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#264 Quick Guide to Homeschooling

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Hello, you are listening to Call the Homeschool episode #264 A Quick guide to Start Homeschooling.

Welcome back to another episode.

Hope you are doing well, maybe have some fun summer plans.

But we're going to dive in because I know I'm already getting people reaching out to me asking about how in the world do I start homeschooling.


So I do want to say start with that.

Eventually, I'm going to get my son on here who graduated this year.

I really want to have you hear his perspective.

And I love doing these interviews with my kids because you get to hear from their point of view what it was like growing up with me and having me as their teacher.


And different things we've done with levels of liberty and family meeting and how parenting has helped or hindered them.

Things they loved in our school, things that they wish we would have done differently.

So he has been traveling a lot and he's working full time right now, so our schedules have not aligned.


But I will try to get him on here sooner than later because he is planning on serving a mission for our church in the fall.

So making sure I get him on here before he leaves.

So that's going to be a lot of fun.

So look forward to that.

Hopefully next week I can get him on here.


But I want to talk today about a Quick guide to start home schooling.

So this is something that has been on my mind for a hot minute because I do have my full workbook 30 days to ease into homeschool and and you can still do that.

You can if you're in mama's members, you can just download it for free or you can go to my website and grab it there and download it.


I really love that.

But I wanted to give people a Quick guide of I want homeschool now what?

And I had somebody message me, I think on Instagram and just they were saying, Meg, like I don't have a lot of money, I can't afford this stuff.

Do you have anything that's free that just will help me?


And so I thought, yeah, here you go.

So I was already on my mind.

So I finished it and sent it to her.

And then I thought, I'm doing a podcast episode about this and then I'm doing a free download with it.

So anybody who is starting a homeschool, this is for you.

Or if you are saying my homeschools not running great and I need some help to really create this foundation piece, this is for you.


So all the people is who this is for.

So I'm going to kind of go over this document I'm made.

It's just called Homeschool Guide.

And the very first thing to do is if you are new to homeschooling is to check your state laws.


And I go to and you can look up your specific state of what is legally required of you to begin homeschooling in your state.

So in Utah you can just create a document, get it notarized, and go turn it into the district and say I'm homeschooling my kid and it is good forever.


And it's funny because I still get homeschooling.

What are they called?

Like homeschooling forms for my adult children.

And I thought, I'm pretty sure they are not being homeschooled.

And it's funny because my oldest one actually graduated from high school through a local charter school and then my kids who have their college degree actually you they're technically enrolled in a charter school that is for homeschoolers.


So I laughed that somehow it's not speaking to each other 'cause I still get is it an affidavit?

Is that what it's called?

I think I still get something for them.

But anyway, I'm just making sure your state laws.

I would not ask your local school district because they never really know the actual answers and they will tell you what they want it like want you to do.


And that's not always what is that you have to do.

So I remember when I was first pulling my kids out, the district wanted me to sign all this paperwork and I thought this, I'm not comfortable signing any of these things.

Like you will teach what we want you to teach.

You will do what we want you to do.

And luckily, I found this site years ago and they told me I did not have to do those things.


So that's a great site because some states require testing, some states require so many hours, so much reporting, and it'll tell you if your state's easier to homeschool in or a little bit more challenging.

And Utah's a fairly easy state to homeschool in.

So I know, I know New York is one of the harder ones.


Some states back East are a little bit more challenging to homeschool in, but still totally doable.

And then it gives you a great place to go.

So if you are a first time homeschooler, great time to check out those state laws.

Now, I do like to tell people, if you were pulling out of school to end on a high note, there's no reason to be angry at the school as you're leaving.


Like if you had a really nice teacher that you liked.

It's always so sweet to give them a gift basket or their favorite treat or something sweet.

Just saying thanks for helping me with my kids and their education experience.

Thank you for whatever was awesome about them.

I called my breakup basket.


I had to give one.

I didn't have to, but I did one for my orthodontist.

When I switched to orthodontist 'cause I just thought I found somebody who works better for my kid and their their dental needs.

And so as I was breaking up with this orthodontist, I showed up with this big awesome basket and I had breads and cute things and I was all decorated adorably and I gave it to them.


And so I like to when I am breaking up with somebody.

So maybe that's the schools for you.

I love doing a basket to just saying like this doesn't need to be a mean angry thing, but I love leaving on as good of terms as humanly possible.

So that is the first step.


So if you are already homeschooling, you can just skip to step #2.

So the next thing to do is build a strong Family Foundation.

So easy, right?

We're so easy.

We could all do it.

Because that's what I see that hinders a lot of people with being able to continue homeschooling or to homeschool and love it.


Because I know a lot of good people who homeschool and have even been homeschooling for a long time and they just don't love it.

Or it's really draining on them and it's because that family piece is just really not functioning.

So I'm going to spend a lot of time there of things to help you with your family.


Oh, I'm glad I just looked at this because there's huge typos.

So I'll be fixing that.

So most people worry about curriculum, but you cannot, no curriculum will fix a bad relationship with your child, right?

So it's not like this magical book you read with your kid.


Like all of a sudden you and your kid are going to respect each other.

No, you learn to respect each other and then books become magical.

You learn to speak kindly to each other.

And then artwork is beautiful, right?

And so you've got to do it in that order.

You'll always be fighting and trying to control with your kid.

So I homeschool philosophy is simple, it's heart habits at home and do those three things and you will create a dreamy homeschool.


So I have in here heart.

So studies show that when a child feels connected with you, they are more teachable, they want to be with you, they ask for your help, they trust you and they follow your lead.

So I like to talk about suggesting 4 things to be doing and four things to stop doing when you are trying to connect with a child and to connect with their heart.


And if you are familiar with well educated heart, I was inspired.

This heart piece is inspired from them.

A lot of what she's talking about too, with their hearts is the stories and the people.

But I'm actually talking about you and your kid and having their heart and knowing that they can trust you, they can rely on you, that you are safe and so that home school gets to be fun.


So here are the four things to do.

Be in control of yourself.

I can't say this enough because so often we are asking a six year old to manage their emotions because it is too hard for me as an adult woman to manage mine.

It doesn't work.


You got to be in control of you.

So think of it as being the first responder.

When something is going wrong, somebody spills, somebody breaks something, somebody doesn't do their school, you are a first responder.

And how does a first responder show up to an accident, right?

Can you imagine if a paramedic showed up and was like, Oh my gosh, there is blood everywhere, there is broken glass.


You guys, this is going to be such a pain, right?

Everybody would panic and it would make everything so much worse.

But when you can show up as a first responder of like, OK, we've got this, everything's going to be OK, we're going to figure this out.

My son was in a car accident.

Oh, geez, years ago because he's older now.


So right when he was 16, his first winter snowstorm slid into a minivan and totalled the minivan.

Totally T boned this minivan.

And the police officer that came was so, so sweet.

And he wasn't even trying to tell my kid like you're not in trouble.


Well, he wasn't in trouble, but like that, this isn't a big deal and that there are no consequences.

Like, yes, there's going to be consequences.

You just total the car.

But the cop was so sweet and he he was really nice and said, because my son was in a big diesel truck and he goes, buddy, I know that you were not speeding because this nobody people wouldn't be walking away from this accident.


So like you're just learning how to drive in the snow.

Now there were consequences to that.

And the insurance went up and we had to repair our truck and, and that their car was completely totaled, right?

And so there were natural consequences, but he didn't need it like driven in and, and like, what were you thinking?


And slow down?

Do you not know how to do these types of things?

And just instead those things like he did have to pay for his consequent like pay for his choices and, and pay for an accident, right?

But the cop was so, so sweet to him.

And so he took a hard situation and totally lightened it, right?


So you are going to be like that, a first responder.

So thinking of that, staying calm and in control of yourself.

And if you cannot walk away, then it is not the time to deal with it if you cannot stay calm.

So do your best to stay calm or walk away if you aren't able to.


The second thing to do is love your child.

Now you will say, Meg, I do love my kid.

Of course I love my kid.

I'm I'm homeschooling.

I want the best for them, yes, but I want you to completely love them.

Love them when they're being awesome and love them when they're being a Stinger and love them when the room is clean and love them when the room is dirty, right?


But like, love them.

Love the person and quit making your love conditional.

Well, I'll do nice things for you if you clean up after yourself.

I'll do nice things for you if you just do your school work, right?

Like knock that off.

Just love the kid unconditionally and you're going to look for the good that they do and tell them, right?


So quit focusing on these things they're not doing and focus on what they're doing, right?

Because most of the time, our kids are being good and they're doing awesome things, and then we get fixated on what they're not doing.

So love your kid.

And it's easier to do that as you look for the good and actually tell them what is good about them #3 is set your kid up to win.


And that is watching the environment in your home.

So change the environment and you can change your child's behavior.

So this may being going at a slower pace.

Lots of kids have so much stress now because we're just go, go, go, go, go do as many things as humanly possible.


And we're all these extracurricular activities.

And or maybe they're just sitting down and watching TV and being on a screen too much and they're not getting outside and they're not playing.

And so we, when we are in charge of this environment, that environment can help create the mood and the behavior that we want to see.


So if you think about this with a spa and a spa, their paint colors are very soothing.

There's always calm music playing.

The way the people talk to you, they are very intentional with the environment that they are trying to create.

Now think of the environment of a circus that you go and it is loud and is bright and people are laughing in the food that is there, right?


They are totally intentional with the type of environment that they are trying to create.

Have that same intentionality within your home of what is the mood you want to create?

What is the music going on in your home?

Is are there too much toys, too much clutter of just being really in mindful of the environment of your home.


And the fourth thing, ignore the stuff that doesn't matter.

We think so many things matter that do not.

And then we tell our kids that are so disrespectful.

They're so rude.

And then a lot of times mom and dad are doing the same types of behaviors, but we're like, well, but I'm an adult, right?


So when we learn to ignore the things that just don't matter, that are maybe annoying, but they're not damaging anything, nothing's being broken.

As you can learn to ignore those things, those things diminish.

And you're looking for the things that are awesome about your kids and telling them those things increase.


So as you're really trying to connect with your kids, those four things will do so much.

Then we have what not to do.

So absolutely no yelling or hitting.

It's so funny.


I was not funny.

But I mean, it's interesting.

I was talking to a client one day and she was talking about that she wants her children to trust her and to just listen to her, right?

So practicing like, I'll say their name and I want to trust that they are going to come to me.


And so I was talking to her and I go, yes, but do your children trust you?

And she was like, what?

And I said, you are putting the responsibility of trust on a child, but can your child trust you?

And then she told me a story how her kid was total accident.


He did something.

And then she yelled at him and then lectured him and got really mad at him.

And so if you want to build that trust and that connection, carry that burden and quit putting it on your kids, right?

So being the type of person who's not yelling, who's not freaking out, yelling, spanking, slapping, any of those things, knock it off because you're not going to build any type of connection with them and home school, you're they're going to hate it, right?


Because if they were at public school and they were with a teacher who yells at them and even hits them, you would pull them out of that class so fast and that kid would hate that teacher, right?

So be the parent that is calm and in control of yourself and watch how well your child will respond and connect with you.


Another thing to stop doing is to stop being critical.

So many homeschool mommas get so critical.

Your schoolwork, your handwriting is super sloppy, your math, I can't even read anything.

This is ridiculous.

What is your story?

You're not doing this.

You're lazy, you're all of these negative things.


Nobody wants to be with somebody like that, right?

So if you are, you're yelling at your kid, you're critical with your kid.

And then you're like, my kid never wants to be with me and never wants to do school.

It's kind of like, well, let me tell you why they don't ever want to do these things.

So when you look in the mirror and think, oh, maybe it's because of the way I'm treating them and looking at some of those things and seeing like, oh, if I can point out what they're doing, well, then I can stop being so critical so that they actually want to be with me and spend time with me.


Another thing to stop doing, stop taking their actions.

So personally I trust like I promise you your little 8 year old who is learning how to do things and rolls their eyes at you is not like waking up that morning and think how could I anger my mom today?


How could I like ruin her life?

Probably not doing that right when they roll their eyes or like do the sounds or even say like shut up or this is stupid.

They are that is everything about what is going on through them.

So quit taking everything so personally.


And this can be with what they're wearing, this can be their hairstyles, right?

Of quit taking things personally and realize their actions are about thoughts that they have and the way that they feel.

So that's another one to get really great to get curious with that if they are are saying things that you're like, those are real things that they're saying.


Are they learning it from you?

Are you yelling at them?

Are you saying those things?

Are you being critical?

And then they are just learning.

Oh, that's how we talk to each other.

We tell people we what we don't like about them.

We say these types of things, right.

So really looking at yourself 1st and quit being so easily offended by your children.


And then the last one is as you're working on connection is stop trying to make your kid be something they're not.

And it was interesting as I was talking to my daughter the other day and she was talking to one of her friends who just graduated and she like homeschool graduate.


And this, this girl was saying that she doesn't even know what she likes because everything she's been doing is just because she's trying to appease her mother.

And so she's doing whatever her mom tells her to do.

So as a mom, you're probably like, wow, this kid is so obedient.

But in all reality, this kid is a people pleaser and doesn't know what she likes and who she is and doesn't know even what to do with her life because she has just been a people pleaser.


And like, this is what my mom told me and I'd probably be good at.

So this is what I'm doing.

Let your kid be themselves.

So if you have a kid who is really amazing at sports, quit trying to make them a writer.

If you have a kid who is really talented with music, quit trying to make them be an athlete, right?


And instead allowing them that space to know who they are.

And maybe that is trying new things and, and encouraging them and, and seeing the good in them.

And even you could even suggest like, Hey, I think you might like this.

Would you like to try it?

And then giving them the space to say yes or no because we want these critical thinkers, these awesome kids.


And then they they push back on us or, or ask us clarifying questions and we're like, knock it off.

Just do what I say.

And so allow your kid to be them and reaching their potential.

And this doesn't mean that you don't have rules in your family and that you don't have expectations, but quit trying to force them onto a path that is not their path just because you think it would be good for them.


So those are the four things to do and four things to stop doing as you are really working on building this awesome foundation in your home school.

So the next part we have our habits.

Remember, my philosophy is heart habits and home.

So habits.


This is my favorite quote from Charlotte Mason.

I hope you're tired of me hearing saying this because that I say it so much that maybe you're remembering it.

The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days, while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.


I cannot say Amen to this quote enough.

As somebody who is about to start their 17th year of homeschooling, this is everything.

These habits and so cute when I get somebody in the membership and they try to go about this worrying about curriculum first and then they start saying like, oh, build a relationship with my kid, help them establish these really healthy habits.


They're like, oh, now I see how homeschool gets to be fun because we're not fighting the kids help run the house.

And you're right, homeschool does just get to be fun.

And so this summer is the perfect time to really work on these habits.

What are the habits you want your kids to know?


What are the things that you want to teach them?

And so really understanding what it is you want them to know and then taking the time to actually teach them and help them develop those habits.

So the third part is home.

And this is also with environment and kind of so it kind of goes along with that first part with home, but you don't have control over a lot of things, but you do have a lot of control of what is going on your on your home.


So instead of trying to force your kid and changing their behavior, look at the environment and then the behavior naturally changes itself.

So some ideas to help with the environment.

Playing beautiful, fun, uplifting music.

You know what my favorite new thing has been?

So totally have what is it guilty pleasure for pop music.


Love dancing music.

And it's not always the most uplifting thing on this planet.

So I found a playlist that it's like pop goes classical.

So it's pop music, put the classical music and it is my favorite thing and the kids were loving on it.


And I, I cannot hear cello enough.

I've tried to get all my kids to learn to play the cello and they're like, why don't you learn to play the cello?

I love the cello.

It's one of my favorite instruments.

So all of these fun songs and and dancy songs.

I love the upbeat music.


So I love a lot of classical music.

Will even listen to movie soundtracks that are upbeat and fun.

So Moana and Trolls, the original Trolls?

I haven't heard the other ones.

Just something fun that we can dance and sing along with a really helping that mood.

If you want people to be calm, playing spa music, playing meditative music, right, you can really can start controlling the mood of your home with just the music that you're playing in it.


Another idea is limiting screen time.

It's so interesting, just all these studies and you can have whatever opinion you want with screen time.

I don't want to manage it.

And so we don't have screens during the week and we just do it once a week on Fridays.


But they talk about how many hours kids are spending on screens.

And then they looked at addicts brains and I think it might have been I, I can't remember if it was what specific drugs, but I know alcohol and their brains were the same.

So we're creating little addicts and then they have a meltdown when it's time to get off their screens and then then we punish them and we get them in trouble.


If we just limited or took away the screens, we wouldn't have this fight with our kids displaying beautiful artwork, having good books, keeping a simple schedule, right?

Just different things that really help your home school to go smoother.


So those are the three foundational pieces of heart, habits and home.

And then I wanted to give you some ideas of different areas as you're creating your home school.

So the first thing it talks about is don't be afraid to go slow remembering that Rome was not built in a day and your child doesn't need to learn quote, UN quote, everything before they are 18.


It is ridiculous to think that you can teach your child everything before 18.

And it's so interesting because somebody, I don't know where, maybe back in Washington, DC, they had to decide like, this is what a child should know by the time they are 18.

And it's funny when you look back at your own education experience, even those of you who are scholars, what do you actually remember?


And if it was a class you really loved, you probably remember things.

But if it was a class you just had to check off because you were, excuse me, were required to take it, you probably don't remember a whole lot about it, right?

And so let go of this ridiculous idea that you have to teach them everything by 18 because we are all eternal beings and we get to learn forever.


So instead of thinking that you can teach them everything, teach them how to learn.

Teach them how to be excited about learning and they will be a lifelong learner.

I also love this site with ideas of teaching your children to learn through fun and games.


So this quote says now that now what we know from research is that it takes 400 repetitions of an act or learning a skill 400 times to get one new synapse.

Or would you like to know an option?

There's an option or 12 repetitions with joy and laughter and you get a synapse because there's a release of chemical dopamine.


So instead of like, I don't know the better word for this, beating the dead horse and just drilling over and over and over again, like finally we did it after doing this every day for over a year, playing a game.

And after a couple weeks, they've got it right.


So such an easy way to start with home school as we're connecting and we're playing and we're having fun and we're building these habits and doing it through a game.

And so they learn it so much quicker.

And then wondering what level your child is on, where do you even start?


So think of this guide as scaffolding.

And you want a strong structure before you move on to the next thing.

So I always start with picture books.

If your child has a hard time sitting through a picture book, then pre read the picture book and just tell them about the pictures.

Then when they can sit through, read the picture book.


And it's so funny that teens can learn a lot through a picture book too.

And it's it, it baffles me that we're like, no, only a textbook or only something written by a professor or only, and we give all of these weird made-up rules of ways to learn and beautiful picture books are such an easy way to learn.


And it's funny because my kids can, they know so many things about different artists and different composers because I have these fun picture books of getting some of the world's greatest artists with the world's greatest composers.

And they love to look at those books and we could read about them and look at them up and they loved that.


So just being willing to look at picture books before you advance, even if your kid is 1314, look at picture books.

Because once you have that strong scaffolding, they're actually excited to learn things through textbooks or through living books.

Just much more rich literature, right?


Instead of just throwing them in and saying, well, we should be on this level, but instead start with where they are.

And I usually like to start right there with picture books.

And that's a ton of fun.

I've done an episode with this.

I interviewed Brooke Snow maybe a couple years ago about floors and ceilings and having this in your home school and ceilings are the ideal, perfect home school day.


That don't happen very often.

But having a floor, those are actually pretty minimum.

But saying, K, if the crap were to hit the fan and I could only do one thing that would be a minute, what would I do?

And maybe for my family, that would be we say go Jesus and say a prayer.

Like that would be the bare minimum.


And if it was just for homeschool, it would be something with read aloud, right?

Where we have this bare minimum floor.

So if everything went wrong that day and that's the only thing we could do, great.

But what we usually do is somewhere in between that floor and that ceiling.

So knowing what that floor is, that really gives us the strong foundation.


And this like we want to do something to keep the consistency going.

But normally I could do like, hey, we can also do scriptures and we can do read aloud and we can at least do a minute with mom and older kids can do their independent work, right?

So instead of this like big, huge dreamy homeschool day every day, we just keep that floor as an option and then we are somewhere in the middle so that we are just keeping that momentum going of that consistency of always doing homeschool.


Then I haven't here ideas for language arts, math, writing and art of different places I like, but it's I have lots of thoughts about these things.

We are trying to cram it in with kids too young and it's like we're in this mentality of bigger and better.


And and it makes me think of Cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

If you've ever seen that cute movie where the mayor's like bigger is better, but like bigger started to destroy the town.

So it's not always best like at a young age to be able to read because you don't really have the comprehension.


And why does a four year old need to know all of their addition facts, right?

Like, why can't they be a baby?

Why can't they be a kid?

And why are we shoving these things on them so quickly?

And I don't actually like to do any language arts, official language arts books until they are a little bit older because they're trying to read.


Why do they need to know what an adverb is and how to use it correctly and to diagram a sentence at such a young age?

And those are things you can teach them as they get older.

But go slow, have fun, Quit just having this in because it makes you feel better that your kid could diagram a sentence or tell somebody what a preposition is and sing a preposition song, right?


Like you can learn those things, but quit trying to drill little kids of you have to know these things because you are going to kill their love for learning.

And if we're trying to connect with them and develop these foundational skills, learning will just come because they will be inclined to listen to you and they will be receptive to your teaching.


So just wait.

So I, I have on here listed some of my things with language arts, math programs I've used, like I said, writing and art.

And I don't have everything on here and I don't try to do everything.

And one of the blessings.


So it's funny.

So like I said, it'll be 17 years this summer when we started home schooling and there were a lot less options there.

I don't, I'm trying to think if I even owned a smartphone at that time, right?

We're back in 2008.

And so I just didn't have the resources that you have now.


And there is a beauty to that because it was less overwhelming, harder to find things.

But it also there's just some good stuff that I still use.

And I actually have to keep my own blinders on with everything out there because some things are so pretty and they look so enticing.


I'm like, well, maybe I should do that.

But I know it doesn't work for my family.

So just doing things that have withstood the test of time that is not just thrown out there.

So yeah.

So those are my some some suggestions with those types of subjects.

And then I have a sample schedule of what my home school looks like and how long school days could be.


We only do school Monday through Thursday.

I always have.

We've never done school on Friday.

And we do, we've kind of, we usually do a year round school schedule.

I went through a phase where we do 6 no 12 weeks on, a week off, 12 weeks on, weeks off.

And then sometimes we'll do just keep going and we'll take two weeks off before summer and then two weeks off the end of summer.


This year we just kept going.

We kind of took some time off and well, we just really went a light schedule, April and May.

And so we just kept going with school 'cause it was already so light.

And then we'll take some time off in the summer to travel.

And I take time off to travel throughout the school year, different things that we have going on.


So just my sample schedule.

And then just a reminder that school doesn't need to be all day long, that it can be really quick and short.

And if you have little kids who are fighting you about school, they're not ready.

So if you have a 5 year old you're trying to make sit for read aloud and they're screaming and then you're screaming, but trying to make them through read aloud.


Work on just like letting him be a kid and running around and maybe read him a picture book before bed when they're a little bit calmer.

So that they're getting in the habit of reading and making it a really short and sweet book, right?

A Doctor Seuss book that rhymes or is fun.

And then you can continue to advance.


And as they get they mature and they grow, they're ready for a little bit more.

But you need to go slow with some of these things.

So I have this whole guide.

You can download it for free to just kind of give you an idea.

So that'll be I'll put a link in the show notes and then you can grab it from my Instagram or my website, saying Instagram handle Oh, coach Meg Thomas and you can grab those things.


And then if you do want to grab the full 30 day workbook, you can either find that in Mama's members or you can just download that in the shop of Coach Meg Thomas just to really help you get your school that really strong foundation.

As you are diving in.


One other idea that is beautiful is catch the vision from well educated heart of really catching the vision of why to go slow with some of these things and to quit forcing a kid to be an adult or quit forcing them to be much older than they are, but allowing a natural flow with childhood.


So those are my thoughts for today.

I hope this you found this helpful.

Please go and give this podcast a like share go comment on it helps me so much.

I appreciate you all and I'll talk to you next week.


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