Friday, April 29, 2016

Finding Focus in the Online Frenzy

First gaze on a first book

Help! I'm getting stuck in the homeschool interwebs! In an online world of slick sites and shiny blogs, everyone's got a printable, an ebook, a newsletter, a podcast, a planner, or a curriculum that will be the one simple thing you need to either organize or revolutionize your homeschool experience! The homeschool universe is ever expanding, and there are enough ideas out there to keep you learning to infinity - and beyond!

The trouble is, I don't have till infinity. I have a few precious years with my children, and only so many hours in the day. There are many homeschoolers out there doing many wonderful things, and I have found inspiration and ideas from more than a few. But I find it all too easy to become dizzy and distracted by the plethora of options, which leads to comparison and second guessing at best, and panic at worst.

When I start to feel overwhelmed, I find it helpful to log off, sit back, and think about the core ideas behind our family's commitment to home education. I'm a person who needs to constantly reorient myself to the big picture, which focuses me and energizes me to then think about the details.

I remind myself of our underlying philosophy of education (thanks Charlotte Mason):

Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. 

I remind myself of basic governing principles for our family life (thanks Auntie Leila):

Order and wonder. 

I remind myself of our own family's goals:

To raise children whose affections are ordered toward truth, goodness and beauty, who are growing in the wisdom and skills needed to follow Christ along the unique path he is leading them in life.

I remind myself of our chosen method of getting there:

Real Life
Living Books

When I consider these ideas, I can already feel my focus returning. (Maybe I'll expand on these in another post. For now, I'm putting them out here purely for my own benefit.) I can sift through all that good information out there and select the things that best fit our own approach to education.

Like I said, I'm energized by philosophy and big ideas. So for me, the websites I find most helpful are those that feed this area. I need my own mind and spirit fortified by truth, goodness, and beauty, and then I can handle how that gets worked out in everyday life. I get bogged down in too many details. For me, the details have to flow out of the big picture.


Having said all that, here are the websites that I'm personally finding helpful as we begin this home education adventure:

Like Mother, Like Daughter - Common sense education, Charlotte Mason style (Auntie Leila introduced me to Charlotte Mason, and I have been a faithful follower of her blog since my oldest was a baby)

The Read-Aloud Revival - Cultivating a family culture around books; fun and inspiring literary podcast, with book lists and other resources

Schole Sisters - A podcast for the classically inclined, big picture meets practical application (I also enjoy the blogs of the podcast hosts)

Ambleside Online - Free Charlotte Mason curriculum and living book lists, with links to Charlotte
Mason's works online

The Circe Institute - Classical education resources, blogs and podcasts

Education is a Life - Charlotte Mason the Canadian way, written by a friend and fellow homeschooler on the island

They Call Me Blessed - A blog by another friend showing the many sides of home education



  1. I LOVE this post. I can so relate, I'm in the midst of purging physical items, and I was ruminating today on how I need to do some online purging too. There are some great sites that help me and I will keep using them, but there are also sites, that for me and our family needs are just clutter and I'm going to let them go.

    1. Yes, I'm getting email subscription overload these days too! I think a purge is in order. Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out whether a particular resource is a good long term fit.

  2. I just read your post, Lindsey. I have been home schooling for 19 years now and many of my kids are in college or graduated. I still have three at home. It is the relationships that matter most. The conversations you have throughout the day, the books you read and discuss together, the movies that you watch and quote to each other, the prayers you pray, the jokes you tell. Reading, discussing, being together. These things make your children beautiful and strong inside.
    The way I start each school year is to go to my local botanical garden and sit among the trees in the English garden and re-read A Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola. It always brings such peace.
    Children will learn the math and the grammar which are very important. But the most important thing is the family atmosphere they grow in. It really bears some great fruit that you only sometimes see when they are grown up a bit. The beauty of that fruit is what has kept me home schooling all these years.
    Blessings on your journey! I think you are going to be a great home schooling mom.

  3. I love this Lindsey!! That is so true. In this vast and ever expanding universe of homeschooling especially out in the internet we can get lost and pulled back and forth to so many different directions... we need to stay true to our calling, our goals and focused on our vision and mission!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...