If you’re curious about HomeSchool ThinkTank, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll help you understand what we’re about and how we serve the homeschool community.
Ultimately, HomeSchool ThinkTank strives to connect homeschool families with one another and the resources they need. We do this primarily through our website, podcast, and online community for parents.
Website & Book
In 2018, we started serving homeschooling families through our website. In that same year, we also published THINK HOMESCHOOL: Live & Learn Your Way. The purpose of this book is to help parents decide if homeschooling is the right choice for their family.
In 2019, we launched the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast. Today, we share two podcast episodes each week.
At HomeSchool ThinkTank, we believe that a parent’s mindset has a tremendous impact on their family. As a result, our Monday episode is about mindset. On Wednesday’s, our podcast episode is all about homeschooling and parenting.
Today our podcast reaches parents in more than 80 countries.
While we’re currently on a short break, later this summer, we’ll be opening up our online homeschool parenting group for enrollment.
Meet the Founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank
Hi there! I’m Jackie! I’d like to share a little bit about me because I want to help you understand how my experiences can serve you.
Before HomeSchool ThinkTank and before kids, I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education, K12. Upon graduation, I quickly accepted a position at a nationally accredited child development center. I loved nurturing young children.
However, when a physical education position opened up in my community, I jumped at the opportunity to do what I had gone to college to do. I started my career as the physical education teacher at a local elementary school. After three years, I resigned to be a stay-at-home mom to my first-born child.
Reflecting on My Teaching Career
While I loved teaching P.E. at a local elementary school, in my last months of teaching, I began seeing the school system through a different lens. I began to see the school system through a mother’s eyes.
This was not the observation of an outsider, I was well embedded in the public education system. I had always been a good student, enjoyed school, and had enjoyed teaching.
I took note of all that I saw each day. In my mind, I began questioning the entire school experience. What I had previously experienced as normal was beginning to seem odd to me.
Questions floated through my mind.
- Did I really want to see my own child standing in line multiple times each day?
- What if my child needed to work at a different pace than the other kids?
- Why should a child have to request permission to take care of their most basic needs?
- What was the purpose of school?
- Was school even necessary?
Before our first child was born, homeschooling was an option that I was already thinking about.
By the time our first daughter was a toddler, my husband and I were nearly certain that we would homeschool her. When she reached school-age, a conversation wasn’t even necessary.
For us, homeschooling felt right.
In essence, my observations as a teacher led me to think that homeschooling would be a better educational choice for our children.
Homeschooling Our Children
The August that our first daughter reached school-age, she had just turned five. I remember her first day of home schooling.
What was different from the day before? Well, I had her ready for school at home. She was dressed and ready to go by 8:00 a.m.
As we stepped out the door and took a picture, I noticed the school bus going by. I was happy to have my little girl at home. Next, we said the Pledge of Allegiance in our own dining room. Afterward, we sat down and did a math page.
I modeled our school day in a way that was similar to the traditional public education model.
I focused on teaching math, reading, and writing. We listened to history CD’s over lunch. We brought in other subject areas by reading books.
Subjects were scheduled at specific times. I even tried to time recess to keep the kids on a schedule. Believe it or not, kids need more than 15 minutes to play!
Ultimately, I discovered that my home was not a school. While education was and is important, homeschooling is not about school.
Homeschooling is about education, community, family, learning and life – but it is not about school.
I continued to add curriculum until learning began to lose it’s luster.
As much as I wanted to allow my children to learn in more natural ways, I had been so well schooled that my mind had difficulty breaking from the traditional school mold. I felt compelled to structure our days like they would be in school.
Foolishly, I tried to incorporate these lessons with our three year old too. She would sit at the table shaking her legs, claiming that she had leg problems, resisting every moment of curriculum. She just wanted to play.
In hindsight, I shouldn’t have ever pushed her to do any curriculum at three, it should have simply been an invitation.
Overall, this school-at-home method worked with our oldest – that is, until I pushed curriculum that was beyond her ability. Sometimes, I would let us fall back into a more natural learning mode. But then, I felt the need to do things like they were done in school, and would zap the fun right out of their education.
When Homeschooling Didn’t Work
My husband and I never faltered in our desire to homeschool our children. However, we began to have challenges as our second child entered her toddler years. By her 7th year of life, something had to change.
Homeschooling wasn’t working for daughter #2. Life became very difficult, and my youngest daughter and I were struggling nearly daily. Our relationship was strained. We stopped homeschooling her and enrolled her in private school.
She remained in private school for a year and a half. She did well the first year. In her second year of private school, the classroom dynamic changed drastically. School was no longer going well for her. Very cautiously, we returned to homeschooling our daughter.
There Must Be a Better Way
If the school-at-home method isn’t working for your family, then you might want to learn more about other approaches to homeschooling.
What We’ve Learned from Homeschooling
While homeschooling had mostly worked for our oldest child, it had been a challenge with our youngest.
What lessons have we learned?
The number one lesson is to place the connection between you and your child before curriculum. Don’t get me wrong, curriculum can be very helpful, but your relationship with your child is more important than your child’s curriculum.
When we resumed homeschooling our youngest daughter, I recognized that I had to take care of our relationship. With the guidance of a good therapist, we had improved our relationship tremendously. However, I feared that if we weren’t careful, that we would fall back into our old negative patterns that we had worked so hard to break.
I recognized that we needed to focus on the right things. Our connection was the most important thing. I now have a saying, “connection before curriculum.”
Schooling Does Not Equal Education
What else did I learn? I see clearly now that schooling is not the equivalent of education. A child can learn in many ways. For example, while developmentally appropriate math lessons worked well with our oldest, our youngest daughter would have benefited much more by simply playing games that involved math.
Ultimately, I learned that homeschooling is about connection, building community, and education.
Homeschooling is not about replicating the public education system in your home. In reality, homeschooling is about far more than education, homeschooling is a lifestyle.
If you want to learn more about the differences between school, education, learning, and homeschooling, you might like this article
As a result of homeschooling my own children, writing my book, THINK HOMESCHOOL, & founding HomeSchool ThinkTank, I have thought long and hard about homeschooling.
I’ve wondered why some homeschoolers thrive while others struggle. Would you like to know the answer?
After years of deep thinking, observations, and visiting with other homeschool families, I now believe that those who succeed in homeschooling do similar things.
They focus on connection first, then community, then education. I believe that homeschoolers who follow this philosophy will have greater success in homeschooling.
Why I Wrote THINK HOMESCHOOL
While I’m embarrassed to admit it, initially, writing THINK HOMESCHOOL had nothing to do with helping homeschool families. In reality, I needed to learn about book publishing.
My oldest daughter is a writer and I wanted to learn about self-publishing. Why? So that I could help her self-publish and market her book when she was ready.
When our youngest went to private school, our oldest missed her sister terribly. Our oldest daughter began to fill her time by reading and writing. It started to become evident that she would publish someday.
I knew that it would take a while to learn how to publish and market a book. I didn’t want to learn with the book she had worked so hard on, so I figured I would just write something quick and learn about the self-publishing process.
The first day I sat down to write, I thought, “Well, what do I know a lot about?” I brainstormed so many ideas. I finally thought, “Well, I know a lot about homeschooling, I’ll write about that.” As it turns out, my book is as important to me as my daughter’s book is to her.
Why HomeSchool ThinkTank?
As a result of writing and publishing THINK HOMESCHOOL: Live & Learn Your Way, I started thinking about all of the challenges I’ve had over the years. As a result, I also started coming up with ideas to solve these problems. I knew I couldn’t possibly be alone.
Certainly other homeschool families might need the solutions I had in mind?
This is how HomeSchool ThinkTank was born. I recognized my own challenges and began coming up with solutions that could help other families too.
Now, through our podcast, HomeSchool ThinkTank is serving homeschool families around the world. Our weekly podcast is listened to by people in over 80 countries.
How Does HSTT Serve Homeschool Families?
Each week we share expert interviews, information, education, and inspiration that homeschool families need. The primary way that we do this is through the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast.
We’re also building a community of homeschool families around our podcast. We understand that homeschool families need support and guidance, and we’re stepping up to help connect homeschool families with the resources they need.
Homeschooling is about connection, community, and education. We believe that homeschooling isn’t just a way of educating your children, but that it’s a lifestyle.
The HomeSchool ThinkTank Mission
Our mission is to connect homeschool families with one another and the resources they need.
As the founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank, I have a vision that extends well beyond my own family, community, and lifetime.
I’m driven and excited to serve homeschool families for decades to come.
- If you’re interested in homeschooling and parenting tips, please join us here.
- If you serve the homeschooling community or are interested in being a guest on our podcast, please visit us here.
Thank you for listening to the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast and visiting our website.