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In this episode of “Ten Minutes to a Better Homeschool,” host Pam Barnhill shares her struggle with homeschool consistency, revealing her journey from feelings of overwhelm to finding solutions. She candidly discusses her early challenges with perfectionism and its impact on her homeschool routine, offering relatable insights for parents facing similar struggles.

Listeners will gain valuable tips and mindset shifts that helped Pam overcome her consistency struggles, leading to positive changes in her homeschool experience. By addressing the impact of inconsistent homeschooling on her children’s learning and attitudes, she offers practical strategies that have worked for her and hundreds of other homeschoolers.

Tune in to gain inspiration, practical advice, and the reassurance that you are not alone in your homeschool consistency journey. Join Pam in transforming your homeschool experience one tip at a time.

Listen to the Podcast

Pam: Home?

Pam: Feeling overwhelmed with homeschooling? Wondering how you can streamline your day and boost your family’s success? Welcome to ten minutes to a better homeschool. I’m Pam Barnhill, fellow homeschooler and your guide to quick, effective solutions. In each episode, we dive into practical, actionable tips that fit your busy life. Whether it’s curriculum choices, time management, or creative teaching methods. We’ve got you covered. And the best part? It’s all in bite size, ten minute segments, perfect for a busy parent schedule. So pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and join me in transforming your homeschool experience. One tip at a time. Let’s make every minute count. Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode 85 of the ten minutes to a better homeschool podcast.

Pam: Thank you so much for joining me here today. So, I am Pam Barney Hill, and on this podcast we talk about all kinds of homeschooling tips and hacks and sometimes even tricks, just things to make your homeschool life a little bit easier. And today I have probably the biggest thing that will make your homeschool life easier. I realized that I had never told my own home school consistency story. I’ve been talking about homeschool consistency all the way back since 2017, but I’ve never really explained what my story was like and how I got to the point where talking about homeschooling consistency was so important to me. So I wanted to come on today and share that with you. I wanted to talk about some of my struggles. And I do this because I know that out there, there are some other moms who are struggling with homeschool consistency and maybe feeling like there’s nobody else out there who has this problem. I’ve got to be doing something wrong, maybe even beating themselves up. And I say that because that was me. I was the person who thought, I’m the only person who has this struggle. I’m the only person who can’t get this right. Why can’t I just get consistent with my home school? I was the person who was beating myself up. And I want you to know that if you are out there feeling that way, you are not alone. There are many others who feel the same way. And I was exactly the same way about 2011, 2012, when my oldest was six or seven, eight, nine going into ten years old, and I was still feeling this way. Everybody will tell you, oh, it’s not such a big deal when they’re six or seven. But we were still having this problem when my oldest was ten going into eleven years old. And I really, really felt badly about the way things were going. So I can remember my mom worked in our town, and she would drop by some mornings to see us. And, I mean, that’s not a problem. This is the kind of relationship I have with my mom that at any time, one of us could just drop by the other’s house. It’s not a big deal for that to happen. But she would drop by the house on a time when I wasn’t expecting her, and I would just get so anxious and worked up and upset because I knew we hadn’t started school. I knew the kids were still in their pajamas. There was a possibility that I was still in my pajamas. Like, the breakfast dishes were still sitting on the counter, and the house was a complete and total mess. And I would just stand there looking around going, oh, my goodness, what have I been doing with my day? Because it would be 11:00 1130. Maybe she was stopping by to offer to take us to lunch or something like that. And God bless my mother, she never passed any judgment or said anything to me at all. So any kind of perceived guilt or feelings that I had were these guilt or feelings that I was coming up with on my own. But I would look around and I would be like, what have I been doing? And what was I doing? Well, sometimes I would get into house cleaning projects. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that was happening a whole lot, but every once in a while, I would be like, oh, this closet is just driving me crazy. I’ve absolutely got to get this organized and cleaned out. Or more often than not, I would spend way too much time scrolling on social media. Or maybe I would get involved in a project on what at that point was my blog. It wasn’t really anything more than that. I didn’t have a podcast until about 2014, but I would get involved in some little project. Or maybe I would just spend way too much time scrolling Pinterest, or I would spend a lot of time researching curriculum, looking for new projects for us to do, checking out new unit studies, going down the rabbit hole of the Internet. That was all good stuff, right? Except it was keeping me from actually doing the homeschooling. And so I would just kind of fiddle away part of the morning. And then what would happen is I would beat myself up. I would beat myself up for being lazy or not being good enough or not being able to get started with my day. And I just felt really horrible about this. And then I came to this realization, and I can’t remember what it was if I read about something in a book or maybe heard something in a Bible study or something like that. But I came to the realization that my problem with consistency was not a problem with laziness, but instead I was a perfectionist. So I was not lazy. I’ve never been lazy, but I was a perfectionist and I wanted to do things just the right way. And so when I let the morning get away from me and I was going down this rabbit hole of planning and plotting and researching homeschooling instead of actually doing homeschooling, then I turned around and it was 11:00 in the morning and the house was a mess. We had to leave in 2 hours to get out the door to go to our gymnastics class or library story time or whatever activity we were involved in. And nobody was even dressed yet. And my mind would say, there’s no way you’re going to get your home school schedule done, so you might as well not do anything. If I couldn’t do it perfectly, I would just not do anything. So I was sabotaging myself with all of these different activities that I was doing in the morning, some of them very good things, hey, like cleaning out a closet, it needs to be done right. And then I would reach the point where, oh my goodness, we need to do school, but we can’t do the perfect day that I planned, so we might as well not do anything. And it kept happening over and over and over again. I was doing school maybe once out of every three to four days.

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Pam: That takes the stress out of teaching.

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Pam: Create their own characters. They are having so much fun.

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Pam: To this podcast for a seven day.

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Pam: So why is this a problem? Well, I mean, it’s a problem because my kids weren’t. Well, I hate to say that. I’m not going to say my kids weren’t learning anything because kids learn a lot from the world around them. Having said that, there is something that makes kids feel safe and secure from having structure to their day. And I had some kids who were struggling with reading. And when you have kids who are struggling in a subject, the thing that really helps them more than anything is consistent practice in that subject. And not only does it help them to make improvements, but it also helps you, as the homeschooling parent, to pinpoint the problem. Were my kids not learning to read at age seven and eight because there was a learning disability involved, or were they not learning to read at age seven and eight because we simply hadn’t been consistent enough with reading instruction? I will tell you, I never had one of those kids who learned to read organically. I know there are some of you out there who have kids like that. God bless you.

Pam: I think that’s awesome and wonderful.

Pam: My kids did not fall into that box, so I didn’t know. I couldn’t tell because I hadn’t been consistent. Is, was this just something where we were going to overcome the problem, or was there a legitimate struggle here? That was a much bigger thing. Interestingly enough, for one of my children, we overcame the struggle just by getting consistent. For the other one of my kids, there actually was a learning disability there. But having not been consistent, there was no way for me to know either way. The other thing was due to the lack of routine. I was constantly having to answer the question, are we going to do school today? And I will tell you, my kids got really good at talking me out of it, and I am not one who’s going to say, oh, those kids will manipulate you. They’re just taking advantage of the situation that’s at hand. And they realized that if they would go off and play really well together for a while and be quiet and involved in doing something that a lot of times mom just wouldn’t do school. But then they would come and they would ask me, are we going to do school today? Are we going to do school today? They had their agenda. They wanted to know, can we go off and get involved in this project? Is she going to interrupt us? They never knew. They were constantly having to ask me the question, and it kind of graded at me that they were asking me, what do you mean, are we going to do school today? And then one day it hit me. They don’t really know if we’re going to do school today because I’ve been so horribly inconsistent with my schooling. And one of the things that I noticed as I started to get more consistent with my schooling is that they started to push back less. The attitudes got better, and they started to push back less. Now, it took them years before they stopped asking, but now my boys do not ask. They know that if it’s a weekday, we’re going to do school. And they trust that I’ve built that trust with them, that we are going to do school most days out of the week. I mean, they don’t always pay attention that, hey, Monday is a holiday or something like that, and they’re kind of pleasantly surprised when they find out. So they know that it is going to happen. So those are kind of a few turning points for me, this realization that it was my perfectionism that was messing me up. And so I came up with a couple of tools that I could use that helped me get over that perfectionism. And then also the idea that the attitudes in my home school would improve so much, mine and the kids, if we just got consistent. And it became not a question whether or not we were going to do school that day. And so once those things started happening, I just put some little things in place to turn around what was going on. And over the course of a couple of years, I made some huge strides and started to be consistent. And that was about the time in 2017 that I said, I bet I can help some other people with this problem, too, because by that point, I had a podcast, and I was starting to hear from other moms that maybe other people were also struggling with this problem. And so we started what would become the home school consistency boot camp, where we took a number of those different mindset shifts and ideas that I had been toying with over the past couple of years to change my homeschool. And we turned them into a course, an accountability course for other homeschoolers to come and join. And I tell you, the first couple of times I did that course in community with the other people, that was what really cemented my commitment to homeschooling consistency. So I had the tips and tricks and strategies in place. I knew them well enough.

Pam: I knew they were making a difference.

Pam: In my life, that I could use them to teach other people. But then it was by adding that final step of accountability that I really, really nailed down better consistency in my home school. And now it’s something after about 2018 that I really don’t have a problem with anymore. I don’t struggle with it anymore. I’m not always perfect, but we have a mantra in the home school consistency boot camp that says never miss twice. And so it’s really just not an issue. We just get up and we do school and my boys know it. So that was kind of where I came from. I spent so many years beating myself up and just feeling bad and in tears and kind of crying and not feeling good about myself over this. And I’m so happy that I just kind of stepped back and was a little bit reflective and figured out the areas where I was going wrong, mostly in my thinking, somewhat in my actions, but a lot of it in my thinking, and just put a few strategies in place. And I am so excited to get to share those strategies with anybody who needs them, with anybody who has this same struggle and feels like they’re alone. Because you’re not. You’re not alone. We’ve had hundreds of people take the homeschool consistency boot camp, and they wouldn’t be doing it if you were the only one out there who was struggling with consistency. So I’ll be back next week. I’m going to be talking to Angela Britt, who’s a member of our community who took the consistency boot camp last year about this time and said it was absolutely life changing. So if you would like to hear Angela’s story, I would invite you to come back next week. We’re going to be opening the door soon to the homeschool consistency bootcamp. So do check out the link in the show notes and we would just love, love to see you in there. If you think it’s something that might be helpful to you, we’ll talk to you next week.

Pam: Thank you for tuning in to ten minutes to a better homeschool. Remember, small changes can make a big impact in your homeschooling journey. If you want more tips and resources to enhance your experience, check out our free homeschool better together community. You’ll find additional tools, guides, and a community of supportive homeschoolers just like you. Visit community pambarnhill.com to learn more and join us. Until next time, keep keep on homeschooling. Close.

Links and Resources From Today’s Show

Key Takeaways About Homeschool Consistency

  • Many homeschooling parents have struggled with maintaining homeschooling consistency, feeling alone in their struggle. 
  • Inconsistency in homeschooling can impact children’s learning and hinder the identification of potential learning struggles or disabilities due to a lack of routine and consistent practice.
  • Pam identified perfectionism as a significant factor contributing to her inconsistency, realizing her struggle was not rooted in laziness, but in her striving for perfection.
  • Creating a routine and adding an accountability system was crucial in establishing better consistency and improved attitudes within her homeschool.
  • By utilizing mindset shifts, tools, and strategies, Pam successfully overcame her struggle with consistency, ultimately leading her to help other homeschooling parents through the Homeschool Consistency Boot Camp.
  • Pam encourages homeschooling parents struggling with consistency to seek support, emphasizing the presence of hundreds of others facing similar challenges and the benefits of joining an accountability group.

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