This morning as I decided it was a lazy day for our family, I was on facebook and read an article. It was 10 Lessons I’ve learned from Homeschooling. It is a great article and got me thinking…. what would I say my top few things would be that I’ve learned. I’ve only homeschooled for 2 years. I do have a few that I sort of live by.
So here is my top that I want to share with you:
- Stop worrying that you aren’t doing a good enough job. You are. God has called you to homeschool and he will give you everything you need to make sure your children are well rounded. I’m not saying you should sit and do nothing, but if you are worried about it, then you probably already have made sure you have a well rounded child. You won’t see it every second. Some days you might not think they are learning anything at all! It’s those far and few between points when your child suddenly spats out what he learned in science to your neighbor, that you realize it’s sinking in.
- Make sure people understand what homeschooling entails and your schedule. My family and friends, the first year, thought that homeschooling meant my kids were playing in the yard and I had time for visits anytime they wanted. I would be in the middle of teaching science and they would call, wanting and talk for hours. They wanted me to go with them here and there as if I had no kids. It wasn’t until they sat with me a day and then realized it’s not fun and games. They realized how much work it was and that they were truly disruptive to an already stressed mom just trying to get her kids to focus! My friends and family now know that I am unavailable until noon. It may take some time getting them used to it, but oh well. That is what voicemail is for.
- Focus on a couple of subjects and be ok if you slack on the others. This year started with a lot of goals..my kids were going to do Grammer, Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Writing, Art, and a Foreign Language. By the middle of the year we had dropped the Foreign language, Art, and Social Studies and combined Grammer with Writing. At the end of the year Writing had mostly gone out the window too. I’m ok with that. My kids will learn vocab and sentence structure even though they don’t know what a prepositional phrase is. As long as they can write well and know how to convey a point, I’m ok with them not know every single part of speech in a sentence. I surely don’t remember it! I didn’t remember any History till High School!
- Don’t be afraid to school year round. I know kids need a break, but homeschooling is not public school. Public school they are going and going for 8 hours. They are crammed with information, then come home and have two more hours of stuff to do. My kids are going only half that time, so in the afternoon they have breaks. Since we dropped some of the subjects over the year, I am doing them this summer. I believe Writing is very important and the program we are using, Excellence in Writing Intensive A, really has made a difference in their ability to do a report. This is going to be very crucial when college comes. It really does a great job at using Grammar to expand the paragraphs and so that is all I am concerned about. I also am having them do the next level of math. All in all it should take them two hours to get done instead of 4. In the morning most people aren’t even up yet when they are up and so by doing two hours in the morning, it really doesn’t make that much of a difference, but it does in their brain.
- Take one day at a time and look at the big picture. A friend of mine recently decided to put her kids back in public school. I was a little disheartened by that, but since I am not in her shoes, I cannot completely understand. It is very important, if you have children who struggle, to take one day at a time. My son has ADHD and we have opted to not use medication. School takes twice as long and I am constantly in there looking over his shoulder, but I think that it is better for him then being in school pumped full of medication so he can sit still. There are days when he is so distracted it takes us from 8 am till 4 pm with minimal breaks, just to get done. Other days he is super focused and can get done in a few hours. You have to roll with the punches. Make sure to look at the broad picture and not focus on one horrid day. Believe me there have been days when I was crying to my friend wondering why I was homeschooling and wanted to quit. I’ve also had days when we were done in like two seconds and we had such fun going somewhere special because we had the time.
- Don’t expect anything to get done during your homeschool hours. I am really bad at this. By the time some of my homeschooling days are over, I haven’t done one thing on my list. I expect my kids to work independently because they are 11 and 12. I enjoy doing household things while they are working on school because I am nearby. The problem comes when I want to go outside to weed the garden in the cool morning, or when I need to do chores….the kids go on “break” until I return. We have had to revamp school days and start later, I’ve had to stop everything to sit with a child to make him focus, and I’ve had to call vacation days to get all my stuff done that hasn’t gotten done all week. Homeschooling needs to be just that..school. If your child needs you, you need to be available at the drop of a hat, not tied up in a project that you cant quit for an hour or two. There are children who work independently and then there are children that need you to sit by their side till they are in high school.
- Make your family a TEAM. We wake up and all do chores. I do the animals while the kids are up eating breakfast and getting dressed (ha if they do!). I get ready with a shower and breakfast while they are cleaning their rooms. Then we set to work…I wash the dishes, one child dries them while the other does their chore of vacuuming and straightening the living room.(They switch those chores every week) Then I tell them the first subject I would like them to work on and I start a load of laundry. By getting most of the chores out of the way in the morning before we start, it is easy to not be distracted during school. The house is mostly clean too! My children get a 15 minute break between subjects and they must pull a timer so they don’t go over their time. That is the time I hang laundry outside or finish cleaning the kitchen. By having my kids help with the housework, it definitely takes most of the burden off of me. As laundry gets done I sort into each child’s clothes and they fold and put them away. It doesn’t always get done like that everyday, but if we end up not doing the chores in the morning, they are done right after school. We all live here and each have to take care of something in the house. Mom cant do it all and shouldn’t have to do it all.
Well sorry it’s not 10 but I think 7 in two years is pretty good 😉 I hope this helps just a little and encourages you. We are far from perfect and you would know it if you came and observed for a day. My kids would also do their work in a timely manner, so pop on over!! If you have questions or comments please feel free to leave them.
Happy Homesteading!! 😀