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Welcome to the Homeschool Better Together Podcast, where we explore the wonders of homeschooling as a community. In this episode, host Pam Barnhill shares her personal experience of finishing up the school year with her kids and introduces the new direction of the podcast. She reflects on the importance of simplifying the podcast and merging two previous podcasts into one, focusing on the theme of homeschooling better together. 

Pam emphasizes the significance of family learning, building relationships, and fostering a sense of wonder in the homeschooling journey. She also invites listeners to join the Homeschool Better Together community. Stay tuned for more episodes filled with practical tips, conversations with experts, and inspiration to make homeschooling more joyful and effective.

Pam Barnhill [00:00:01]:

Are you ready for homeschooling to feel joyful again? Do you long for support as you learn alongside your kids? Welcome to Homeschool Better Together, a podcast about building a homeschool experience that works for your family. I’m Pam Barnhill, and it’s time to step out of the overwhelm and into the wonder. Let’s do this. Hi, everyone, and welcome to the Homeschool Better Together podcast. I am so happy that you are joining me here on this grand new adventure. So we are finishing up the school year at our house. We’ve got just a couple of weeks left, and actually, I’ve already pulled out the I’m done list. Now I’m fairly certain that this was something that I learned from Amy Sloan at Humility and Doxology.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:00]:

I think it was her who one year who wrote the blog post on the I’m done list or the I’m finished list. And if I can find that, I’ll link it for you down in the show notes. And so the beauty of this is you make a list for your kids with all the things that they have to do in order to be done for the year. And so you’re kind of looking at how much you have left to do. You’re kind of taking the temperature of the school year, and then you’re riding out this simple list of, like, this is what you’ve gotta get finished. And if you get this finished, you could be done for the year. So let me give you a few examples. My son is watching some videos for history for this year and doing some questions related to each video.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:43]:

And so I had him count up the number of videos that he had left. And so basically, on his I’m done list, I said, you have to finish all the videos. And so he counted it up, and I think he had 7 left to go. He can do one a day, and he could kind of be done with that in 7 school days. The other thing I had him do is look at where he was in his grammar program, and it’s done by week. And I said, okay. When you get to the end of a week, you can just be done with grammar. I’m not gonna have you start another week because we really wanna be done in about a couple of weeks.

Pam Barnhill [00:02:16]:

And so he did that, and we’re just gonna close that grammar book, and next year, we’re gonna open it back up and pick up where he left off. Though the time that he spends doing grammar counts towards his high school credit in English each year, and so we’re just counting the time that he’s doing that, not the fact that he’s finishing the book. So we’re gonna close it and use it next year. And then he’s also working through a science lab box that we’ve got. 1 of the science lab box on polymers from Home Science Tools, and I’ll link that for you in the podcast show notes as well. And so I told him, basically, you have to finish the box. He was a few activities into the box, and I’m like, finish the box, do all of the activities. He’s reading, we’re discussing, he’s answering the questions, he’s doing the experiments, and when you’re done with that, you’re done with school.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:08]:

So that’s his I’m done list for the school year. He’s already finished his math for the year. So the younger guy also has an I’m done list, but he has Japanese tutoring and math tutoring a few days a week. And so he actually has a date that he has to go to with the tutoring, but, like, his writing, we’re finishing up the current essay that he’s working on, and he’s gonna be done with that. We’re closing the book and then opening it back up again and starting it next year. And then the his grammar is actually the same. So this is how we finish out the school year. We just kinda get to this date where we’re all kind of over it, and we figure out what do we need to do in order to be done.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:49]:

And some of these subjects we’re finishing up and we’re putting a nice tidy little bow on and other subjects will just be continuing on to the next year. Same with my son’s math. 1 of my sons finished the complete math program this year. The other one finished one math program and got halfway through another one, and he’s going to pick that same math program up next year and finish it out next year. So very rarely are we following the school year calendar for so many of our subjects. And you know what? It’s totally okay because I think it’s more important that my kids master the subjects. So Thomas started algebra back in November. So I certainly didn’t expect him to finish it by May.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:34]:

So we’ll just close it up and it’ll sit and wait until next year when he’s ready to pick it up again. And by next year, we’ll probably start the year back in mid August. So that’s what we’re doing right now, finishing up the school year. I would love to hear if you’re finishing up your school year where you are. Maybe you’re already done. And have you ever used something like an I’m done list to get done with your school year? So the next thing I wanted to talk about today is the fact, yes, it’s kind of the elephant in the room. We do have a brand new podcast here. You might have noticed the new cover art and certainly the new music and the new introduction.

Pam Barnhill [00:05:19]:

And we are shifting gears here and creating something called the Homeschool Better Together podcast. Podcast. Now I have been podcasting since about 2013, so 11 years now. And I have had various podcasts throughout out all of these years. And I really wanted to bring all of my podcasts under one single heading and simplify. So we’re taking the Your Morning Basket podcast, which if you’re listening to this, you have likely heard it before because it was on this same feed and also the 10 minutes to a better homeschool podcast. And we’re kind of smooshing them together. Now, smooshing is a very technical podcasting term.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:02]:

It’s really not. But this is what we’re doing. We’re smooshing the 2 podcasts together, and we’re creating something that is about homeschooling together. And we’re gonna talk more about that as we go along, because I think that is so important when it comes to homeschooling. It’s not necessarily about morning time specifically, but it is about homeschooling together. And it is about homeschooling well, which was what the 10 minutes to a better homeschool podcast was. And so this is just going to allow me and the team to simplify the podcast down. Now I’m not gonna promise you that episodes are gonna be 10 minutes long because they might be a little bit longer than that.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:42]:

Some of them might even be up to 40 minutes long, but I am gonna try to keep them fairly short and sweet. Something you can listen to while you’re doing a load of laundry or maybe going on a quick walk around the block or running a few errands because I know time is of the essence to homeschoolers. So just bear with me as we simplify this podcast. And I just wanna invite you along on the journey. We are not giving up talking about morning time and morning baskets, because I think these are some of the best ways to experience the benefits of homeschooling better together. I really do think the more we can combine our kids and focus on the relationships in our home, The more our kids are gonna get along with each other, the more we’re going to build those really good touch point relationships with kids who become teenagers and adults and eventually leave our home one day. And you know what? We want them to come back after that’s over. And morning time and morning baskets are a great way to do that.

Pam Barnhill [00:07:47]:

They’re also a wonderful way to get all of that truth, goodness, and beauty into our homeschool, and that is what makes homeschooling better. A lot of times people will ask me, how do you homeschool for so long and not get burned out? And for me, morning time or the morning basket is the number one way that I beat burnout in my homeschool because it’s the subjects and the things that we do in morning time that are the most interesting to me, that are, the most fun to me, that are the ones that bring the most excitement to our homeschool, are the things that I never got to learn before. I was actually reading with Thomas this morning, and one of the things that we were reading in our morning time was how the Supreme Court works. I had no idea how the Supreme Court works. This was something I never learned before. I’m kinda like, oh, yeah. The Supreme Court’s up there, and they’re having court cases, but they’re not really like any other court. I didn’t know that until this morning, and so that’s the kind of thing that’s interesting to me, and reading aloud that to my kids made me think, this is something new, something I didn’t know, and that often happens in morning time.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:57]:

So morning time is the perfect way for families to learn together. It is certainly the way that I beat my burnout because I’m learning about all of these interesting things that I didn’t know before. But just the words morning time through the years, man, if I had a dollar for every time a family has come up to me and said, well, we don’t like the idea of morning time because we’re not morning people, or we kinda have to do this when the baby is napping. And people are very literal. So it’s like, well, okay, morning time doesn’t have to be done in the morning, but they’re just not buying it. And so there are so many other times a day where you can come together and learn as a family. And this is such an important point to get across to homeschool families, especially as we have more and more new homeschool families coming into homeschooling because this is such an efficient way to homeschool. We don’t want to be trying to recreate public school in our homeschool because that is a surefire way for us to get burned out.

 

Pam Barnhill [00:10:00]:

That is a surefire way for us to have so many plates spinning that we can’t keep up with the chaos and the overwhelm. And so anytime that we can combine our kids for subjects, especially those content area subjects like science and history, and do just a little bit of differentiated learning where we’re offering some kids an assignment at one level while a younger kid is doing an assignment at a different level, but we’re all studying the same thing, that is just going to make our homeschool I’m not gonna say easier, but there’s going to be more ease in our homeschool day because, you know, homeschooling is never easy, but we can certainly bring more ease into our homeschool day by combining our kids for so many different subjects. And so we’re gonna continue to talk about that on the podcast, how we can combine kids together for subjects, whether it’s all of your kids together or 2 or 3 of your kids together for certain subjects, just to be more efficient in our homeschool. Now, the other thing about kind of switching to homeschooling better together is it’s in the title. We’re talking about homeschooling. And so any homeschool topic fits. I have so many homeschool topics that I want to talk about and I want to share with you. And so it’s really important to me to have a place to do that, and this is a place that we can do it.

Pam Barnhill [00:11:26]:

So we’re gonna be talking about homeschool planning. We’re gonna be talking about teaching math and gifted and twice exceptional kids. I’m gonna have some experts on to talk about that. Or, you know, maybe how to do science or how to do history or how to do geography, just the different methods of doing things and why something like having a homeschool vision is important. We’re gonna be hearing from other homeschool moms. We’re gonna be hearing from homeschool better together team members because I want us to focus on homeschooling well. And why is it important to focus on homeschooling? Well, why is it important to focus on doing a better job in our homeschool? That’s because that makes us feel confident. And when we feel confident in our homeschool, when we feel confident that we are doing the best job that we can do, that makes us happy as homeschool moms.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:17]:

And happy homeschoolers have happy homeschool kids, and and that is really what we’re after. And I think that a lot of that happiness comes from homeschooling better. So we’re gonna talk about all of those topics so that we can feel really confident that we’re doing the best job that we can do and get happy about our homeschools, because it can be a hard slog sometimes. It really, really can. And so I think it’s very important to focus on not having it be a hard slog and just all kinds of practical tips, some real tips. So you can see that there are no perfect aspirational homeschool families out there. We’re all doing this thing together and just build stronger homeschoolers because of it. We really want to try to help families step out of the overwhelm of homeschooling, step out of the place where you feel like you’re drowning and into the wonder of learning together.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:17]:

Because like I said earlier, that’s when the best learning happens in my house is when I am super excited about something and I’m sharing that excitement with my kids and we are all doing that together learning. And we want to focus on relationships, as well as the academics. Listen, academics are one small part of your child’s life. Yes. I understand. You feel like they’re necessary for them to move on to the next step, which might be college or trade school. Certainly getting a job one day, that’s important. You want them to be able to feed themselves.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:53]:

You want them to move out of your basement and live somewhere else. But academics in the grand scheme of things are one part. Relationships are forever. You are going to be their mom or their parent much longer than you’re going to be a homeschooling parent. That part is going to end one day. And trust me, I know I am staring down the end of the homeschooling tunnel. And now I’ve got to figure out what is it I’m going to be doing with the rest of my life. But you know what? I’m no longer Olivia’s homeschool teacher, but I am still her mother.

Pam Barnhill [00:14:32]:

And so it’s so important to me that I build relationships with my children that are going to far outlast any of the head butting that we might have done over academics. And I feel like the one of the ways that we’ve done that is by spending so much time together, learning together as a family as opposed to all of us each going into our own directions and, you know, sitting there and reading textbooks and doing subjects on our own. And so I just really think that is such a huge part of family learning. And then the last part of homeschool better together is I want to build a community online where homeschoolers can connect with mentors and they can connect with each other, all kinds of people who are trying to do the same kinds of learning, this relationship learning, this together learning in their homeschool, where they can get help with some of those really practical things so they can feel like they’re homeschooling better and be confident and be happy and really be beating that overwhelm and leaning into the wonder of learning together. And we’ve done that with our Homeschool Better Together community. We’ve already got over 2,000 active families in there who are constantly asking each other questions and sharing resources and having these important conversations about homeschooling, and it’s completely free to join. And so we certainly want to invite you to come over and do that. So lots of information for you on this episode of the podcast.

Pam Barnhill [00:16:07]:

I hope you can feel my heart and where we’re going with this particular episode. You’re gonna hear from me a lot over the next few weeks. Some of the team members are gonna come on. Occasionally, we’re gonna have guests, and we are going to focus on this idea of building the relationships, building the relationships with our content, building the relationships with each other, building the relationships between parent and child, and loving learning together. And we cannot wait to have you join us on this journey. We’ve had over 3,000,000 podcast downloads, and we hope we’re gonna have millions more and that you’re going to be here for it. Now, if you would like to join us in that community that I mentioned earlier, you can find the link to join at hsbtpodcast.com. Come on over there, find us in the community, and we would love to have you join us.

Pam Barnhill [00:17:07]:

That’s our show for today. Be sure to follow, subscribe, and leave a review so you never miss out on the wonder of homeschooling better together. To stay connected and learn even more about the homeschooling better together resources and to join our free community, visit hsbtpodcast.com. Until next week, keep stepping out of the overwhelm and into the wonder.

Links and Resources From Today’s Show

Key Ideas about What is Homeschool Better Together?

  • Discover the “I’m done list” concept as a practical tool for wrapping up the school year, allowing students to focus on completing specific tasks and bringing closure to various subjects.
  • Understand the transition from the previous podcasts to the new “Homeschool Better Together” podcast, which combines the themes of morning time and better homeschooling to create a holistic learning experience for families.
  • Gain insight into the importance of relationships in homeschooling, emphasizing how homeschooling better together can lead to long-lasting connections with children that surpass academic achievements.
  • Learn about the podcast’s focus on homeschool topics, including planning, teaching math, accommodating gifted and twice-exceptional kids, and incorporating various subjects such as science, history, and geography into the homeschool curriculum.

Find What You Want to Hear

  • [0:00] Introduction
  • [6:02] Combining podcasts 
  • [8:27] Specific practices 
  • [06:42] What to look forward to in the podcast
  • [08:57] Morning time
  • [11:26] Discussion points 
  • [13:17] Excitement in learning 
  • [14:32] Building relationships
  • [16:07] Pam’s heart
  • [17:07] Closing
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