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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Homeschool Rescue, a review

When I heard that Heather from Only Passionate Curiosity was developing a brand new e-course called Homeschool Rescue, I was more than a little intrigued. There are tons of articles, tutorials, and even conferences online dedicated to the homeschool lifestyle. You can learn how to pick curriculum, how to organize it, how to answer the socialization question, what your educational philosophy is and more. 
But what if you’ve answered all those questions, have been educating your kids for years, and still feel like you’re drowning? What if you need to rescue your homeschool?
Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
I’ve been homeschooling for 10 years. I’ve researched to the point where I live, breathe, and dream homeschooling. I’ve heard all the advice…shoot, I give suggestions and ideas to new homeschoolers all the time. I know what I’m doing.
But I can’t tell you the number of times in the past few years that I’ve wanted to quit, pack up my books, and send the children to school.  Not because home education wasn’t working (it is), but because it’s so hard sometimes to just keep going. 
Sometimes you need a little more than advice or been-there-done-that empathy. Sometimes you need someone to come alongside you, sit down with a cup of tea, and ask you the tough questions, the ones you don’t want to ask yourself.
And maybe light a fire under you. Or within you. This is what Homeschool Rescue is about.

So, what is Homeschool Rescue?

It’s an online e-course for homeschool parents that you can go through at your own pace. Each video lesson is accompanied by downloadable homework assignments and links to other resources.  Most videos are slides with accompanying audio. You will also be able to download the audio (listen on the go!), a transcript, and printable note pages (perfect for adding your own notes).
homeschool rescue screenshot
You will also receive a downloadable and printable suggested schedule, checklists to keep track of your progress, plus the Ultimate Planner in several different styles.
homeschool rescue screenshot 2
Along with the e-course, there is a live component in the form of a private Facebook support group, so you can work through the course together with other homeschool parents. Heather also answers questions, offers encouragement, and participates in conversations in the group.
Only Passionate Curiosity Homeschool Rescue
Membership is open right now for a short time so that the entering “class” can work on the course together over the summer and Heather can give you the attention you deserve. You will have access to the e-course forever, though, so you can go at your own pace or do it again at a later time.
Feel like you need someone to hold your hand? Choose the Homeschool Rescue VIP Support option, which includes three one-on-one coaching sessions with Heather.

What do I think of Homeschool Rescue?

As I said before---I’ve been homeschooling for ten years and I think I’ve heard all the advice before. I’ve followed Heather’s blog, Only Passionate Curiosity, for quite some time, and I know she is a sincere, faith-filled mama who embraces the homeschool lifestyle. But, she’s also a young mom with young kids and so I wondered how much she could help those of us with older children. I came into this course wanting (and hoping) for help to revitalize my homeschool, but also having real doubts as to whether I would find it here.
Can she help a mama who’s getting ready to graduate her oldest in a year while teaching her youngest cursive writing?  Can she help me deal with the trials of teen hormones and the challenges of preparing kids to leave the nest?
Is there anything she can tell me that I don’t already know and haven’t already tried? And I think this is a valid question---I’ve read many articles and watched many videos on homeschooling that have just been repeats of things that I already know or contradict my own personal experience. So I entered the course as a skeptic, but willing to be convinced.

Overall, I’ve found most of the lessons I worked through so far to be full of sound advice, given with a candid humility.

But, I would not say that there is anything here that I haven’t heard or read elsewhere…in fact, I’ve blogged about some of these topics myself.  Homeschool Rescue isn’t revolutionary.
One thing it has going for it is that it’s one organized package, with actionable assignments that turn it into something that I can use rather than note and file it away in recesses of my mind.  How many times I have read a heartfelt blog post, had an “aha” moment, and then forgot all about it? Too many to count. With Homeschool Rescue, I have assignments to complete that can keep me on track and that does make a difference.
There are tips on organizing your homeschool year, developing your ideal week, cutting out the chaff, learning to say “no” (that was a really valuable one for me), learning how to recognize if technology is a problem for you (can you put your phone away, mom?), and more.  I don’t always agree with the tips and some of them don’t apply to my situation, but there’s plenty of good content here. 
Heather is very candid and upfront throughout this course, so I wasn’t surprised when I jumped ahead to the lesson on teens to see how she handled that topic and the very first thing I heard her say was that she doesn’t have firsthand experience homeschooling teens! But she went on to explain how she collaborated with other homeschool parents who do have teens (and/or have graduated teens) in order to compile that lesson---I appreciate her honesty and the fact that she sought advice from those in the know on this topic. 
As far as this particular lesson’s content---I found the advice and suggestions to be generally sound, but there were no earth-shattering revelations for me. Most of it I have learned by parenting my teens and I think to some extent we don’t truly learn certain things until we are actually doing them, anyway. It’s a little like becoming a parent for the first time, or beginning to homeschool for the first time---you don’t fully know it until you are actually in it
At the same time, your teen also won’t know it until they are in it, either. It wasn’t until my son was studying Algebra that he got why fractions were so important. It wasn’t until he was trying to program computer game physics that he recognized a need to learn Trigonometry, which necessitated first mastering Algebra 2---all my years of trying to show him the need to master these skills before getting out in the real world didn’t do that. He had to come into on his own.  Growing up is such an organic and messy undertaking.
I like the way Heather is open, honest, and caring in her talks, but I found that listening and staying focused was an issue for me. Heather has a soft voice and tends to speak very quickly---one sentence after another just tumbled out and it seemed often as though she barely paused for breath, making it hard to keep up. While it was helpful to be able to pause and back up a bit (something that you can’t do with a live course) or refer to the transcript, I feel that these videos could benefit from a slower pace, which would give the listener a chance to better digest what is being said. 
Sometimes there’s so much packed into a short video that homeschoolers for whom the information is new may find them overwhelming. The first 15 minute video talks about: depression, laziness, screen addiction, finding a mentor, building community,  and making a plan for dealing with your worst days. Whew! That’s a lot.
I could see breaking up each lesson into 2 or 3 shorter videos, which would allow more time to stay focused on the topic at hand and an easy way to stretch out the lessons if desired. This would also allow Heather time to expound upon some of the topics at greater length. Those who want to watch a whole lesson in one session could still do so, while those who want to spread them out could also easily do so.
At first, I felt a little overwhelmed about sticking to the schedule (roughly 2 lessons a week), but Heather was very quick to assure me and others in the FB group that there is no “behind” in this course. The goal is get help, not add stress to your life.  I so appreciated the encouraging words in this group!
Since I’m free to follow the course at my own pace, it’s easy to spend more or less time on a given topic depending upon its relevance to my life. And as I have lifetime access, it’s easy to go back in a month when I have more time (which I plan to do---I have a few days set aside in about a week to attack my clutter), or in a year when suddenly something is more relevant than it once was.

Heather has put her heart into Homeschool Rescue and it shows.

If you’ve been homeschooling for several years or have done a lot of research, chances are you have already heard a lot of the advice that she is sharing in this course.

If you’ve done all that and you are having trouble implementing things or finding your groove, Homeschool Rescue might give you the direction and accountability that you need. Um, that’s me. Winking smile
If you’re brand new to homeschooling or are just a few years in and are still looking for your groove, Homeschool Rescue will give you a lot of good information in one manageable package, though you might want to go at a slower pace than suggested to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
There is a 30-day money back guarantee---if you give the course a solid shot, watching the videos and doing the homework, but find it’s a no go, you can get a full refund.  Membership is open right now for a short time so you can join the class for summer.
Heather is also offering a FREE Workshop: Take Back Your Homeschool!  Be sure to check it out.

Read more reviews:

Homeschool Rescue {Only Passionate Curiosity Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

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