What I Have Learned Through Homeschooling | This Stuff Is For All Of Us

This year marks our 12th year of officially homeschooling and as I reflect back over this journey I am in awe and humbled by what has been invested, how our family has been impacted and how I have changed as a mom and wife.

A few weeks ago I was talking with Kelly about all of the things I have learned about our home, family, children and myself over these years homeschooling. The biggest being myself.  Whether your kids are in school, you homeschool, your kids have moved out or you have never had children…I think at some point of this list you may see yourself. Life is beautiful in the ways it allows us to change and grow when we are open to it.

1.Start Before You Are Ready

This is the story of my life but it has served me well. I have dived into schooling and business before I knew what I was doing and I figured it out along the way. I have constantly adjusted the plan when necessary but also stayed true to the heart of why I was doing it and if I got off track (because it happens) you find your way back.

2. Less Is More

When the kids were little I had the games, art supplies, books, curriculum etc. I had ALL THE THINGS and that was fine but the older the kids get the more I truly believe that less is more. When we don’t get distracted by the “stuff” we are free to see the learning, beauty, and connection all around us.

3. Any Moment Is Good For a Restart

We homeschool and run a business together from our land, home, and studio. We are together a lot and that means that there are days that we are not lovely, to say the least. Any moment is a good time for a restart when you feel that you are off and that it is impacting your own behavior or those around you. You have no idea how many times I have stopped our day and declared a do-over. We made the conscious decision to have a different kind of day.  It has also been a good lesson to live in whatever you are feeling but to go be by yourself when you are feeling that way. Somedays you just need to be by yourself and that is OK and good and healthy.

4. We Are Atmosphere Changers

I know that I am the biggest atmosphere changer in my home. I set the tone. That is an honor and huge responsibility. It also requires humility and honesty. The restart above I talked about is often me. I need to change. I need to ask for forgiveness or I need to take a break to not selfishly impact all of those around me.

5. Don’t Save The Best For Others

This is probably one of my favorite things I have ever learned as a woman, mom, and wife. Show the people in your home (including yourself) that the good dishes, linen napkins, good food, pretty silver, good music, flowers, and candles are first and foremost for THEM. Your list may look different than mine but the intention will be the same. Instead of storing the prettiest things away for special occasions find daily reasons to live with your beautiful things, use them up and lavish those in your life. We really use ALL of the pretty things. I want my family to know that each day is worthy of the “good stuff”.

6. Become Lifelong Learners

We read, we talk, we question and we listen. If our children do not leave this house having the skills to gather information, process and then question what is around them then we have failed them. Our job is to not just allow them to “agree” with us but for our children to know where we stand and then find their own way. Our education goals for them have always been to have them become lifelong learners.

7. Be Present

Have a plan but be open to it changing. This lesson has been a big one for me. I love checklists, schedules, and accomplishments. I have also come to appreciate and truly love being open to what the kids are open to learning, when we just need to shut the books and go for a hike, take an impromptu “field trip” and be open to unexpected guests. When the weather is magic to take advantage of it and when there is a snowstorm to stop to play. When a child needs to talk that I notice the signs and completely stop and turn to them. The being present part of life is when all the good stuff happens.

8.There Is Not Just One Way

We can all do things differently and respect that different things work for each of us. This can be curriculum, schooling, politics etc. Being able to stand in our differences and loving each other beyond what we have in common.

9. Find Your Gifts and See It In Others

So many times growing up I didn’t feel seen for my own gifts. That can be so hard to not feel honored and then try to fit into the giftings of others to fit in.  Having children, being married and homeschooling our kids has opened my eyes to those around me and how I want to truly see, honor and recognize THEIR giftings. I can notice when friends and family don’t acknowledge our business etc. but then I have to be honest with myself that maybe I haven’t been seeing what is going on in their lives. It goes both ways.

10. I Don’t Just Love You…I Truly Like You

The best part of being a mom and having this time with the kids is being with THEM. This is the hardest thing I have ever done but nothing compares to the deep knowing that they are extraordinary people. Each one with their own gifts, personality, love language, and struggles. Each one with their own dreams and needs.  It has been my greatest honor to watch them become and to continue to watch them unfold.

If you would like to follow more of our day to day life I would love to have you join us on Instagram. 

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Gorgeous Online Art Courses Coming in September!

I hope you are having a beautiful weekend! We have been creating, watching movies, stealing wild sunflowers from the side of the road and reading.  It has been exactly what we were needing.

I wanted to let you know about FOUR courses that are beginning this month.  I don’t ever think we have had such a rich line up in one month.  This is the perfect time of year to dive back into your creativity!

Hand-Forged: A Metal and Torch Soldering Jewelry course begins on September 12th.  This course is being taught by Stephanie Lee who is a pioneer in the  art of jewelry soldering.  It is an honor to have such a gifted teacher a part of our creative network and to have her bringing new techniques and projects to all of the artists in her course. The jewelry pieces she is teaching are gorgeous and perfect gifts for the upcoming holidays.

Eclectic Beaded Crochet Jewelry course begins on September 19th.  This course is being taught by well loved teacher Robin Dudley-Howes.  On trend and boho chic, learn Robin’s method to make these stylish crochet beaded wraps, NO crochet experience necessary! These fun pieces can be wrapped several times around the wrist or be worn as a necklace. These are addictive and so fun to make!

Studying Under the Masters for Kids begins on September 19th. This course is being taught by Nationally recognized homeschool teacher, speaker and curriculum creator Alicia Hutchinson.  This is the course that my kids and I are so excited to dive into this year!  This course is all about history, techniques, creativity and expressive play.  Whether you homeschool your children or not…this course will be incredible for the kids or grandkids in your life!  You can watch the course trailer HERE.

Paint Your Town: Mixed Media Urban Landscapes begins on September 26th.  This course is being taught by Jeanne Oliver.  We will become tourists in our own towns and open our eyes to the photography, sketching, architecture, people, cafes, painting, connecting, history and beauty right in front of us.  We will create abstract landscapes, work with sketching and watercolors, collage, image transfers, charcoal sketches and create mini works of art to create our own Paint Your Town journals when we are done. You can watch the course trailer HERE.

See you in class and enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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If you are new to our creative network here are easy steps to get you started…

1. Register at jeanneoliver.ning.com (this is free).

2. Once your account is active you are able to take advantage of our free courses, series and even pay for courses.

3. Go to jeanneoliver.ning.com and along the top header click on “COURSES” and you will be able to view all three pages of online courses and free series.

4. To purchase a course please choose your course, click on the +join in the upper right hand corner, pay and you will be INSTANTLY in the classroom.

5. All videos can be found along the right hand side of the page under “COURSE CONTENT”.

*as long as we manage the jeanneoliver.ning.com creative network

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Studying Under The Masters For KIDS! {registration is open}

For children, art isn’t about rules and critiques. Art for kids is about expression and creating and fun! Creating art with kids is like opening the most fantastic Pandora ’s Box of possibilities. You never know how they will express themselves through art. Going back years and years to some of the most beloved Masters of art is a great way to intrigue children about different forms of art, different styles and different mediums. When young people used to aspire to be artists, they would take on the apprenticeship role under Masters of art. I want your kids (and you!) to come along with me and become apprentices to some of art’s Masters!

Studying Under the Masters for Kids was created to teach children about art, history, techniques, and how to learn from and be inspired by great artists. In this three-week course, we will visit three artists who created art in different time periods and places on the map.

Come and read more about this course that will begin on September 19, 2016 and will be lead by Alicia Hutchinson.

We’ll go to Japan and learn from Katsushika Hokusai and his use of woodblock prints, how he could magically capture the movement of water, and study his beautiful landscapes.

We’ll travel to Switzerland and study about Paul Klee. We’ll learn from his love of color theory, mixing mediums, and how his geometric shapes took on fluid movement.

And we’ll explore Austria and the great Gustav Klimt. We’ll study his most famous paintings, learn about his love of shapes and mosaics, and how one of his favorite mediums to work with was quite extravagant!

Each week, you’ll learn about a different artist. A video will introduce the artist, show many pieces of art by him, and we’ll learn some interesting trivia along the way too. After we’ve learned a bit about the Master, you’ll watch another video about that artist’s famed technique—printing, watercolors, mosaics, and more. When your child has gotten a grasp for the techniques we’ll move into the fun stuff—the projects! We’ll create lots of beautiful pieces of art inspired by our teachers—art to hang on the wall, to decorate with and even to wear!

Ways To Use this Course:

  • Invite the kids’ friends over and have an “Art Week.” Choose one of the artists and create art all week with your friends!
  • Use as a unit study. Check out books from the library, go online and watch videos and fully immerse yourself into the life of the great artist. When you’re creating art like him, you’ll have such a personal experience!
  • Use in your homeschool for a month or more of art classes.
  • Create a wonderful one-on-one time with your art-loving child and create art together—make it a special date!

 

Who is this Course for?

Art should be enjoyed at all ages, but because this course goes pretty in-depth about the lives of artists and their specific techniques, it’s probably geared more towards older kids. My suggestion would be ages 7-12. We will be using supplies at times that won’t be suitable for little, tiny hands. If you have younger kids, you can always get them their own box of art supplies and they can create with their own supplies near you. Having both boys and girls myself, I try to be sensitive to not making our art projects too girlie. I was conscious of this when creating this course and it is definitely suitable for boys and girls alike. There is one project where we will be creating jewelry, but this would be a great gift for Mama or your son could make a more “masculine” version of the project.

What will I get with this course?

When you sign up to take this course, you’ll be receiving lifetime access to all the video content—over 7 hours. You’ll get a Student Notebook with information about each artist, spaces to take notes, book lists, art supply lists, and more. You’ll receive video content on many great art projects, tips on storing kids’ art, and videos on help with creating art with kids—even if it’s not your strong suit!

I so hope you will join us in Studying Under the Masters for Kids! It was a blast to create and I can’t wait to see what your children come up with! See you in class

 

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The early registration price for Studying Under The Masters For KIDS is $38, will have 7+ hours of content, all videos will be pre-recorded for your convenience and has lifetime* access.

The course will begin on September 19, 2016.

If you are new to our creative network here are easy steps to get you started…

1. Register at jeanneoliver.ning.com (this is free).

2. Once your account is active you are able to take advantage of our free courses, series and even pay for courses.

3. Go to jeanneoliver.ning.com and along the top header click on “COURSES” and you will be able to view all three pages of online courses and free series.

4. To purchase a course please choose your course, click on the +join in the upper right hand corner, pay and you will be INSTANTLY in the classroom.

5. All videos can be found along the right hand side of the page under “COURSE CONTENT”.

*as long as we manage the jeanneoliver.ning.com creative network

 

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High School {are you kidding me?}

 

I never (and I mean I NEVER) had any intention of ever teaching my children in high school.  When we started in kindergarten I was just taking it year by year and to be honest…I am shocked that 10 years later that we are still doing school together.

At the end of last school year Jack was asking a lot more about high school and for the first time really showing interest in doing something besides homeschooling.  After nine years of doing school together I have to tell you that I have become a bit of an education snob and I have loved the rich literature, history, writing, discussions, travels and freedom that we have had with homeschooling and I didn’t see anything that was standing out as amazing in the world of high school in our area. We were also not going to spend $25,000 a year for a private high school.  About 11 months ago we were told about a brand new super creative academy that was going to be starting at one of our local public high schools.  We went to the meetings and Jack and Kelly were sold immediately.  Everything that they were saying sounded amazing but even though I was getting burned out and I didn’t think the whole high school homeschooling thing was for me…my heart was breaking a bit.  I was having a very hard time imagining our family not together in the same way.  So as Kelly and Jack were pretty much high fivin’ each other…I had tears and it would take me a few weeks to have peace about the decision.

I eventually had enormous peace about the new program and was excited for Jack and his new experiences. He was going to be a part of the school orchestra and for a boy that has played piano for nine years this was an awesome opportunity.  We were also really looking forward to seeing (and a bit scared) how he would do transitioning into traditional school after only being homeschooled (except for his once a week enrichment school).  Would he be behind? Right on track? Ahead?  We didn’t know. We knew he had always tested ahead of his age/grade in state testing but this would tell us more than the testing had.

 

 

We knew with a brand new program that there would be growing pains and adjustments that would need to be made along the way.  Kelly and I had concerns about the structure and accountability right away but had promised Jack and ourselves that no decisions would be made until Christmas break.  Towards the end of the semester we knew for sure that academically it was not enough for Jack and he was struggling with a lack of deadlines and no definite schedule.  Because Jack had been such a huge decision maker in going to high school we knew he needed to be a huge part in the decision making to come back home.  We prayed and just asked the Lord to guide Jack’s heart about his education.  We waited.

Towards the end of the semester Jack came to us and shared his heart in ways that without going to high school we wouldn’t have learned so many things about ourselves, how we did school and each other.  I have to admit that I am not sure I would have had the maturity to admit what he was about to share with us at his age. He let us know that he was having a blast hanging out with friends all day but didn’t think he was learning and thought he needed to come home to catch up. He felt like he had wasted a semester and worried if we didn’t leave now that he was worried the academy wouldn’t make enough changes over the following semester to put the academics on track.  He let us know that he was concerned that if he didn’t leave the academy that he didn’t believe that he would be ready for college (keep in mind this kid has never talked about college before now).  He went on to say that he knew I had been worn out with homeschooling and he was tired of it too. He thought this was a wake up call for both of us. This was showing us that we both hadn’t realized that how we had been doing school was working.  I knew that my attitude and actions had shown my children that I was tired and ready to pass over the responsibility of being in charge of their education.  It was the first time in a long time that I was realizing that even though all forms of education will have gaps that we were doing an excellent job even in the midst of our tired hearts.  These discussions with Jack were bringing me back to my love of education, connecting with my children through homeschooling and feeling deep down that it was such an honor to teach them…not a burden as I had been feeling that last year.  Going to high school did all of this for us.

Keep in mind that our experience with high school could have also gone completely differently and we could have all absolutely loved it!  That would have been incredible too.  I think sometimes that homeschooling families are afraid of what to do next after middle school and I just wanted to take a few moments to tell you that stepping out and trying new things will reveal what is right for your family. There is nothing to be afraid of.  You WILL know and there are things that you will learn about your children and yourself that you may never know if you don’t try.

 

 

There are so many ways that trying high school has done for our family but some of the best take aways have been that my son is no longer a little boy. I needed that separation to see the man he is becoming.  Even though his education is now back at home he is still a part of an enrichment school and he goes three times a week to the orchestra at the same high school.  We have all loved this and it still keeps him connected to new friends and the school.  Finally we saw that even in the midst of all of our imperfections that we were doing a great job. My heart really needed to know that.  I have so many high expectations on myself of how and what I want our children to learn and to know that even though I wasn’t accomplishing everything I wanted (just like all teachers)…our education was rich.  Thank you high school for gently showing us what was working for our family.

 

 

You can hear more about my story with homeschooling in the online class Learning Well: an essentials course to homeschooling.  This course is being taught by Alicia Hutchinson and has many extra guests that will be sharing their experiences and advice.  I wish I had had something like this online course so many years ago and I am honored to offer it on my creative network.

This course is for the curious, the beginner, the family that needs to be inspired all over again and the schooling parent that wants to supplement their children’s education.  This course is also for the homeschooler wondering how to educate more than one child, what comes after elementary school and the family that wants a supportive network to hold you up in the day to day.

TODAY (March 31, 2015) is the LAST day for early registration for this course!  You will be lavished by Alicia and the rich content that this course has to offer.

To read more about the course or to register follow THIS link.

 

 

 

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I Never Asked For This {thank goodness I got it anyway}

Life is funny and we are often pulled by expectations, dreams, status quo and sometimes even fear.

I never planned to homeschool our children and as I look back over our homeschool journey so far I can sometimes be surprised we chose to do this crazy thing that has usually felt comfortable and natural and freeing.

There are many things that are not for everyone and I have never thought that there is only one way to teach children.  I sure as heck don’t think that homeschooling is better than other forms of other education. But for whatever reason…it has been better for us!

Our past 10 years of officially homeschooling has been filled with uncertainty, a million questions, joy, pajama filled mornings, coffee (lots of coffee), tears, hikes, adventures, more tears, cuddles, laughter (more than I could have ever imagined), talks that I will treasure for the rest of my life, day time symphonies, ballets, plays, documentaries, reading scripture together and raised voices. There have been more days than I can count that I thought I wasn’t up to the challenge but more days when I wouldn’t have traded it for anything. There have been days if a bus had pulled up to the front of our home that I would have pushed my kids on it and never looked back.  There have been more days than I will ever be able to count that I have laughed until tears were streaming down my face with my children and other days when we were all frustrated with tears dropping to the floor.  This homeschooling thing has been one of the best adventures I have ever been a part of. It has been hard and beautiful and character building and precious all at the same time.

Last summer I thought that we were done with homeschooling and that another door was opening.  Sometimes things don’t turn out like you think.  I hope you will join me tomorrow for a little more of our story.

You can hear more about my story with homeschooling in the online class Learning Well: an essentials course to homeschooling.  This course is being taught by Alicia Hutchinson and has many extra guests that will be sharing their experiences and advice.  I wish I had had something like this online course so many years ago and I am honored to offer it on my creative network.

This course is for the curious, the beginner, the family that needs to be inspired all over again and the schooling parent that wants to supplement their children’s education.  This course is also for the homeschooler wondering how to educate more than one child, what comes after elementary school and the family that wants a supportive network to hold you up in the day to day.

Tomorrow (March 31, 2015) is the LAST day for early registration for this course!  You will be lavished by Alicia and the rich content that this course has to offer.

To read more about the course or to register follow THIS link.

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Learning Well | An Essentials Course To Homeschooling

I am beyond proud to announce that registration has just opened for Learning Well | An Essentials Course To Homeschooling!

Few things are as close to my heart and my day to day life as homeschooling.

Alicia Hutchinson will be leading you in this one week online course!

This one week course is $46.

The course will begin on April 27, 2015 and you will have LIFETIME ACCESS* to the videos!

All of the videos are pre-recorded so you can watch the course at your convenience.

Come and watch the heart behind this course…

I bet you want to hear a little more…

My vision for Learning Well is a course that would encourage new and experienced homeschoolers alike. Encourage them to start strong and keep going on this homeschool journey that isnt always easy. Homeschooling is an amazing experience, but it is also one that is sometimes scary and always pretty challenging. Its easy to want to quit before we get started. Its easy to want to throw in the towel when we feel burned out. I wanted to put this course together because I am truly passionate about educating your children at home. There is change I feel in world of homeschooling and I feel it becoming more and more accepted and chosen more and more by parents everywhere. This excites me! I want to use this new change of tide to walk along beside these families and share what has worked for us in these past seven years of homeschooling our kids. There have also been many failures and I want to share those too. To put it short and simple, I see Learning Well as a course to teach, share with, and encourage homeschooling families.

 

This course will be FULL of so much good stuff!

You will walk away with direction, inspiration, encouragement, real life stories and COMMUNITY!

TO REGISTER

To register for this course you just need to be a member at jeanneoliver.ning.com (registering is free).

Once you are on the site you will find this course, free videos (business and art) and other online courses along the left hand side of the page.

You will find all of our courses/videos under the COURSES heading.

If you want to register for Learning Well | An Essentials Course to Homeschooling:

1) Go to COURSES along the left hand side of the page

2) Click on “view all” at the bottom of the list

2) Click on Learning Well | An Essentials Course to Homeschooling

3) Click the +join button on the upper right hand side, pay and you will be ready for the course to begin on April 27th

4) All of the details are on the page and you are all set.

Tell your friends!

We want to create an online community where you can create, connect and be inspired.

Come on over and read more about the course!

 

 

*As long as we manage jeanneoliver.ning.com

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Making Art With Children {Letting Them Lead}

My children have been surrounded by art supplies, art books, art on the walls and art museums their whole lives.

Sometimes what they really need is just the freedom to create.

When I put supplies out for my kids and then I walk away to do my own thing I feel that my kids rush through the process instead of really taking their time.

The best thing for me to learn as a mother when it comes to art is to help them practice and really look at what they are wanting to do.

When I sit down with them or talk with them while they create I feel like they are more in tuned to what they are doing.

My hands do not touch their creations.

My ideas do not touch their creations.

It is my job to supply the mediums, explore the museums, talk about works of art they love and don’t love, point out techniques and some suggestions for mediums and let them figure the rest out.

No right.

No wrong.

No suggestions unless they ask for help.

No picking up the brush and showing them how on their work. If they ask for technique help I show them on a separate piece of paper or canvas.

When they get frustrated I am honest about how sometimes I get frustrated and wish my art was at a different place and how we all just have to keep practicing.

I show off their work and display it proudly and we do it all again.

Last week was week one of Studying Under The Masters {portraits and self-portraits} and I studied under the work of Vincent Van Gogh.

Ben had such a fun week playing with paperclay and creating Van Gogh and The Postman.

We looked through different works of Van Gogh and he decided to practice using Starry Night.

When he thought he was done I encouraged him to put it aside for a day and look at it the next morning to see if he saw anything else he wanted to add.

He ended up working on it a few more times and really looking at his piece and Starry Night.

He said, “Mom, my painting doesn’t look just like Starry Night but I love it so much!”.

He was so proud of his sculptures and loved, loved, loved painting them while he looked at the originals for color ideas.

We have already dived into week two with Teresa McFayden studying under the works of Pablo Picasso.

I can’t wait to show you what creations come out of Picasso as our inspiration.

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Vincent Van Gogh: Portrait of an Artist

Usborne The Children’s Book of Art

Vincent’s Colors

Van Gogh: Art Activity Pack

Van Gogh: Getting To Know The World’s Greatest Artists

Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars

Katie and the Starry Night

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You can still register for Studying Under The Masters {portraits and self-portraits}.

This 6 week online art course is $62 and the videos are available for 2 years.

To register please click HERE.

For people that are not already in the site here are directions:

To take a class on Jeanne Oliver’s creative network please follow these instructions:

1. Become a member of jeanneoliver.ning.com (this is free)

2. Once your membership is approved you can watch free art videos, the popular free interview series Creativity Takes Courage and even pay for more in depth courses.

3. Want to take an online course?  We currently offering 30 courses and free videos and you can find them all along the left hand side of the main page under “Courses”.  If you do not see the course you are looking for please click the “View all” at the bottom of the list.

4. Click on the course you are interested in, click the +join in the upper right hand corner, pay and you will be instantly in the course.

5. If you have ANY questions please email jeanneoliverdesigns@gmail.com

You can also pay using the Paypal button below…




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Registration has just opened for Lifebook 2015!

You can join 24 other artists and me for all of 2015 for a year a creative journaling, connection, encouragement, and creativity!

Come on over and check out all of the details and get ready for a creative 2015!

I hope to see you in class!

If you sign up using the links on my blog I will receive a portion of your registration fee.

If you are signing up through me I would just love to say thank you!

I can’t wait to see you in class and creative with you during my week in Lifebook 2015.

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