Happy Tuesday! We are just a few short days away from it shifting from official summer to official autumn and I am so here for it. I’ll be honest when I say that, as someone who is from the desert, I truly enjoy the summer and all comes with it (even the heat), but I also really look forward to the fall season. I love the colors and the way that everything changes all around me. I waited this year until the beginning of September to get all my fall decorations out but as soon as they were in place, my cozy fall blankets were on the couch, and ALL the apple cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and harvest flavored teas started appearing in all the places I was a very happy camper.
Another thing I really like about fall is that for us school is in full swing. I love the routine of it all. If you followed along with my curriculum choices posts or have seen any of my weekly round up posts you know that things are trucking along fairly nicely for the kids. We are learning fun new things and I am having to work to set aside my aversion to mess and we have completed several of the experiments that have been listed in our science curriculum. And for the ones we didn’t do, there is always someone on Youtube who has already done them and we can watch the process.
It is also no secret that I love to read. There is something about the fall season that encourages you to slow down and that is what is required for reading well. Normally I am just reading whatever strikes my fancy but this year I made the decision that while I am going to continue to read the fun non-fiction (brain candy) type books, I am also going to focus on my own Homeschool Mom Professional Development.
Why Would A Homeschool Mom Need Professional Develeopment?
In all the years that I worked outside the home, before having our kids, each of my jobs encouraged some form of continual professional development. When I was teaching preschool for Head Start they encouraged and provided the opportunity for me to acquire various certifications and we had weekly teacher trainings that allowed us to network together, talk with the curriculum specialist, and figure out what was working and what wasn’t within our classrooms.
When I worked for Habitat for Humanity I was encouraged to read books on the things we were doing, network with other individuals in the state, and attend trainings on how to properly work with and support the families within the program.
Most careers provide opportunity for training, development, and potential for promotion. While the only real opportunity for promotion for a homeschool mom is promoting her children to college or where ever else life will take them successfully, there is always a need for development. Just like a traditional style teacher might need to be reintroduced to methods of teaching or learn about new curriculum opportunities and things of that nature, homeschool moms need the same thing. As my children are learning and growing each day, I should also be seeking to learn and grow each day.
My Professional Development Resourses
The first thing I plan to focus on is the books I’m reading. A couple of years ago I stumbled on the “Homeschool with Moxie” podcast (more on that later) and I learned that the host of this podcast has put together a list of what she considers to be books every homeschool mom should read. They are broken down into various categories and organized neatly in a fancy printable. I printed this list out and it has just been living on a bulletin board in my kitchen. Occasionally as I would randomly finish a book from the list here or there I would mark it off to show I had already read that book. This year I have decided to be more intentional with that list and am choosing books specifically from there. So here are the books I have chosen to read this year:
The Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling is one of the methods that we have loosely followed from the beginning so when I found this book both on the list and on sale at Mardel’s bookstore I snatched it up. I have always loved the encouragement to use what Charlotte calls “living books” as our texts rather than boring textbooks, and we enjoy talking out big ideas rather than diving into busy work like worksheet and tests so I am excited to read through how to work to implement some of these strategies
This book isn’t actually on the list at the moment but I heard about it from her podcast and I was super intrigued. One of the great things about homeschooling is that the student to teacher ratio is so much smaller that it is easy to tailor (somewhat) learning to each child’s unique learning style. I am hoping that I can use the information in this book to help me pinpoint some of those strategies and make thing a bit easier for the areas we are struggling in.
I have had my eye on this book on the list for a bit. Those who have read it have told me it really helped them to learn to relax into their schooling and learn to just kind of go with the flow so I am excited to see what is shared in the book.
One of my biggest goals for my kids as I school them is that they would not just learn the material that I am teaching but that they would also learn to love learning. I want them to enjoy digging in and investigating things for themselves. I want them to learn to love to read great books and have fabulous conversations about those books. I want them to invest their time and energies into things they are interested in and I want to be able to put the tools in their hands they will need to do those things. So this book is one I am hoping will help give me strategies on how to do all those things.
As I mentioned above when I was teaching preschool we were given the opportunity to network and bounce off ideas with the other teachers in the building. Sometimes, for homeschool moms that isn’t always a possibility. One way to get a bit of support and advice is to listen to podcasts done by other homeschool moms. These are a few of the ones I listen to on a regular basis:
I mentioned this one above. Abby is a former classroom teacher turned homeschool mom who has devoted her time and energies into sharing tips, strategies, and encouragement for homeschool moms everywhere. Her podcasts are short and to the point but I always walk away feeling encouraged after listening in.
I love Pam Barnhill. She is a veteran homeschool mom who has spent the majority of her homeschooling years sharing the things she has learned and done along the way. Her “Your Morning Basket” podcast is a great one for those who are interested in learning all about morning time but this shorter podcast is just about encouragement. Each week she has a guest on and the just discuss one small area of homeschoooling in less than 15 minutes. Its great for those who need to listen to something while washing a sink of dishes or folding a quick load of laundry.
The three ladies that host this podcast share their love of the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling as well as all the things they have learned over the years as they read Charlotte’s books, study her ways of educating, and work to adapt things for our current cultural and technological context. They are a fun group, but be aware that sometimes they can come across as a bit overwhelming. Listen in and take what sounds good, leave the rest, but be encouraged all the same.
There are not enough good things to say about Sarah Mackenzie. She is such a joy to listen to as she shares her love of books and the importance of reading aloud to our kids. She is a breath of fresh air in a technological driven world as she encourages all parents, not just homeschoolers, to slow down and read aloud together no matter what the age of your childen.
Weekly Homeschool Play Group
Ok, this one may not sound like professional development but I assure you it truly can be.
Because this is that time when I can get face to face with other moms who are deep in the homeschooling trenches with me. We talk about how things are going, share ideas in challenge areas, laugh with each other over silly things our kids have done, and just support and encourage each other to keep doing what we are doing. It is a great time really.
Homeschool Conference or Convention
Ok, this one is a long shot but I’m hoping to make it happen. It has been my dream since I started homeschooling to attend a homeschool convention and be able to soak in all the goodness that comes with that. Ideally, I would love to attend one in person where I could go from break out session to break out session, main group sessions, and wander the vendor hall convincing myself I don’t have the money to buy all the things. However, if I can’t do that there are a number of online options these days that I am considering as well. While this year this option may still be off the table I like to leave it on my professional development list because maybe one day it will actually work out!
So there you have it. That is the basics of my 2022-2023 Homeschool Mom Professional Development plan. It may not sound like much but I’m excited to see where this takes me this year as I work to become more intentional with how I educate myself and my kiddos.
What things might you add to my list? Any books I should read, podcasts I should listen to, or documentaries I should watch? Let me know in the comments.