After three years of homeschooling, our home is in need of some serious retooling. My older children are ready to begin digging into subjects and have widely divergent skills and abilities that they both need me to help them facilitate. The younger two are not preschool age and ready to join in the learning. The house is overflowing with everyone’s things and somehow all the chores, cooking and other things still need to get done too. My original joy in homeschooling has somehow been replaced with exhaustion and burnout.
So, when I received the opportunity to review the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course from Successful Homeschooling Made Easy, the name alone was enough to make me pause and wonder if it could make our home and our days run more smoothly. I knew for sure that I wanted to find out.
Description of the Course
Successful Homeschooling Made Easy is a 26 week course for a homeschooling parent. The author, Stephanie Walmsley, created this course to guide new homeschoolers into homeschooling with confidence and for them to get a successful start to their first year homeschooling. However, if you’re like me and needing fresh start, due to changing life circumstances or burnout, this is also a great product for you to try out.
Each week, you’ll receive an email from Successful Homeschooling Made Easy that contains a link to download a PDF lesson. These lessons are easy to save onto your computer and to print out for your personal use.
Each lesson has teaching from Walmsley, some suggestions for you to incorporate into your homeschool and an assignment of two or three things that you should do between reading the lesson and the next week’s lesson. These things build on each other as the weeks pass.
The first week begins with some calm reassurance. As homeschool moms, we’re prone to worry. When we first start teaching our four year olds, we begin to worry, “Will I ever be able to teach him calculus? Will he be able to get into college? Am I ruining his life?” These are thoughts that run through every homeschooling mom’s mind from time to time. Don’t worry if you have them. However, as Walmsley says, the first thing to do is to get started, focus on this week with your child, and then allow those worries to take care of themselves over time.
She does get you started from the very first day with homeschooling. She has you answer some questions and use them to create a simple schedule with just a few items on it. She concentrates on an easy way to get you started with English through what she calls literacy hour. The next week, you begin to work through a daily numeracy hour in addition to your literacy hour.
In subsequent lessons, Walmsley gives you insight from other moms who have made the transition from school to home, begins helping you to lay the foundation for what your vision of homeschooling looks like and what’s important for you, helps you to take care of yourself, and takes those ideas to begin to help you build what your family’s homeschool will look like.
Several times throughout the early weeks, you’ll cover topics that don’t seem to be related to your homeschooling efforts. This is because, according to Walmsley, you’re fireproofing your homeschool. When the going gets tough in your home, you need to know why you’re homeschooling, what you want to pass on to your children and what you personally want to accomplish. Keeping sight of the bigger picture is what will help you to stay the course. Walmsley helps you to fill in the details so that you can know how to put your vision into words, and take those words to create practical action.
How I Used This Course
Because I’m not a new homeschooler, and because I do a lot product reviews, I didn’t simplify my schedule as much as you would if you’re a completely new homeschooler or if you’re looking for a complete retool of your homeschooling. However, as well as I could make it work into my reality, I simplified.
I also completed all of the question and answer reflection assignments, and I completed a few pieces of recommended reading. I’m not ashamed to admit that I stalk my email inbox on Tuesdays (the day I receive my lesson) waiting to receive the next lesson.
My Thoughts On This Course
I really love this course. Because of the techniques I’ve implemented in this course, my five year old and I had a conversation this afternoon (started by him!) on whether or not the first movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” sounds sad.
We’ve also eagerly embraced the literacy hour. If I forget to have literacy hour, I am quickly reminded by the children that it’s an important part of our day. We now have special times set aside just for art and for Pinterest crafts. Those give us something to look forward to and help us to work through the times that don’t seem as fun. I’ve also worked harder on being focused with the children in the time that we’re together and working together.
There’s several times near the beginning that Walmsley says that what we’re adding to our schedule is so easy that it feels like it’s cheating. However, it is not cheating. Everything you add into your schedule is meaningful and well-thought out. Everything, no matter how easy, has purpose to it.
She takes the time, before you ever begin considering curriculum and educational styles, to have you lay some foundational questions and answers down about your homeschool. If you don’t know what your ultimate goal is and what’s really important to you, then your homeschool is going to be blown around by all your worries and concerns, comparisons to your friends’ curriculum choices, and every new idea that comes along. I loved this about the course because I needed the reminder of what is actually important to be as a home educator and as a parent.
I loved the incremental way that everything built on each other. You don’t change everything all at once. Rather, you start with one thing and build more in weekly increments. You get the chance to practice using the new thing before she gives you the next thing to do. This is perfect for the new homeschooler. If you want to start, but you’re overwhelmed with how to homeschool, this is a great option for you because you’ll slowly add in each piece of your school week, one thing at a time.
For that purpose, I love the fact that this course is a once a week course. If I had access to all 26 weeks at once, I would have already read through the whole course, and I wouldn’t have ever taken the time to actually implement anything at all because I would have wanted to make major changes all at once. That’s disastrous when you need to make major changes. The one lesson a week format is manageable and not overwhelming, and leaves you always wanting more.
At this point, I’ve received 9 of the 26 lessons, and I look forward to receiving them in my inbox each week because I know that they’re going to be full of encouragement and practical help for our homeschool. They’ve allowed me to breathe some life back into our homeschool and adjust some of the things I was doing to where I’m not as stressed out at the end of each day. Homeschooling is starting to take it’s place in my life as one of the things that I enjoy again, and as I find my enjoyment in it, the children are starting to relax and enjoy it as well. If you’re a new homeschooler or have a homeschool in need of a major overhaul, I can’t recommend enough this gentle and relaxed introduction to homeschooling your children.