By Ginger Atkins, Homeschooling Mom in Tennessee
We believe that having our children at home, even in challenging times, has provided teaching moments and opportunities for each child to develop character and experience real life situations. We would never claim to have our homeschooling methods perfected. We experience plenty of chaos everyday. Over the years, we have had newborns, busy toddlers, ill family members, etc.
We have seven school age children plus two preschoolers. Our house is loud and busy! Our mornings consist of chores, breakfast, and school for the younger children. Our older children work independently, while rotating to help watch the preschoolers and younger children that have completed their school work. Our afternoons offer nap time for the youngest children, independent study time for the older children or a time to ask mom for help (unless it is a music lesson or gymnastics day). Our older children normally do some school work after our little ones are in bed for the night. This provides an opportunity for them to have fewer distractions and ask questions. This is also a good time to review their work and give suggestions for the next day.
Keeping organized is a challenge! One thing that seems to help us keep track of areas that need extra help is to keep a notebook. Our chore lists, schedule, notes for each child, plan for the year, goal list, anything school related has a place. Since our house is very open and noisy, we have to be creative in providing study areas. The master bedroom, boys room, kitchen table, and rec. room all provide places that can be suitable for school work. We are frequently adjusting our schedule and trying to make improvements. We like to keep an example schedule for the day, but we are flexible. The stress of not sticking exactly to the schedule is something we had to let go. Illness, a farm emergency, a broken glass, a missing shoe, etc. are all just examples of things that get us off track. If something doesn’t get completed today, it will be a priority for the following day.
A few of our favorite resources include library books, Math U See, Life of Fred, Explode the Code, Easy Grammar, Bob Books, Donna Young resources (for checklists, schedule, and other organizational printouts- www.donnayoung.org ), Early American History and World History for high school from The Great Courses taught by Professor Linwood Thompson (he dresses in character and helps keep the lessons fun). We have and use multiple resources but these are just a few that come to mind.
We don’t have it all figured out! We just do what seems to work best for us. Each season brings about new challenges, distractions, and opportunities. We must remember to be consistent and flexible.
A dear friend wrote a reminder note for me once. She said to remember that what we are doing is called “homeschool not schoolhome.” If you don’t have homeschooling friends, find some. Everybody needs encouragement!
How does your family “do homeschooling?” We would love to hear about it! Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to have your family featured on our blog and/or newsletter. This is a great opportunity to encourage other homeschooling families, so please, share your story!