Surprise! Today is the very first episode of bonus episodes I will be sharing! Every rare once-in-a-while, I will put out a Bonus Episode that was just too good to wait. Or it could be a message that I really had on my heart for you guys. In this episode, I am sharing all about homeschooling - how it works for us, the curriculum we are using, our typical schedule, and what I think about it. I know it is really helpful to see how other people do things, so I hope this episode helps you, encourages you, and maybe even inspires you to think outside of the box.
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Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.
Hey friends! This is a bonus episode and it is the first bonus ever. Bonus episodes come about because I either came up with an idea for an episode, or I was asked a question a billion times and I really wanted to answer it for you. But because of our planning, editorial calendar, the backend schedule of the podcast and the business, sometimes episodes will not be able to be completed for months in advance.
We do have to plan in advance with guest episodes and the whole team working to get this podcast produced a couple of times every week. Sometimes it is just too long to wait. I don’t want to have a question that really needs to be answered. You guys might be really asking about something and I really want to help you. I might have it recorded but it isn’t scheduled to come out until June. That’s really hard for me, so every rare once-in-a-while, I will put out a Bonus Episode that was just too good to wait. Or it could be a message that I really had on my heart for you guys.
This one is one that is too good to wait. It is getting asked about constantly. I am so happy to finally be recording it. It’s all about our homeschool.
As you guys probably know, we have homeschooled off and on for forever. Last school year (fall 2017) we put our kids in public school because the business was growing so much. It was super high maintenance. Brian and I were both feeling really torn between all of these hours to get the business up and running and also homeschooling.
Homeschooling was falling by the wayside. It wasn’t what we wanted for our kids education. We couldn’t balance work and homeschooling at the level the business was functioning. There was nothing we could do – get up early, stay up late. We could have done that, but it wasn’t sustainable. We didn’t want to live our lives like that, barely sleeping in order to do it all. That was just not what we wanted.
The plan was to put the kids in public school for one school year. Get the business up and running a little bit better. Hire some new people. Delegate some new tasks. Get it to the point where we can both just work a few hours a week. Then get the kids back home for homeschooling.
We prayed and felt really good about it. Made the decision. Put them in. They got into a great school and had great teachers.
After just one semester, we had hired 6 or 7 new people and we were feeling so amazing about how the business was running. Brian and I were working just a few hours a week. We had a really good rhythm.
Between all the different drop off and pickup times of the kids in school, it was feeling really stressful. It kind of backfired and ended up feeling like “Well, now this is actually less helpful.” When winter break came, we pulled the kids out of public school and brought them back home much earlier than we had planned, which was such a huge blessing.
When people saw that was going on, I got a lot of questions about homeschooling. How was it going? What were we using? How does it look for you? I wanted to wait and dive into the new curriculum and see how I liked it. I had never tried it before. It’s new for us.
And I wanted to find our rhythm. It’s been a while since we had a house, normal life, home-base, normal schedule, running the business, and homeschooling because we did the camper-living thing. We explored the U.S. for a while. We were very mobile.
Then we lived temporarily in our apartment while we waited for a house. Now that everything is “deep breath” settled and normal, it feels so good. I am ready to open the curtain and show you guys the inner workings of our homeschool. I hope this is helpful.
Before we dive in you need to know that my daughter, Bella, is the oldest. She is in 3rd grade. She was held back when she went into public school, just because with homeschooling you never really know what grade your kid is in unless you do a very traditional homeschooling, which we did not.
They did test her and she fell in between, so they decided to hold her back to 2nd grade. I asked them to. Being new to school, I would rather her be way ahead than really struggling, and just having an awful year. It worked out really well and she basically was doing 2nd grade in public school.
Now at home she is doing mostly 3rd grade and just struggling a little bit in a couple of subjects, where she does 2nd grade curriculum. She is in a weird, limbo, in-between place with grades.
Leland is in 1st grade. Hudson is in kindergarten. Emmett is 3 ½ and in preschool.
We do homeschool all four of them. Emmett is very fluid. He is just busy working on his fine motor skills while I work with the other kids. It is very fluid and simple. It’s not a big deal. We don’t even have a schedule for him. We just have a preschool curriculum for him that is from the same homeschool curriculum we use for everyone else. We just work through it as we can with him.
The curriculum that we are using is called The Good and The Beautiful by Jennie Phillips. She is amazing. The curriculum is incredible. I was very nervous ordering new curriculum. I have tried something new every single year and I want to say that next school year will be the first year that we use the same curriculum twice in a row. I finally feel like I have found something that I absolutely love.
The Good and The Beautiful is a Christian curriculum, but I love that it is not overly religious. It’s not really crazy or heavy-handed. The regular lesson is there. The history. The literature lesson is there. It is all educational but weaves in our faith in a seamless, unforced, beautiful way and I love that.
A bit of background for a side note. I actually grew up going to a Christian private school. While there were definitely some pros about that, there was also some huge cons. I have a hard time with overly religious-based curriculum and things like that.
The church we go to is very much not that way. It’s Jesus, the love of Jesus, and the way He was here on Earth giving an example of how to live. It’s very God-centered, and people serving. That’s what I believe.
I have a hard time when things are very rules-based, the law, overly religious. That’s what I have found with a lot of Christian curriculum. I really, really like this one because of that.
Please don’t be offended by what I am saying. This is just what works for us and how we are. I am just trying to give the reasons I like this curriculum in case there is someone out there who would like to try it because of the way I described it. If this turns you off or you don’t like it, don’t get the curriculum.
What I also love about the curriculum is that it is laid out in a minimalist way. That’s one of the things that really turned me on to this curriculum. I have a good friend, Jessie, and I really admire the way she homeschools. I met her when we lived in Arkansas. She recommended this curriculum to me. When I went to check out the website, there were videos that described the curriculum. It was basically saying that you go from this huge stack of curriculum, all these different topics and subjects, and huge books for each one, all the way down to this condensed little pile of books. I couldn’t believe it.
When I ordered the curriculum, I found it was so true. Language Arts includes grammar, spelling and all of those things in one book. The way they have it laid out is so streamlined. I feel like a lot of the other curricula is very pricey and they feel the need to “bulk it up” and add “fluff.” This curriculum does not subscribe to that at all. It is really the perfect fit for our schooling style and our family.
I feel like I have never had such a small amount of curriculum but felt like there is so much depth in the content. I absolutely love it.
When I was outlining this episode, I had written down to go over the pros and cons of the curriculum that we are using. I honestly sat for a solid ten minutes to think about what I did not like about this curriculum. And I came up empty. There is nothing that I don’t like. I love this curriculum. I am definitely going to use it again next school year. If I ever do try something else, it will probably be out of curiosity and not because I don’t like this curriculum. I am so impressed with it. I absolutely love it and recommend it for sure.
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Having said that, let’s get into our schedule to show what we do in terms of our day. We do a pretty typical 5-day, Monday thru Friday school schedule, but we are just really flexible. Sometimes, I will skip a day and do some school on the weekend morning instead. We just go as needed.
This week we are going to Disneyland and we are not going to do school one day. We will probably do school on Saturday morning over breakfast instead. We did that a couple of weekends ago too. Sometimes it’s just needed.
We do school usually in the afternoon. I don’t work every single day, but there are a couple of mornings that are set aside for work blocks. If it’s a work morning, I will work and the kids will either read or do their own solo school stuff. Or they will play outside or go somewhere with Brian if he is not working that morning. Mornings are usually for work, errands, relaxing, and starting the day slowly. Just hanging out together. Taking care of the house. We usually do school in the afternoons.
Sometimes if I am doing some work, Brian will start his subjects for school. Fridays are my meeting days. By the time it is afternoon and I am done with my meetings, I can do my subjects and then we are done for the day.
He does science and history. I tend to take over Language Arts. We both share the load of the other subjects too. We take turns with math, because we both prefer to not do math. It’s not like Brian or I always do the same subjects. We share the load. Typically, that is what happens.
Doing school in the afternoon was a fun shift for us. It made the mornings great. I still get up early and have my morning ritual. But it is not because I am rushing into homeschooling or starting the day. It’s because I want to start the day out strong. Having a really slow morning with my family has been so great. Sometimes I will grab my laptop and write my email for that week. Or catch up on social media comments while I am sitting on the couch and the kids are playing Legos. We are together and it’s a quiet, slow start.
Friday is the only morning of the week that is a little crazy for me, since that is “meeting day”. I do them back-to-back to get them “batched” and out of the way. The kids’ morning is no different. It’s just really neat giving ourselves that space to start in the afternoon. It has been really nice.
We do our morning thing each day. Then we have lunch and “veg out” for a half hour or so and rest together. Then usually around 12:30 or 1:00 we will start school and we are done by 4:00 or 4:30. We take a lot of breaks. It just depends on the day and how everyone is doing.
None of my kids are really napping anymore and I haven’t found that doing school in the afternoon has been affected by a lack of energy, needing to nap, or being hungry and ready for dinner.
I think if my kids were a little younger I wouldn’t be able to do school in the afternoons. I really like doing afternoon school. It works really well for us.
There are days where we might do school in the morning if they want free time or want to do something else in the afternoon. Again, we are very, very flexible. It is one of those things where people ask what your typical day looks like and it is hard to answer because there really is not a lot of typical days. But I would say that’s what our typical day looks like.
Sometimes there are days where nothing seems to be working. People are cranky. I’m not feeling it; no one is feeling it. It is just not working. Then we take breaks. Sometimes we stop altogether and just have a catch-up day when we are more refreshed.
But sometimes it is better to push through and just sense when everyone needs to suck it up, have a drink of water, take a 5-minute break on the trampoline, and then come back and push through and finish school. I know when it is time for that and when it is time to call it a day and not finish. Just go and be separate and have a good family day. Not yell and lose your cool and ruin school for the day. Then come back tomorrow, even if it is a Saturday or Sunday, when you are more refreshed and finish that math sheet or whatever.
If things aren’t working change how things work all together. Maybe getting up earlier to start your day off better. Ask yourself, “What isn’t working and why? Change the way you are doing school altogether. For us, it was starting school in the afternoon instead of pushing it in the morning.
I was trying to do everything in the morning. I would get up really early and get a couple of work tasks done. Dive into school in the morning and be done by lunchtime. It just wasn’t working. I gave myself that space, gave my family that breathing room, gave ourselves permission to do something a little bit out of the ordinary. Just saying, “you know what? We are going to try something different and start school in the afternoon.” It really lightened the load and freed us up and the whole family seemed to take to it better.
That’s a look into how our homeschool works, the curriculum we are using, and what I think about it. And how our typical schedule works. I know it is really helpful to see how other people do things, so I hope that helped you and encouraged you. Maybe inspired you to think outside of the box.
Definitely look into that curriculum. I will link it in show notes for you for sure. Alliecasazza.com/shownotes/bonus1
I hope that was helpful for you guys. Thank you for caring for our family, our life, how things work for us, and asking questions that lead to episodes like this. I love it!
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you. I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!