Ever feel like your happy home school has turned into a never ending roller coaster ride of emotions?
Things roll along smoothly for a while and then the dips come…then the loooong climb back up to the top only to find you dive down once again; but this time with more momentum and speed. There are many reasons for this, and one might argue “that’s life”, which can be true; another reason is, you could just be stuck in a rut. You know what you are doing isn’t working but still plug along making the same old “mistakes”.
Remember, there is no one size fits all when it comes to homeschooling, and my mistakes might be what actually works for you. These are just some ideas to help you keep an open mind and to not be afraid to change things up if need be.
10 Things You Can Quit:
- Quit mimicking what doesn’t even work in the first place! Schools are an outdated institution that were basically developed to form perfect soldiers and then later adapted to develop obedient workers for the industrial revolution where freedom to think and explore are squelched. Don’t add more barriers to learning than you have to; please quit thinking you must fit your home school into that old outdated mold!
- Quit expecting you need to home school from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. You have the freedom to do and incorporate what works for your family. By working more one on one with your children you can accomplish quite a lot in 15 minutes. Allocate 15 to 20 minutes for each subject, anymore than that you will start to overload them. (High school could be an exception to this.) Take a look at how they learn, the material they are trying to learn and their tolerance for a given topic. (Recently I had one child only do 2 math questions per day, and expected perfection. This worked wonderfully! He quit his “self-blocking” about this particular math operation and realized on his own he could understand it and execute it with confidence.) Be flexible when it comes to this as well, you don’t want to stop something that is going great just because the 15 minutes is up. As well, your older children may require more time to work through high school level material, take the time to understand what works best for your child.
- Quit requiring that they do page after page in workbooks. I know quite a few homeschoolers who do not use workbooks at all, or some who just use Math workbooks. Don’t be afraid to set you and your children free from boring workbooks. If they don’t work for you, quit using them. Be creative, technology is here waiting for you, so jump in and use it!
- Quit boring Spelling lists. I’m not telling you to throw spelling out the window, but there are so many fun creative ways to do spelling! Everything from using computer apps to getting out the letter tiles. I use a workbook from time to time to get suitable words and other times we use words from whatever we may be reading. A favourite for my kids is to have a list on hand and use letter tiles to make their own crossword puzzle! Words are wonderful, quit making it boring!
- Quit Reading Comprehension Questions. The written out, long drawn out questions…..Boring! Talk about sucking the life out of a great novel! Have a great discussion instead. Give your children an opportunity to form their own thoughts about what they read. You can guide them, but be careful as to not to lead them to what you think it is about. This is such a great way to get them to think about thinking. Forming an opinion and owning it is a skill that will carry them through life. If you feel the need to have them write something, why not get them to write one awesome paragraph to summarize a chapter. If you have teens, they can then collect and put together those paragraphs and work on forming an essay! Don’t over complicate it. Let them fall in love with books! Loving books and novels will carry them further than the 15 written out questions for each chapter.
- Quit boxing your children into grade levels. Let go of grade levels and instead grab onto passion. Kids are very passionate, get in and get your hands dirty with them. My husband has explained higher levels of Physics to the kids because they were eating it up. Never stop explaining because they are only in grade 3 and that is all that is required. When the door of opportunity is wide open don’t be foolish and close it.
- Quit thinking that for kids to be learning they must be sitting. We have two big work tables put together so projects can be spread out and puzzles can be on the go. I allow the kids to spread out, and move around. We also will often have music playing in the background. Music enhances your brain power; it’s a proven “Brain Fact”. Embrace the fact that everyone learns differently and experiment to see what works best for each of your children.
- Quit lecturing. You can go on and on hoping that what you are “teaching” is sinking in, or you can choose to be a mediator and facilitator of information. When you mediate with your children you are doing them more favours. They are learning to think about thinking, are becoming more independent and owning what they learn. This, in turn, will enhance their retention for what they are learning. Bridging new information to something real and tangible for them will increase reciprocity. I dare you to do this!
- Quit being so busy. Quit being so busy looking like you are doing school for the sake of the doubters that you in fact end up missing out on amazing wide open door opportunities and moments. Those are the moments your children will remember. These moments will keep them moving forward, fanning the flame, and quenching their thirst for knowledge.
- Quit thinking homeschooling involves necessary boring work. Our English word “school” derived from the Latin word “schola” which means “leisure devoted to learning”. I challenge you to think about that, have you embraced that meaning or have you allowed modern day institutional type of schooling creep in.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to learning, which is why I wrote this post. I want to challenge you to be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone of what you think learning, teaching and homeschooling is.
We all make mistakes, and we can all learn from them as well as from one another. Don’t wallow in a wrong turn, but empower yourself to pick up and move on.
Take action and embrace what works for your family!
Share with with me 1 adjustment you will make in your homeschool.