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Homeschooling Idea Overload

Homeschooling Idea Overload

This time of year is always dangerous.  I went to the store the other day for stencils and came back with $53.00 worth of school supplies–and still couldn’t find the stencils.  Aside from endangering the budget, back-to-school time is dangerous to the sanity of homeschooling moms because of something I like to call Homeschooling Idea Overload.  HIO affects 1 out of every 31 homeschooling moms who own a social media account and there’s no known sure-fire method of protection.  Here are the three most common situations to watch for if you suspect you may be at risk for developing Homeschooling Idea Overload:

1) Summer Reading

That’s right.  All that reading you just did over the summer could be dangerous to your mental health.  Now that you’ve read all about Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, or Classical-style homeschooling, it’s easy to be gung-ho about changing everything up.  Don’t give in to the powerful hallucination that your unsuspecting children will roll with the changes, thinking “Mom knows best,” and “I always wanted to completely change my entire routine to this pretty new (jam-packed) schedule–all in the name of a beautiful education.”  Such hallucinations are a dangerous symptom of HIO, and can lead to anxiety in those around you.  The most effective treatment for this symptom is moderation.  Implement small changes, over time.  Whatever you do, resist the urge to implement everything you just read.

2) Pinterest

Unsurprisingly, Pinterest, the bane of all who lack culinary and crafty skills, is also a thorn in the side of the homeschooling mom.  Night owls must especially beware of this social media vortex.  Before you realize what’s happened, your husband comes home to find you, eyes burning, in three-days’-old yoga pants, with dishes everywhere because the kids have been left to fend for themselves during your weekend Pinterest bender.  Pinterest benders are a major risk factor for Homeschool Idea Overload.  They are best prevented by time-limits or abstinence.  If you can’t find the perfect middle ages princess costume sewing project to complement your unit study in a 20-minute search, it’s time to move on.

3) Curriculum Shows and Homeschool Conventions, Obviously

Between engaging speakers and pursuasive advertising, sales from these events have got to be making someone millions.1  The true crazy comes out here.  Our inner nerd smothers our outer normal person with a pillow and lets herself loose to fondle shiny new books, smelling them and giddily reading back covers.

Hordes of dedicated educators (and genuinely nice people) hawk their “revolutionary,” “newly revised and updated,” method of teaching Spanish or Algebra, claiming its never been this easy to learn.

Curriculum shows and homeschool conventions, while often inspiring and fun, can easily lead to serious cases of HIO and are best combatted with heavy doses of reality, the 24-hour rule, and a budget.  Sleep on it for a day.  If you still feel the item will “revolutionize” your homeschool, it may be safe to purchase–but only if it fits your budget.  I know, I know.  Reality.

Preventing Homeschool Idea Overload

Rest.  Simplify.  Decide.

Remember, there’s no guaranteed way to prevent Homeschool Idea Overload.  Try not to expose yourself to HIO too often, as its effects can be debilitating.  If you find yourself infected, get some rest, maybe drink some water (that always helps, right?), and then simplify and decide.  Find a book, preferably a very old book, and just start working through the pages.  I like Ray’s Arithmetic, and the Harvey’s Grammar series.  Remember, people much smarter than us once use slates and chalk to learn everything from Latin to Geometry.

Just choose something. The simpler the better.

It’s Not About the Books

What will really make the difference in your homeschool is the relationship you have with your child.  Are you attending to his emotions toward the subject?  Are you helping him stretch just far enough to make the leap to the next concept on his own but not too far that he gets frustrated and quits?  Sometimes we underemphasize the teacher/tutor part of our vocations.  We get so focused on choosing the exact right curriculum, that we don’t trust ourselves to walk with our child down the path of learning–encouraging, stretching, challenging, and supporting him.

Keep that big picture in mind and you’ll have a great Back-to-School season!


  1. All statistics in this post are fake, but probably right. 
Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

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Need a shot in the arm for your homeschool? Get Thrive Together, a monthly email that brings you:

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  • One of the things I most love about #homeschooling is the freedom it allows us to love books. It is 9:30am. We just finished breakfast after getting up late because last night we had troop meetings for our scouting groups. The kids are all well-fed and well-rested. But before we start on reading the books I’ve assigned them, we’re taking some time to read our own choices.
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When I was a kid, we had plenty of books in the house, but I never really read for pleasure. It didn’t matter that my mom was a librarian and teacher. I wanted to be outside. I thought reading was for school hours and school work.
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I carried these thoughts through high school and college, where I read a lot of really great books, but not many that I chose for myself.
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My kids will have a totally different experience. Not saying mine was bad, but I am saying that I missed out on worlds or great books and thoughts from great authors in my younger years that I am only discovering now as an adult: the middle books of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, Arthur Conan Doyle, Winnie the Pooh, Beatrix Potter, Harry Potter, and many more.
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My kids have the TIME FREEDOM to get to know the thoughts of authors they CHOOSE. I don’t care how you school, all kids deserve this opportunity. All kids DESERVE to believe that books can be FUN and INTERESTING and MYSTERIOUS and LOVELY.
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What can you do today as a homeschooling/private schooling/public schooling parent to help your kids love reading? Make no mistake: if ALL our kids take from their educations is a habit of reading widely and enjoying it, they will stand a great chance of becoming great adult humans.
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#amreading #readaloudrevival #bravewriterlifestyle #homeschool #schoolchoice #charlottemasonirl
  • FINALLY! Everyone is well (enough) that we are back to school. No one is in bed with a fever #winning . Instead, we get to spend our morning with the Scottish Play. I 💛 me some Shakespeare and #MorningTime !
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#homeschool #homeschooling #family #amreading #shakespeare #bravewriterlifestyle
  • Fact: The #Navy wife life will kill you if you don’t find support somehow.
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Fact: That support will almost 100% of the time be the females around you.
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Fact: Our whole family got the flu literally THE DAY Jake’s boat pulled out.
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Fact: This little @theglorioustable ditty about crashing our proverbial banana trucks posted the same day. God has a sense of humor. Link also in profile. (https://theglorioustable.com/2020/01/banana-truck-out-of-control-devotional/)
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The fact that I am just now getting around to posting about it tells you the extent to which the flu knocked me on my ass. I was in bed for three days straight. I am NEVER this sick.
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Fact: If it weren’t for strong, kind, generous WOMEN around me, I probably would have ended up in the hospital and my kids may or may not be alive. The menfolk care too, they just weren’t here. Couldn’t support. Had their own work to do. The mission does not stop for sick families.
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Find yourself a tribe if you want to survive. You HAVE to have someone to call. Even if, like me, it’s your mom (who will--wisely--tell you to ask for local help even though you don’t want to be a bother.) I needed prayers, sure, but more than that, I needed local people to literally come to my house and feed my kids and put food in my fridge, be here while I went to the doctor, and put my kids to bed when I was too sick to stay awake a minute longer. A virtual community CANNOT do those things. It can try, but a local community has power a virtual community will never have.
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Another post on this topic here: (https://theglorioustable.com/2019/05/how-to-build-a-tangible-community/)
#community #Navywifelife #momlife #sisterhood
  • Happy New Year and all, but more importantly, today we got to watch our @wyo_football win the Arizona Bowl. (With a freshman QB starting for the 1st time ever, btw 😮😮😮💪🏻) Way to go Pokes! #theWorldNeedsMoreCowboys #OneWyoming #GoWyo
  • We always have so much fun doing projects from @artforkidshub #homeschool #trynewthings #watercolor
  • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
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The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
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This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
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Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
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Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
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Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?

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