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January Homeschool Burnout

January Homeschool Burnout
January is a tough time for everyone.  I was chatting online with a mom who is facing some family challenges.

Hi Lee,
I remember the article or blog you had saying that January was a difficult month. With so much going on in my life I am amazed we have gotten anything done but I feel like we are doing the minimum if anything. It has gotten as boring as public school to them. The field trips we used to take to brighten up our curriculum have been eliminated at the moment due to the separation and financial stress.   I don't feel like the wonderful home school mom that I envisioned myself to be. It has not become fun for them anymore. Thank Heaven we still have their other activities - Civil Air Patrol - Soccer - Youth Court - Volunteer at thrift store. Most are free.

I especially get paranoid over my oldest because he is in 9th grade. I feel he should be doing more and motivated. He only cares about his laptop and Japanese cartoons. He isn't motivated in any writing assignments at all.  I know the separation has affected them but he was being like this before then. How do I motivate this child?  Your boys read all the time. It sounds like they would have been fine no matter what you did. I mean one was absorbed in economics as a hobby. Your annoyance meter activities still lead to careers. I have two gifted children who do not use most of their gifts. So sad. The smartest people are the ones who seem to read all the time. I try to tell them this. Back in time before there was anything else the great people we admire today just read all the time. If they did more of this and on different subjects I would feel better. How can they be so brilliant and yet cannot tell you where most of the well known cities is this country are located? Discovered this info this morning.
~ Karen

Here is the blog post about burnout, but I need to write it again! Homeschooling High School – Strengthen What Remains! January and February are such a difficult time of year - even for public school teachers.  It's not just you, and it's not just because of a challenging situation.  It's just a hard time of year.

Don't worry about projects and field trips and fun.  If you have finished the core classes, just go to the library and let the kids learn something there. Since you are facing a family crisis, don't worry too much about getting academics beyond the core.  How about doing videos for history? Even watch literature on TV to mix things up?  And your activities WILL keep you sane.  They are all on the transcript.  Just math is the key.  The rest can wait.

You asked how to motivate your oldest - use the computer.  Can you have him start to blog?  Have him research these places:

He can do the research to learn how, blog about his experiences with Civil Air Patrol, Manga, etc.  Have him post photos of his experiences and his cartooning.  In the process he will be doing reading, writing, math, computer technology and maybe even start coding or working on graphic design.  By the way, when you do start into the heavy homeschooling again, ask him if he wants to learn Japanese.  See if they offer Rosetta Stone Japanese at the library for free :-)

My son's friend is a computer geek like that.  He was just offered $40,000 per year to be a teaching assistant and get a masters in graphic design. This IS an academic hobby, it's just hard for you to see right now.  But getting him into programming or creating art on the computer can feed his interests.

For general encouragement, I suggest my favorite free online magazine, Heart of the Matter.  They covered burnout in their January 2009 edition here:

I know it's hard.  It would be just as hard at school, only then any problems would be part of his "permanent record" and here at home you can make adjustments.

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New Resource for Homeschool Middle School

New Resource for Homeschool Middle School
Homeschool Middle School, junior high, 7th and 8th grade.  What to do, what to do?

My husband recently created a category on my blog JUST for parents of middle school students!  You can read all the blog posts in my middle school category.

You're reading my blog, so you obviously know how to find it online.  But did you know you can search my blog for answers?  There is a search box toward the top of my blog, so you can look up "grades" or "Senior year" and get the information you need.  There are categories listed on the right hand side, far down the page.  That way you can look at the series of blog posts that may be related to that category.  It's a great way to learn about foreign language ideas, for example.

If you would like more support, and you enjoy my blog, you may want it delivered to your email inbox every day.  You can subscribe by email or by RSS Reader.

Subscribe via e-mail.
Subscribe via reader.

It's hard for me to find the perfect amount of emails to send to stressed homeschool parents.  Sometimes they want more, MORE, MORE homeschool information.  Sometimes even my once-a-month  newsletter is almost more than they can bear.  If you need just a little bit of encouragement, grab my free monthly homeschool  newsletter.  If you want a bit more, subscribe to my homeschool mini-course and get weekly tips.  If you really want some daily help, subscribe to my blog and become a Facebook friend, where I post my blog entries.  And if you have a question, you can search the blog.  If you are in need of some serious homeschool middle school and high school help, then definitely check out my Gold Care Club.  It is like a 24x7 homeschool high school support group!

I’ve recently been connecting with friends on LinkedIn.  I invite you to send me an invitation if you want to connect with my business.
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We Won Best Homeschool Business Blog!

We Won Best Homeschool Business Blog!
I'm so excited to announce that I have won the Homeschool Blog Awards Best Curriculum or Business Blog 2009

Heather notified me that I had won, and said:
Attached is a Graphic that my children and I made when we did the stuffed animal drawing for the Homeschool Blog Awards. Each blogger was assigned an animal to represent them and we wrote out the prizes on slips of paper and drew for the animals. The kids enjoyed taking photos of the animals and watching mom create graphics. We would love it if you would use the graphic in your post when you get your prizes or just telling about what you won. It would make my kids feel special.

Isn't this a cute little stuffed animal?  I have to admit, it did give my husband and I the giggles, thinking that I was represented by a COW!!!  LOLOL!!!   But it's adorable!    Here are the prizes that I won:


  • 25$ Amazon Gift Cert

  • Red River Paper 40$

  • Patchwork Quilt Tic Tac Toe

  • 20$ in MindBites Lessons

  • Heart of the Matter Online Homeschool Conference Tickets for 2010

  • The Old Schoolhouse - 1 Year Magazine Subscription

It was fun to be able to participate, and I'm thrilled to win!  We work very hard on our blog, posting almost every day, and it was so nice to feel supported and encouraged.  Thank you to everyone who voted for us!

I've recently been connecting with friends on LinkedIn.  I invite you to send me an invitation if you want to connect with my business.
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Latin Blog?

Latin Blog?
OK, for all you Latin nerds and nerdettes out there....

Here is my son's Latin professor's blog: SputaTilica, aka Blogula mea ("my blog").  My son thinks this is extremely cool.  It's all Greek to me (so to speak.)

Bonus points for the first person who can give me a translation of SputaTilica (I think it has something to do with spit....)

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Blog and Newsletter Contest Winners!

Blog and Newsletter Contest Winners!
Julie in Texas won my blog contest this month!

Julie said, "Thank you so much!  I appreciate your generous give away.  After reading the description of your audio course, I knew I wanted to hear it, so I'm thrilled that I'm the winner!"

Julie has been homeschooling 9 years, and she has two boys in grades 6 and 9.  Her favorite advice to younger homeschoolers is: "It's hard to fix something that isn't broken." She confessed that deciding to continue homeschooling high school was a big decision last spring. She add, "However, with help and wisdom from "completed" homeschoolers like you, who have not only finished, but finished well, I'm encouraged about our journey too."

Audrey in Pennsylvania won my newsletter forwarding contest this month!

Audrey said, "Yippee!!  Every day is a blessing, but this is a special day. God bless you and your efforts. Thank you." Audrey is homeschooling a 10th grade son, 8th grade daughter, and 3rd grade daughter.  Her husband says their cat LOVES homeschooling, and probably has a Master's Degree!  Her suggestion is "Birthdays are a holiday for the children and I. That is our way to let home school rule our school calender."

That sounds like a GREAT way to stay sane while homeschooling.  I did that too, in our homeschool!

Here's a nice photo with me and my SHS Loopies.  Kathy and Cindy have been my friends for years!  Thank you for all of you who have voted for my blog today.  We are in a very tight contest and really need your support.  Thanks!!
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Homeschool Blog Awards! Vote Early, Vote Often!

Homeschool Blog Awards! Vote Early, Vote Often!
OK, everyone.  Matt here.  Voting is open for the homeschool blog awards and Lee really needs some help!  She has been nominated in two categories.  Best Curriculum or Business Blog and Best Encourager.  If you would like to vote for her in either (or both) of these categories, go to the links above and click on the dot next to The HomeScholar Helper.

Lee is definitely the dark horse in both categories and it will take your help for her to win!  Voting is open until midnight November 21. but please vote today!  One vote per category per person in your family so grab your husband and at least 3 of your kids as well!

Turnout is expected to be heavy and will all depend on whether Lee's prime demographic takes the time to vote.  That's right.  It's all boils down to you latte-drinkin', power-walkin', twitter-talkin' homeschool moms out there.

We're counting on you!

(voice-over) I'm Matt Binz and I approve this message.

And we have a winner of our November newsletter forwarding contest.  Gina in VA won "Gifted Education at Home."   Gina was chosen at random from everyone who forwarded the newsletter.  Thanks Gina for helping spread the "good news" about homeschooling high school.

For all of you "not-yet-winners," we have ANOTHER CONTEST running this week.  Just comment on this blog post Enter today to win! with your biggest question about homeschool transcripts and you will be entered to win Lee's "Gifted Education at Home" CD.  The contest ends on Friday on so far, only three have entered, so your chances of winning are great!  Plus, you will help Lee put the finishing touches on her new e-book "The Easy Truth About Homeschool Transcripts."
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