I am super pleased with myself ( if I may write/say so lol) because we are half way through the month of January and I have managed to read two books so far. This really never happens! I really want this year to concentrate a bit more on my blog too and write more reviews on here rather than Instagram.
One of my January reads was Homeschool Bravely by Jamie Erikson.
” Quiet the voices of “not good enough” and step courageously into guilt-free homeschooling
Many homeschool parents have a long-term relationship with self-doubt. “Did I make the right decision?” “Could someone else do this better?” “Am I robbing my kids of something by not sending them to ‘regular school’?”
What if there’s a better way?
Not a 3-step technique or a shiny, new curriculum, but a change in perspective that transforms the way you plan, teach, and homeschool?
Homeschool Bravely teaches you to see homeschooling as a calling, helps you overthrow the tyranny of impossible expectations, and guides you through the common bumps in the road, including how to:
- juggle school and parenting with toddlers at home
- teach a struggling learner
- plan with the end in mind
- accept your own limitations without feeling guilty
- stay the course even in the face of criticism
Reclaim your hope, renew your purpose, and transform your homeschool. Because the truth is: God will use every part of your homeschool, even your fears, faults, and failures, to weave good plans for your kids. “
“Jamie Erikson taught elementary school before becoming a mother . When her first child turned five, she made the decision to homeschool her daughter. Four more children followed and she homeschools all five. Jamie is the founder of the Unlikely Homeschool and a popular education blogger. “
One of the first things , I want to mention is that this is Christian homeschooling guide. If you are not a follower of the Christian faith ( such as myself), but believe in God, you will find quite a lot of similarities and in my opinion find the book useful. There were a few pages here and there that I skipped as I did not find them applicable. If you are a secular homeschooler, I think it is really important to know that there are scripture references throughout the book and mentioning of God, as Jamie Erickson weaves her faith through every aspect of homeschooling that she addresses
Having said all of that , let’s start with the review. “Homeschool Bravely” is divided into three Parts
Part 1- The Fear ” Fear will be a threat whenever you set out to pursue a desire that means something to you. ” Emily Freeman.
I really enjoyed this part. Jamie gives her wisdom on how to have anxiety free homeschool. Let’s face it, whether you are new to homeschooling or have been homeschooling for many years, we are all prone to fears and worries , in regards to whether we are failing our children by taking this unconventional and less trodden path- Home Schooling. Jamie reminds us that ” the real challenge is finding your own vision and passion and then firmly grabbing hold so the shaky days don’t break you !”
I really loved reading the chapter “Watch your own Dice “. Jamie writes beautifully on the dangers of social-media-fueled pressure , that can feel particularly pronounced in the realm of homeschooling and the danger of comparison.
” When you begin to homeschool, you might start out rolling your own dice with intensity, but then you get distracted and take your eyes off whats right in front of you. You look at how everyone else is homeschooling- you see their picturesque success and assume that if you just followed their magic formula, your homeschool would turn out exactly like theirs. You invest in yet another pricey new curricculum you can’t afford beacuse that one blog post has you beliveing the shlevs of books you already own just wont cut it… My homeschool is not supposed to look like yours and yours isnt supposed to look like mine .”
Part 2 – The Struggle
” For every little part of your child’s lifeyou try to own and fix for them , you are taking away something from the work snf worth of God in their lives ” September Mccarthy
I found this part really very useful and practical. Erikson looks at the importance if establishing routines for your family, how to foster togetherness and encourage personal responsibility in your children Her Chapter ” Struggling to teach a struggler ” would be really beneficial for anyone who has a struggling learner ( whether they are home educated or not ) . She reminds us that ” Education is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Just keep moving forward ” I enjoyed the section on documenting improvement through recorded reading and on the importance of including other non traditional passion driven extras in our homeschools, and not just concentrating on the the 3 Rs- going beyond Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic.
I absolutely loved the chapter on ” Little People and Big Messes “- lots of advice in there on how to include your toddler in your homeschool and how to create a Tot School . Jamie gives lots of Handwork activities for your toddler depending on how old they are. The activities are split in ages 1-2, 2-3,3-4,4-5. She reminds us once again that the toddler years are temporary and to remember that ” homeschool means everyone in the home plays a special part in the grand plan. “
We all know how difficult it can be to homeschool your older children , when you have a toddler in the mix, who also craves your attention all the times and has his needs and wants. Jamie emphasises that during this struggle-filled season , parents should consider trying a more interest led education , through strewing or project based learning. She gives a great list of simple ideas and activities that you can suggest to your child in order to sneak learning into even the craziest of days.
Part 3 -The Solution
“Our society has made an idol of getting things done, making that our top cultural priority. But instead of asking , “Am I doing enough ?” why not ask , ” Am I doing what’s mine ?”
In this Part, Jamie reminds us that truly the world is our classroom and we should not restrict our children’s work only in the homeschool room ( if you have one ), because “a classroom can inadvertently shape a lazy learner. If his learning always happens in a certain space , as a certain time , and with certain tools, your child will begin to think that learning can only ever happen that way. “
Jamie also gives ten discussion questions for any book , that you can have with your child. One of my favourite parts of this book was the chapter ” It’s Homeschool, Not Homeschool at Home. Erickson reminds that by fastening your success to your children’s , you are giving yourself far too much credit and far too much blame. ” In assuming, you are the key ingredient in the recipe for success , you are implying that you have to be an expert at absolutely everything in order to impart all of that everything to your child,lest he end up with an irreparable gap in his education “.
At the end of the book, there are two Appendices -Appendix A will be brilliant for anyone who is considering home education . Jamie includes over 15 questions to ask before you start homeschooling. In Appendix B, there is a list of homeschool book recommendations for further reading. As Charlotte Mason wrote : ” education is an atmosphere, discipline and life”. As with any vocational calling, to homeschool well, you need to engross yourself in it, ” continually learning, honing your craft, and gathering the necessary tool to help you build a sturdy foundation. “
The book also contains lots of uplifting quotes from other inspirational homeschooling authors and bloggers such as Pam Barnhill, Jamie Martin, Jessica Smart, Julie Bogart and many more. Overall, ” Homeschool Bravely is encouraging, uplifting and inspiring. It is like sitting down with a homeschooling friend and having share her wisdom and courage to you as you visit. As Jessica Smart says: “the books is brimming with fresh, doable ideas to transform bad days, occupy toddlers and refresh your mama soul!””
“Homeschool Bravely ” by Jamie Erickson can be bought from Amazon- https://amzn.to/2FSwdEM ( affiliated link)