I may just wind up sharing my progress throughout the book. It's Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm reading through this book - which I skimmed when I first got it on Wednesday, and I spent most of yesterday looking at it longingly, deciding to finish the new Stephen King novel since we still had guests.

Why have I been so anxious to dive in? First and foremost because +Amy Knepper wrote it, and I'm lucky enough to call her one of my friends here on the Ploos.

Secondly, because LOOK AT IT. ISN'T IT PRETTY?! I couldn't put it down when I first got it.

Thirdly, because we're hitting an early streak of the December sludge, which is when things slow down and get difficult and I start questioning both my mental faculties and the decision we made in homeschooling in the first place.

Enter Blueprint Homeschooling, at probably the perfect time. 

Typically, I consider our house one that's semi-structured unschooling. We have some things we have to make sure we hit so we show the appropriate progress for the state. But, beyond that, we typically let the kids do as they will. However, I've got an eldest child who is planning to test in to one of the gifted magnet schools we have as part of our public school system out here, and I've got a youngest child who desperately needs direction of some kind.

So we need to do some kind of planning. We need some kind of compass.

And d'you know what Amy has you do first?

Figure out why you homeschool in the first place.



Isn't that obvious?

No. It's not. And maybe it is in the beginning, but Amy says it and I couldn't help but saying "Amen": you'll lose sight. Especially in the winter time. And this was the perfect time, again, to sit down and do that today. We're all home. It's cold outside so we're all already hanging out together in the house. So we had a chat.

And we narrowed down our values.

Which was surprisingly insightful.

Did you know one of the biggest values to my kids was that there are no bullies since we homeschool? My oldest is the only one between the two who's gone to public school. She's also the only one who's had experience with bullies.

It left that big a mark. It hurt her desire to learn that much. I didn't know that. I didn't know that, three years into homeschooling, my eldest is still worried about things like that. And that worry, because of folks they've run into just in the neighborhood, exists within my youngest.

So safety is one of our important values. Because it correlates to creating a positive learning environment. Which is my job. And I refuse to bully them into learning.

Sitting down and clarifying our values today really helped me create sort of jumping off points for progression through the rest of the book. I don't want to give too much away (hey, you have to read it yourself), but I want to say that from the start, it's an incredibly effective book. Even the eldest was saying it was helpful for her to remember why she likes homeschooling and what the benefits are for her.

The first bit, figuring out your values, that's all I'm doing for today. I'm trying to take my time through it, trying to take it a step at a time and stew on those values we just sorted out.

But I'm super, super antsy to get to the next section. ;)

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