Even though I don’t know you personally, dosage I can pretty much guess you’re caught in the tide of curriculum choices, activities and commitments to add to the calendar for the upcoming homeschool year. I know this because I’m right there with you, trying to navigate the choppy waters of planning in hopes of landing on the banks of the perfect school year.
Last year, as I returned to work for a while, I realized that it wasn’t the academics or the activities the kids were missing out on, it was me…or rather time spent with me. Not once did I hear one of my girls say “I wish I had more challenging math work”. No, what I did hear was “I wish we could spend more time with you, Mom”.
This year, I’ve cut some curriculum, and some activities, and have decided to add a lot more of me back into our homeschool.
I really want to encourage each of you to put more HOME into your SCHOOL this year. That may sound silly, we’re HOMEschooling moms and dads for crying out loud, right? Or are we? Have we gotten so caught up in excelling academically, or the extra curricular activities, that home is just a landing area for sleeping and showering? So I’m offering you some simple tips on how to add more home to your homeschooling. Brace yourself, some of them may be painful.
Tips for More Home in Your Schooling
1. Unplug the family periodically. Seriously, this may hurt you more than the kids. But monthly, or maybe even weekly, schedule a technology free day. No computers, cell phones, video games, TV or other electronic devices. You might be surprised to find that you have nothing to talk about with your spouse and/or kids, and this is a serious problem. Learn to reconnect with your family, while you’re disconnected from the distractions of technology.
2. Have a family game night. Just let me say, not all games have to be educational folks. Twister is lots of fun, and lots of laughs. However, if you can’t justify having fun and not learning, break out Scrabble, Spot It, or Uno. Make some popcorn, play a few games and be amazed at the conversations that start.
3. Get in the kitchen! We all know that the kitchen is the hub of any home. Bake some cookies, or let the kids cook an entire meal. Bake some bread or make some homemade butter! It doesn’t matter what you cook, or how much, or if it was super healthy…but do it together, you’re not just making food, you’re making memories.
4. JUST SAY NO! I’m serious, this is the hardest thing in the world for me to do. After all, what’s another function, another 2 dozen cupcakes to bake and deliver, another “good thing” that needs someone to do it and you’re just the gal to get it done! Remember, there are only so many hours in the days, so many days in a lifetime, and only so much of you and your family to go around. Turn down a few requests now and then and just spend time at home, with your family.
5. Make some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grab a book that interests the kids and go lay on a blanket in the back yard. There is something special about eating and reading under the big blue sky. However, if a really cool bug, bird or other creepy crawly catches the attention of the kids, stop and marvel at it with them. Share their enthusiasm and curiosity.
6. Play together. Seriously, how many times do kids ask “do you want to play with me?” and we respond with “Not now, I’m busy doing……” Ask your kids what they want to play and then have fun. Don’t try to make it super educational, just play. Sometimes, we need to follow the lead of the student, and just have some good old fun.
I’m in no way trying to say that we all have to be stranded at home, day in and day out. But I am saying that we need to make time for what is really the most important things and let some of the other stuff go. If you notice yourself getting snippy, panic stricken by a deadline, or forget which kid goes where and on what day, chances are you need a break, and most likely so does the rest of the family.
Happy homeschooling, from our sometimes too busy house to yours!