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I have to admit that when I read the title "The Happy Homeschooler: 10 Simple Strategies to Increase Productivity, Foster Joy, and Avoid Burnout" I expected a bit o' fluff to some degree. Because if there's anything I've learned about homeschooling over the decades I've been at this, it's that there's nothing "simple" about it. Like anything else, you (and your kids) get as much out of it as you put into it! And while there are many days when "happy" may not describe a tired out momma, there IS deep joy to be found in learning alongside your kiddos...
Introducing The Happy Homeschooler
Be that as it may, there's nothing trite or trivial in what author Tracey Hagerman shares in these pages. In a moment of transparency here, while I whole-heartedly agree with each one of her recommended strategies, I found myself wishing I had done better in some of those same areas, for example, when talking about eating right and getting enough exercise. I love that she encourages moms to "Lead by Example" (ch.2) without laying on a dose of "mom guilt." Rather, she gently explains exactly why self-care is oh-so-very important! (Ah, where was she when I was a young and careless homeschool mom?)
By outlining practical ways to "Strategically Plan Your Year" (ch.4) and "Strengthen Your Support System" (ch.5) she answers both the "Why?" and the "How?" (Super-helpful!) And I love her advice about math studies on pages 49-51!
"The Happy Homeschooler" Chapters include"
Chapter 1: Read to Your Children
Chapter 2: Lead by Example
Chapter 3: Schedule Time off
Chapter 4: Strategically Plan out Your Year
Chapter 5: Strengthen Your Support System
Chapter 6: Seek Volunteer Opportunities
Chapter 7: Start or Join a Homeschooling Co-Op
Chapter 8: Work Hard and Play Hard
Chapter 9: Become a Homeschooling Project Manager
Chapter 10: Put Your Mind at Ease
"Put Your Mind at Ease" (ch. 10) is not only a great lesson for new homeschoolers but also an important reminder for homeschool veterans that we don't always see the fruits of our labors right away. Additionally (and just as important), they are often not of the educational variety but better-related to character development. Those kinds of things take time and happen in the future. So we need to persevere!
And moving on...
Finally, approaching one's career as a home educator from the perspective of a project manager (ch. 9) helps homeschool moms develop skills and accomplishments that set them up for a terrific post-homeschool life as well. Which, now that I'm looking back, is unarguably crucial! 'Cause a momma's life isn't over even when her 'happy homeschooler' years are!
Mrs. Hagerman talks about concepts that you don't often see in homeschool books: the importance of doing your own research...how important it is (both a privilege and responsibility) to gently educate our family and friends about homeschooling...dealing with negativity/negative people...finding a mentor.
And sprinkled throughout are delightful examples from her own life and other homeschool moms' lives with whom she's been on the journey.
A simple read? Perhaps.
Pages filled with reminders you will frequently want (and need) to have on hand down the road? Most definitely!
Tracey Hagerman, B.A. Hon Psych., M.B.A., has spearheaded monumental change initiatives in public, private, non-profit, and volunteer community projects. As an accomplished public speaker, gifted trainer, bestselling fiction author of The Wilson Series, and successful homeschooler of her three children, Tracey has a knack for engaging audiences of all ages by weaving compelling and oftentimes hilarious stories into her training. She continues that tradition here with the publishing of The Happy Homeschooler. You can reach her at traceyhagerman.com