As a homeschooler, what kind of time do you take to learn more about homeschooling-and yourself?
Are you laughing right now at the thought of being able to steal away a few precious moments to get a shower, let alone make time for homeschool professional development?
Let’s chat about what homeschool professional development is and why it is essential to your homeschool and family. I will give my definition, give examples, and then discuss how to use homeschool professional development time to grow as a homeschooler.
What Is Homeschool Professional Development?
Homeschool Professional Development can be a variety of activities. I define it as a time to reflect, refresh, and learn about homeschooling, your family, and yourself. It is a time when you take what you have learned and determine how to apply it in your life.
How do you define homeschool professional development? What type of activities and events do you consider helpful in encouraging your growth and sense of peace?
Examples Of Homeschool Professional Development
You may have noticed that I did not specify homeschool-only resources for your homeschool professional development. There is a good reason for that! Are you just a homeschooler? Or are you a woman (or man if you are a homeschool daddy-and good for you!) who consists of a mixture of different responsibilities and interests?
I am going to guess that you are the latter. And as such, you will grow and develop as a homeschooler when you address the various strengths, weaknesses, interests, and dislikes in your life. I mean, you could be the most widely-read and educated homeschooler in the world, but if you are not happy and cannot manage other areas in your life, then there is trouble!
Here is a list of homeschool professional development ideas. I would love for you to share additional ways for homeschool professional development in the comments section.
1. Conferences or Conventions
These types of professionally run homeschool events are an obvious suggestion. Local and regional homeschool conferences (perhaps even international?) are fantastic ways to listen to experienced homeschooling and educational experts. Although I have never attended, I am quite sure that this option is an ideal way to grow in your homeschool professional development.
2. Homeschool Co-Op
If your homeschool attends a co-op, look for opportunities to learn. Perhaps you can teach or help with a class? Maybe you would like to take time with little ones and help in the nursery? Or maybe you are hoping to grow in organizational and leadership skills as a coordinator?
3. Chat With (Homeschool) Friends & Family
Don’t be afraid to talk with friends and family about your homeschooling experience! Be honest about your struggles and successes with supportive and understanding individuals. You may find that you gain a tremendous amount of perspective when you open up to others.
If you do not have real life friends or family that you feel comfortable talking with, please check out Rock Your Homeschool! Facebook group (or these other active and supportive homeschooling Facebook groups) to find an encouraging bunch of homeschool gals.
If you do not have the time or money to attend a homeschool conference or convention, consider attending an online homeschool webinar. These online presentations and discussions are fabulous ways to connect and learn with other homeschoolers. I can recommend homeschool online conferences organized by my friend Lori of The End In Mind.
I could write a book about using books for homeschool professional development! I always have at least three titles related to homeschool in my mommy book basket (and don’t get me started on reading for pleasure!).
I will share a few of the titles that I am working on or particularly have enjoyed. Again, please share your favorite homeschool and personal development books in the comments!
- Anything by Julie Bogart of Brave Writer (I am currently working through this title-simply divine!)
- Anything related to or explaining Charlotte Mason approach (I love this one!)
- How Children Learn by John Holt (This title is in my basket-can’t wait to get started!)
- The Ultimate Guide To Homeschooling Your Boys (Michelle hits it out of the park with this one!)
6. “Me Time”
Never underestimate the power of “me time”! A cup of hot tea, a few minutes to read a book, a luxurious bath, or a mani-pedi. All of those times where you take time for self-care contribute to your homeschool professional development!
Carve out time for self-care. Delve into hobbies, exercise, or whatever it takes to make you feel like you again. You will come back refreshed and very likely with a different perspective on your homeschool.
7. All The Time!
When you have a moment to catch a breath, wipe spit up off your shoulder, or have five minutes of glorious silence, you are having homeschool professional development time. When you are wiping off the kitchen counter as you review math facts, you are having homeschool professional development time.
You are constantly growing and developing as a homeschooler!
Those mundane, everyday tasks help you grow. Does it not take a great deal of patience and love to wash dishes for what feels like 553 times a day? How about scrubbing toilets over and over again? Spending time reading aloud a book for the bazillionth time to a toddler?
All of those moments add up to who you are becoming as a homeschooler.
Homeschooling is not an isolated job. Your job is within your home and family. You do not have the opportunity to snap close a brief case and pack it away for the day.
You do, however, have the chance to use those everyday chores and responsibilities to cultivate character attributes like patience, joy, and empathy. You have the opportunity to embrace the not-so-lovely tasks and apply those lessons of perseverance and endurance to your homeschool day.
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Once you have taken your homeschool professional development time, what do you do with those gems of knowledge and awareness? How do you scoop up the treasures of relaxation and refreshment and pour them into your homeschooling cup?
Use the ideas and tips that you learn at conferences, webinars, and in books for inspiration. Do not, however, let them weigh you down or start a comparison game. Glean your discoveries and wisely apply to your homeschool. Remind yourself that nothing in homeschooling is a one-size-fits-all type of deal. I have yet to find a Pinterest-perfect homeschool (and if you have one, I don’t want to see it! I’ll settle for my corner of crazy any day!)
Set realistic goals. In her Homeschool Alliance (another amazing place to have frequent and focused homeschool professional development!), Julie Bogart talks about the “One Thing Principle”. Look at what needs attention the most or is the easiest to complete. Pick only one thing-and work towards it. Develop realistic expectations with achievable steps to help you reach those goals.
If you struggle with being consistent, consider having a homeschool accountability partner. Look for one in real life or online with someone you trust and who you know will tell you like it is, someone who will help you stay on track and keep it real.
Dear homeschool friend, if there is anything that you take out of these suggestions, please do this: MAKE TIME FOR YOU! Reconnect with yourself and your dreams. Seek out help when necessary. Embrace this time-even if it is only a few minutes under your own roof. Acknowledge the steps you are taking to achieving homeschool peace!