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4 Ways to Kickstart Your Homeschool

Whether you're a veteran homeschooler, or you've been thrust into the the homeschooling world due to current world circumstances, it's always beneficial to take a few steps back to get a fresh look at how to make your "school" (whatever that looks like for your family) successful.

Cultivate a Vision

What do you want "school" to look like for your child? Do you want to put an emphasis on Classical Literature? Do you love the outdoors and hope to incorporate hikes, trail walks and exploration into your schooling? Will you be focusing the majority of your studies on STEM? Are you of the mindset that child-led learning is the best for your family? These are all really good questions to grapple with before you ever start teaching. Take a few hours (or a few days) to decide what you really want for your family. I love asking myself the question, "what would this look like if I knew I couldn't fail?"...that's a great place to start!

Your vision will set the tone for your entire year...but be careful not to box yourself into a corner! The beauty of homeschooling is that the choice is ALL yours. If something isn't working, change it! Your goal should be setting forth an idea, not necessarily deciding all at once how to make it happen.

Make a Schedule

Once you have a clear vision of what you HOPE to see in your homeschool, you can start planning out how to best manage your time. If you want to focus on literature, I might suggest doing a read-aloud in the morning right after breakfast/chores. (I'll have some great suggestions for read-aloud's in another post, so stay tuned!). On the other hand, if Math is a struggle for your child/ren, I'd suggest possibly starting out with that instead. I always like to end our days on a good note, with something the kids really enjoy. For us, that's Arts and Spanish. For you, it may be a nature walk or History. The key is to work what you want into how your children learn. And again, if something isn't working...change it! Flexibility can be a life-saver.

Set Aside Time for Rest

“Rest, then, is not the absence of work or toil. It is the absence of anxiety or frenzy.” (Sarah Mackenzie in Teaching from Rest)

I get the question, "how do you fit it all in?" quite a bit. Do you want the truth? I don't! Let me just take a little pressure off of you from the get-go. You will NEVER be able to get it all done. Never. But that doesn't mean that you can't have a successful, joyful, life-giving, incredibly rich and well-rounded homeschool. It simply means that you're human.

My biggest piece of advice to anyone on their homeschool journey is to make sure that they schedule in "rest time". For parents with toddlers to Kindergarten-aged kids, that might mean an actual rest/nap. For parents with older kids, like us, it might look like 45 min to an hour of "in your room time". It will be a much-deserved, much-needed time for you ALL to regroup. There are several great podcasts or ebooks that kids can listen to, or they read, draw, play, imagine, etc. It doesn't really matter what you choose to have them do with their time, what matters is that they're alone while they do it.

I'm sure you've heard the old adage that you can't pour from an empty cup. Well, I believe that to be incredibly true. Use the time alone to fill yourself up. Pick up that book you've been neglecting. Start a great bible study. Call your best friend. Use the time for YOU...I bet your kids will thank you in the long run.

Have FUN!

The very best thing about homeschooling your children is getting to have a front-row seat to the wonder of their exploration. Of course I want my kids to be well-educated, and I know that you do as well. But even more than that, don't you wish that you could stoke their desire to actually LOVE learning? And how better to do that than to incorporate fun into their school day? To teach Math you could use Legos, or Monopoly or even baking! Bring a great book to life by exploring the geography of the setting, and the history of the time-period. Use Bingo to teach Sight Words, a Thesaurus to find silly words to make a funny rhyme, or a scavenger hunt to teach about animal habitats. The possibilities are endless if you look for them and I can promise you that there is a lot more joy to be found in experiences rather than in the pages of a textbook. Trust the process, my friend. If you incorporate a little bit of fun into your days, you'll start to see a whole new world of learning possibilities open up right before your eyes.



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