Wednesday, August 8, 2012
How to Make Your Homeschool Run More Smoothly
We are currently in our 2nd year of homeschooling. I'm by no means a veteran homeschool mom, but wanted to share some tips we have found useful to make our homeschool day run more smoothly.
1. Always begin the day with God.
Get up before the kids and spend time reading your Bible and in prayer. After the kids wake, read a short scripture, go over scripture memory verse, read a short family devotional, and end in prayer. Once a child is able to read well, make sure they begin their day in personal Bible reading time as well before starting any of their schoolwork. Beginning your day in prayer is humbling yourself and acknowledging to God that you can't be the wife and mother He has called you to be without His help and guidance. Ask for wisdom in planning your day, pray for strength, and begin your day with the right attitude. I can guarantee if you neglect scripture and prayer in the mornings your day will be caos. Trust me on this, I know from experience. When I honor the Lord first, He multiplies the hours in my day. It doesn't make sense, but neither does tithing and look at how God always provides.
Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instruments afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him." Hudson Taylor
Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that He will provide the help we need. Prayer humbles us as needy, and exalts God as wealthy. John Piper
Everything does not have to be perfect. Education is a way of life and is supposed to be fun. If something you are doing isn't working for you, stop doing it. You are not a slave to your schedule or your curriculum. Remember, be led by the Spirit, not your own agenda or ideas on how school has to be done. If tedious grammar worksheets are driving your daughter crazy, try another approach to teaching grammar. There is no correct way to teach a particular subject. This year we threw out the grammar workbooks and now follow the Charlotte Mason approach using narration, dictation, and copywork. Me and my daughter both LOVE this method and she now enjoys learning grammar, vocabulary, and spelling.
3. Wake up to a clean house.
This may seem like a weird tip, but it really does make my day go so much smoother. I am easily distracted by clutter and cannot stand to homeschool while my house is falling apart. Instead of trying to clean and homeschool at the same time (which is an impossible task), I make sure that my house is picked up (not perfect) before bed each night. Everyone in the family helps out. We make sure the laundry is caught up and things are in their proper places.
4. Take time to evaluate your homeschool and your goals for your children/self.
I try to do this once a month. I write down a few things I would like to work on with my child, such as handwriting, learning state capitals, etc. I also make changes to any curriculm or methods we are using if I see they are not working with a particular child. I recommend making a homeschool schedule no more than 2 weeks at a time so you wont waste time having to change it or feel led to follow a system that isn't working. I also ask God for wisdom in areas that I need to improve on to help our day run smoother.
5. Cut out all things that distract you from your homeschool. (except for your kids/babies of course) ;)
Some good guidelines to follow: Don't answer your phone during school hours. I usually wait until around noon before answering the phone. Tell friends and relatives to leave a message if they need to reach you so you can call them back at a more convienient time. Whenever I answer the phone in the mornings I usually waste at least an hour. I also try to check my email, facebook, and blogs before the kids wake up after my Bible time. We all know how easy it is to waste hours on the web. The internet truly is a web. Once you get on it, it's hard to get out.
Get rid of all clutter- clothes, books, toys, etc. The less stuff you have, the less you have to maintain and the more time you will have for what really matters. Sometimes after a death in the family, illness, or the birth of a new baby we have to get back to the basics. Simplify your curriculum. Teach the basics: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. You don't have to do all the extras. Trust me, your kids will still turn out o.k. if they don't study Greek, speak Chinese, and know how to perfectly diagram a sentence.
Lastly I'll leave you with a quote that pretty much sums up the most important part of homeschooling:
Be sure, whatever you leave out, that you teach the children the three R’s–Ruin, Redemption, and Regeneration. Tell the children that they are ruined by the fall and that there is salvation for them only by being redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Keep constantly before them these vital truths…Charles Spurgeon