By now, most of us are knee deep in our homeschool year.

And no matter how far into your year you are, and no matter what’s happened that you either did, or didn’t, expect to happen, I’m willing to bet that something funny has happened: You’re carrying around a lot of pinecones.

What on earth do I mean by that?

In this episode, you’ll hear: 

  • All the ways we end up with a metaphorical 56-pound backpack of homeschool curriculum
  • What are these pinecones (and why do I keep picking them up?)
  • How to decide which homeschool curriculum you really need for the rest of the school year

Setting out on a hike

The first time my husband, Andrew, went backpack hiking at Wanless Lake in Montanta, he prepared by filling his backpack to the brim with every single thing he thought he might need or want on this trip.

It was grueling. He didn’t enjoy the trip at all. Every moment of it was painful: 56-lbs-of-backpack painful.

That hike and that backpack are a lot like homeschooling. We get excited to set out on a new school year—we have a vision for the kind of joy-filled learning that will happen in our homes, we think through all the things we might want or need on our journey, and then we pack it all in.

And that pack can get very, very heavy. And then?

Then we start picking up pinecones on the path and popping those into our backpacks, too.

What homeschool curriculum is in your backpack?

Reading, writing, math, geography, art, history, art study, composer study, nature study, field trips, gardening, cooking, co-op classes.

We decide what we want to use for each of these subjects, and just as my husband did, laying out all his supplies he thinks he could want or need on his trip, we lay it all out in a lesson planner or a spreadsheet, or we make a giant list, and we start stockpiling everything we think we need.

Booklists, curriculum, lesson plans, art supplies, science tools, we gather up everything we might need or want, and we jam it into our metaphorical backpack.

That backpack is 56 pounds.

And it’s hard to carry.

Then we actually do something else, as homeschoolers. We go to homeschool co-op or on social media, and we see someone else sharing the beautiful literature-based geography they’re doing. Weekly maps based on these fabulous read-alouds.

Oh! We love maps AND read-alouds!

And it’s only once a week, so we add that in. And then we’re talking with a friend who sings the praises of this musical set that helps kids learn their multiplication facts, and that seems really important and anyway- we’re struggling with learning our multiplication facts, so we add that too.

And then a new class opens up at a church nearby that teaches karate to kids of all ages, and it’s only once a week and very affordable, and the kids have always wanted to learn karate…

You see where I’m going, right? 

This is like picking up pinecones in the middle of our 9-mile hike at Wanless Lake and adding them to our 56-pound backpack. 

And we do it all. The. time.

We do it even if we aren’t new to homeschooling, because I am not new to homeschooling, and I find mysel doing it still. 

So today, I want to invite you to peek into your backpack. It’s time to put some pinecones back. They will be there later. We can pick them up another time. Or on the hike out. But we don’t need to overload ourselves with them right now.

Listen in to the episode to learn what to do when you realize you’ve been picking up pinecones along the trail… and how to make sure you’ll get to your end destination with your joy intact.

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