed to for our kids.

Find new ways to move forward

Kelli: As 2020 has gone on, my husband laughed like, Can you start teaching the kids again?

I’m going to be really real here because I feel some moms need to hear this: it’s not homeschool every day. Sometimes it’s not homeschool for a season. I have the benefit of my kids are pretty advanced, so that flip upside down didn’t challenge us academically.

But my husband was like, He’s telling his teacher every week “Oh mom doesn’t do school anymore.”

I was like, well, he’s telling the truth. So let’s just go with that. For my oldest son there was so much that just ended for him. We underestimated his need for social interaction and his need for people.

So there’s a lot to be said for being consistent. So your children are learning consistently, but also if something’s not working, there are so many terrific resources out there.

Take online classes 

Kelli: We’ve done writing classes with Ms. Kieras, which has been amazing.  Being an educator, being a speech and language pathologist, I’m also a certified teacher as well. One of the reasons I homeschooled, is I’m very picky about what my children learn and how they learn and who they’re learning from.

I remember watching you teach and watching the things you did with your boys for writing. There are certain styles of teaching– that you can’t teach people. And when you see it, you’re like: that’s it. I even asked you at the end of the year, are you going to be teaching next year? Because maybe I want Samuel in  your teaching– when you said you were doing online writing classes. I was like, yeah, we’re going to sign up for those because I know where you’re coming from and how you teach. 

Look into alternative schooling choices

Kelli: So we started looking around and found this online school. It’s focused on being entrepreneurs and being world changers, and working with the individual child. So it’s a space where we still have say the absolute say over his education. I actually cried in the beginning of the trial, because it was such going to be such a beautiful fit for him. 

This is a really important thing: if you’re looking at homeschool, if you’re someone who’s been thrown into homeschool, if there’s someone who’s been doing this forever –nothing is permanent.

Realize that nothing is permanent.

Kelli: What serving your needs now? Where are your kids at and what do they need?  

  1. One, is it serving our needs? 
  2. Two, does it meet our values?
  3. Three, recognizing nothing is permanent.
  4. Four, shuffling everybody else. 

So him online will give me extra time with my six and four year old to work with them after our little homeschool hiatus.

Shore up your weak spots

Kelli: Find those places where you need support. For me, scheduling, getting us on track, being consistent with that schedule and  just finding those places. That fit your world view your family view and support your kids.

And that might look different for every kid. 

Study your kids – get to know them

Julie: We’re always undergoing a state of transformation in our homeschool. I always like to go back to nature and how plants grow. The same tulip comes up every year, but it’s a little bigger and it’s a little different, it’s a little brighter. So yes, you’re teaching the same kids every year, but they’re bigger and they’ve grown and they’ve they’ve progressed. You have to make some changes.

Sometimes you have to transplant the plant into a bigger pot.

What are the signs and signals– how do you know when it’s time to make a shift to transform your homeschool? 

Kelli:  A natural by-product of homeschooling is you, you really know your kids. Being a speech pathologist I was very in tune to my children’s language. You have that advantage as a homeschool mom: you’re there with your children. There’s a lot that you already know about them.

We knew just by honing into who he is and what he was saying and having a really open conversation. Just leaning into who he was, the things we were hearing, the things we were seeing. We always tell them, we will hear you. We will listen to what you’re saying and how you’re feeling. But at the end of the day, we still make the decision as your parents. We take into consideration their thoughts.  But if they were vastly different from ours, we would find something that fit what we wanted and honoring what they needed.

Julie: I like what you’re saying about involving the students in their educational choices and journey, because kids don’t always have that say in a traditional setting. Even now as young children, you’re setting them up to consider that they are in charge of their education. They have the responsibility to evaluate their learning and what it is providing for their education. I think that’s a valuable concept to start right now, talking to kids about what works for you as a learner, what interests you.

This is the reason we do this–so we can create independent learners in the end. Right now, we have more insight and knowledge about what they need for their future. But we’re teaching our kids to take ownership of their education, that their opinions have value to us.

Keep the end in mind

Kelli: I have two seasoned homeschool moms who I’ve called in my moments of Oh, are we doing the right thing? Are we doing this? And they always come back to that, what is your end goal?

I read this great quote the other day — it transformed my way of thinking about things.

But it also fits so well with homeschool.

“May you have the courage to sit with discomfort as if it’s a Dawn, not a death.” KJRamseyWrites

When you are feeling discomfort in your homeschool and something needs to change. When you’re wondering, why are  you feeling that like, sit with that. It’s a dawn. What is it teaching you? What is it showing you? That’s not a death, it’s not the end of it. So many of my phone calls to those moms where they reminded me, What’s your end goal? 

This is a moment. Everybody has moments. Everybody has seasons, but what is the end goal?

A happy healthy God loving child who is serving his purpose in the world. That’s our end goal. So something to think about when you’re in those moments.  That’s not your end. Everybody has seasons. Everybody has moments. 

I want to encourage you that you’re doing a great job because sometimes you just need to hear that too.

Julie: That’s a fantastic quote for homeschoolers: when we have to make changes, when things get uncomfortable. The discomfort isn’t a death. It could be the Dawn of something new. It really is about perspective and the lens you look through. Whether you’re going to be  forward-facing or always in the past. We have to be forward-facing for our children and for our family. Life is about moving forward.

Do you have a homeschool question or challenge?

If you want to come on live with me and talk about your homeschool, ask homeschool questions, you can go to happystronghome.com/ask and put in your question or topic, and we can plan a time to talk about it.

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