Spend Time with your Kids before Starting Formal Lessons
When asking a veteran homeschool mom what their single best piece of advice would be for beginning to homeschool, she says, “Just slow down.” Enjoy each other’s company before formal lessons begin.
If your child attended school previously, just think about how much of their day went by without you there. At least eight hours a day were spent with other students and teachers. Add the sum of those hours and it’s an astounding amount of time spent apart from you. Because we all want homeschooling to be a success for you and your family, don’t be afraid to take some time, spend a few days with your kids, and truly get to know them before starting class. Your children will be grateful for the quality time you spent with them.
Imagine waking up and telling your child that you two (or three, or four) can do whatever they want that day. You can watch movies or go to the mall or walk around the park and talk; it all counts as long as you are together and enjoying each other’s company. Take these moments to listen to your child and hear about their passions, fears, and goals. Figure out what makes them laugh and have genuine conversation. A whole, unstructured day with your children might feel irresponsible, right? This is “deschooling,” and believe it or not, it is an essential piece of the equation for a positive shift to home education.
Homeschooling is going to be a learning curve for you AND your children. It’s important that you are patient with everyone involved, including yourself. As you become accustomed to a new schedule, your students are getting used to a new lifestyle. It’s a given that they are used to an extremely structured day full of dismissal bells and timed lunch breaks if they were previously in school. Breaking free from the mentality of a defined schedule requires the, sometimes difficult, realization that learning does not have to happen in a classroom. Spending quality unstructured time with your kids at the beginning will help break that mold and make this an easier transition.
How does your child learn? What sparks their interest? What could your child spend hours doing? The beauty of homeschooling is being able to take that interest and make it educational. If your son would rather play Minecraft all day, turn that into a math lesson on the perimeter of their farm. Would your daughter rather draw trees, or play outside? Her sketchbook becomes her science book. God gave us the whole world to explore, and there is an infinite classroom outside the four walls of your home, just waiting to be discovered. Education is everywhere and it is not confined by the written words of a textbook. The Lord created us to be unique; why shouldn’t we school that way? Your schooling doesn’t have to be conventional.
There will be time later for spelling tests and textbooks. For now, spend unstructured time with your kids–you’re allowed.
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