Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Review: Successful Homeschooling Made Easy

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I worked for a small company selling homeschool curriculum and resources. The owner of that company was a wise and experienced homeschool mom, and she loved to help new homeschoolers with their questions and concerns and curriculum choices. (She actually hired me so I could do some of the boring business stuff and she could focus more on helping people.) Many, many homeschoolers went from overwhelmed and fearful to encouraged and confident because of her counsel.

Every new homeschooler needs someone like that as they begin homeschooling, but not everyone has someone nearby to help. For those people, Stephanie Walmsley of Successful Homeschooling Made Easy has created an email course (titled the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course). This course is designed to help you figure out how to organize your days, choose curriculum, and still get the housework done from the moment you take your children out of school to homeschool them. Lessons are sent out weekly by email for six whole months. Each lesson includes an assignment to help you think through a certain aspect of homeschooling. It is recommended that you set aside some special time for yourself each week to work through the assignment.

"I just pulled my children out of school. What do I do now?"
I belong to a few Facebook homeschool support groups. Every once in a while, someone posts a question something like, "I just pulled my children from school. What do I do next?" Immediately, they are inundated with advice (sometimes conflicting) from fifty homeschoolers with varying levels of experience. The most common advice I see is, "De-school for a while to rediscover your children's interests and rebuild your relationships with them." While I agree with this advice, I realize at the same time that if I was in that situation, I would not have the confidence to follow it for more than a week or two. What do you mean, play games and read books together? Is it really okay to do no schoolwork at all during this time? Stephanie Walmsley takes this lack of confidence into consideration, and comes up with a brilliant plan in her very first lesson. She guides new homeschoolers through making a simple schedule or routine that will work for them, no matter what their style is, and has them include a time for two academic things only: literacy and math (the Three R's, in other words). Why is this so brilliant, you ask? Because she is giving you permission to relax while you figure things out, while at the same time giving you confidence that you are making progress in the basics. Add to this that she is helping you establish a good habit of daily work from the very beginning of your homeschooling journey.

Having laid a foundation for your homeschooling days, you now have the breathing room to ask and answer for yourself, one at a time, all the questions that need to be answered as you homeschool. The course guides you through this process, helping you work through:
Why am I homeschooling?
What do I hope to achieve by homeschooling?
How am I going to get everything done?
How will I keep from getting burnt out?
What homeschooling method will I choose for my family?
How will I choose my curriculum from the bewildering array of options available?
...and many more questions. These are just some of the issues you will begin to think about in just the first nine weeks of the course. (There are twenty-six weeks total.) Put together like this, the questions seem overwhelming, but since they are presented step by step from week to week, you will find you have the space not only to think these things through, but to begin to implement the answers you come up with.

Not Just for Newbies
Though I'm only in my second year of homeschooling, I consider myself a confident homeschooler. Having been homeschooled myself, and having had my hands on almost all of the curriculum choices available through my former job, I have already thought through many of the questions presented by this course. I know I am inexperienced, and I expect that I will learn as I go, and that I will adapt my methods as my circumstances change. However, I also believe I have found the basic educational philosophy and methods that I will stick to throughout my homeschooling career.

Having said that, I still found it helpful to work through this course (I worked through the first nine weeks for this review.). Sometimes we need a reminder of why we're doing this in the first place. It doesn't hurt to think things through once again, and it's always good to learn from the experience of those who have gone before. For that reason, I highly recommend the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course, not only to new homeschoolers, but also to those who have been homeschooling for a while. Particularly if you are feeling burnt out or less than confident in any area of homeschooling, you will be benefited by this course.

Stephanie Walmsley has other courses on her website as well, and having seen the quality of this one, I find myself quite curious about her Charlotte Mason Made Easy Course.

To see more reviews of the Successful Homeschooling Made Easy Course, click on the banner below: