The holidays are over. As the decorations come down, and you’ve got a long road to reach summer vacation, it might be easy to become blue about the journey ahead. However, there are some things you can do to bring joy back into your daily homeschooling routine.
First of all, don’t be a slave to the curriculum that you’ve chosen. If it doesn’t work, ditch it. Or do less of it. Many new homeschoolers burn out quickly because they are trying to do too much. Your child doesn’t have to do fifty math problems if they understand the concept after ten. They don’t have to write a book report after reading a book. Have them call a grandparent and tell them about the book instead. Remember, most worksheets were designed to keep a classroom full of children busy and quiet. You don’t have to assign busywork. You can finish in five minutes what might take hours in a classroom. If your child really dislikes a certain subject, ask friends what they are using that works. Or, check out Cathy Duffy’s website for recommendations (cathyduffyreviews.com). She has been reviewing homeschool curricula since 1984 and is a trusted resource.
Next, get outdoors. Charlotte Mason, a British educator in the mid-nineteenth century, recommended four to six hours of outdoor exploration each day for children. According to the National Recreation and Park Association, children today average less than 15 minutes of outdoor free play. Outdoor play enhances creativity, improves cognitive functioning, builds a healthy immune system, and much more. Join the #1000hoursoutside group on Instagram for more information and support. Ginny has a free downloadable tracker that is a fun incentive.
Finally, create fun alternatives to paper and pencil work to help boost everyone’s spirits. Try a weekly tea party and poetry reading with muffins and candlelight. Or, assign each student a meal-making day. They can create the menu, the grocery list, and do all the cooking as they are able. How about a family game night? Depending on the game, have it count for math, spelling, grammar, or engineering for the day. Movie nights are great, especially if they are related to the history that you’re reading about.
Hang in there, homeschooling parents! You can do this. And the more joy you add to your days, the more excited your children will be about the road ahead.
New to Homeschooling? Homeschool Resources
Homeschool Legal Defense Association: hslda.org/
Homeschool Questions: homeschool411.com/
Classical Conversations: classicalconversations.com/
Christian Home Educators of California: cheaofca.org/
Rainbow Resource Center (supplies and curriculum): rainbowresource.com/
The High School Handbook: Junior and Senior High School at Home – This book tells you how to homeschool. Chapters include “Evaluating Progress & Setting Standards,” “Designing Courses,” and “After High School.” This valuable resource also includes information about educational goals, course descriptions, transcripts, and reading suggestions.
Barbara Richert and her husband, Paul, have been homeschooling their children since 1998. Three have graduated, and two are still learning at home.