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Defining Success in Your Home School

What does it mean to succeed? What does it mean to be successful and how do you measure success in your home school?

Do you measure success by how much your children accomplished today, this week, this month? It’s still early in the traditional school year. Do you feel ahead of the game, right on track, behind?

Do you issue grades as a benchmark of success? Maybe grades help you assess a child’s progress in a particular area, or you’re required by your state to keep them.

Defining Success in Your #Homeschool @hsbapost

Here’s a big one for those of us with older children with college in sight. Is acceptance to a college, especially a well-regarded one, a mark of success (or failure) on your child’s homeschool career, or do you feel it’s more of a commentary on your success (or failure) as a homeschool parent? After all, I’ve been asked this question more than once: “Why did you decide to homeschool? What about college?”

I’m posing these questions to our readers, because I have been asking them lately of myself. The institutionalized learning that we’ve rejected by opting out of the school system also applies to higher learning. A college education is no longer a guarantee of financial success, in fact, a case could be made that traditional, Industrial Age education is dead in all its forms, including college.

What ramifications does this have for our way of thinking, steeped in the belief that a college education defines whether or not our children have made it safely to adulthood and have the tools they need to become financially independent? If our homeschooled kids don’t make it to college, have we failed them academically and socially? How will they otherwise learn to function in the world and become self-sustaining and self-supporting?

The answer lies in our personal definition of success. In our culture, success usually means keeping up with the Joneses Facebook Page (just remember, Facebook shows faces not lives!). Homes, cars, vacations, elaborate parties–it’s a lot to measure up to.

While there’s nothing wrong with financial success (in fact I advocate it), success as a human being is far more complex than an individual’s net worth. Many homeschool graduates end up starting their own businesses because they don’t find traditional paths to be appealing. And why should we expect anything less? We’ve helped them take a non-traditional path in the early years, it should come as no surprise if they choose to stay on that path. Success also encompasses feelings of satisfaction, personal accomplishment, attaining and setting new goals, relationships with others, giving back to the community, being a good friend, son, daughter, neighbor. We can value and model all of these things within our families and in our home schools.

To quote Charlotte Mason:

“The question is not—how much does the youth know when he has finished his education—but how much does he care? And about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? And, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?”

Having said all this, it’s likely my children will choose college (more and more colleges accept homeschoolers with open arms), but we still have a few years until those decisions are made. However, I need to be ever mindful that if one of my children does not choose college, I hope it will be a reflection of their ability to make wise choices for themselves and not follow a prescribed path simply because others have done it. I can hear the voices in my head now–of family and friends who don’t homeschool, “See, homeschool doesn’t prepare a child for college!” Those voices are my problem, and I can’t make them my kids’.

Do your kids, especially your high school age children, see college in their futures? Are you worried if they will be prepared? What do you do to alleviate those fears? If they don’t choose college, will you be ok with it?

Leave us a comment; we’d love to know what you think!

Angela (28 Posts)

Angela is co-founder of Mosaic Freeschool and a homeschooling mom to two never-been-to school kids. Born in Southern California and raised on the East Coast, Angela had a bit of an unconventional education, but did not consider homeschooling seriously until her first child was born. Believing that young children learn best from those that love them most, Angela and her husband John chose homeschooling for their two boys. She is dedicated to the advancement of alternative education choices, creating the web-site Raising Autodidacts in 2011 to further explore the idea of fostering the self-taught individual. In June of 2013, she started an instructional writing service called Gathering Ink .

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Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***3 FREE Complete Drawing Lessons from the SEE THE LIGHT 9 DVD/36 lesson ART CLASS curriculum that is used by many homeschooling families. Recommended for ages 6 + +***

These are a Few of My Favorite Homeschool Things


A Few Favorite Homeschool Things

So school has started and shopping is done. Well mostly done. A homeschool mom will reassess as they go and add in needed items and get rid of things that don’t work. {Tweet That} I wanted to take a minute and share with you a few of my favorite homeschool things for this year. These are items that have helped me feel confident or made my life easier as a homeschool mama.

Four Favorite Homeschool Things

Favorite Homeschool Planner

Simply Pretty HFavorite Homeschool Teacher Planneromeschool Teacher Planner. So, yes. I did create this teacher planner, but it is my favorite. I am using it this year and honestly it’s working great for me. It’s simple and pretty with bright pops of colored flowers throughout and has just the pages you need without a lot of extra printing of pages that you don’t need. It’s available through pdf download and printable. I designed it to be used with up to 6 children but if you need it for more, you can print extra pages to meet your need. The planner costs just $4.99 and is still available for the 2014/2015 school year. It has certainly become a favorite homeschool thing.



 Favorite Homeschool Grammar Help

Favorite Homeschool Grammar Help A Sentence a Day is a book that helps reinforce knowledge of grammar. Through daily proofreading exercises these sentences are designed to help kids to catch common mistakes that are made in writing. Using these proofreading sentences is a great way to test what your children really know about how grammar is used in the writing process. These sentences are for older middle school students to early junior high students. Or, for kids who are advanced learners. These sentence proofreading practices are one of my son’s favorite homeschool things.



 Favorite Homeschool Art Curriculum

A Simple Start in Chalk PasHomeschool Favorite Things, Chalk Pastel Art Lessonstels, instructional art series for homeschoolers. Tricia Hodges, homeschool mom and blogger, along with Nana (grandma) have put together a wonderful series of art lessons through ebooks, video tutorials and even a few how-to guides on their blog. Art Pastel Chalks are easy to use, forgiving of mistakes and with just a few strokes of the chalks, rubs with the fists and a little guidance from Nana, students of all ages and skill levels can make beautiful pieces of art. It won’t be long before you will be chalking along with the kids and discover that you have a hidden skill for art. It will quickly become one of your favorite homeschool things. With eBooks for every season and some fun guides as well, (like At the Beach and Sharks), your kids will be asking, “Mom, can we chalk today?” It’s a favorite of mine and a favorite of my son’s as well!

Favorite Homeschool Music Curriculum

Favorite Homeschool Music Curriculum SQUILT

SQUILT Music Appreciation Curriculum for homeschoolers. Mary Prather, homeschool mom, blogger and music enthusiast has put together a dynamic music appreciation course for elementary to middle school students. SQUILT stands for Super Quiet Uninterrupted Listening Time and guides your students to understand the dynamics, instrumentation and rhythm of music coupled with a study of the composers who wrote the pieces. Mary has thoughtfully made use of notebooking as a way to help students to become familiar with beautiful pieces of music. My son loves the “Draw What You Hear” notebooking page because it allows 2 of his passions to collide, art and music. He loves both so for him that page is the best! Three eBook volumes are available for $9.99 each or you can bundle all three for $26.99.


What are your favorite homeschool  things? Share some of yours in comments.


Renée (18 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.

A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***3 FREE Complete Drawing Lessons from the SEE THE LIGHT 9 DVD/36 lesson ART CLASS curriculum that is used by many homeschooling families. Recommended for ages 6 + +***

Three MORE Truths Every New Homeschool Mom Should Know

Last week, I told you about three Homeschool Truths I’ve learned in my six years of homeschooling. Now I want to share three more Homeschool Truths that, had I really known them at the time, would have helped me tremendously when I first started homeschooling:

Three more truths for homeschool moms. The encouragement in this article is amazing!

1) It’s important to offer grace liberally.

You’re going to be making a lot of changes. So will your kids and your husband. While this isn’t an excuse to allow tempers flare or to let the house become a continual state of chaos, it is a reason to extend grace as all of you learn to adjust to the new norm.

Don’t just stop at offering grace to those within your home, though. Chances are that friends and relatives are going to have a ton of questions and concerns about your decision to homeschool.

Answer their questions lovingly and with kindness, but if others won’t relent, simply state, “I understand that you want what’s best for my children. My husband and I want that as well.” Then change the subject and ask how they’re doing. If they still won’t ease up, politely end the conversation and walk away.

2) The first year of homeschooling will be one of your absolute hardest years.

I heard this advice before I started homeschooling. So I decided to start homeschooling when my oldest daughter was four because I assumed that preschool surely couldn’t be very difficult!

I’ve since learned the first year isn’t difficult because of the schoolwork itself. Not at all. For me, that first year was difficult because selfish behaviors I didn’t even realize I had were ripped right out from under me. I was left flailing around, desperately trying not to fall flat on my back.

I also had to work through deep fears that I was going to screw up my children, regardless of that fact that, statistically, homeschool kids consistently outperform their public-school peers academically, socially, and spiritually.

And I needed to learn how to schedule my time and manage my home while still teaching school (I failed miserably in this area; my house was a complete disaster for quite a while).

Encouragement for new homeschool moms - you will get the hang of this!

The good news is that it does get easier and you will find a groove as you become more confident, so don’t give up!

3) It’s important to find support!

If my father-in-law hadn’t given me a little pamphlet he’d seen about a local homeschool support group, I don’t know how I would have survived that first year.

I called the number listed and cried hard as I blubbered to the poor soul on the other end about how stressed out and overwhelmed I was.

I vaguely remember hearing something like, “Oh, she’s in preschool? It’ll be okay, I promise. You can do this. Why don’t you join us for an event next week?”

Bless that woman’s heart, she was so nice and gentle and didn’t tell me I was insane for sobbing over preschool work! I nervously drove to the activity and was immediately put at ease by the wonderful people of all ages who welcomed us into their hearts.

A few of my closest friends are also women I met at various homeschool events. We’ve bonded over stories of homeschool struggles and successes. That support from someone who understands has been invaluable and, as a wonderful bonus, our children have become best friends as well!

And now, beginning our sixth year of homeschooling? I love the fruit and I can’t imagine doing anything else.

“For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV)

What would you add to this list of encouraging truths that every homeschool mom should know?

{PS Don’t forget to read three other Truths for new homeschool moms here.}

Davonne (9 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”

A Word From Our Sponsors

Homeschool Products from Nest Learning
***3 FREE Complete Drawing Lessons from the SEE THE LIGHT 9 DVD/36 lesson ART CLASS curriculum that is used by many homeschooling families. Recommended for ages 6 + +***