11 Things to Consider as a New Homeschooler:

Admittedly, as a green homeschooler of a newly school-aged student, I have not a clue what I am getting myself into. But I didn’t at pregnancy either (you don’t know until you actually know what it is to love a child) and I do know the compass of my heart pointing me into this path, right now. Here are some things that I have learned as a newbie. I hope that it helps to dismantle some barriers and build confidence whether you are homeschooling, considering to or supplementing existing education.

(6 items from this post are also found in ‘How to Become a Homeschooling Mama, Overnight”)

1. Wipe the slate clean.

Erase everything you know about mainstream education and education as a whole. Think about the spectrum of life. Consider the way nature evolves and releases, shifts and transforms. Put yourself in a loving state upon which you can arrive to this opportunity with an open heart and an accepting mind. In the beginning of an exploratory process, it’s human nature to dive in, get detailed information, begin to order and sort, binge drink coffee and read every blog post (thank you) book and YouTube playlist. That energy is a masculine, logical and willing action. It’s useful in many ways, but maybe not at the onset of an exploration that influences your (and your kid(‘s) life so dramatically). Your life is an embodied, ambulating expression of your Soul. Your Soul is seated where Spirit (energy) meets your heart (matter) and so this must be approached with an unlimited access and authentic connection to and from the heart. If you don’t already have a practice, consider meditation or a cleansing bath or a grounded walk in nature to engage a space of emptiness so that you can receive and, later, review options with your whole being.

2. Over-prepare*

*By prepare I mean be curious about what homeschooling actually is (because it’s NOT school, drag-n-dropped into your house). Become a scientist: get inquisitive, research, “inspectigate” (as Aspen calls is and observe what others are doing. Make mental notes, journal, follow feeds, pin, dream, attend classes or visit moms groups and ASK other moms who are doing it.

Personally I had already made the decision and began the application process when I picked up the phone to call a contact who had met my own mama in a barre class. She homeschooled three children who were now all graduated and doing incredible things with their lives. Her journey was inspiring and empowering and became a confirmation that I had made the right choice for us.

JOURNAL PROMPT

  • what does NOT work for you (some of this might be easy “no’s” like secular or non-secular)

  • what is a MUST for you (nature-oriented, CORE curriculum requirements, etc.)

  • create a list of resources, people, friends and influencers that spark curiosity and inspiration

3. Set an intention

As a medicine woman I believe that intention and Love are the two greatest superpowers we have as human people. Intention literally shapes cells and the structure of music, light and the way we love. Intention will bring you in and out of the deepest crevices of your homeschool journey.

JOURNAL PROMPT

  • what is your personal intention for homeschooling / supplementing?

  • what is the intention you hold for your child/ren?

  • create a mantra or sentence out of this information and put it somewhere to inspire your alignment (and realignment) daily. This reminder will serve you well when you feel lost or alone or your kids are being a little extra annoying and you had a little less rest than hoped.

4. Live in the right now

In AA there’s a saying of “just for today…” it’s a beautiful way to breakdown a perceptively overwhelming life-shift. Allow that narrative to enter into the space of unknown addiction to the programming that has been placed into your world. Humans are creatures of habit and lasting behavior change happens in incremental, consistent, compassionate and inspiration-driven steps. Over-commiting can create confusion or paralysis. A self-fulfilling prophecy forms when we have a pedestal too high to achieve. So, allow yourself to be in the now. Don’t worry about the year or high school when you are in day-to-day actions. Focus on that just for today you are committed to (your intentions) and keep returning to that space. Personally, I have no idea if I will be homeschooling in six months or six years. A mother I spoke to shared that when asked ‘when did you plan to homeschool your children’ she replied with '“I didn’t. The days just strung together like that.” It was invaluable to hear and I hope that you remember it for all areas of your journey.

5. Give Permission

Set a precedence for compassion by practicing it with yourself. There will be days you FAIL (because that’s life, and motherhood, and learning). Expect it, prepare for it, find a way to love being perfectly imperfect. As you learn to be resilient, understanding and adaptable, your children will too. Give yourself advanced permission for (at times) overwhelm, confusion, guilt or whatever other emotion comes up for you. Give permission to others to not understand or accept your choices. Free yourself from the need to explain, sell, or defend what you’re doing to anyone other than your educating partner (if that’s present). Give yourself a hall-pass for not having it all figured out, for deviating from curriculum and for having a sick/personal day. Lean into and communicate your learning curve. Allow yourself to course correct and gift yourself with a green light to get support before (and when) needed.

6. Be a kid

One day I noticed that I was becoming agitated at bubbles in chocolate milk that Aspen was blowing through her straw — at my computer: on a white sheepskin. Internally I was like “umm what are you doing, you know how to drink from a straw!?” but then I had a flashback of being little with my baby brother and how much fun it actually is to make bubbles (all kinds, anywhere) and I suggested she take it outside so that she could laugh with it and keep our things safe.

Embodying our inner child is such a beautiful way to heal, experience an expanded awareness and (usually) be a “better” parent.

7. Be curious

This intentionally is emphasized twice, as I think it’s paramount as a #studentofearth and as a mom/mentor.

JOURNAL PROMPT:

  • what are the things YOU would want to learn about?

  • ask your kid(s) what things s/he wants to learn about

Focus on the result:

What are the qualities and characteristics that you envision your 18 year old possessing? What are some of the things that you value in your family (now or to be created)? What really matters at your last breath when you stare into your children’s eyes?

8. Let go of the idea that you’re their teacher:

You are not a teacher: you are their mother. THAT’s why you’re qualified.

In my opinion, teachers are some of the most loving, spiritual beings on our planet. They are often under appreciated and under compensated. Sounds a lot like momming, huh? The most intelligent, well-trained, experienced teacher could be educating your child, but they aren’t YOU. And you aren’t them.

Maybe, because I don’t embrace the term “teacher” in my working life, since I am ultimately a student of life who shares my experience, insight and wisdom I identify more strongly with being a mentor. I encourage this mental adaptation, because essentially you are there to guide your child to teach themselves about all things and cheer along as they create who they are meant to be.

Rather than focus on giving them the answers (which requires you to have all the answers) inspire them to seek answers, consider options and learn from the process of learning, itself.

9. Be quiet, be brave.

DO NOT ask the opinion of others. Homeschooling (and being a human) is not anyone else’s job, business or responsibility but yours. The decision is personal and perpetual. What’s right now may not be right in the future. A need for approval is exactly what we’ve been conditioned to do in brick boxes. Consider your internal evolution before discussing with those on the need-to-know list (like a partner). When you do discuss it, keep it small and when you’re ready to share, do it with a rootedness, a bravery and remember why you started this in the first place (see your intentions).

10. Plan to be OUTSIDE

One of the best parts of being homeschooled is that your kids aren’t in a box. Don’t trade the brick building for another container; explore nature, museums, moms groups, meet-ups and enjoy the many lessons that Mother Earth provides as an educator. Creating “field trips” or joining existing ones takes a little effort and maybe some facebook searching, but will save you (and your kids) from going stircrazy. Make lots of plans and lots of ‘unplans’ in which you can adventure and play.

ACTION PROMPT:

  • A. Rose really wanted a backpack. Pack a bag for spontaneous “study” including rain gear, a change of clothes down to socks and undies, etc. (My entire packing list is HERE).

11. Refine your ability to teach

Unless you were homeschooled, have had a perfect upbringing or are blissfully oblivious, you (we) can all polish our personal growth skills a little more, heal a little more, and use a little more help for us. It’s easy to be externally focused on curriculum, lesson blocks and keeping the house orderly with a full crew, but the BEST educational resource you could refine is you. This could look like committing deeply to your self care, incorporating yoga, movement and meditation, connecting regularly to conscious ones, and carving space for reading. It can also look like regular coaching sessions, being supported by other moms and making space to join retreats and workshops that nourish your Soul.

At the beginning, whether enriching mainstream education or homeschooling, you felt a calling in your heart and Soul. The spirit of you and your child/ren are at the epicenter, alpha and omega of any education path you follow. Know that, along the way, there are others out there in a constellation of continual growth, a collective cosmology of unity, love and development and a community holding you in support.

Explore how you can connect or receive a 1-1 consultation with me to be more confident, clear and aligned with an alternative option for your family’s developmental journey.


FAILURE IS A PREREQ.

“Failure is a prerequisite for success, not a possibility.”

- Lauren Pacione

The fact that any human being walks is incredible.

And the only thing that would make it more incredible is if we were adults when we learned to walk.

But there’s a reason we learn this somewhere around 1 year old: we have developed (hopefully) a bond with our mother and safe space around us and we haven’t yet learn to understand language (no internal voices to batter our brain into disbelief).

The Anatomy of Failure is a complex system. An organism that takes on a life of it’s own and, if allowed to, can take over your life. Here’s my personal breakdown and what I use with clients to pneumonic this necessary part of learning.

FAIL: FIND. ALTERNATIVE. INFORMATION for LEARNING.

and

FAIL: FEEL ALIGNED INSPIRATION for LIVING/LOVING.

Let’s dissect it.

Famously, when Thomas Edison was interviewed about inventing the lightbulb, he was asked how he felt about failing 1,000 attempts before his breakthrough. His notable reply was something to the effect of “I didn’t fail, I simply discovered a thousand ways that didn’t work.” Failure is a natural progression of the learning paradigm. We are (falsely) programmed by shame and society and the easy social access to information to believe that we are going to get something “right” the first time. In your own mind, think of something that you haven’e yet hit the mark on yet, big or small. Consider ‘what is “success”’ and then breakdown any illogical expectations. Have you really explored every way? Have you put forth your heart, Soul and Spirit? Are you trying the same thing or something different? The intended result is what you want to remain focused on; like walking. When a baby is determined s/he will find many ways to attempt it: climbing and clammering over anyone and anything over and over again. Information and learning requires a scientific method of observation. IF you can shelf your feelings for a moment, can you look from the outside-in at your actions and assess new thinking and ideas? What have you learned? What was filed with ease and where is there resistance? Nikola Tesla is known for having had worked out many of his experiments and inventions in his mind before acting upon them. He was continually finding alternative information for learning. Continually “failing” until he built confidence to in fact build his visions. You are no different.

edison bulb.jpg

Feeling Aligned Inspiration for Living/Loving implies a core of who you are (alignment) failure highlight the contrast of everything that’s NOT that. Sometimes this gift can show us (through what we DON’T want) what we actually want out of life and what’s really important to us. This might mean that a “failed” relationship has inadvertently taught you self-worth, what you value in love and how you want to live your life. A Soul-sucking job might inspire you to begin a side career or emphasize that you want to be traveling for work.

cindarella.jpg

Inevitably “winning” and “success” is built upon failure. Muscles are meant to be driven to a point of microtears and the fastest way to build that muscle and encourage those tears is to go to failure. To flex in life, stay focused, lean into the discomfort, accept that stumbling is a part of learning how to walk and that one day, if you keep it up, you might even run.

How to become a homeschooling mama overnight

As I sit at my Mac a black chalkboard wall is drying slowly and sweetly behind me, like a houseplant forgotten over a weekend away, drinking up the moisture with delight.

I had been thinking about painting a wall something dark and romantic ever since my first bedroom was decorated with a crimson accent behind my headboard; it’s a thought that makes me cringe and smile at the decor, the rooted healing that wall initiated and the bordello it created.

Last year, in my home studio, I slathered the powder room in my rental two-family on the floor I see clients and teach workshops a shade of brown-black that looks like the bits in a chocolate lava cake. It was a rebellious decision (as was the hand poured concrete counter top that I saged and sang icaros to) despite warnings from my new friend at Aboff’s Paint supply that I would be creating a coffin — but I just kneeewwww it would work and was totally fine with repainting if it hadn’t.

And that’s how a chalkboard wall and becoming a homeschool mom overnight happened too.

In truth, I never actually planned to homeschool A.Rose.

Like my late night drive for paint last evening, and the richly gratifying result three hours later, it is something that had been stirring in my Soul for years and only seconds of a fraction to enact.

PS — (this is the moment I knew Aspen wasn’t going to mainstream school)

Decisions are like this. Birth is like this. The Kali-esque destruction of beliefs and patterns is like this.

Sometimes it can be jarring to ourselves and to those around us. Sometimes the shift creates a bodily cascade that enters and exists like a sonic boom; can’t see it coming or going, but the blast is felt everywhere.

Sometimes it’s freeing.

And sometimes it’s frightening.

And if you’re really blessed to be expanding, it’s both.

Can you imagine having little outside signs of pregnancy, no doctor visits monitoring your growth and then all of a sudden birthing a child?

Ya.

Like a Maury episode circa 1996.

Which is, by the way, when the internet was born.

Big ideas, innovative change, new paradigms and the breaking of what we thought was (im)possible can bring our ego into a futile screaming fit as it tries to make sense of the new structure that seemed to happen in a split second.

Everything can and does actually appear to change overnight.

The reaction of new connection, like dial-up sound bridging an evolving-world, the natural snapping of a wayward branch on a tree allowing it to grow taller, or a baby wailing for the first time in fresh air are all momentary tipping points of transformation.

So, while a not-yet-scuffed wall that can be used for (un)learning doesn’t make me any more a “teacher” than a painter or using the internet doesn’t make me a modem, I recognize that there is a shift and a creation that seemingly happened quickly.

Here are a few things that can help you become a homeschooling mama (or anything else) almost overnight:

Over-prepare*, Under-expect

*By prepare I mean be curious about what homeschooling actually is (because it’s NOT school, drag-n-dropped into your house). Become a scientist: get inquisitive, research, inspectigate (as Aspen calls is and observe what others are doing. Make mental notes, journal, follow feeds, pin, dream, attend classes or visit moms groups and ASK other moms who are doing it.

Personally I had already made the decision and began the application process when I picked up the phone to call a contact who had met my own mama in a barre class. She homeschooled three children who were now all graduated and doing incredible things with their lives. Her journey was inspiring and empowering and became a confirmation that I had made the right choice for us.

Don’t place an expectation on yourself or on others. A decision as big as this is best done in a natural flow. Just like birthing a baby, if you are expecting a 7lb baby girl and you get a 10lb boy or a duck you’ve already set yourself up for disappointment.

Be a kid

One day I noticed that I was becoming agitated at bubbles in chocolate milk that Aspen was blowing through her straw — at my computer: on a white sheepskin. Internally I was like “umm what are you doing, you know how to drink from a straw!?” but then I had a flashback of being little with my baby brother and how much fun it actually is to make bubbles (all kinds, anywhere) and I suggested she take it outside so that she could laugh with it and keep our things safe.

Embodying our inner child is such a beautiful way to heal, experience an expanded awareness and (usually) be a “better” parent.

Many of us (as parents) weren’t raised in a homeschooling environment. This process is much about our unlearning and giving ourselves permission to play outside of the limitations we are programmed to as it is about guiding our young ones.

Be curious

This intentionally is emphasized twice, as I think it’s paramount as a #studentofearth and as a mom/mentor. The first curiosity is about the homeschooling itself. The underlayer is about the curriculum. My suggestion is to get clear about what you want to know about before submitting to the things you need to know about. This will also help you plan delivery formatting for whatever type of educational material you incorporate into your world.

JOURNAL PROMPT:

  • what are the things YOU would want to learn about?

  • ask your kid(s) what things s/he wants to learn about

Focus on the result:

As a mentor for adults in coaching, healing and training I am results oriented. The process is different for each person at different times in their lives. Often we are walking a path that is based on the past. While shelving an idea of a career or a college, focus on the qualities and characteristics that you envision your 18 year old possessing. What are some of the things that you value in your family (now or to be created)? What really matters that your children know at your last breath when you stare into your children’s eyes?

Let go of the idea that you’re their teacher:

You are not a teacher: you are their mother. THAT’s why you’re qualified.

In my opinion, teachers are some of the most loving, spiritual beings on our planet. They are often under appreciated and under compensated. Sounds a lot like momming, huh? The most intelligent, well-trained, experienced teacher could be educating your child, but they aren’t YOU. And you aren’t them.

Maybe, because I don’t embrace the term “teacher” in my working life, since I am ultimately a student of life who shares my experience, insight and wisdom I identify more strongly with being a mentor. I encourage this mental adaptation, because essentially you are there to guide your child to teach themselves about all things and cheer along as they create who they are meant to be.

Rather than focus on giving them the answers (which requires you to have all the answers) inspire them to seek answers, consider options and learn from the process of learning, itself.

Be quiet, be brave.

DO NOT ask the opinion of others. Homeschooling (and being a human) is not anyone else’s job, business or responsibility but yours. The decision is personal and perpetual. What’s right now may not be right in the future. A need for approval is exactly what we’ve been conditioned to do in brick boxes. Consider your internal evolution before discussing with those on the need-to-know list (like a partner). When you do discuss it, keep it small and when you’re ready to share, do it with a rootedness, a bravery and remember why you started this in the first place.

If you decide to redecorate your children’s education process, not everyone will agree with the new roles and routine you seemingly birthed overnight, and that’s okay. Certainly not everyone wants to paint a wall black.

But if you do, you’re alone.