Homeschooling parents, we're not talking about immunizations. We are talking about booster shots for those families that have homeschooled for so long, or so in depth that they have lost the joy of why they started this journey in the first place.
You may be one of those families that has been homeschooling for 9 years or so and now are on the home stretch, or you may be new to the journey and have gotten in over your head and wondered if this is the right choice. Any and all of us could use a booster shot at some point. Here is a poem of encouragement I hope you'll like. And click here for 25 inspiring statements and some beautiful pictures.
Here are my top 10 ideas:
10. Field Trip! Just a short one or maybe even a day long adventure - your choice, but there is nothing like a field trip to break up the week and breathe life into a student's schedule.
9. Read Aloud! If you don't already do this, it's a good time to start when your battery is low. You can read to them, or they can take turns reading to you and each other. It's a great way to bond and relax. Yes, even high school kids like this still!
8. Homeschooling Outside! Weather permitting, take the books, the art, the portable CD player and learn outside. Even better, just walk and study what is about to bloom and discuss the science of this blessing!
7. Combining 8 and 9! One booster for us, all the way up until mid-high school, was to take a huge blanket out under the sun or shade tree, on the front porch or the back deck and read. We would watch clouds and just enjoy the fresh air.
6. Year-round School Schedule! I know this sounds awful to some people, but it doesn't really mean school every single day! It means for each month of the year, you have school for 3 weeks and then 1 week off. These schedules can often be planned around holidays. If you and your children knew that every 3 weeks you both got a significant break, there is time to plan fun or just do nothing every month! We started doing year-round school out of necessity. When Matthew started playing music with a band, he was on the road so much that homeschooling all year long was the only way we could get through all the lessons.
5. Find a Co-op! Many area support groups have some co-op learning classes. Often it will require that you volunteer a bit of your time once in a while, but the change of pace and learning surroundings can be invaluable to both you and all students involved!
4. Let the Student Plan - not you! My son wanted the freedom to plan his own 9th grade year completely - his first year of high school. He selected the curriculum for each subject, planned the lessons for each week, and stayed motivated to finsh the year early. This also taught him accountability. My load was lightened to simply grading!
3. Let a Science Experiment 'evolve' into more! This was always one sure fire way for my kids to get a little giggly or off track - but boy it is memorable and it was worth the side track! Take the science experiment to any lengths your child's questions or curiosity will let it go (but let's be safe about it). Not only do they learn by not having to fit into a science 'box' - but you will ignite the joy of learning again - and you will LOVE to see how their minds work when unhindered by steps preordained by someone else!
2. Talk with others! When you get the chance, ask other parents for ideas that may be inviting to your homeschool to use. You may also be surprised how your kids react when they find out what other kids do for their homeschool. My kids were actually pleasantly pleased when they heard the schedule and weight of some other homeschooled students their age. I became a 'cool' mom (for a little while anyway).
1. My number 1 favorite! Just take the day off (or the week) when you know you've all reached your limit! Bake a big ole batch of chocolate chip cookies, play with the pets, make a mess, don't grade, don't file and don't worry. Mix this in with prayer and thanksgiving that you have the chance to be home with your kids and I'll guarantee that an attitude of gratitude will renew that joy to your homeschool heart!
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A Favorite Bible Verse: "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6