Feb. 28, 2023

GOAT #53: Deschooling with Laura Swain

GOAT #53: Deschooling with Laura Swain

Did you pull your kids out of school and suddenly feel like you were free falling off a cliff, wondering what you'd gotten yourself into and completely anxious about what to do next? 
Join us this week as we talk through "deschooling" with Laura Swain.  Laura is a homeschool coach, portfolio reviewer, encourager, blogger, homeschooling Christian mom, and supporter.  She provides us some warm and eye opening analogies and quips to keep us encouraged as we fight against the pressures (internal and external) within our homeschool. 
Laura provides homeschool coaching services, a community of support and help along the way with our homeschooling journeys. 

Resources & Links
You can reach Laura Swain online at:  her website
Laura Swain on Instagram
Learn with Laura Swain on Facebook
For Deschooling Tips:  http://www.deschoolingmadesimple.com

The Underground History of American Education, Volume I: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling by John Taylor Gatto:  https://amzn.to/3IqCWWw

Be sure to subscribe to GOAT Homeschooling with Erin and Amanda wherever you listen to podcasts, and join us in continuing the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, or via email.

Website: www.goathomeschoolingpodcast.com
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Email: goathomeschoolingpodcast@gmail.com

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EP53 Deschooling with Laura Swain

[00:00:00] Erin: Hello, welcome to Goat Homeschooling with Erin and Amanda. I'm Erin. And I'm Amanda. You're listening to the podcast for long haul homeschoolers. You know the ones that have been living this homeschool lifestyle for at least five years and plan to continue through high school. We are here to help you have the greatest of all-time homeschool by covering relevant topics with relational stories from our own home educating experiences.

Our guests are fellow long haulers, experts, and authors serving. School community who will encourage you as you continue on in the high calling of parent and home educator. Today we have Laura Swain with us from learning with laura swain.com. She is gonna talk to us all about what she offers, um, in the way of coaching, and she also offers some membership opportunities for you.

And she is a homeschool coach and so welcome Laura. Thank you for coming today. Hi. So nice to be here. Thanks for having. Yeah. So do you wanna introduce yourself to our guests and talk about, you [00:01:00] know, your family a little bit, like how many kids you have and all the fun things? Yeah, sure thing. So, um, I'm a former public school teacher.

I taught third grade for four year or third grade for one year, second grade for four years. And I loved it. Um, I knew my whole life I wanted to be a teacher and, um, it, it was my plan all along. I am, it's something I was super passionate. My husband knew that he wanted to homeschool our kids before they were born

And so we would have long walks around our neighborhood before we, like, were talking about getting pregnant and I, I mean obviously before we got married too. And, um, it was something that seemed impossible to give up. You know, my job. Because I felt like the Lord had perfectly gifted me and prepared me for this career that I was in, and I felt like I was just getting started.

Um, but like day by day, year by year, he allowed me to loosen and relax my grip on this awesome thing that I was doing, [00:02:00] um, to make way for better things. And so after five years of teaching, I stayed home when I had our first. And, um, now we have four, it's been 10 years now. Uh, my oldest is about to turn 10 next month.

And, um, it's, I can just with great confidence say that like, that was the best decision I ever made in my life other than, you know, marrying my husband and, um, having a family together. Um, it has led to so many beautiful things and. , I, I know you guys have talked a lot about what, like, what it looks like to long homeschool for the long haul, and I think what I've realized is that when I began this homeschooling journey, I thought, oh, you know, I, I was a teacher, I know how this works.

But bit by bit, I have had to go through this deschooling period of realizing that like this teacher who I was before, even though I would've considered myself really outside the box when it comes to, you know, how things look in the [00:03:00] c. Like really like child led. And, um, but I had, I still was operating within this, uh, like factory model of education framework where everything had to be set up a certain way.

And so now that I'm home and I've been out of the classroom a few years, it's given me an opportunity to see how kids really learn, um, and to see what they really need to thrive. And it's just, it's been so wonder. Oh, I love that . It's always fun to hear the origin story of a homeschool mom, , because I think we all have very different reasons for coming to the same conclusion that home education is best for our families.

So putting those pieces together is excellent. So your husband's supportive, uh, your kids are learning at home. So tell us about what you do within the homeschool community to help other homeschool moms. Deschool. Yeah. Um, I about. I'm trying to think about five years ago or so, um, I, [00:04:00] um, in here in Ohio, I, we are required to, um, fulfill this assessment requirement as part of the law.

Each year you have a few options and one of them is to, um, get a signature from a certified teacher. And so my husband and I thought, oh, like I'm a certified teacher. I can just keep up my license and, um, be able to do this for other homeschool. And so I was kind of waiting to get a little more experience and my husband said, what are you waiting for?

Like, you know, kids, you know, like you're passionate about this. You should just put yourself out there. So I did, and I started doing homeschool portfolio reviews for Ohio homeschoolers. Um, And I think my goal was to be as like, unobtrusive as possible. Is that a word? Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Um, just like I didn't want to, like, I don't believe anybody needs a teacher to tell them what to do, you know?

I know you guys understand that too. Mm-hmm. . And so I wanted to just like basically do the minimum and get out of people's [00:05:00] way. But as I started having conversations with homeschool, , I started to realize they don't understand what I understand. Like they don't think that they can do this on their own.

Like they don't, not, not everyone of course, but like many of the moms I talked to, they wanted to talk to me. They wanted someone to tell them that they were doing a good job because they didn't have other people in their lives, like a support system set up. And what I realized over time after working.

with these moms that like, and this has grown each year, is that because of the culture we live in? The school saturated culture. . Um, I often compare it to this pow, like a powerful ocean current. Like, um, w when we were recently on a beach vacation, we went to, um, Hilton Head and my big girls were like, we were, I was taking them out to the beach one day and, um, there had been a big storm and the water was safe to swim, but it was pretty, [00:06:00] um, like angry water.

And so I told him, I said, you're gonna be playing in the water, and I'm fine. Like, I'm gonna be right here. And they had their life jackets on. But I said, you're gonna be surprised. But, um, you're gonna look up and it's gonna seem like you're in a different place, and it's gonna seem like I left or moved away.

But what's really happened is the water has carried you down the beach without you even noticing it. Because it's so powerful and strong, you're gonna feel like you're moving in a straight line. But you're not like the water is carrying you without you even noticing it. And I said, when that happens, all you have to do is come up onto the sand and look around for me.

I'll be waving for you and come find me again. It's not gonna be a big deal. You'll be safe. And I feel like the same thing happens to us as homeschool moms in this school culture. And I know, I bet you guys can like a attest to this, that even like even with the experience that you have, there are times when you probably still experience [00:07:00] doubts that pop into your minds.

Oh yeah. Hundred percent, yes. . It's so normal, isn't it? Yeah. But I, I think that because of that, Like I realized is that we as a group need, we need each other's support and like, that's why I love what you guys are doing here on the podcast. We need each other to like to speak, look in each other's eyes and say, this culture tells you what learning is, but they're wrong.

You know? Mm-hmm. , even though that's what most people do, most people do it this way. Most people. Think that like learning is like being, having like a cup filled up, but that's not how it actually is. And just reassuring people of that is my favorite thing to do. And I've realized I need that reassurance too.

Like when I speak that to other people, it's good. Mm-hmm. , it's like a reminder to me too cuz just when we think we've mastered that piece and that confidence, [00:08:00] then we'll encounter a new milestone in our kids'. and, and it's, it brings us back to the beginning and we have to, I guess, like work through those ch like those, those doubts again.

Mm-hmm. and again. Yeah, I completely agree. I think that Amanda and I have talked quite a bit and I've kind of come to find like, I feel like my calling is just helping other moms be confident because if you have the desire to homeschool, you might have different obstacles to get through, but just looking at them as obstacles and not like, Complete roadblocks of, I can't get through this at all.

I have to go a different direction, like by putting my kid back in school, in public school or private school or whatever. Um, but I think when we can empower other moms to have that understanding that school at home does not look like. Public school and it shouldn't at all because they're two completely different ideologies.

So define Deschooling for us in [00:09:00] the terms of how do you do that with your kid Then after you help your mom, the moms find out, you know, school doesn't have to look like public school at home. How do you help walk them through that with their. I think, uh, what I've found is that it helps to outline a step by se step process because most moms who are like contemplating leaving the world of public school, like they know in their gut it's the right thing to do, but at the same time they're thinking, there's no way I can do this.

Mm-hmm. , they're already terrified. And then the, the last thing they wanna hear is for. The rest of us is saying just relax. Like take it easy. Just have fun at home. Like, they're like, you're crazy. We can't do that. Like that doesn't count. That's not gonna work for my family. My kids already like four, you know, grade levels behind in reading, we're gonna fall even more behind.

And so like, they know that the school way is not the best way. , it kind of feels like you're jumping [00:10:00] off a cliff and then someone says, just relax and enjoy yourself as you Well, I think that's an, and that's an important point to make. We can take kids out of public school, and I had one that was in public school for a while.

You noticed that they're. behind grade level, uh, you know, behind, there's no such thing as behind really. Mm-hmm. . It's just where they're at. But when you expect them to have a certain skillset by a certain grade level, because that's what the school says, that they're offering them, and you bring them home and you realize, wait, the school wasn't doing what they said they were gonna do, and my kid doesn't know how to read and they're in fifth grade, you know?

I think it's important for moms. We don't have that connection sometimes as homeschool moms that, wait a second, if that's what's happening at public school, and I bring them home. That confidence to me, I think, you know, we don't think of it like, oh, I could do better than that. You know? It's like, oh, if they can't do it at public school, then surely I can't do it at homeschool.

You know, . [00:11:00] Yes. Right. If they can't with all the, you know, all the dollars and the resources and all of these things and all the training, you know, I'm doing air quotes. I know people can't see that, but. Yeah. If they can't do it, then I surely can't. But let me assure you, as a former teacher, the bar is fairly low.

Like, and I don't see that as a dispar, like as a way to disparage teachers, cuz I was one of them. John Taylor Gato talks about teachers who believe that kids are born learners as, um, and they choose to stay in the system like he did, but it's like they're throwing sand in the gears of the machine. So props to all of the teachers and the schools doing that.

But the way it's set up is, um, is not the way that learning actually happens. And so I like I, I'm a big visual person. And so, uh, in John Taylor Gato, if you haven't, if you guys haven't read him, those of you who are listening highly recommend his work. He's a former teacher [00:12:00] who has a lot to say about what real learning looks like versus school learning, but he ca, he calls school like a factory model of education.

Mm-hmm. , where there's this conveyor belt and I can, again, I was in it, so I can speak to that, where you have the. I don't know if you guys have ever watched the show. I love Lucy. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Yes. I know that. Chocolate. The chocolate chocolate episode. Yeah. . That is, I love sharing that clip. Um, I just shared it in, um, a homeschool course I'm leading right now.

To show with some humor, what it looks like, what I felt like as a teacher. Like you could just see like Lucy and Ethel like shoving their cheeks full of chocolate and they can't keep up. And the chocolate's racing by and you just busted gut laughing and the lady comes in and barks out, you know, how's everything in here?

And they're like, Ooh, we're fine. And they can hardly speak. And then she says, okay, speed it up. And then they have these faces like, oh no, that is exactly what my life was like in. Public school because [00:13:00] if you can picture like a line. Of growth in public school. It's like this straight line upward, like a diagonal, it's unflinchingly rigid upward growth.

And if you, if you as a kid fall anywhere outside of that, even above the line, it's, it throws a kink in that conveyor belt model because the, the PR. Top priority in the factory is efficiency. If things aren't efficient, then the whole system breaks down. And if things aren't learn, if kids aren't learning the same thing in the same way, at the same time, even e we, we say, we try to differentiate.

We say we try to do that, but like in my experience, I was one person, even with support, people who would come in and out that like. Often worse cuz it felt like revolving door of, you know, people going in and outta the classroom all the time. Even with all of that, there is just like, I had kids coming into my second grade classroom who already believed they were stupid.

They were [00:14:00] seven years old. Mm-hmm. , they, they were sure they were stupid and that there were something wrong with them and they couldn't, like, they couldn't read a single word. And then I had kids that were reading at like a sixth grade level and I had 25 of them who had to master. Things that were in neither spot, like

It wasn't at the sixth grade level or at the preschool level. It was the second grade, you know, arbitrarily chosen path that I had to finish and get through by the end of the year. Mm-hmm. . And so like we had to keep the schedule, we didn't have a lot of flexibility, modifications and accommodations were very limited.

And that, like, that's what the factory looks like. And so that's what, like parents and kids who are coming out of the factory, they don't know anything different than that. Mm-hmm. . And so they might, they might like believe that that isn't the best way to do it, but when they're coming home, They're thinking they have to finish certain things in a certain time in a certain way, because that's what [00:15:00] learning has always been called.

Yep. Mm-hmm. and I, I like to tell homeschoolers that you don't have to make your home a factory. That would be pretty depressing actually, if it, if you had this like whistle where everything starts at the beginning of the day and everybody grinds out the work all day. And there are some people who say that, you know, kids just have to learn to do things they don't wanna do.

You know, it's like, I don't wanna live a life where like 95% of the tasks in front of me are things that I don't believe are valuable. Like, I don't wanna live that way as an adult. Mm-hmm. . So I encourage parents to think of their home like a bespoke. Craftsman's workshop, maybe like whether it's like a, like a chocolate workshop where there's this chocolate that's handmade or like shoes that are handmade, uh, hand turned leather shoes.

The where, like in a workshop like that, efficiency is the last priority and the [00:16:00] quality of the product. And like the, and not just the quality of the product, but like the, the beauty and the process is celebr. So in a workshop like that, slowness isn't just okay, it's a mark of care and attention. Mm-hmm. , I love that.

I love that analogy. Yes. That's wonderful. I had not thought of it that way, but that makes so much sense. Yeah, we have so many, uh, parents that we talk to, uh, in our community and I'm sure the same with the covid schoolers who are now homeschooling, choosing not to go back after they can after three years now.

And a lot of them I see are still so much in the midst of that struggle because they have not deschooled and you know, like you said, they don't wanna hear, oh, it's fine. Just go play at the park today. You know? You know, do take a month off. To them, you know, that was what was the fear was with the kids being out of school during Covid, was [00:17:00] that they were getting behind and this whole idea that there's this level that they're not achieving simply because they're not in school where like you're talking about that mark of taking the time and slowing down and really enriching the life of the child because.

They're able to see their interests like that is so important. And I think probably one of the most important things to have that homeschool mindset. So I love that. So, um, so part of what you do is coaching the moms through their portfolios. Do you wanna talk to us a little bit about what other things that you offer for homeschool.

Families, um, in the way of resources. Yeah. Um, I do have a, a free de-schooling guide. It's at de-schooling made simple.com if you want a couple step-by-step ideas to get started. And I made it into this pretty like, organized checklist. Mm-hmm. to. [00:18:00] Hopefully to act as a bridge to be a little bit more robust than just encouragement to just relax and enjoy yourself , but to give parents something to do so that they can feel productive when they're coming home.

out of the school system and still at the same time give their kids peace. And the what? Like I think really the key to success in that is redirecting all of that pent up at quote, educational energy that's welling up inside you as a parent and redirecting it away from your children and just leave them alone for a.

Mm-hmm. , um, because they've, they've been in it like they have been completely immersed in that for a long time. Have you been in my living room or something? Like, I feel like I feel attacked

when we first started schooling. I, yes, there is. There's a, a perfect way of saying it. There's this pent up. Energy that you feel like you have to do all these things [00:19:00] to keep up and to keep going with the rat race or the school race or the factory race, and you just don't, and when you aren't doing it, you do feel like you're free falling off of the side of a cliff.

I understand that completely. And I love the way that you vocalize that and it feels like you were a fly on the wall in my living room. like, this is crazy. Yeah. Well and I'm, I think too, um, my husband has spoken to me about, , I was public schooled. And so for, I, I mean, even for us long haulers who've been doing this, like this is our 11th year, I still can fall into those traps of feeling like I'm not doing enough this year, or they're not, you know, where I want them to be or where I think that they should be.

And I have to pull myself back into that mindset like you're talking about, of they're not behind anybody. They're just where they're at and. You know, life happens and, and so much of our home education is surrounded by life and trauma and hard things. You know, my mom passed [00:20:00] away just over a year ago.

She lived with us. It was just like our world stopped for. You know, the whole time she was in the hospital and several months afterwards and having like that skeleton school is what I call it, where you have the bare bones that you're focused on. You know, do the math, do the language arts, do the history and self-led, cuz I, I needed to step back from that.

I just couldn't. Do it. And I think that a lot of times when those things like trauma or disease, or not disease but like, you know, sickness or whatever it may be, illness and, uh, or death in the family, it's, or even special. We have special tend needs, you know, I mean, there, there could be special needs going on that, that needs attention.

You know, at one point we were in the, at OT for four times a week, you know? Well, and so here I was like, oh, we didn't get this done today. We didn't get that. Now we have to go to ot. And looking back on that, I wish I had relaxed. In those moments because OT was school and those times that we spent together on the way to OT on the way home from ot, that was, that was important [00:21:00] time and it was important for us to slow down and do those things right?

And those relational, those relational things that we're trying to teach the kids, that is so much a part of the education that's missing at a public school setting where it isn't so much the focus on good character training and all of those. That's the things, empathy that we're having at home. So anyways,

Yeah, I, yeah. And I think, like Amanda, I know you have had lots of experience with, with kids, with unique needs and I think parents who are in your situation, It's like, I don't know if you felt this way, but the parents I've talked to feel almost like this extra pressure. Like, like you need to be like you've been an advocate for your child in their special needs since birth, but.

But like, you almost need to be like the supermom with a cape, like doing way better and getting like, oh, my child was struggling in school as a special needs kid and now he's [00:22:00] reading at a college level. You know, like, do you, did you feel that pressure? Yeah, absolutely. You know, I mean, I, we, you can't take the special need into account.

Like they still have to be on grade level, what air quotes, you know, and, and on par with their peers. Um, and there is that, and it's an internal pressure that we feel it's like, Got special. Like he has tracking issues, he has dyspraxia, he has, there's things going on or anxiety or dyslexia or whatever.

There's things going on that, that should account for that and you should be able to relax and lean into that a little bit and, um, make room for it. It has a seat at the table and. . There shouldn't be a cons, you know? Well, he has to go above and beyond everybody else, and then some couple steps forward from that.

And we have to prove ourselves, you know, that's a lot internal pressure too. We have to prove ourselves. Mm-hmm. , we have to post on social media that, Hey, look what he did today. You know? Yeah. Uh, , which is ridiculous. Why do we do that? I don't understand why we do that. Right, right. Yeah. Well, and I've [00:23:00] recently had a, a mom tell me too, like, well, my kid is college.

Like you don't know that we don't know exactly what we're preparing our child for. We can just prepare them for having the ability to learn the, the knowledge and how to find information. Um, the, the want and the drive to learn, um, the curiosity, not killing that curiosity because as much as you wanna say, my four-year-old is going to college, we just don't know that.

You don't know what is in that child's future. And I think that that's a really arrogant thing to do as a parent to think that we. Have some sort of path that our child has to be on as a homeschool parent, whether that's because of the internal pressure that we feel on our own selves or the external pressure we get.

Um, I know on your, uh, website you talk about that too, just having a reason for those critics. Like, I have a plan. , you know, when they're starting to talk to you about, you know, well, how do you think you can do this? Well, I have a plan and that's all you really need to know. I have a plan. I parent, I was [00:24:00] given these children by God for a reason, and I feel like this is their best, um, opportunity to be the best people that they can be and have the resources that we can give them.

Mm-hmm. . So how do you speak to that? Um, when you talk to other parents that are kind of nervous that you know their expectations won't be met or other people's expectations? I think this is one of. Unexpected challenges. And one of the most beautiful things about diving into any new path in our motherhood journeys and like when we head down this homeschooling road is that man, the Lord has a lot of work to do on our hearts, doesn't he?

Amen. And like, I just, these things that come up from that inside, like you talked about this external and internal pressure. The external is huge and cannot be discounted like that ocean current that's constantly pushing and it's exhausting to [00:25:00] stand up under that and like firmly rooted in what you believe is true.

And to be surrounded by people who are saying things that are just frankly, completely untrue about kids and learning. It feels hard to stand up by yourself almost. Mm-hmm. and say, no, that's wrong. It's not how it works. I think that being surrounded by community, Vital, like I mentioned before, like that, like that powerful ocean current.

When we're standing in it alone, it's enough to sweep you away sometimes, but if we've got our arms linked together, uh, in solidarity, As homeschool moms, I've gone through some weak seasons. I went through a, a really hard time around the time my twins were born, where I was just very physically depleted.

But it was like one thing after the other for about three years, and I had some, I was fortunate to have [00:26:00] some wonderful friends who would just feed me. when I was too exhausted and depleted and just everything felt murky. You know, like when you're in one of those seasons, like Erin, when you lost your mom?

Mm-hmm. , it's like things feel less clear and everything's this, just this gray fog settles in and it makes you feel so lost. . And when you have a community already like that, that I, I hate to say, is not an ideal time to try to find community , because it's so, you're already lost and you feel alone, and you're so tired and scared, and in normal tasks like brushing your teeth, feel hard.

It's gonna be very, very difficult to put yourself out there and find friends. Not that it can't be done. Now is the time for those of us who are in a, like a healthy season. Now is the time to prioritize [00:27:00] finding people who can be that support for us and who we can do that for too. It's so, such a, um, life giving thing to be able to support other moms in this way.

Mm-hmm. , and I think I, I find a lot of people like that consider that really overwhelming. Like it's hard to make friends as a grown. It's was like, well, I guess it's always felt hard for me. I was pretty shy when I was a kid. I don't know. Do your kids like find it easy to make friends? Are they pretty outgoing?

Uh, it depends on the kid. . Depends on the kid. Yeah. No, mine are, mine are terrible. They're total introverts and they, you know, I've, when we force them into group settings and they figure out who they click with and who they don't. Mm-hmm. and then that's good. It's just getting them to the group setting.

That's the challenge for me because they are like, I wanna stay at home . It's so hard, isn't it? And it's hard being the mom too, to like, when you feel like you have so much on your plate and the, the, like, social stuff may [00:28:00] feel like I w we were at a church game night recently, and it was really hard for my oldest and, um, we walked out.

It was, I mean, it was a loud room, lots of people. And we've been at this church for a year, so we're new-ish, but we, um, have friends there and she was just feeling a little unor. And I told her, I said, honey, I know this doesn't feel fun right now, but this is an investment in our relationships with these people.

Mm-hmm. , and I don't say any of this to make it seem like you always have to like be busy and do activities. I don't think that's the point, but I think the point is like, Investing in relationships do like, doesn't usually feel awesome at the beginning. It's work like you don't experience the fruit of that.

I like Erin. Are you the homesteader or is that you, Amanda? That's me. That's Amanda. Amanda. Amanda . Wow. You've done your homework, Laura. Well, I could remember which one. So like, you know what it's, and like you and your kids see [00:29:00] that, like how you don't, you can. Back to abundance, like the day after you plant to seed.

Right? That's not how it works. It takes work and it takes time. And it, you sit there and stare at the, at the soil, tell you something pops out. , right? right. And I mean, I like, we just moved on to a little bit of land and boy, our soil is incredibly like clay dense and rocky. It's gonna like, so I had these visions of.

Garden and like we ha our neighbors helped us get, prepare it. And now I, like, after one season, I'm like, okay, it's probably gonna be five years till we can like Yeah. Amend the soil to the point, like layer things on and put things in and take care of our land till we get to the point where I get to that vision in my head.

But so th this is another part of that analogy. When as you're repairing your soil, you can, um, pot garden where you can just grow things in pots. So that's part of that too. Like with friendships, you [00:30:00] park, you know, you have these surface friendships until you're healthy enough inside that you can grow that and, you know, have their soil amended and, um, and fixed.

for you to really de have deeper relationships with people. I mean, I think that we can just carry that analogy all the way through . That is so good. Yes. I love that aspect of it. You're exactly right. And I think the other thing that I encounter is that when like I know like I'm an introvert and I know for others who are introverts or find this challenging for different reasons, it's like logistics or, you know, I can't find any homeschoolers in my town or whatever it is.

Those. Those things seem super problematic when you're trying to solve the the friend problem, in addition to doing the 37 other things that you're trying to do in your homeschool every day. And you see all of the good stuff everybody is doing and say, oh, I want my kids to [00:31:00] memorize shake experience on it.

I want to do these scripture memory songs. I want to do all of this cuz it all looks good. I don't know about you guys, but I see all this stuff. I'm like, oh, that looks awesome. That looks awesome. . Yep. Yeah. the, I think the hard truth and like the hard truth is that we like our job as homeschool moms is to be the gatekeepers of our homes where we have to rely on the Lord to help us discern what matters most right now.

And that means that we can't do a lot of the good stuff. And maybe for some people who are just starting. And they need a network in a community like that has to be the only thing, the most important thing. And then we like have to be disciplined and willing to relax everything else and let, because most people like I, I see so many people say, oh, you know, we've tried to go to things they've tried, but like they, they try the socialization thing, but they're also trying to keep everything else up and like juggling all these balls at the same time.

And I think the way you [00:32:00] find. Momentum in a, like a certain goal that you have, whether it's, you know, establishing deep relationships or um, getting buy-in and motivation sparked in your children or whatever your target is. If that becomes the only important thing in your homeschool, you're gonna find so much more momentum in success in that area, and so much more energy and creativity will be.

available to you in your own, like from yourself. If you're not trying to spread yourself too thin and do everything well, and that's like another school thing in the school. Everything has to be important. Mm-hmm. , everything has to have the same amount of importance, but at home with real learning because we can release that timeline in this, the rigid, that rigid growth model.

That isn't what learning actually looks like. We get to choose like whatever our season is. Like Aaron, when you're grieving the loss of a dear family member, like that gets to be the most important thing. Mm-hmm. , you know, and that is [00:33:00] good and right for it to be the only thing that matters in the family right now.

And sure, we'll keep some routine, that skeleton structure that you were talking about, I love that idea in order to help like keep us sane and grounded. But this gets to be like, it is good and. For our people to be the most important things in our lives. And when we can we, when we can release the timeline, when we can release some of these like outcomes that we, ideal outcomes we have in our heads that we attach to our worth when we do this hard like mindset and hard work and.

But like, just like I relaxed my grip, the Lord helped me relax my grip on my teaching career. He showed me he had such good things for me. He can do the same thing for us in our homeschools. If we can just relax our hold on these goals, it's not, goals are not a bad thing and persevering and working hard is never a bad thing, but like the white knuckle grip on anything in our lives.

is [00:34:00] counterproductive. Mm-hmm. , and it keeps us from seeing the beauty that's right there. Yeah. That's always been there in front of us. Yeah. And I, as longtime homeschoolers, that's primarily who we talk to. It's easy to focus on people who just start and, and to look back because we have that hindsight now.

But I, I do feel like it is a season by season. Each of us that have been doing this for quite a while, that sometimes you do have seasons of really great friendship and a lot of community, and then for whatever reason, that goes away and now your, your season is now focused on something else. Or maybe you are highly focused on.

My kid has all these therapies to go to. And that's the thing. And I think we can really kick ourselves or beat ourselves up for having those things that we have as goals and we feel like that goal wasn't met at the right time or whatever. But like you said, God always provides, and the more that we can continue to rely on his provision in those times and focus on, you know, what is our why [00:35:00] of homeschooling?

Why are we even doing this to begin with? Is it solely. Academic, most likely not. Um, that's part of it, but like you said, sometimes the focus has to shift. And that's just a really good reminder, I think for all of us who have been at at this a while, is just, you know, the season that you're in doesn't necessarily look like the season you were just in.

And I just talked about this at a workshop that I did, um, for Bloom and Blossom, that when we compare even our own season, To our previous season, we can think that we're failures. Mm, yes. But if we're looking at the season that we're in, We can just be real in, in that reality of, okay, this is what's right before me.

If I were to look at last season and look at what success looked like, then it would've looked like, yeah, focusing on grieving, focusing on just a daily small rhythm, focusing on doing basic tasks like getting out of bed, . Yes. And that was successful for me. So in this season, now that I'm a little bit further past that, you know, a [00:36:00] successful season for me is my, my oldest is about to graduate.

My other kids are doing their school consistently and they're doing it. Very minimal help at times, and sometimes they need help, but we're moving forward more academically than we were. So in this season that success looks different. So even we can be our own worst enemies when we're not even just comparing ourselves to what other moms are doing, where other kids are doing in their school.

But when we compare ourselves to our, our last season or the season that we wanna be in, instead of just focusing on the season that we're in, right. . Yeah. And isn't that beautiful? I think the, like, like you said, the more experience we get with these, like embracing that instead of, um, like, like you said, comparing constantly either externally with other people or between our past and present, the more.

The more experience we get that, with that, I think the more like our default begins to shift over time. Mm-hmm. and we, our [00:37:00] default can shift away from panic when things change and we can start to see good opportunities in front of us, you know, with our children. And it's like, I like. In the show, uh, the Office, I don't know if you guys ever watched The Office.

Mm-hmm. . Oh my gosh, yes. . She just, she just with that statement, she, we've gotta invite her into the, to our little club Erin . We have, and there's a thing, like, we have a thing, there's a thing. That's a thing. So you just joined the thing, so, okay. I'm welcome to the thing cuz we, we have talked, we have, if we cannot drop an office quote and meet, understand or, yeah.

You have to be able to understand it and laugh at it or we just can't be friends. So. Well I'm about to drop one. This is good. Okay, go for it. Um, in the last season Andy says like, I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old times when you're in them. And there is, there is a way, and it's like I, we look [00:38:00] back and you hear this from these amazing seasoned, older moms who are like, sometimes people feel like a little bit annoyed when people say, oh, re like savor this season.

It goes by so fast. And, but it does, it freaking does and I know that like instead of like, I don't know. Instead of getting annoyed by that advice, like we don't have to reject that advice, but we all, and we also don't have to pretend that this season is perfect because I just, oh gosh. We just had a library trip this morning that like where I left feeling like I was just going to lose my mind.

It was so difficult. And so we have, like, our life is filled with those moments where we do not show up as the ideal mom that our kids need and where our kids do not show up as our vision of the ideal children . But when I like, the more [00:39:00] I heart work I do around this idea of who I am and who my kids are, the, and like my, um, I choose a word of the.

each year to kind of just like as a reflective process. Um, and my word for 2023 is the Hebrew word hassed and it means loyal love. And I am, my prayer for this year is that God would just, like, he has already filled me with this unbelievable, mind-blowing earth shattering love. He has already given it to me.

And my prayer for this year is that, that like he will sh open my eyes more and more to that love and so that it just flows out of me naturally and that's not something I have to summon up or try harder with that, it will just effortlessly flow from me and to my children and my husband and my, um, friends and my clients.

and the more like, I think we can ask for that help, [00:40:00] you know, and we can ask for open eyes to see what's there. Because what, like, I don't wanna wait to appreciate this season. I don't wanna wait 20 years to look back on it and be filled with nostalgia and think, man, like I missed that. Mm-hmm. . And honestly, that did happen with a little bit, with the first year of my second child's life, I feel like.

I, I missed it because I was so, there was a lot going on. I was so busy. I was, you know, wrapped up in my own head a lot. And, um, that was a good learning opportunity for me, that there are all of these goals and hopes we have for our kids. There are these ideas and inspiration we get. There are directions and plans that we lay down, but all of it comes down.

They are born learners. They came into this world learning and they have never stopped. And God created me as born learner too in his image to be innovative and [00:41:00] creative and like to flourish in this world. And there are things because this world is broken now that get in the way of this and impede that ideal.

But when I ask him for help to just for open eyes, to just notice the blessings that are already there, he answers me every single time. and it's given me like, I still have a long way to go with this, but it's given me new appreciation for who my kids are right now, not who I wish they would be, and not so they're defined by their lack, like the rest of the world might define them because they're not caught up to a certain standard.

But as precious. Like valuable gifts that I can steward not in completely imperfectly, but for the glory of God. Mm-hmm. and for the good of our family. And yes. Um, the more we learn that like the easier it gets. Absolutely. I love that. [00:42:00] That's a really good, I think end note to, yeah, to close out today. But, um, so Laura, where can our listeners find you?

You did mention that before we started recording. You have a membership opening up. , uh, do you wanna just share that with us? Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, so, um, right now my, I'm opening my doors to my homeschool membership, it's called With Community, and I named it that because being with each other is, I think, the most critical part of this homeschooling journey.

And so with community is a virtual homeschool group. We meet, um, on Zoom once a month. We have a private Facebook group and I provide monthly teaching or encouragement, and we usually have a topic to help focus us each month. And it's meant to be not like adding something to your life, but something that's helping you with the life you already have.

Um, like what I was talking about earlier with these, like this, these gratitude glasses I have, I can see. My, like my, what I call it, my [00:43:00] real actual right now life and be filled with purpose and gladness that this is what I have. So our theme this month in February, um, I guess this, we're coming out the last day of February, uh, for this podcast.

But um, in February our topic has been self-care and how sustaining self-care goes beyond a massage or a bubble bath to how we talk to ourselves and think about ourselves and treat our. And how that flows into the lives of our children. In March, our topic will be homeschooling with special needs In April, our topic will be order and flow, like how to pivot and decide when it's, when you need to nudge your kids and when you need to give more space.

And then we have like the rest of the topics will be laid out on my social media and my. So, um, if you are listening and you're interested in fighting some, um, women who will lock arms with you in that school culture current, this is the place to be and I'd love to welcome you [00:44:00] in. So the name of that website, it's with community.com or what?

No, it's, um, I, you'll, it's in the show notes. The website is in the show notes. It's like a garbled web address, but you, it's easiest to find it on my socials. I'm learn with Laura Wayne. I'm on Facebook and Instagram and I'll have the link you need. To find there. Okay. Excellent. Thank you so much for joining us today, Laura.

Yeah, thank you, Erin and Amanda. You guys are doing incredible work, and I just feel so privileged that you invited me to chat. It's so much fun. Oh, thank you, . Thank you so much. Thank you for joining us today. Have you enjoyed our podcast? Be sure to check out our website. Go to homeschooling podcast.com where you can listen to our full catalog of episodes, read our blog, leave a review, contact us with questions, or submit a request to be on the.

While you're there, go ahead and subscribe to our weekly newsletter that's delivered to your inbox. You can also find us on Facebook at Goat homeschooling with Erin and Amanda, our Facebook discussion page, go homeschooling podcast discussion, and on Instagram at Goat [00:45:00] Homeschooling Podcast. And if you really love what you hear, please be sure to tell your best friend.

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Laura SwainProfile Photo

Laura Swain

Homeschool Coach

Laura Swain believes your kids are #bornlearners…and that living out this conviction will change everything about the way you homeschool. Public school teacher turned homeschooling mom of four, Laura has seen firsthand how much our kiddos can teach us about how learning really happens.

She used to be the quiet perfectionist who never raised her hand in class. Now Laura’s stopped mumbling and gotten brave because homeschool moms need her to be louder than their doubt. She loves equipping them to do less with confidence in her online membership, With Community.

If you only remember one thing today, she hopes it is this: you are a #bornlearner, too, mama. It’s time to live like one!