If the beginning of your school year has been anything like the posts I’m seeing in parenting groups on Facebook, it has probably been mayhem at your house.
I’ve seen parents saying:
“At some point in the day, all of the kids in my Pod, who are following the school district’s schedule and curriculum, curled up in the fetal position. I saw one child on camera with tears streaming down her face.”
“At the end of the day, I was exhausted - both physically and emotionally. And then I had to catch up on the work I had missed.”
And while we are so incredibly grateful for the wonderful teachers who are doing their best trying to cram learning into each lesson, while also managing new tech challenges, being empathetic to our children, (and their own families!) during these unprecedented times...
And here’s the real kicker: what if, by being ‘in school,’ children are already falling behind their potential?
Developmental psychologists and veteran teachers know: it isn’t developmentally appropriate to have children sitting still (whether in a classroom or at home) for many, many hours a day. The pressure to perform well on standardized tests has become so great that it seems the only way to improve scores is to teach more, earlier.
We used to expect children to learn to read in first grade. While the timeline of children’s development hasn’t changed over the last 50 years, we now expect them to learn to read in Kindergarten.
And any parent of a five-year-old will tell you, they spend their lives in constant motion. But now we tell them to sit in a seat - and if they won’t (or can’t), we refer them for ‘special services’ and potentially even diagnoses.
We need to allow children to learn in the way that’s most appropriate for them. And for the vast majority of young children, that learning happens through movement, experimentation, constructing, and relationships.
And there’s no reason for it to take five or six hours a day. It would be far better to have a focused hour and then let them play for the rest of the day.
(And I can help you help them to play by themselves. For real.)
Raise your hand if you haven’t been on back-to-back Zoom calls for six hours at some point in the last six months.
(If you have your hand raised, now raise your other hand and give yourself a congratulatory high-five.)
And if you didn’t just high-five yourself, ask yourself this: how did YOU feel at the end of six hours of back-to-back Zoom calls?
Now imagine you’re 5 or 6 or 7 and you don’t have a fully developed prefrontal cortex (or the inhibitory, self-awareness, self-motivation, and self-regulation skills that come along with it) and ask how it might feel to be told to stare at a screen for six hours and learn about something that has no relevance to your life.
Screen time can absolutely have a place in children’s learning. It can be an amazing resource to find more information about topics that catch their attention (my six-year-old still remembers watching a video of cells dividing that she watched over and over again when she was 3). And there’s nothing wrong with even some passive screen time to keep them occupied while we get stuff done during this difficult period.
Quick: name a topic that currently fascinates your child.
In our house it’s the ocean, how the kidneys work, and the perennial favorite: dinosaurs.
When children get deep into a favored topic, there’s no stopping them.
Did you know that scientists divide the ocean into five different ‘layers,’ not the three commonly described in children’s books on the topic?
Or that the vast majority of liquid that filters through the kidneys is then returned to your blood?
Or that Dimetrodon, which often appears in books on dinosaurs, actually wasn’t a dinosaur at all but was more closely related to mammals and went extinct 40 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared?
I didn’t know those things either. My six-year-old taught them to me.
But she’s not just learning random facts. She’s also learning that when two sources of information give different ideas, we have to find a third source to see which is true (critical thinking).
She’s learning different places to find information, and how to evaluate the quality of that information (we learned about kidneys from one of my old college biology textbooks).
And she’s learning how to communicate her ideas about the facts and how she found them to others.
We need to teach our children the skills they will need to succeed in the future. Developmental psychologists already know that our schools are doing a great job of preparing our children for the jobs of 1953.
We need to teach our children how to collaborate, communicate, think critically, be creative, and innovate, in addition to how to memorize facts.
And it’s really hard to do those things on a Zoom call.
At the beginning of COVID lockdowns there was a spate of articles and blog posts trying to help parents get their children to pay attention to them, like they pay attention to their teachers.
Folks, there’s a reason children stay on-task in school.
There’s a teacher (whom they don’t know very well, and whom they probably fear just a little bit) at the front of the class. All the other kids are participating.
There are gold stickers to earn.
And there’s a behavior management chart on the wall and your child doesn’t want to end the day in the Red Zone, and earn the teacher’s disapproval and a side-eye from you.
And when your child isn’t in school, you become The Enforcer. You’re providing all the motivation that used to be provided by a teacher, peers, stickers, and a behavior management chart. (Are you starting to see why it’s been hard?)
When we support children in learning what interests them, rather than forcing them to follow a curriculum full of stuff that doesn’t interest them, it's like soaring along a jet stream instead of trying to stay safe under an umbrella in a category 5 hurricane.
This is what makes learning fun.
And when we do it this way they’ll not only learn the facts, they’ll learn the higher-order skills that will enable their success later on - even if they go back to school.
You don’t need (or even want) a Tim Ferriss-approved 4-hour work week.
✅ You just want to know that you’re supporting your child in actually enjoying learning and want to do more of it.
✅ You want to feel confident that your child isn’t "falling behind" when Grandma asks how reading is coming along.
✅ And you want to be sure your child will have the social skills they’ll need to succeed in work and friendships in the future.
✅ While all that’s happening, it would be nice to still have enough time and energy left to do your own work.
You want to wake up and have time to do your MommaStrong exercises before you take on your day, not get up at 4am so you can do your own work day before your child’s Zoom calls begin at 9am.
And at the end of the day you don’t want to have to be scraped off the floor like last night's creamed spinach that even the dog wouldn't eat - it would be nice to have enough energy left to engage in this mythical ‘self care’ thing everyone says is so important.
But what if learning didn’t have to be like this?
I had actually been planning to homeschool my daughter since she was about 3 (that’s us in the picture.)
I had visited Reggio Emilia, Italy to learn more about the preschool system that originated in that town. I became convinced that learning based on a child’s interests was the method best aligned with what scientific research says about the way children’s brains learn.
Then I started to wonder: what about school? I realized that interest-led learning doesn’t happen in 99% of traditional schools. The best way to give my daughter an education that prepares her for the future world she'll encounter while inspiring a love of learning would be to homeschool.
Along the way I got a Master’s of Education just to make sure I really did know what I was getting myself into. And if there’s one thing I can tell you that I learned from doing that Master’s of Education, it’s that you don’t need a Master’s of Education to teach your child.
When I started telling people that we planned to homeschool, they would always ask the same questions:
“Ohhhhhh....that’s nice. How are homeschooled children socialized?”
“What will you do all day?”
“Can homeschooled children get into college?”
I realized there were a number of parents who might consider homeschooling and who could benefit from knowing what scientific research says about it all. Right now parents are busier than ever and have no time to waste.
You want to know the educational approach you choose is grounded in research, and you want the high-level overview so you can decide what to do and how to do it ASAP.
So I created a course that does just that for you.
So here’s the real deal on homeschooling: it isn’t just an option because the other alternatives are too awful to keep doing.
It’s something that can actually be fun for our children and for us, and can benefit our children far more than the alternatives.
So, how do homeschoolers learn? Does it take 6 hours, workbooks and a Pinterest-perfect home 'classroom'? Do you need to spend 2 hours after they go to bed grading their work and preparing for the next day? NOPE!
Some homeschoolers do follow a curriculum, (mainly for the unexperienced parent to feel assured that the child is, in fact, learning) and in my course I will show you how to pick one. If and when the child resists this material just like the school curriculum, there's another option that's even supported by current research... Child-Led Learning.
These homeschoolers learn by...
"I loved The Confident Homeschooler course. Even though I am not new to homeschooling, I oftentimes still succumb to doubts and the “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s.”
The course without a doubt has helped me replant myself into what I know to be the right path for my family. I only wish it had been around sooner. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is contemplating homeschooling - it will transform the way you think about learning."
- Rachel D. 1 child, age 7
1: Shifting your perspective on learning for the next few months ($100 Value)
2: Curriculum-driven learning ($350 Value)
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A $1,825 Value Regular Price: $99
Back-To-School Special for the month of September, now only:
We’re at a unique point in the entire history of formal schooling right now.
At no other time has the idea of homeschooling been on the radar of so many parents. And then they’re jumping in and trying it!
These parents are finding something they didn’t expect to find:
Here's what some newly Confident Homeschoolers are saying:
Here's what some newly Confident Homeschoolers are saying:
I’m so convinced that The Confident Homeschooler will help you to decide whether homeschooling can really work for your family that I’ll give you The Totally Confident Guarantee.
If you watch the videos or read the transcripts (you could get through the core content in an evening or two, and come back to the deeper dive content as and when you need it) and based on the information in the course you simply can’t decide in the next 30 days whether or not homeschooling is right for you, I’ll give you your money back. All of it. No questions asked. All you have to do is send a quick email over to email@example.com and we’ll hit ‘undo’ on this whole ‘let’s make learning enjoyable in just an hour a day’ experiment.
I hear you! That’s why I took all the best bits of the long-form ‘How to decide whether homeschooling is right for you’ course that thousands of parents have taken over the last couple of years and distilled it so you can watch the core videos or read the transcripts in just an evening or two. But if you need it, there are also interviews with experts as well as conversations with over 20 homeschooling families.
And I’m not just going to toss those 20 interviews over to you and say “Enjoy!” - I edited them so you can hear just the most useful ideas the parents had to say about topics like socialization and what advice they would like to pass on to you, so you can listen in to exactly what you need. (One parent who has already taken the course reached out and told me this approach was “brilliant.”)
Funny thing is - I didn’t think I was either. I had gone through school; that approach was the only way I knew. I couldn’t imagine ‘being a teacher.’
But the awesome thing about homeschooling is that you don’t have to ‘be a teacher’ to do it.
I mean, you can, if you want to. You can pick a curriculum (in the course you’ll hear my interview with the expert who literally wrote the book on how to choose curricula) and I’ll give you some hints on how to get your child to do the work if you decide to take that approach.
But the real beauty of homeschooling comes in ditching the curriculum and following your child’s interests into deep learning that will build on and develop their passions.
Parents often wonder whether their child will suddenly refuse to do school work when they go back to school if you use this method of learning. Or if they’ll ever be able to study for a test, or write a paper or do anything they don’t want to do.
And the answer is: they certainly will, when they see the value of the goal at the other end. Then they’ll be all in.
There are a lot of variables here. You could certainly get a curriculum and complete the required number of pages each day and know that your child is ‘on track’ to reenter school when that’s possible (although you’re likely to face the problems we’ve already discussed with being The Enforcer).
We also have to consider that a lot of children are not going to be staying ‘on track’ this year, so the definitions of ‘on track’ and ‘behind’ are going to be very different than they are in normal years.
Finally, we should consider that by homeschooling, we have the opportunity to develop skills like confidence and critical thinking and creative innovation that they wouldn’t get even if they were in school, never mind on a Zoom call. So you could think of it as your child getting ‘ahead.’
Six modules of content, presented in short videos that you can binge-watch in an evening or two and get all the research-backed information. But if you need more...I got you!
You also get to hear from the person who wrote the book on how to choose homeschooling curricula to help you make your decision. You'll learn how to teach math from a master math tutor, in a way that makes it approachable even if you hate/'can't do' math. And you'll learn about unschooling from one of the master practitioners in the field. On top of this, you'll hear from families who are homeschooling and who want to share ideas about what they do all day, how they earn a living, and what advice they have for newbie homeschoolers. Watch just the videos and get what you need quickly, or dive deeper where you need more support. Choose the resources you need to feel confident in your decision!
If you said ‘yes’ to at least five of the eight points above, then I really can’t wait to meet you inside The Confident Homeschooler!
You’re totally committed to your child’s learning. You know that you can’t do the rest of the school year the way it’s started. You have your own life to lead as well.
If you’re tired of trying to figure out ‘how are we going to make this school thing work?’ and all the worry and fear that comes along with that, you need The Confident Homeschooler.
If you just want to make a decision fast, you need The Confident Homeschooler.
If you’re tired of trying to figure it out and you need to make a decision fast and to know it’s the right decision for your child and your family, you need The Confident Homeschooler.
If you’re ready, I’m ready. See you inside!