A Homeschooling Year in Review
August-October: It's the new year, you have new books, new pencils. You're excited, your kids are excited. The weather is nice, there are lots of cool field trips and you can revel in the fact that you are frolicking in the park while the school kids are slaving over desks.
November- February: The weather is colder, the books are looking a little worn, and if you have to look at another long division problem you're going to scream. You wonder why your 6th grader suddenly forgot how to multiply fractions and you start looking longingly at the big yellow bus. You feel like you SHOULD be doing more for Advent and the Liturgical year but you just can't figure out how to fit a Jesse tree in among memorizing multiplication facts.
March-June: The weather starts to warm up, you can see the end of your books, there are conferences to attend and curriculum to buy and you start to get all excited and think that maybe, just maybe you can do this for another year.
July: In between trips to the beach, you try to fit a little school in, but it's summer time...NO pressure so you happily abandon the books for impromptu pool dates.
Is that what your year looks like? On Monday, I attended a mom's night out with a couple moms from our homeschool coop and naturally we started discussing...what else...homeschooling. And it came up that a couple of us go through these seasons of the year.
So, I thought I'd post a little bit of encouragement and tips to help us all get past that winter slump
Mom's Night Out
My favorite thing ever. If your homeschool group or area doesn't plan one one..then YOU plan it. It's super, super easy. Doesn't have to be fancy..just put the word out that you'll be at such and such restaurant at such and such time. And, plan to stay until closing. And, here's a secret..you don't have to spend a lot of money or order a lot of food. Some moms order a full meal, some just get a drink, some just dessert or an appetizer or every combination thereof. If you have a young, nursing baby you can't leave, feel free to take them along....and everyone else stays home with Daddy. It's just so uplifting and fun and necessary to get out with your friends, without the kids. We have the most interesting discussions at Mom's Night Out (and we don't just talk about our kids and homeschooling...words like puberty and masturbation sometimes get thrown around) and you really get to know your fellow moms that way.
"If a thing is worth doing, it's worth doing badly" G. K. Chesterton.
This applies to homeschooling as well....so if it's worth educating your kids at home (and it IS) then it's worth doing badly.
And, keep in mind that as long as you are an involved, loving parent (and I'm guessing that if you are reading this blog, you ARE), then you're kids will be fine...and they will learn STUFF.
And, sometimes the schools do school badly. Not all of them..and there are some great schools out there...but let's just say that a certain teacher I know and love has come across a few students that do not have certain very, very basic academic skills (like the ability to label the United States on a map by middle school), so you're probably doing better than that.
Do a new project...badly.
Find a fun, interesting project to do....and do it badly...or at least not perfectly.
This in an imperfect, very-messy project board my kids made for a geography fair. But, they did it all on their own and they actually learned something and who cares if it's not perfectly, perfect.
Even the baby helped.
Take a Mental Health Day...
Really, it's okay to just take a day off to relax and have fun. Take a fun field trip, go to the park. or just watch educational movies on Netflix. Public school kids have movie days too...remember those (always the last day or two before a break, kids did nothing but have parties and watch movies). If they can count it as part of their 180 days, YOU can too!
Everyone loves cookies. And, sometimes an afternoon is just calling out for a nice plate of warm, homemade cookies.
Even better if your kids can do it all on their own. And, you can learn a lot from baking cookies...fractions, science, home economics.
You can make even make them healthy....throw in some flax seed, use a healthy flour (like coconut flour), add in nuts and dried fruit..and remember dark chocolate is a health food. Stay tuned for a future blog post about my healthy cookie recipes.
Go to the library.
There is nothing like a trip to the library to boost everyone's spirits. Show your kids the non-fiction section, tell them to find 3 interesting books to learn something new....about anything they want. And, if they are old enough...have them write a report on it. But, if they don't want to do that, just have them narrate what they learned, or make a video of them talking about their new-found knowledge. It's fun, it's easy and requires almost no planning. Not to mention when you get home, everyone is QUIET because they are all busy reading their new books.
Throw a party
Just because....and you don't have to invite anyone else. Serve up those cookies you all baked, and everyone sits at the table, eats cookies, drinks tea (or lemonade or decaf coffee) and does math. Call it a math party. We love parties around here.
Oh and hey...speaking of parties...tomorrow is my birthday. I'll be 36...wow...that makes me feel so OLD....I'm on the downhill to 40! We're celebrating by taking the kids to a chess tournament. Fun times around here...I tell you! Actually, it is fun because Ben stays at the tournament with the kids and I take Elsa and the car and we go have fun exploring a new city and do some (thrift store/clearance sale) shopping even.
Now, go see Jen for more Quick Takes.