Fun-Schooling Pep Talk! (Part 2)

I ended my last blog post telling you that after 16 years of motherhood and trying lots of different homeschool methodologies, I quit.

What did I quit?

I quit dipping my toes in the shallow water while my children called to me from the deep end where they knew best what made them sink or float and I learned to trust.

I had tried a little bit of so many different things and nothing added up, it was all too hard, too much, too soon, and I tried. I thought I had failed and yet they thrived because everything I thought would never be enough added up to so much more that I could ever understand. And they were brave, and they were curious, and they were hungry to learn about this planet we call home, and I never thought I could ever give enough, but all I have is all God gave me… And it’s plenty.

But what about the mess, the stress, the fears, the changes that I struggled with in the dark, while my children were playing in the light? I was trying so hard to do it all, and so many voices from the outside spat out worries, saying I’m not enough. But I was enough.

These are the children entrusted to me, and this is the place we are in, and these are the tools, the ideas and the passions we share. And my children will not be like any others, they are not even a bit like each other, but they are the ones that I have been given to love.

So after 16 years of struggle, of reading mountains of books on dyslexia, Unschooling, Charlotte Mason, Classical Education, Autism, Delight-Directed learning, Montessori, Free Schools, conventional education, one room school house models, entrepreneur-based learning, passion driven learning, element, flow, talent and disability… I tried to put it all together, and glean the best of every world, and customize every child’s education based on their learning style, love language, career goals and special needs. And I wore myself out. Until I gave up trying to do it all, and created the first Do-it-Yourself Homeschooling Journal, just in time for the birth of my 10th baby.

I created the journal from a place of pain, discouragement, need, and hope. I had given up the idea that I could custom design each child’s curriculum and decided to find a way to set them free to “Do-it-Yourself” within the boundaries of all the wisdom I had embraced over the years. When I created the first DIY Fun-Schooling Journal I thought I was cheating my kids, because my whole plan was to make a curriculum that set ME FREE from having to homeschool! I was going to put my entire philosophy of how children learn into a journal that would keep them busy learning for 4 hours a day for 60 days… So I could take a break for 6 weeks with my new baby. It worked.

They used my system to study their passions and cover all the basics while I took care of my baby and enjoyed her to the fullest. The DIY system worked so well I was able to focus more and more on being mommy and less on stressing over Homeschooling. So when the 6 weeks were over, we didn’t stop Fun-Schooling. My children wanted more DIY Homeschooling Journals, but they wanted to help design them, and so we did.

And now we are overwhelming YOU, with so many options for homeschooling that maybe you are smiling through your tears cause you have no clue what to do, and you want to dive in deep but it’s still scary. So you wonder how to start, and you haven’t read the 200 books I read that inspired me to design this system of learning, and you wonder if you should trust, try it or keep experimenting. Something in you says go all the way, and other voices say it isn’t safe, so what are you gonna do?

Is there a way to homeschool without fear? No. I don’t think so. It’s the fear that motivates us to be brave. It’s not the kind of fear that hurts us and binds up and traps us. It’s a feeling of greatness, wonder, power and depth that makes each of us feel so small…

Let that kind of fear stir up courage to do what you need to do, to be who you need to be, to dive in completely, and trust. It’s more fun in the deep end anyway. Just ask your kids.

Want to take it to the next level? Start your own Fun-Schooling co-op! Here’s the perfect book for you!

Fun-Schooling Pep Talk! (Part 1)

When you first started Fun-Schooling with Thinking Tree Books you were probably feeling kind of overwhelmed with all the options to choose from, not sure how to build a curriculum for your child. You just look at all these beautiful books and wonder what’s inside and wonder…

Will my child be able to embrace this style of learning?

Is it enough?

Is it okay for children to have fun and study what they love instead of staying on the tried and true educational path set years ago my the experts of yester-year?

Is it really okay that they are not learning all the sames things the grandparents studied in the 1950’s?

Can Fun-Schooling really provide a well rounded education when the whole point is for the child to dig deep into their specific passions and interests?

So many questions, fears, worries all mixed with the joy and wonder of discovering a way of learning that makes total sense!

So you dip in your toes, and maybe your child just gets it and is already diving into the deep end.

Or maybe you get it because you read Brave Learner and Unschooling Rules and The Unhurried Homeschooler and it all is the perfect fit for the homeschooling plan of your dreams… But your child has been so scarred by “kill and drill” learning methods that they resist EVERYTHING.

Or maybe you were so relaxed in the past, and gave your soul over to radical Unschooling, and now your child scoffs at your efforts to get more organized with Fun-Schooling… because they would rather play Fortnight, and doesn’t that matter anymore? They fuss and cry at ALL structure.

So we plan, we dream, we fight, we cry, and we let go, and then we hold on tight because that’s motherhood.

And all you know is that trying to be a teacher is no fun, because your child actually can not sit still, and you know in your heart your child was not created to sit still… Children need to be free within safe boundaries, to learn when curiosity sparks, to discover who they are, what love is, and to learn to think deeply, live passionately, to grow through the growing pains and to learn to navigate this Earth, with wisdom.

And so you balance freedom with responsibility.

You measure out the boundaries of purpose and pleasure.

You walk the path ever-changing, never knowing where this road will lead… because it’s full of wonder, and questions, and struggle, and newness, and growth. And just when you think you mastered the game, the rules change, the seasons change, the relationships change, and life happens…

And it’s oh so messy.

And you wonder how you could ever prepare a child for the unknown future of a changing world.

You study the child. You seek to understand their individual gifts, weaknesses, passions and learning styles. You adapt your strategy to their personality and everything keeps changing. And then they are gone.

Go ahead and cry, because this is every mother’s journey and even more so when you take on the great responsibility of giving your child an education that was dreamed up, just for them.

I hear you. I see you. I’m on this journey too.

And I hope that all that I have been through raising 15 vastly unique children, each with gifts and problems all their own, and dreams so diverse it’s enough to make you crazy. And somehow, after about 16 years of doing this Homeschooling Mom thing, I quit.

Come back soon for my next post, to find out what I did next!