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Remember that our daily living activities still teach. Baking with your children (measurement, reading directions, etc…), outings (direction, memory skills, mapping skills) everyday activities are still teaching. If you raise your children they will be schooled. I use a structured program, but I try to remember that everyday living is teaching. More people should get degrees in common sense living (my personal, personal thought). Have fun and don’t stress so much. Many college freshman’s can’t do laundry and your children will be at the top of the home economics class. 🙂
Lee Anne says
My best advice to you would be to head to this website and check out what Barbara Curtis has to offer in way of home education, Catholic faith, and numerous other things. She is an amazing woman. I have been homeschooling for over 15 years, yet she still helps me to see things in a fresh way. https://mommylife.net/
There is some very good advice here already from Laura, Jan, Cherie and Peggy. From my 24 years of homeschooling, I will add a couple of helpful thoughts.
If you do nothing other than read good books to your children and teach math, they will end up with a better education that most typical American school children. (My oldest is about to start law school and a couple of his engineering professors asked him how he learned to write so well, he told them because his mom read to him….a lot.)
Guard against getting caught up in too many classes/activities outside of the home. It can really undermine the whole point of “home schooling.”
The most encouraging books for me were Sally Clarkson’s books. If I was having a bad day, I could pick up “Seasons of a Mother’s Heart” open it to any page and in five minutes, have a new perspective.
Teach your kids to teach themselves. Can’t stress it enough. Salt the oats, and let them discover their own desire to drink. Something will light their fire, don’t put it out because it’s time to put that away now and do something else. Give them loads of time to be bored, lots of books and games and resources, and let them take responsibility for themselves a little at a time.
Your comment got me even more excited. (I keep saying that, but all of this is just so cool.)
“Teach your kids to teach themselves.”
Yes! I want to get them to be independent!
“Something will light their fire, don’t put it out because it’s time to put that away now and do something else. ”
This is such a good reminder for me especially, as I’m a terribly anal, CROSS IT OFF THE LIST person.
“Give them loads of time to be bored”
I’ve already been hearing the “I’m bored” statements this summer and when that happens I’m NOT letting them flip on the TV like I did too much last summer. I’m learning to be ok with them being bored, knowing it will lead to good things. Thanks for the great reminders!
As I have read above, don’t be afraid to change if something you are using is not working. I found it extremely helpful to purchase the “Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks Curriculum Guide” as well as subscribe to her news letter. I also had my daughter take a learning styles assessment, (they offer it at a discount periodically at homeschoolbuyersco-op.org). If you have struggling learners, check out; Dianne Craft ‘s website and child-1st.com.
Most of all, remember that even when you think you are not giving them a “Betty Crocker homeschool experience,” that you are giving them much more than they would get in public school which can not give them such individualized attention as well as the type of nurturing that you provide. Don’t think you are alone if you have one of those, “throw the books down, I am done with this.” kind of day. We all have them at one time or another, but just as it is with parenting, you will also have those precious moments that will then make it all worthwhile.
Ah yes, the “Betty Crocker homeschool experience”, I can’t wait to have just ONE of those days, LOL!
We homeschooled all the way through back in the 80’s and 90’s when it was just taking off and still considered quite illegal in most states. I think the most important thing (and I struggled with it over and over) is to find your own way just like you have with the real food. Don’t let any model dictate how you should teach or train your kids. Be willing to be flexible and try different things until you find what works. One of the best pieces of advice we were given was to be willing to throw away the curriculum, even if you just paid big bucks for it, if it isn’t working. Another thing we learned was to teach them how to learn not just fill them with facts and don’t emulate the school system. We learned a lot from a man called Chris Davis who had The Elijah Company. You can now find his stuff here https://www.homeschoolmarketplace.com/.
Today we have really strong, good relationships and I am so thankful that God led us on this journey. Breathe deep and take it one step at a time.
Another good resource is Dumbing Us Down by John Gatto.
That link took me to a great article on homeschooling, thank you!
I can’t wait to read that “Dumbing us Down” book, too. 🙂
I homeschooled three kids over a ten year span. Our daughter came home after 4th grade and stayed home until 11th grade, our middle son after kindergarten until 9th, our baby was completely homeschooled until 9th grade. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, but absolutely the best choice for our family. My husband’s work required lots of travel, so often we packed it all up and went with him. That was awesome – so many happy memories! Now all three of my children are adults, all have successfully complete college, all have good paying jobs, but most importantly – all three love the Lord.
Laura was absolutely right – contact and join HSLDA. Also, join your state homeschooling organization. They will offer fabulous conferences that really will encourage you. As far as curriculum is concerned – we used a hodgepodge. I prayed hard and chose what I though was best and went with it. There is no perfect curriculum and you will drive yourself crazy trying to find it. In the end, consistency with something will always win over experimentation with everything. I loved Sonlight as a literature/history/faith/just about everything curriculum. Look up:www.sonlight.com. There will be many days when you will have to choose between the planned lessons and working on character building instead. When in doubt – I tried to choose character building/ relationship building. Our kids love each other and choose to stay close – even though they live in three different states. Be prepared for resistance from your kids – I was told that it takes a year for them to adjust to you as their teacher and that is pretty much what I experienced. Just keep praying and loving them – it will be great!!!!
“Most importantly – all three love the Lord.”
My biggest prayer, as I’m sure you know. 🙂
“There will be many days when you will have to choose between the planned lessons and working on character building instead. When in doubt – I tried to choose character building/ relationship building.”
Good advice that I’ll need to stamp into my brain so I remember it!
I’ve already joined HSLDF!
Find your local Catholic homeschool group and make friends, if you don’t know them already. Your day will have a different rhythm than an away-school day and they’ll have much more free time to socialize when the away-school kids are still in school. I think this might be the most important thing to help them not feel like they are missing out and waiting around for friends to come home from away-school. Find out what they are using for curriculum. On the East coast, lots of people use Seton. On the West coast, it’s MODG. It is great to hear kids talking about their school day and even better, discussing their reading assignments. I love hearing the informal book discussions. This is not to say you have to do what they do, but you could borrow books, ask questions, etc., and it can be a good staring point.
Don’t do any formal schooling this summer. Let them detox. Instead provide rich days with trips and outdoor fun. Check out quality library books. One of my kids who had never had formal science schooling passed the state test with the highest possible score last year just from hands-on experience (snap circuits, low tide beach walks, etc.) and leisure reading.
In the fall, don’t worry about all the subjects on a formal level for your younger kids, just the basics. Give them time and space to figure out how to use their time well. Less is more. Even in away school, there are few kids who actually retain everything taught in a day.
When you feel burned out or the kids start fighting, swap kids with a family or have kids over. It always amazes me that more kids here can be quieter than just my own!
Happy good eating! This is a huge benefit to home schooling! Huge!
That is so wild (and cool!) about your son’s science test. I wonder if the enrichment school we’re going to will offer those types of tests to see where my kids are at. Is that common?
Our Small Hours says
The same advice I used to give therapy clients about, oh, almost anything. Relax!
You can’t possibly see all of the details from the start. You have to start the journey with some information, sure, but the rest will come to you as you need it, as you move along.
Don’t be surprised if the home school plan you have this month is different 6 months from now! As you get into it you’ll see what works and what doesn’t. Keep what works and don’t feel bad about not doing what doesn’t. *Even if others are having wild success with it!*
Don’t be afraid to play hooky! Don’t be afraid to follow the interests of your child, even if means he or she veers from the planned curriculum.
Again, relax! You’ve got this! It’s really harder than you think to mess it up. LOL
“It’s really harder than you think to mess it up.”
I hope you’re right!!!!!!!!
Keep in mind that you are responsible for doing what’s right for your kids and your family, and don’t worry a bit about “matching” the stuff they are covering in the public schools. Also, don’t worry about doing EVERYTHING in whatever curriculum you use. I think it helps to see those as a buffet table that you choose from, rather than feeling like you must do everything. Also, if something’s not working well for you, feel free to ditch it and try something else. That’s the beauty of homeschooling–you do what works for YOU and YOUR kids, not OTHER people’s kids and OTHER families. No one else in the world is in a better place to hear from God what your kids need than you, the parent. Trust your instincts and walk by faith! Don’t be disheartened by tough days–and they will come (days when nothing seems to get accomplished, grumpy days when kids are fighting each other or you, days you realize someone got totally behind in something, etc…)–public and private school teachers have tough days too! Over time you will be able to look back and see the progress that’s been made and all that God has taught your kids and you, and you’ll find yourself encouraging other new homeschooling moms!
“Public and private school teachers have tough days too” – a good reminder when I’m trying too hard for it all to be “smooth”!
I do love that we only need to do what works for our own family, but in a way that’s daunting, because there is so much to choose from. I’m slowly narrowing down our choices and figuring it all out. What a fun challenge, though, to find curriculum, activities, whatever, that will be the path back to showing our kids that learning CAN be fun. 🙂
To get started you may want to go to the HSLDA – Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s website and look up your state laws for homeschooling. You might also check your specific county on your local public school website or call. That should give you the required framework to look within. Most curriculums are graded. You could simply look at what grade they would be entering and choose the next one up. You will always trade freedom and money for time and vice versa. In other words you can design your own curriculum, keep your own records, etc. This costs you LOTS of time, but affords you tons of freedom and flexibility. You can purchase your curriculums whole and or in parts which will save you time, but cost money and flexibility. The best advice you can follow is to do what works for both you and your kids. There are several different philosophies of the “correct” way to teach and what to teach. In the end nothing is perfect and certainly isn’t correct if it doesn’t work for you or your kids. You might give yourself and your kids a gradual adjustment. It sounds like you have some kids that could be involved with evaluating their own curriculum. Let them take ownership in their plan. You’ll find you will do less “teaching” and more mentoring when they are personally motivated to learn. There is nothing wrong with learning concepts with board games (monopoly, battleship, trivial pursuit, chess! checkers, cards), computer games, word games (think mad libs and scrabble and quiddler) to practice and introduce skills. Math lessons can be cooking lessons, painting projects, and garage sales. Reading can involve historical biographies and science books from the library, or just plain reading and discussing together, etc. Writing can be journaling, letters, research papers (on all those things they are pursuing on their own), stories, puppet shows they write down, whatever. Homeschool can absolutely be whatever you want it to be. In fact, I think you mentioned a junior high kid. Figure out what the high school requirements are and gear his stuff towards that. He could graduate a couple of years early without being overwhelmed. You could even start entry-level college classes for many things that involve high school classes. You just have to figure out how soon a local college (preferably a cheap one that transfers well) will let you enroll him for dual-enrollment. The avenues are endless! Again, good luck and best wishes.
My kids will especially love the ‘learning with games’ idea – imagine how fun it will be if I pull out Monopoly and tell them that’s part of our school for that day. 🙂
Tough one….. pray that the Lord will help you love your kids more and more every day. It is such a privilege to be able to spend the days with them. Homeschooling is not easy – in fact…. it is the number one way in which I think the Lord uses to show me my sin. I am far more impatient and prone to frustration then I should be…. it is a constant battle. That being said, I would say that you need to aim high – be flexible – and don’t beat yourself up when the day does not go as planned. 🙂 Plan well and pray, pray, pray!
“Pray that the Lord will help you love your kids more and more every day.”
Such great advice, thank you! 🙂
Make sure to breathe, don’t be afraid to make changes (to schedules, curriculum, approaches, etc), and be sure to enjoy your kids. Oh, and every once and a while you all need a day off!
“Be sure to enjoy your kids…”
I do pray that I won’t be so focused on what we need to get through that I’ll forget that!