Make Your Own Homeschooling Toolbox

unschooling toolbox

Every homeschooler has a set of values close to their heart which are the foundation of their homeschool. They were the reason we started homeschooling, and they’re the reason we sigh with contentment at the end of a happy day with our beloved children.

But what about the not-so-good days? For me, those are the days when – for one reason or other – I lose touch with my  values.

It might be tiredness, or illness, or busyness, or insecurity after reading a blog post about some super-effective homeschooling family… whatever the reason, when I disconnect from what’s most important to me, I’m not the homeschooling mum I set out to be.

unschooling toolbox

Joyfully Rejoicing

unschooling toolbox

Joyfully Rejoycing is one of the places I turn when I need inspiration. This website is a treasure-trove of information and advice about unschooling and respectful parenting.

So I was delighted to meet Joyce Fetterol, the woman behind Joyfully Rejoycing,  when she spoke at the LTTL Unschooling Conference in July.

I confess I got so caught up listening to Joyce speak that I forgot to take any notes to share with you {oops}.

However, thanks to Joyce’s generous gift to each delegate, I do have an idea to share.

Unschooling Toolbox

What Joyce gave us was an “Unschooling Toolbox”, comprising:

* 48 double-sided cards, each containing a wise and loving quotes about parenting or unschooling

* a magnet

* a small rock (from New England – very exotic to us Brits)

unschooling toolbox

At the conference we were invited to pick out some of our favourite cards and use them as conversation-starters with our neighbours. (People sitting next to us, that is. I’m not quite ready to take them round the houses on our street.)

This was a wonderful opportunity for the shyer among us to make new connections. It certainly reminded me of the value of real-life community.

How to use your toolbox

Joyce suggested storing the cards in a metal tea tin and selecting one at the start of each day, fixing it to the outside of the tin with the magnet.  (In my house, I think the fridge will be a safer place.)

The rock is to carry in your pocket to remind you of your chosen card.

I just love this simple way of connecting with my values amid the hustle and bustle of a homeschooling day.

Make your own Unschooling/Homeschooling Toolbox

It would be pretty easy to put together your own unschooling/homeschooling toolbox.  (If you don’t homeschool, how about a parenting toolbox?)

1. Collect a bunch of quotes that resonate with your parenting values. If you’re an unschooler, you could search for John Holt quotes like these or these, or visit Joyfully Rejoicing.

You could also use bible verses, or your favourite Charlotte Mason or  Emelia Reggio-inspired quotes …  whatever connects you with your values.

2. Print your quotes onto card and cut them out.

3. Grab a magnet, and pick a card to stick on your tea tin or refrigerator.

4. Pop a pebble in your pocket to remind you of your special words of wisdom throughout the day.

unschooling toolbox

Don’t forget to come back and let me know if you make an inspiring toolbox of your own!

unschooling toolbox

I’m linking up here:

Homeschool Mother’s Journal

Share it Saturday – Teach Beside Me

Hip Homeschool Hop 09/03/13

TGI Friday #93




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26 thoughts on “Make Your Own Homeschooling Toolbox

  1. This conference has obviously impacted you on a huge scale and is causing much excitement in you over the coming year. I’m so pleased for you and I very much look forward to seeing it unfold over the next 12 months!

    1. Thank you 🙂 It really was interesting to meet real life people who have successfully unschooled. Definitely the confidence boost I needed!

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful idea. It is just what I need to help me to keep the focus on the important things in our upcoming school year.

  3. Wow, we can all do with a toolbox like this any time! Thank you for sharing this very valuable tool. Isn’t it strange how insecurities catch up with us at the most unexpected times? I’m sure that at the same time when we are feeling insecure about how we’re homeschooling our children, someone else out there is looking at what we’re doing and thinking how fantastic it all looks to them! 🙂

  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!
    So much help, inspiration and great ideas. I’m on a very similar journey of moving from more to less structure but the fear of kids getting lazier by the day is a real issue!!
    Keep ’em coming 😉
    Claire x

    1. Hello again Claire! I love your supportive enthusiastic comments! LOL about fear of the kids getting lazier 😀
      I’m trying to have lots of casual conversations about time management and goals with my kids in the run up to state schools starting back this week – which is when I know my ideas will begin to be actually put to the test! Lucinda x

  5. I love these quotes, especially “be the parent you wanted your parents to be” and “Don’t look at who your child could be, but who your child is”…love both of those…in a large way that is what I am thinking of when I am taking the blogging break…I want to pour more of myself into being THAT parent and not comparing my kids to those of other bloggers’ kids.

    1. I can definitely see where you’re coming from, Theresa. It is a constant challenge for me to carve out our own homeschooling path – while still taking the best bits of inspiration from others. I wish you all the best in the next part of your homeschooling adventure, and I hope one day you’ll feel inspired to share with us some of your reflections.

  6. You have a good memory! Thanks for the reply.
    I do think u amazing… In fact can I just bring my kids over to you?!
    Was trying to order a bunch of the living maths books you recommended last night, sadly was thwarted with some. Book depository didn’t have a fair few so will look in local shops but they cost a small fortune here in Aus!
    Have a great week,
    Claire x

    1. I always remember especially friendly comments!
      Bring the kids over anytime – as long as you have time to stop for a cuppa 😉
      I’ve often wondered about the book ordering situation in Australia (no Aus Amazon?)
      I’ve just been trying to order a living maths book recommended by Claire at Angelic Scalliwags today and the cheapest it’s listed for is £129 right now so I have a tiny insight into your frustration!
      Have a great week too, Lucinda x

  7. We are so fortunate to have the chance to spend time with our children as they grow. I have a bunch of quotes posted inside my kitchen cabinets. Thanks for the reminder to give them an update!

    1. What a good idea, Carol. I recently put adhesive “whiteboard” stickers inside my cupboard doors -I found them during a declutter and couldn’t think what to do with them. I shall write quotes on them!

  8. What a great resource for unschooler homeschoolers! Pinned it to my homeschool board =)

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a great week,
    Beth =)

  9. Ooh – I love this idea! It reminds me of the unschooling cards I’ve seen at The Natural Child Project. I haven’t purchased them yet, but today might be a good day to. 🙂

  10. Thanks so much for you posts. We are in the US and “unschoolers” are very few in my area. It has been great to read your blog! Funny thing I love some of your book suggestions it was not until I tried to order one that I realized you were in the UK. So we are joyfully reading poetry learning some new words like “mum” and “cricket” what fun.

    1. Hello Alison – thank you so much for taking the time to say hello! I love connecting with other unschoolers. And I love the thought of you guys enjoying British words in your poetry 🙂
      In theory my blog has a clever plugin which automatically links you through to your local Amazon site (my mum was very confused when she logged on from a visit to Portugal recently!). But I guess some of our books are typically British, even if they are available in the US.

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