Ditch the System, Reclaim Childhood, and Flourish in Your Homeschool with Christy-Faith

Homeschool Conversations podcast Christy Faith Ditch the System, Reclaim Childhood, and Flourish in Your Homeschool
Spread the love

If you haven’t interacted with Christy-Faith online yet, you’re missing out. Christy’s passion for nurturing homeschool parents and championing the value of home education comes through with such joy in today’s episode. She started inside the traditional system, but that has only fueled her love for all the benefits of homeschooling. This is a Homeschool Conversation you won’t want to miss!

Be sure to check out all the other interviews in our Homeschool Conversations series!

Watch the video. Listen to the podcast. Read the show notes. Share with your friends!

Homeschool Conversations podcast Christy Faith Ditch the System, Reclaim Childhood, and Flourish in Your Homeschool

{This post contains paid links. Please see disclaimer.}

Thank you to podcast sponsor Mr. D Math! Learn how Mr. D Math can benefit your homeschool here.

Meet Christy-Faith

If you haven’t met Christy-Faith yet, it’s only a matter of time. Though she may be newer to the homeschool space, her experience in homeschooling and education spans over an impressive 20+ year background in K-college academics and administration. This has allowed her to emerge as a social media powerhouse with over 300K followers and multi-millions of video views. Every day, she expertly debunks homeschooling myths and motivates countless moms – both new and veteran homeschoolers – to take the leap, remain steadfast, and re-vitalize their purpose.

As Christy-Faith embraces her second-half-of-life calling to support homeschooling moms, she now channels her expertise as a teacher’s teacher into her membership platform, Thrive Homeschool Community. Here, moms can find expert advice, unwavering support, and a true sense of belonging.

Christy’s highly anticipated book, Homeschool Rising: Shattering Myths, Finding Courage, and Opting Out of the School System, is poised to become the definitive must-read for homeschoolers and those curious about homeschooling worldwide. As the ultimate defense of homeschooling, this book equips you to confidently counter skeptics while delivering a wealth of hope and encouragement. Go to Christy-Faith.com to pre-order your copy today.

Watch my Homeschool Conversation with Christy-Faith

Prefer to listen to your content? Subscribe to Homeschool Conversations on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss a single episode!

Amy: Hello, friends. Today I am joined by Christy-Faith. If you haven’t met her yet, it is only a matter of time. Though she may be newer to the homeschool space, her experience in homeschooling and education spans over 20 plus years, with a background in K to college, academics, and administration. This has allowed her to emerge as a social media powerhouse with over 300,000 followers and multi-millions of video views. Every day, she expertly debunks homeschooling myths (homeschool socialization included) and motivates countless moms, both new and veteran homeschoolers, to take the leap, remain steadfast, and revitalize their purpose.

As Christy embraces this new calling to support homeschool moms, she channels her expertise as a teacher’s teacher into her membership platform, Thrive Homeschool community. Here, moms can find expert advice, unwavering support, and a true sense of belonging. She has a book coming out in Spring 2024. It’s going to be called Homeschool Rising: Shattering Myths, Finding Courage, and Opting Out of the School System. There is your official bio. Christy, I first started following you on Instagram a while back now. I love your reels content. There’s plenty that’s funny and brings a much-needed laugh and levity to the homeschool life, but there’s also a lot of meaningful, deep, thoughtful content as well.

From homeschooling other families to homeschooling her own kids

I’m really excited to get a chance to get to know you a little bit more. Here at the beginning. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you guys got started homeschooling?

Christy: Sure. I’d love to. Amy, thank you so much for having me on. When you asked me, it was a yes before you could even finish your sentence. Thank you so much. I’m thrilled to be getting to know you and to talk about my love and my calling, which is homeschooling and feeding and nurturing the homeschooled mom.

To answer your question as to how our family got into homeschooling, it’s a little strange because we have been homeschooling a very long time because we homeschooled other people’s kids before our own, at our center. We had a boutique learning center , an educational consulting firm in Southern California. We had that business for 17 years.

During the day, we homeschooled kids. Some of those kids were homeschooling for a temporary reason. They were moving. We actually had some children whose parents had some grave medical diagnoses and they wanted more time with their children. They came to us for the bare basics so that they could be with family during some end of life stuff. We had professional athletes, we had a surfer, we had an ice skater, we also had several child actors. There were a lot of reasons in our space, where we were, in our little boutique learning center, why families were turning to homeschooling. I will say that none of those reasons were philosophical. It was extremely utilitarian. There were reasons why.

That was the train I was on. I was so happy to help these families and to help them homeschool during a temporary period, because we don’t want the kids to be socially awkward, and we don’t want to mess them up and they got to get matriculated back into school at some point. We were solving a very real need in helping families. It wasn’t until our homeschooling started to grow, where I thought, I think that there’s something to this, and the families are getting curious about homeschooling. Maybe I should educate myself a little bit more on the homeschool space. I started to go to conferences and I started to read some of the homeschool intellectuals that are out there.

I would say that there’s a few people where after their first talk that I either heard on a podcast or went to a conference and heard or read, my mind was blown. Here I was, in education for my entire career, and hadn’t even heard of another pedagogy. There’s nine pedagogies. There’s nine. I only knew traditional, which is fine. We can homeschool in the traditional style, that’s perfectly fine, but when I particularly heard the classical scholars, I just was enamored by it. I remember going to one particular conference and coming back and telling Scott, my husband, I think we should homeschool our kids.

Then that coincided with somewhat of a deconstruction, I would say. That’s the word that I use.

It’s a trendy word, but people understand that word right now. It’s when you believe in some system, and then all of a sudden, you feel like scales are lifted, and you’re like, “What am I doing here? What kind of a player am I in this?” That started to happen, I would say, several years before I started actively pursuing homeschool philosophy. I would just look around and these kids were at school all day, then coming to our centers, a lot of these families, we had arrangements where they came after school with dinner in hand, and they couldn’t leave until we called mom.

Then on the weekends a lot of these kids were in highly rigorous private schools, and/or they were really struggling learners and maybe placed in the wrong school, so they needed a lot of extra help. I just started to look around and say, “What kind of childhood is this?

That question still fascinates me. I hope later on in the podcast, we get to talk about that a little bit, because I feel like what we’re really doing is we’re reclaiming childhoods with the homeschool movement. That excites me so much. That’s why it’s appealing to people beyond religious motivations, or that’s why so many working homeschool moms are out there now.

It’s because we’re seeing what society is starting to do. We’re seeing the ramifications of a childhood that is riddled with all this busyness and stress and anxiety and pressures. We’re thinking, this isn’t really working anymore. That’s how we ended up homeschooling our own family.

Homeschool Conversations podcast Christy Faith Ditch the System, Reclaim Childhood, and Flourish in Your Homeschool

Home education: posture over procedure

Amy: You look at some of those things, and you think there has to be a better way. For a long time, a lot of people like you thought, I guess this is just the way things are done. It’s exciting to hear how you were able to come and find a new and better way for your children to reclaim their childhood. I love that. That was a huge shift in your thoughts about education, before you began homeschooling. Have you noticed any changes in your approach to homeschooling or your thoughts about philosophy of education in the years since you actually began homeschooling your own children?

Christy: Yes. This is everyone’s story. We start out a certain way, and as we progress through our years of homeschooling, I joke with my friends often, where every mom ends up eclectic. We’re all bent towards some philosophies that are appealing to us, but I feel like the longer we homeschool, the more we’re comfortable in our own skin. In the beginning, I would say that the scholarly vibe of the classical style was irresistible to me. It really was. “Oh, my goodness, these kids are trained in logic and rhetoric and they’re learning Latin. Why are they learning Latin? Should my kid be learning Latin,” and all of these things?

Although I still consider myself at the core, a classical homeschooler, I entered that space for all the wrong reasons, because I was bringing in this mindset, and we all have this. We’ve all– Not you, because you’re second gen, right?

Amy: Yes, I am.

Christy: All of the rest of us, Amy, we’re coming to this only knowing one way that education is supposed to look. I think that’s why classical is appealing to a lot of new homeschool moms, because it provides a structure and a path and a roadmap for all 12 years. You can easily buy a system and implement the system. That’s what I did in the beginning, is I was just, “I’m a classical homeschooler and we’re doing this and we’re joining this and we’re using this curriculum.”

Although I still do consider myself classical, I’ve been humbled and I regret the reasons why I did some of the things that I did. We all have those regrets with our oldest. I hope I’m not the only one.

Amy: Oh, no. I constantly remind my older children, I’m like, I know that you are frustrated because you’ve never done this before, but I’ve never done this before either, so I’m sorry in advance.

Christy: Yes. I’ve just come to view educating my children and classical education in general, as a lot more of a posture rather than a procedure. That’s how I approach it now. I think if someone was to look at my life from the outside, looking in, they would probably call me eclectic. I would consider myself maybe a rebellious, classical homeschooler, maybe, I don’t know. I have the Charlotte Mason flair. That’s how I love to do history, with living books. I love nature study. I have a very casual relationship with science up until pretty late, maybe later than most people are comfortable with. Yes, I’ve changed and evolved along the way.

Then there’s some subjects that you just need to get done, and this does not need to be fun or fancy. You just open up the book and do it. Let’s go.

Amy: I love the rebellious, classical educator. Maybe I’ll add that to my list. I call myself a restful, classical educator, but I like the rebel in you. That’s very fun. I think with classical education, a lot of times, people can come in with this performance mentality, where we’re going to create some great child who can rattle off a bunch of facts and really impress everyone with what a good job we are doing as a homeschooler. That is a really unhealthy approach to education, to the parent-child relationship. It really doesn’t do any good for our own hearts as moms either, because either it puffs up and you become really proud in yourself, or you get really insecure because wow, things aren’t quite turning out the way I hoped.

That’s just an unhealthy way to approach any philosophy of education, but perhaps that particular tendency can especially occur within classical circles.

Christy: As you were talking, do you know what else I was reminded of, which makes classical education appealing to a new homeschooler? Is your kid can rattle off all these facts, and then the naysayers in your life view that as can view that as, oh, okay. Oh, fine. Those kids are learning something. It’s also a way to manage the naysayers in our lives too. I don’t want that to discount the beauty and the value of what a classical education is. All of the styles all have their pitfalls, right?

Family connection nourished by homeschooling

Amy: Yes. What have been a few of your favorite parts of homeschooling?

Christy: My favorite parts of homeschooling have nothing to do with academics. For me, it’s about the connection that I have with my family. One thing I cherish is that we’ve created a lifestyle for our family where we have a collective family narrative. I feel like, and as I was doing research for my book, this was very much confirmed, that we live in a society where everyone in a family can live an entirely separate life, kids included. The only time you have collective memories are when you go on vacation twice a year. That’s just not something I wanted for my family. Friends come and go, people move. We know this. Relationships change, but family– who are you going to call when mom’s old and gray? You’re going to call a sibling.

My family of origin, not my husband’s, but my family of origin has a lot of brokenness in it. Not my two parents, but their extended families, and those relationships with the siblings, they make me sad and they actually make my parents sad as well. We just wanted to reclaim that and have a different story for our own family. A lot of our homeschool day is caring for one another, being attuned to one another. When one child has a big event in their life, we go as a family, we do it all together. I really cherish that. I love that. I could go on and on about what I love about homeschooling. If I had to boil it down, I think it has to do with that family connection.

Amy: That’s one of the reasons why in our homeschool structure, we start the day with our morning time routine, and we have shared books that we’re reading together across the ages, and beautiful poetry that we’re memorizing together across the ages, and scripture and Shakespeare and all these things. It’s the inside jokes that knit hearts together. You have a shared family culture, a shared family language, the thing that just makes our family unique. Another family will have a different set of shared values and cultural inside jokes, so to speak. That makes their family unique.

I think that’s such a beautiful part of homeschooling, especially when you have children in different grades and a wide age range like mine. There’s very little time that they would be spending together in a traditional school setting. I’m thankful that they have the opportunity to really build those sibling bonds here at home.

Christy: That also reminds me– This is a tangent, but we’re okay with that here, right?

Amy: Oh, totally. The rabbit trail is the point.

Christy: Great. Perfect. We’ll be good friends. What that reminds me of, we send our kids to schools where they are age-segregated and adult-led, then we send them to extracurricular activities, gymnastics, basketball, baseball, whatever. They’re not bad, but they’re also adult-led and largely age-segregated. Maybe there’s a little bit more of a wider, but still. Birthday parties on the weekend, age-segregate. I think that our society– I would just love for one, parents to rethink that, and is all of that– that living a separate life, every person in the family living a separate life, is that healthy? Just consider how that plays into what socialization is and what is healthy socialization, and ask themselves that question.

The second thing is that the homeschool moms listening, I want that to encourage you, because when you actually look at the data behind age segregation of children, you realize that that’s actually a pretty unhealthy structure. It was created not for the best interest of children. It was created to be able to educate masses of children, and be encouraged by that. Be encouraged that you don’t have to buy into the lie that kids can only interact with other kids their age. I also have quite a large age span of children, and we do a morning time and read-aloud. I remember, about a year ago we were reading Prairie Thief again. Right, we love Prairie Thief. All of my children were in the backyard playing pretend Prairie Thief.

All ages. If they were all in separate books, separate curriculum, separate everything, they wouldn’t have that ability to play pretend in that way together and know the characters to be, and dress up and all of that. It’s a very special encouraging piece of homeschooling, I think, being together as a family.

Amy: Definitely. Oh, I love that story. I’ve seen that with my own children in the past. As a mom, don’t you just like, “I’m happy and I might cry. It’s just beautiful.” We have these happy, blissful moments, the children playing pretend together, but that’s not really all the story, right, Christy?

Christy: What do you mean, Amy?

Homeschool Conversations podcast Christy Faith Ditch the System, Reclaim Childhood, and Flourish in Your Homeschool

The challenge of getting our of our own way as homeschool parents

Amy: Just maybe, there might be some hard moments of homeschooling. What are some of the challenges you faced in your homeschool and how have you sought to overcome those challenges?

Christy: I could go into specifics all day long, about my challenges, but I would say the largest challenge for me, and I think a lot of homeschool moms, is getting out of our heads, getting out of our own way. It reminds me of– I don’t know if you’ve heard of the sociologist, Allan Bloom. He talks about that parents have lost the idea that the highest aspiration for their children is for them to be wise. He says, “Priests and prophets and philosophers are wise, but parents have now settled for just competence and worldly success.” That’s all that parents can really imagine and that’s all that parents think an education is nowadays.

When I get out of my head and embrace and tell myself the truth, that education is way more than vocational training and that a happy human being does not mean that they make a lot of money. In fact, there’s probably a lot of research to say otherwise, that my self-doubt starts to go away a lot more.

Then on a practical way, on a day-to-day basis, I get dysregulated very easily with noise and visual clutter. That’s just a practical day-to-day challenge that I personally have, with four kids and a busy house and laundry and working and wait, you have to eat again?

Amy: My teen daughter was recently recommending the use of what she called doom boxes, where if you don’t have time to actually clean things, you just put things in your doom box, so at least, all the clutter is contained in one space. I was like, well that sounds like a great idea. You should implement that in your bedroom.

Christy: I really like that idea.

Amy: Yes. I like the name, for sure.

Christy: Yes.

Common misconceptions about homeschooling

Amy: Oh, Christy, I know, especially as you were working in more a traditional academic sphere, and then you were coming to all these changing thoughts about homeschooling, and now, you’re working with homeschoolers and you’re doing research for your book. I’m sure you’ve come up with a lot of common misconceptions that people have about homeschooling or maybe homeschoolers. What are some of those common misconceptions and why do you think people are mistaken?

Christy: Oh, my goodness. There’s so many. Your kid will be socially awkward, your kid is sheltered. Your kid’s not ready for the real world. How are they going to get into college? Wait, well, you need an accredited transcript, or you need this, you need that. Oh, homeschool moms are more patient than all the other moms.

Amy: Have you met me?

Christy: I know. That’s what I say. Where do you want me to start? What do you think is the hardest misconception, or what do you think is the hardest one for us to get past as homeschool moms?

Amy: It’s really interesting, because in the area where I live in North Carolina, homeschooling is really common, and so, I don’t actually remember the last time in my real life, I ever heard someone ask me a question about socialization, but I know from talking to other people who live in different regions of the country, that’s still very, very common and a real struggle they have to deal with. Of course, that’s the joke. Everybody brings that one up. I think also, this idea that they aren’t going to be prepared for the real world is a common misconception. There are two to start with. What do you think about those?

What about socialization?

Christy: Yes, let’s start with socialization. I view homeschool socialization in a different light than a lot of people, I feel like– Homeschool moms listening, I want you to stop playing defense, and I want you to start playing some offense here, because, one, we have the statistics on our side, and I don’t mean playing offense in a mean way or a judgy way, or not having empathy or humility, nothing like that. What I mean is step into these shoes, step into truth.

The truth is that homeschooled kids are light years. They score on tests and evaluations. Emotionally, psychologically, socially, they are healthier than schooled kids, both private school kids and public school kids.

In terms of just simple statistics, my book is full of them too. I have an entire chapter on socialization, but here’s the thing that I think is important for us to embrace. Is that one, we need to accept the fact that there is a collective mindset in our culture with a stigma that all homeschoolers are socially awkward, or they aren’t going to be prepared, or they’re not going to fit in or whatever. I think that all of us have faced the fact where someone says, “Oh, I want to homeschool, I’m just so worried about socialization,” and then you ask them, “Well, what worries you?” Then they describe it and they’re literally describing your homeschool life, which is very social and rich and all of that.

Then you end the conversation and their mindset’s not changed. I think that there is this confirmation bias in our society. It’s like, you see an awkward kid just out at the mall, and you’re like, “Oh, that kid’s a little awkward.” Okay. Then the next week, you see an another kid, and you find out they’re homeschooled and you’re, “Oh, they’re awkward because they’re homeschooled.” I’m thinking to myself, “Have you met a middle schooler lately?” Come on.

Amy: They’re all a little awkward.

Christy: What we want– It’s a natural human tendency, and I want this– This isn’t a way homeschool moms can have grace with other people, because we have confirmation bias too. We are naturally wired to look for evidence that supports what we want to believe, and it’s really hard to break that mindset, which is one of the things that I’m extremely passionate about.

The other piece to the socialization aspect that I think is really important to embrace is that if our homeschooled kids have a completely different academic life and a completely different social life than kids who are schooled, why do we want them to look the same? Why would they look the same?

Their entire life is so different than a child who is in a school, and that makes people uncomfortable. It really does. I think if I was to guess, because I overthink everything, but I think this has a lot to do with, and I’d be curious about your opinion as a second gen. When we grew up in the school system, the worst possible thing that could happen to us is to not fit in. Homeschoolers, it’s very much a culture of being yourself and being in your own skin and quirky school and all of that.

When an outsider might see a homeschool kid that doesn’t present the same, my kids are not– My son learns Latin. Someone from the outside could be, “Oh, that kid’s so weird. He was talking about Latin.” No, that kid’s not weird. That kid just thinks Latin is cool. I think that that’s something to really consider, is that the worst possible thing that could happen to us socially growing up in school was to not fit in. It was a recipe for rejection and bullying and all of that, and so in a way, we’re scared. We’re scared that homeschooler maybe presents a little bit differently or talks about Tolstoy and not TikTok, and that makes us a little bit uncomfortable.

My son is– I get remarks all the time from neighbors, where he will play with a four-year-old in the neighborhood, and then I’ll see him chatting with a grandparent across the way. There’s no stigma for him. In terms of just a different approach to viewing socialization, I hope that encourages mamas just to understand our society, and that it’s very– I think it’s very much a fear-based response, to be honest, that other people have about socialization. When we understand that, I think we’ll get less frustrated and we’ll roll our eyes less like, “Oh, they’re so ignorant.”

We were there too. I was there. You probably were. I want to ask, I want to turn that over to you based on what I said, I’m so curious, from your perspective. I know this is a podcast interviewing me, but I’m more interested in you right now.

Amy: I think that from my experience, being a little quirky and different, being outside the box, was not something to be ashamed of, but totally a badge of honor. It was more like, “Yes, I don’t want to fit in with your box.” I want to be my own person and that’s carried over. Even now, I see how that really solid foundation and the confidence that I didn’t have to fit inside the box, that didn’t have to be just like everyone else, actually helps me as a homeschool mom, because homeschool moms, we can create our own boxes. If you’re not X, Y, Z enough for this group of people, then well, you don’t get to be called this brand of homeschooling anymore or whatever it is.

Just like, you know what? I can take the principles and then apply them in a unique way for my own family, that does not scare me or bother me. I think that’s a real gift, actually. The unsocialized homeschooler in me helps me actually, as I raise my own children now, it gives me confidence in knowing it’s going to be okay.

Christy: People like you give us confidence because there is a– I’ve noticed this across the board. Every homeschool graduate I’ve ever met, whether they’re second gen or they were homeschooled themselves and they don’t have kids yet or whatever, you guys have a peace and a security in when you guys decide to homeschool that a lot of us attain to have. I get hungry when I meet a second gen homeschool mom. I just cling on and I ask her all sorts of questions, or even dads, because there really is this– you guys already know it’s going to be okay because you’re okay. There’s that too, right?

Amy: We know that you don’t have to be a perfect homeschool parent for things to turn out okay, because we were there when our parents weren’t perfect. We turned out okay. I think we do, as homeschool moms, we put this pressure on ourselves to like, we have to do it all right or we’re going to ruin the children forever. We dramatize it, it just becomes such this huge fear in our hearts.

Get Your FREE Homeschool Planning Guide

✔4 Questions to Ask Before Planning

✔7 Steps to an Easy Homeschool Plan

Featured Image

Christy: We catastrophize the future. I remember, if he doesn’t start this year of math, then college is blown, and he was five. It’s ridiculous.

Amy: Yes. Oh man. I remember like, literally in tears when one of my children was five, and I was like, “Oh, and this happened and then this happened, and he’s probably going to end up in prison.”

Christy: Yes.

Amy: I was just like, “What did I just say? That’s such a crazy thing?” Every five-year-old probably looks, occasionally, like you’re heading to prison.

Christy: Yes. If you’re a mom listening to this and you’ve never thought that had a thought in your head, “Oh my goodness, will I be bailing this kid out jail,” then, yes.

Amy: Then I’m very happy for you. I will just mention, before we move to the next question, I did a series where I actually interviewed a bunch of second generation homeschoolers and a bunch of early homeschoolers, from my parents’ generation, and just really got their perspectives. That’s over at the curriculum choice website, and I’ll put the link to that in the show notes. If you’re listening-

Christy: I would love to watch that.

Amy: -I’ll send that to you.

Christy: Oh, thank you. Okay. Wonderful. Thank you.

Homeschool Conversations podcast Christy Faith Ditch the System, Reclaim Childhood, and Flourish in Your Homeschool

Responding to the homeschool naysayers

Amy: We’ve talked about this a little bit, Christy. I hope that anyone listening, who’s considering homeschooling is already feeling encouraged by what you’ve shared. If you were talking to a parent, and they’re facing maybe naysayers in their life, or their own internal doubts, what would you want to say to that potentially homeschooler?

Christy: There’s a couple of things. I am asked this a lot on my lives. “My mother-in-law is not supportive, my mom, my friend, my sister, or my husband.” I separate the naysayers into two categories. This tends to be helpful. One, you have your spouse. That’s a whole separate category because– I can talk about that too. Your spouse needs to be listened to. You are in a marriage, you’re in a relationship. There’s real fears, you need to talk. I have a go-to eight or nine things that I suggest that you can try when you’re in conversations with your spouse about homeschooling your kids or potentially homeschooling.

Now, for friends and family, what I usually recommend is to– Maybe this will sound bad, but you have to do it. You have to separate each person into one of two categories. That is, do they have a growth mindset or do they not? I think that will help you set boundaries as to the conversations that you are willing and able to have. Willing and able, because for example, what if one of those big naysayers in your life is a total narcissist? There’s nothing you can say that will change their mind about your homeschooling choice. That is a person that you will just need to learn how to set healthy boundaries with.

Whereas, someone else who may be is a concerned grandparent, and homeschooling is new to them. They’re worried. They’re worried that kids won’t end up okay, because keep in mind, we have a collective mindset in our culture, really somewhat against homeschooling. For someone like that that truly does want what’s best for you and the kids, it’s really just a matter of time before they come on board. You can hand them information, you can hand them books, send them to websites, ask them to read stuff, invite them over, invite other homeschooling families over, and invite them over as well.

I have found in my experience, I don’t know about you, but for those people who have concerns at first, and they witnessed it happening, they ended up falling in love with homeschooling and thinking it’s the best thing ever. On the other side of that coin is be very careful to protect yourself against those people who don’t want what’s best for you and don’t want what’s best for your kids. They just want to– For their own, perhaps, mental health reasons, they are not able to budge. I would just say, set healthy boundaries and love them still, and have empathy and grace.

I’m a big believer that boundaries aren’t a way to block people off and be vindictive. Boundaries are actually a way to salvage relationships and to keep them healthy. I separate into spouses over here, and then friends and family or over here.

The other thing to keep in mind is that– Dr. Steven Hayes, he’s a psychologist or a psychiatrist, I can’t recall. He’s coined the term, that we have to learn to talk to the ants. I love that imagery because we have society telling us this, or in-laws, or aunts and uncles, and then we have the voices in our own head. He’s really pioneered this idea of what is the biblical idea of taking our thoughts captive.

I think that we’re getting better as a society and as moms, to set boundaries with other people. Saying yes to the things we want to and sometimes we have to say no. The one area, at least, in my life, that I’m a little slower on the growth plan is having a healthy relationship with my own thought life and taking lies captive, and calling them the lies that they are, and not reacting, and getting overly emotional by thoughts that I’ve just created in my own head, and to try to focus on my values and what I care about the most.

Amy: That’s so helpful. I think so often, we do tell ourselves stories, and the more we tell that story in our own mind, if it’s a true story, then that’s helpful. If it’s a false story, a false narrative that we just keep telling us this version of our life. “Oh, if I do this, it’s not going to work out,” or whatever, a lot of times that becomes the way we view reality. That’s not very healthy at all. I will say to you, you were saying, and as sometimes, people are initially concerned about a decision to homeschool and later change their mind. It’s definitely something that my own parents experienced. They were homeschooling back when it wasn’t quite as popular or well-known as it is now.

One of my grandmothers, in particular, was very concerned. Later on, she was a huge advocate, a huge support because she had seen the results. She just loved us. She wanted what was best for her grandchildren. When she saw it going so well, she became the person that would defend homeschooling to its critics.

Christy: Wonderful. Were you in the generation– I don’t know what state you grew up in, but did your mom keep you inside until three?

Amy: No. Thankfully, I was not quite in the time where it was still not quite legal, or it was a little murky. You would get some side eye if you were out during school hours. Why aren’t you in school today but it wasn’t something where we would get in trouble. Thankfully.

Christy: Of course, our kids embarrass at us. “I don’t go to school.” They always say the wrong thing. I’m like, “Stop. We’re done with school already.”

Amy: I know, exactly.

Christy: Now, my son does it on purpose just to get my goat.

Amy: Oh, yes.

Christy: They think social media has made me completely with the thick, very thick skin. I don’t care what other people think anymore.

Dealing with the homeschool mama meltdown moments

Amy: Oh, my goodness. Christy, we’re talking to some homeschooling moms. Maybe they started off this semester strong, and now, they’re having a freak out moment. They’re worried, “Am I failing my kids,” or the curriculum that they thought was going to be the perfect curriculum choice that was going to solve all their problems is not working out so well for them this fall. What is your best strategy for helping a homeschool mama melt down calm down? Are there times where it’s good to pivot in the middle of the year or times when it’s maybe better to just push on through?

Christy: Yes. The answer is yes to both, right? It all depends. This might be why this is my most popular workshop that I teach. I teach a Finding Your Why workshop. I think that is the missing piece to homeschool insecurity, is truly knowing your why, because when you know that– You’d be surprised. A lot of people homeschool and they know it’s the right thing for their family. They know what style they are. They know all the things but if they don’t truly have encapsulated their reasons, their why, you can get derailed.

We all have fallen into this trap where we see all the moms on Instagram, and we’re looking at 10 different homeschool moms, and then somehow, we’ve matched her into one big one, and then that’s the one that we’re now holding ourselves against and judging ourselves against. I have found that when I am very clear on my purpose, that during the hard days, I can go back to that purpose statement and I can remember why I am doing this. If my kids were in school, they’d have bad days too and I’d have bad days.

When you truly know your purpose, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are the perfect and only person for this job. That no one else can do this job like you can. No one is going to know your kid like you can, no one is going to love your kid like you can, no one is going to be able to pivot. No one is going to be able to hug your kid when they can’t sound out that word, right? They can’t even touch kids in public school, which I don’t mind. I really think that’s it, because we have those ups and downs.

The one thing I’m always saying to my mamas is, it’s not a curriculum that works. It’s not a style that works. It’s none of that. It’s you that works. It’s homeschooling that works. The reason why homeschooling works is because we’re this massive tribe of moms who care and are motivated. It’s really ultimately us who are making this work, because you know this, all homeschool curriculum is great. All of it does the job. It’s not a matter of what we’re doing, it’s more of who we are. Just remembering that when it gets hard or when you–

The thing is– We’ve all done this, we’ve all– Oh, man, I love it when curriculum boxes come in. The smell, when I crack open that fresh binding and I take that whiff and it’s like the smell of hopes and dreams and then three weeks– This happened last year, three weeks in, my son and I looked at each other and we’re like, “We hate this curriculum.” Just give yourself space, don’t panic. Give yourself time to maybe– We ended up scrapping that whole subject for the whole year. I just didn’t buy anything new because our days were full anyway, we’ll get to it later, but have grace with yourself that you don’t have to scramble and be up at 2:00 AM researching a curriculum.

You can take a breather, figure out what’s working, what didn’t work about that, what did. Get advice from veteran homeschool moms. Listen to Amy’s podcast, because you’re so wise. I’ve been enjoying listening to your episodes, by the way. Thank you.

Amy: I think it’s so important to remember that end goal in mind. In my Free Homeschool Planning Guide, I talk to people about the four questions you ask before you even think about planning or buying a curriculum. One of the questions is just, what kind of human being do I want to raise?

Christy: Oh, I love that.

Amy: That’s not an academic necessarily goal, things like humble or kind, full of wonder, those kinds of things. If you can even think about big picture. We’re dealing with our soul here, an eternal soul in our home. The relationship that I have with that child, at the end of the day, is a whole lot more valuable than whether we finished this one particular math worksheet on a random Tuesday in the middle of the semester. We can also just keep that in mind. It goes, really prioritizing relationship. When we talk about that, it’s easy to say and I know it is hard to do.

I think if we can really prioritize that human being that’s right in front of us, it’s not all the other children in the world, is that child that God gave to us in our homeschool, all their quirks and our quirks, and just focus on that person, I think sometimes, that brings some clarity too, and helps the math tiers, or this curriculum is not working or scheduling issue, it’d be put back in its proper perspective.

Christy: Yes. We are constantly comparing ourselves. Like, somehow, if they were in a school environment, that this wouldn’t be happening. There’s massive gaps– I was in the classroom, massive gaps in learning. There are some great teachers out there and there are some awful teachers who literally don’t even teach anything. We were hired to solve the problems of the system. We had children that had entire years that were wasted because of staff changes with teachers.

Because we are so in it and we see every single moment, and we don’t see what goes on in the traditional classroom in America, whether it’s public or private, we somehow think that they’re getting everything done and that kids aren’t falling behind and all of those things. It’s not true. It’s not accepting reality. It’s not accepting the reality of what learning is like. Learning is asynchronous, it is going to vary per child. I know that a lot of moms– I was like this in the beginning, where I would get a curriculum and then I felt like a failure if that curriculum didn’t work, because it was according to my philosophy that I wanted to teach in.

Just being able to let that go and what I initially viewed as a liability or maybe a failure, I’ve now come to realize, this is one of the major benefits of home education. We can make pivots. We should be making pivots. This is a customized learning environment that we are creating for our children. Yes, to answer your question about do I switch curriculum, I often. When I am advising moms, I don’t want moms to be constantly spending money on new curriculum. I try to figure out a way to make her investment work until there comes a– Most, you can adapt pretty well. Haven’t you found most?

Amy: Oh, yes. Oh, definitely.

Christy: You can adapt and then make a different change at the end of the year or at the end of the semester. Curriculum, you can really spend a lot of money on it, so we want to avoid that, especially since there is no perfect curriculum. We have to get out of that mindset. It’s more of how we’re implementing the curriculum that’s going to make it work.

Amy: I think the faithful consistency, that you do just a little bit every day, is a lot more important than the specific. Most of the time. There are a few bad curriculum out there, but most of the time.

Christy: Like what, Amy? Spill it. I’m just–

Amy: Not on the internet.

Amy: Most of the time, if you just have faithful consistency, even the imperfect thing that you do, just a little every day, is going to end up working out. Yes.

Christy: Yes.

What Christy-Faith is reading lately

Amy: Christy, this has been so much fun. We could just keep talking, but we should probably wrap it up. Here at the end, I’m going to ask you the question I asked all of my guests. The first is just, what are you personally reading lately?

Christy: Oh, I’m reading a great book right now. I’m reading Simplicity Parenting. Have you read that?

Amy: I have not. Who is the author?

Christy: Kim John Payne. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I like to take the summer to– I always use the summertime– We do light school– We’re year-round homeschoolers. You know how it is. We do light school in the summers. I always make it a point to step up up my parenting game in some way, whether I’m taking a new course or reading a great book in parenting, because I have a little bit of a respite from the more longer academic days, homeschooling four kids. His thesis is basically that society– It’s not a homeschool book, by the way.

That society is waging a war on childhood and that we need to reclaim childhoods. We’re way too busy. We’re raising our kids in an adult world, that they’re being exposed to adult things they’re not ready for. They’re highly overstimulated, so he has kind of pillars of ways to simplify your home. He runs research. For example, there’s been studies of his where kids with pretty severe ADHD, their symptoms have been incredibly decreased simply by changing the child’s environment, exposure to screens, not as much clutter, not as many toys. I haven’t read a parenting book like that before that has actual tangibles to do.

I’m very curious how when I implement some of these things, how some of these tangible changes can change the mood in our home. I’m really enjoying it. It’s a good one.

Christy’s tip for helping the homeschool day run more smoothly

Amy: I’ll have to see if my library has that one. That one sounds very fascinating. Christy, the final question I have for you is– Wow, you’ve shared a lot of tips here, but if you had to summarize, pick one, your best tip for helping the homeschool day run more smoothly.

Christy: I can’t handle that pressure.

Amy: It can be a best tip. It doesn’t have to be the best tip.

Christy: Okay. All right. If you are like me and you like to get things done and you like to have things planned out, I would say, the first years of my homeschooling were extremely negative for me. I constantly felt behind, always. I set up a schedule that was not realistic to implement. I decided how much time it would should take my kids to do something. Well, who am I to decide? They’re going to tell me, and I wasn’t– There was this disconnect between how I thought things should go and how they actually were going.

Short lessons

It wasn’t until I moved from– It’s really simple. I moved from accomplishing a certain amount of work or a lesson per day, to following Charlotte Mason’s advice. Well, I don’t think she’s right. There’s now tons of studies that support her in this, I don’t know if you knew that, in the short lessons, doing shorter lessons. I would highly recommend that rather than– By the way, because we know a lot of curriculum out there. We have used it for over 20 years. Curriculum writers, they don’t write it in a way that’s really conducive to implementing in our homeschool. If we allocate 15 to 20 minutes to math and we want to get a lesson done, one day, you might finish that lesson in five minutes, and then you would have total anxiety because the way that lesson was written, it’s going to take an hour and a half.

What you said earlier, I just want to repeat, that it’s that incremental, moving forward. That it’s really powerful. When I just considered it successful when we did the 15 minutes for my little kids, and a little bit longer for my older. When I embraced that, I started to love homeschooling more.

Circle Time

Then the second thing is in terms of– I love dreaming. I love helping moms create the homeschool of their dreams. When I first started, I wanted my kids to compose or study and memorize poetry and all of these things. I had twins, and then my youngest only 18 months after the twins. I’m trying to homeschool at the beginning with my oldest.

By the time we got done with core subjects, I was exhausted and I was like, “All we did was reading, writing, and math. This is not why I’m homeschooling.” I remember getting really down, because I was exhausted. A lot of moms do this, just shifting to the things that breathe life for you, mama, and that are part of what this dream is, do those at a time of day where you have more energy, I moved those to the beginning and it changed everything.

I think that’s why circle time, often, people call it morning time, because it’s those rich subjects that we want to do together, doesn’t have to happen in the morning, but it does for me, because if I’ve done read aloud, and we’ve done some of our memory work altogether, and then we go off to some of our individual subjects, I can feel like if we’ve just finished the morning time, that we had a great day. We could end it right there and I’d be happy. When some people talk about doing the rocks, pebbles, what is it? Rocks, pebbles–

Amy: The jar, where you fill the jar…

Encouraging independence

Christy: Yes, and I love that. I love that analogy. I think that that is hugely successful. The third. I just can’t help myself. Getting your kids to be independent as early as possible in every way possible, will be a gift to yourself. I’m talking chores, I’m talking simple meals, I’m talking take the time at the beginning of the year to set even your little runs up. They don’t even need to read in order to follow a checklist that has a picture next to it, so that you’re not constantly– It gets to you when it’s, “Mom, mom, where am I? What page, what’s next? What’s next.” You can avoid that altogether as early as possible, trying to get–

Which is what we want anyway. We want kids to take charge of their learning. We want to launch them out of our homes, ready to learn whatever they need to learn and have the tools to do it. That can start pretty early. Do you do that in your home?

Amy: We do, yes. I think having the independence also, really has great benefit when they’re in their teen years, in high school things, and maybe doing enrollment things, moving into college. You’ve trained them little by little, it doesn’t mean you’re just like, “Here, five-year-old, here’s all your homework.” You’re like, “Go do that.” Of course not. You’re training them little by little so when they’re older, they really are able to take charge of their own education, which is really exciting. That’s been very rewarding for me to see with my older ones. I wouldn’t want to forget, the first tip you gave about the time.

This is one of the reasons why I often, actually, on our weekly homeschool planning chart, I won’t assign specific pages or chapters. I’ll actually assign it by time, because you might have one child that really struggles to read. It’s really hard work, they can’t read very many pages a day, but if I say okay, “I want you to read with your eyeballs,” because we do a lot of reading with your ears. If I say, “I want you to read with your eyeballs for 30 minutes.”

Christy: I love that.

Amy: It doesn’t matter how many pages you read, and then the child who’s struggling doesn’t feel overwhelmed, “This will never end.” They know, however much I can do in 30 minutes, I can do. That really works well with other subjects too. You can assign like, “Okay, do one chapter in math, or 45 minutes,” whichever comes first, because if it’s really, really challenging, you might need two days. Guess what? That’s why we homeschool. We can take two days on the math lesson. No homeschool police will come for you. If you finish it quickly, the kid feels like they gained the system, like, “Ooh, I finished my math faster than the assigned time today.”

Find Christy-Faith online

That’s a really great useful tip, I think both for children who can go more quickly and for children who are struggling. Christy, where can people find you all around the internet?

Christy: They can find me all around the internet but the best place to go is christy-faith.com, but there’s a dash. It’s christy-faith.com. If you go there, you can find– It’s like a web, you can go everywhere if you go there first.

Amy: Perfect. I will have that link in the show notes for this episode over at humilityanddoxology.com. If you have enjoyed this episode today, I would love for you to share it with a friend. Note, word of mouth is a great way to spread the encouragement that you get every week in your earbuds, from homeschool conversations. I’m so delighted to each of you who has joined us today. Christy, it’s been really fun to get to know you a little bit more. Thanks so much for coming. I hope to chat with you again soon.

Christy: Thank you for having me.

Check out all the other interviews in my Homeschool Conversations series!

Homeschool Conversations Video Interviews Podcast HumilityandDoxology.com Amy Sloan

Spread the love

Join My Newsletter
Enjoy subscriber exclusives and a weekly poem!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *