Friday, August 29, 2014

Unsolicited advice...

     As we are a couple of weeks into our 7th year of homeschooling, I've finally found a method that is working well for us. Phew. I'm clearly a slow learner - lol. Not really - it just took lots of trial and error to find our groove. I have been talking to a lot of new-to-homeschooling families lately and try to encourage them each find what works for THEIR family and to not compare themselves to other homeschooling families.  Each family and each child is unique and if you try to match your curriculum to other people's, you just might end up miserable. If you are new to homeschooling, take some time to figure out how your kids learn best and how you teach best. Let them explore things that interest them and instill a love of learning. Even within the same family, kids learn differently. You are not trying to do school at home (aka - replicate the public shcool system in your kitchen), you are trying to educate your children at home. Big difference. Don't compare...and have fun!

     Besides not comparing yourself to others, I think you also need to be flexible. Just because something looks pretty at the store, doesn't mean your kiddo is going to love it. And just because one of your kiddos loves it, doesn't mean the others will too. And just because they loved it last week, doesn't mean they will love it this week. And just because you bought it, doesn't mean you have to finish it. Be flexible. If it isn't working, change it up. I have wasted entire semesters forcing a certain curriculum on a child when it wasn't a good fit. There were tears...from the kids AND from me. It was rough. I was venting one day to a very wise homeschooling veteran that a certain child cried and threw a fit everyday when we did a certain thing. She said...then don't do it. Wait, what? I can do that?!? YES! A perk of homeschooling is that if something isn't working you can shake it up. Now, I'm not saying that if your little darling hates math you can scrap it...but I am saying you can do odds or evens, or do them on a white board, with colorful markers, or switch vendors completely. You don't have to suffer! If it is a heart issue, that's another thing and sometimes you just have to push through, but sometimes it's just not a good fit for that kid. Some of our best lessons have been *gasp* not in the lesson plans. Be flexible...and have fun!

     My last bit of unsolicited advice for new homeschooling families is to put God first (ironic that this is last? Saving the best for last? The last shall be first?). When I made the kids schedules this year, Bible is the first thing they do. Most days, it is done before breakfast. I figure that if all else fails and the school day implodes (hey - it can happen), at the very least we have spent time with our Lord and learned more about Him. I love that in our homeschool and in CC, we can find God in every subject. I encourage you to always make time for Him in your school day. I don't promise there will be no tears if you do, but you will have a Friend close by to help you through the tears and give you hope for the future. He cares. Trust Him...and have fun!
And PS...HAVE FUN! Your kids are only young once. Enjoy them!

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