Thursday, May 18, 2017

Getting Our Homeschool Back on Track with Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity {A TOS Review}

Homeschooling...It's a wonderful, wonderful thing. There are so many benefits of homeschooling. There are so many reasons I know I do not want my children in public school. Yet, there are still days I wonder if I am doing the right thing. There are days the children are driving me batty, and I wonder if public school would be a better option {gasp}. Yes, there are times when I am stressed, but I know this is the right path for our family, and thankfully my husband supports me 100%. When I learned of a new, online course called Homeschool Rescue from Only Passionate Curiosity, I wondered if it could help me get on track, maybe help me relieve the stress. However, I was ambivalent about receiving it because it would mean extra work, which I was afraid would make me more stressed. Ultimately, I figured, if the Lord thought I needed this course, I would get a chance to review it. And that is just what happened (obviously). 

Heather from Only Passionate Curiosity created Homeschool Rescue to help moms who might be feeling overwhelmed or inadequate. Personally, I love her idea to "breathe new life into your homeschool," and this is what I needed. The thing is, I needed to take a hard look at my homeschool, I had to acknowledge where I was falling short, and be willing to change. And I don't do well with change.

As I already mentioned, Homeschool Rescue is an online course. This course is broken into five different modules, each of which then has 3-5 lessons. These lessons start with a video of Heather teaching us, usually in the form of a voice over while important points come onto the screen. These videos are usually 20 minutes or less. Then she assigns homework, usually in the form of a worksheet, the link for which is found underneath the video.

She also includes resources, helpful links, and various bonuses. These bonuses aren't just found on the lesson pages either, she has included some bonuses that you can find by clicking on the "bonus" link at the top of the home page. Here you will find the link to the private, members-only Facebook group, where you can go to discuss the course with others who are taking it. She also includes student accountability checklists and ten different ultimate planners, all of which are printable. Speaking of printable, you can also print out the downloadable transcript, which is great if you are one who prefers to read the lesson material. In addition, there is an option to download just the audio of the lesson.

So, what exactly have I been learning?

The course starts with having you take an honest look into your homeschool. Heather calls this "triaging" your homeschool. I needed to think about such things as what I would change about our homeschool and what I struggle with. Everyone knows there are going to be some days that are worse than others. So, another thing we looked at was making a plan for those "worst" days. In this module Heather also wants us to look at our children and figure out their learning style, and the best way to teach them, in addition to looking into their future. We were also supposed to come up with a Homeschool Mission Statement.

I actually found myself struggling with these first assignments, and honestly would like to come back to them again and really dig into them. The ones I struggled with the most were coming up with a mission statement and coming up with goals for the children's future. I was able to sit down with the children and ask them what they thought they were good at, and what they thought they would like to be when they grow up, but I really need some time to talk with them and their daddy at the same time, and this is hard to come by with my husband's work schedule. I decided I needed to move on to module 2, and figured we could come back to these worksheets. Besides, what I really needed to get to was looking at time management and organization.

In lesson 1 of module 2, we are encouraged to say "no" to additional obligations. For me, this isn't very difficult, as I really don't have a lot of outside obligations. I teach Sunday School, we go to co-op (though it is over for this school year), we go to the Y (which isn't going to change), and I have my blog and various reviews. The Homeschool Review Crew is not something I feel I want to drop at this time, as we have definitely received some curriculum that have really rounded out our learning, but I have been trying to limit how many review products I receive. (However, if you saw the list of all the products we are currently reviewing, you will see that I haven't done a great job limiting them recently). My biggest problem with time management comes from not being able to say no to Facebook. Seems, no matter what little thing I get onto Facebook to do, I always end up distracted and sucked in. A close second would be not being able to stop playing games on my phone. You know, the whole, "just one more try" that turns into 15 or 20 minutes of wasted time. 

From there we moved on to a couple of lessons I really appreciated. In lesson 3: Teaching the Masses, Heather gave some great suggestions for keeping children busy, and teaching them to work independently. After listening to the lesson, I asked the children to fill out the assigned worksheet to figure out what they could do to stay productive when mommy was busy with one or more of their siblings. 

My husband and I helped the younger children come up with ideas as well. It's a good reminder that children can learn to be productive on their own, and shouldn't need a parent telling them what to do 24/7. But, I need to remember that it is up to me to train them, so they are able to do so. 

I am currently working on some suggestions given in lesson 4 of module 2. There are so many great suggestions for ways to work with multiple children, such as a buddy system, using timers, and adding in brain breaks. However, in order to implement some of these, our schedule is going to need quite a bit of modifying. 

I am looking forward to getting to Modules 3 and 4, but I want to finish figuring out a daily schedule that will work for us, utilizing the different suggestions mentioned above. Module 3 will be looking at curriculum and how to make sure we get to all our scheduled lessons, in addition to looking at our homeschool space. Module 4 will look at setting students up for success, which is something I really need help with. With children who do not listen, I am really in need of advice on reward systems, training children, and consequences. One of my biggest struggles has always been follow through.

Here is a glance at what is available in this course:

Homeschool Rescue is a really helpful course for getting your homeschool back on track. What I really appreciated was, although a 60-day course plan is provided, Heather is constantly reminding us to give ourselves grace and go at our own pace. In fact, at first I thought I was behind, because I was looking at this schedule, and then one of the emails she sent out told us to erase the word "behind" from our vocabulary. As a homeschool mom, Heather realizes that we lead busy lives. So, instead of the two or three lessons a week with the homework as shown on the schedule, I have decided to stick with a lesson a week, so I can take time with the homework and not feel stressed. I figure this will give me the time to complete the assignments thoroughly. My best time for working with the lessons is before the children wake up. Used to be I could work after they went to bed as well, but I have been so tired at nights lately. Guess my body is telling me I am not getting enough sleep. 

I have really appreciated being assigned to this review. Yes, the Lord knew I needed it. And yes, I have found some great ideas that I need to implement, and it has reminded me of some things we used to do, that I should start doing again, such as having children teach days, where the older two pick a younger sibling and teach them some lessons while I get other things done. 

If you are struggling with feelings of inadequacy or even thoughts of sending your kids to public school, I would highly suggest trying out this course to get your homeschool back on track, and do what is best for your child. And the great thing is, once you purchase this course, and take it, you have life-time access. How's that for awesomeness?

You can find Only Passionate Curiosity on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.

Don't forget to check out my fellow Crew Mates experience with Homeschool Rescue. Just click on the banner below:

Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}
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