Not too long ago, someone asked me how many years I had been homeschooling. When I answered that I was finishing my thirteenth year, she wrongly assumed that I knew what I was doing by now. The truth is that every homeschool year is different -- we have different activities, different medical or learning challenges, and for our military family sometimes a new, different location. Some years I've easily fallen into a homeschool groove, and others (like this one) have been more of a challenge.
I started studying the Homeschool Rescue online encouragement course from Only Passionate Curiosity about a month ago, and it is already making a huge difference in my life and our homeschool days.
Heather's course combines video teaching with printable homework assignments to encourage and challenge homeschool parents to breathe new life into their homeschool days. Sometimes I was able to watch the teaching portion on my computer or iPhone, other times I downloaded the audio version, and still other times I downloaded the printed transcript. (Honestly, even if I watched the video, I still read through the transcript later so that I could underline my favorite parts, write comments in the margins, etc.)
In this course, Heather does an amazing job of reaching each homeschool mom right where she is at. I've had a hard homeschooling year this year. We started the year with a new learning diagnosis for Lauren, added a new medical diagnosis, and survived five hospitals stays (with too many sick days for me to count). With all the running, I felt like I was living crisis to crisis, and this course is helping me realize it's okay to put my own oxygen mask on first. Sometimes moms feel like we need permission to reshuffle the priority list (or toss it out). If you're looking for someone to give you permission, Heather will do it.
At the same time, however, Heather doesn't just give moms a pass on doing the hard work of homeschooling. After taking a good look at my mental state and realizing that I needed to give my self grace for a homeschool year that didn't turn out the way I had planned, it was time for me to move forward. Later lessons in the course include learning how to say no, building routines to take care of homemaking and homeschooling tasks, structuring your day to be more efficient, teaching your children to study independently, and so much more.
Through all the work, I never felt that Heather was "preachy" or that she had all the answers. She never promised that if I used this curriculum or did my laundry in a single day each week that suddenly my life would be easy. Heather understands that life isn't easy. She even has an entire lesson in the first module that deals with homeschooling if you have a chronic illness or if your child has special needs. This course didn't offer simple solutions. Instead it showed me how to figure out my own solutions because I'm truly the only one who understands the complexities of my family's circumstance. It sounds trite but Heather taught me to fish, she didn't give me a fish (that someone in my family either wouldn't like or would be allergic to).
In addition to the course videos and homework assignments, Heather has also set up a private Homeschool Rescue group on Facebook for those instances when you have another questions, need a new idea, or just want to hang out with other moms who are taking a close look at their homeschool days. I'm part of many online homeschool groups, and I can already tell that this group is a special one to be a part of. In addition, Heather and the Homeschool Rescue team have often offered to discuss things further via email if I needed more help or encouragement.
Homeschool Rescue is absolutely the best thing that I've done to improve our homeschool this year. It salvaged this year and kept it from being remembered in my mind as "that year when Lauren was in the hospital and we didn't get anything at all accomplished." I'm remembering the good from this year along with the difficulties and giving myself grace to realize that it's okay that it didn't turn out the way I had envisioned. More importantly, Homeschool Rescue is giving me the tools to face next year with fresh enthusiasm, new routines, and a realistic schedule to make the most of whatever comes our way.
Thank you, Heather, for creating a product that will touch so many homeschool moms so they can take care of themselves, build strong families, and educate their children well.