Friday, August 21, 2015

My Best Homeschooling Tips

And so it begins....our 9th year of homeschooling. 

I have kids in 8th, 5th and 2nd. And one in weaning-school and stop sleeping in mommy's bed school (she's failing both classes.  She did pass potty-training school with flying colors last year, however!)

Ever year things go a little bit differently but after years, we've sorta settled into a routine and I've found things that work and things that don't. 

1.  What Works. 
 -For us...using a set curriculum works.   I spent years piecing things together and we ended up sorta crazy with way too many subjects and not enough time.   I do switch out subjects as needed and to go along with co-ops but I really do much better if everything is laid out. Otherwise, on my own, I have every kid do 1 million subjects a day and we all hate each other. Shockingly, the set curriculum gives way less work than I give on my own.   So, we follow those....with some adjustments.  

2. What Works. 
-Pushing/Encouraging Independent work at soon as possible. I've had people ask me before what subjects I am teaching this year.  I find it to be a confusing question.  I don't teach anything.  Really, I just assign work and then correct it and give help as needed.   Or, if I do teach, it's a pretty quick 5 minutes explanation.  Of course, it helps that my kids are probably all fairly book-smart and academically-minded, so they tend to pick things up fairly quickly.   As soon as my kids can read well (usually at the start of 2nd grade) they do as much work independently as they can

3. What Works.
-Working through lunch.  I know that sounds mean, but we personally need the momentum of just plowing through...rather than taking breaks.  When we used to take lunch breaks...they tended to stretch out REALLY LONG and we didn't finish school until late in the day.  However, when I make a point of not stopping until we're done things go much smoother and we finish much earlier.

4. What Doesn't Work. 
-Sitting at a table.   We do a lot of couch schooling. It's a lot more comfortable that way. 
As you can see, we are definitely NOT uniform-using homeschoolers.
5. What Works.

Always time for field trips!
-Limiting morning commitments and sticking to afternoon ones. Except for that one day a week that we don't do school of course.  I'm not strict about this however.  If we do have something going on in the morning....we just consider it a special field-trip day.  Mostly year-round schooling helps a lot in this regard.  I don't feel guilty about off-days, because we have the ENTIRE YEAR!!  We did take some time off this summer, but I didn't plan for that, and I don't feel like we NEED it.   I'd rather just take days off here and there as we need them. 

6. What Doesn't Work. 
-Ignoring problems.  If there is a specific issue or problem that annoys you, deal with it.  Otherwise, it just gets worse and you end up blowing up about it and no one is happy.  Not that I know this from personal experience or anything.   Although, we may or may not have had a problem with kids skipping problems because they didn't see them.  This drives me crazy! So, finally, I addressed the problem and so far, so good. 

7. What Does Work

Sibings are good friends, but we need outside friends too!
-Giving some thought to friendship and socialization.  Kids need friends.  Adults needs friends.  Everyone needs friends.   And yes, making friends as a homeschooler DOES require a bit more work on the parent's part. But, it's worth it.  It's worth it to go to park day or plan play dates or join activities and groups.  And, it's worth it to find friends yourself.   Everyone is much happier if we get out and see other people.  It can be hard to balance that with school-work, but I have found that getting involved in activities and co-ops and youth groups or whatever your kids are interested in (sports, chess, etc. ) really does help.   Afternoon, weekend and evening activities seem to work well for us.  They don't really have afternoons, evenings and weekends are good times for activities, gatherings, etc.  We also really like joining co-ops.  I know that not everyone does, but we tend to get a lot out of them. 

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