The homeschoolers APGAR test…

When your baby was born it was evaluated using the now-familiar APGAR test. Some people believe it was named APGAR for American Pediatric Gross Assessment Record. Not!

Others believe it was named for the five assessment areas: Appearance (skin color), Pulse (heart rate), Grimace (reflex irritability), Activity (muscle tone), and Respiration. Interestingly that acronym works in multiple languages: German ( Atmung, Puls, Grundtonus, Aussehen, Reflexe), Spanish (Apariencia, Pulso, Gesticulación, Actividad, Respiración) and French (Apparence, Pouls, Grimace, Activité, Respiration)

While those are all useful acronyms that’s STILL not where the APGAR test got it’s name. Actually it was named after the woman who came up with the test, anesthesiologist Dr. Virginia Apgar. Apgar wanted a standardized way to evaluate the health of a newborn child. A score of 3 or below indicated a serious problem. Scores of four to six are somewhat low and cause for moderate concern while scores of seven to ten are considered healthy.

So your school year is newborn. What’s your homeschool APGAR score in late September? Let’s find out.

A is for appearance or coloraiton. How is your color so far? Are you pale as a sheet? White as a ghost with terror? Are you purple; livid with anger and frustration? Neither extreme is good! Hopefully your color is somewhere in the normal range as you learn to deal with your own fears and insecurities and also to deal with the setbacks and frustrations that are a part of every homeschooler’s life.

P is for pulse rate. How are you doing there? Is your pulse barely ticking because the curriculum you’ve chosen is so boring even you can’t stay awake? Or is your pulse racing because of the frantic pace your chosen curriculum demands every day as you race against the clock to “get it all done?”

G is for Grimace or Reflex Irritability. Ruh-Roh! Are you grimacing and irritable? Are you having reflexive reactions to every frustration in the new teaching year? Or are you maintaining your composure and responding instead of reacting?

A is for Activity. Is your homeschool active with busy minds, lots of questions, filled with laughter and moving eagerly forward in new learning discoveries each day? Or is your homeschool dull and listless- even comatose as the drudgery of each day brings sighs of boredom from both students and teachers alike?

R is for Respiration or breathing. Are you panting with anxiety over each day’s task? Are you holding your breath wondering whether your child will ever get into college when they can’t do the simplest homeschool tasks without a teary-eyed meltdown or an angry outburst? Neither is a good sign. Relaxed, deep breathing is what we’re looking for here.

So how’s your homeschool APGAR score for the new school year? Are you in need of life support? Are you less than ideal? Are you in the healthy range?

I’m going to make an unabashed plug for Five in a Row curriculum at this point. Jane spent nearly 17 years homeschooling and she developed a program that works well academically but also allows you to keep your sanity as a homeschool mom.

She knows exactly what it takes to keep your coloring and your pulse rate in the normal range, your grimace/irritability reaction under control, to keep your homeschool day moving actively with joy and to keep you breathing regularly and evenly.

So few curriculums are able to do this because they were created by people who have never homeschooled successfully. The developers have absolutely no idea how to motivate children to love learning or how to manage the many responsibilities of a busy homeschool mother.

If your homeschool APGAR score doesn’t look promising by the 3rd week of September, what is it going to look like in April or May? There’s a good chance the curriculum you’re using was never created with the needs of a homeschool mother in mind. If that’s you- take a look at today. You can thank me later.


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