Each year my goal is to read more with my kids. If you are like me, you write an extensive book list, order or reserve the books, scope them out, and get excited.
Then I sit down to read, and my book-loving bubble bursts within minutes.
I hear my voice rising decibel by decibel, minute by minute, trying to be heard over the Hot Wheels cars zooming over my feet, the tickle-fest that just broke out, the phone ringing in the kitchen, and the whining because somebody didn’t want to read that particular book.
Now that most of us have been back to school for a while, the fun of homeschooling has worn off. We have settled into a routine and are past the introductory review and on to the meaty stuff. This is when sometimes homeschooling loses its luster and stops being fun.
Sure, we can throw in some hands-on projects, do unit studies, or read fun books, but the day-to-day grind can become monotonous. You may even find that the curriculum you chose isn’t working for your family, which can be hugely demoralizing.
Walking through the aisles of my first homeschool convention vendor hall, I could feel the anxiety building. Booth after booth of amazing curriculum that I’d only seen in homeschool catalogs was now before me in real life. I wanted to run through the aisles with a bank card in each hand to swipe, swipe, swipe and fill my bags with all the books I could carry.
The anxiety set in when I realized neither my arm muscles nor my bank account could handle the weight of my greedy curriculum dreams and I would have to make some hard decisions—what do I buy?
Are you trying to find more hours in the day, unable to find just a few minutes to spend chatting about life with your teenage daughter, play games with your middle school son, or bake cookies with your preschool kids because you’re spending every free moment lesson planning?
Lesson planning can eat up hours a day. There’s the time to research what should be included, find appropriate books, read the books to ensure everything is included. Then you still need to write the lesson plans.
In homeschooling circles, boxed curriculum is also known as an all-in-one educational program. One company provides the materials you need for all core subjects for an entire school year, often in one large box. When you purchase a package like this, you receive the necessary student books, an in-depth teacher’s guide and schedule and, frequently, any additional readers and supplies you’ll need to complete all of the lessons throughout the year.
Many parents find that the teacher’s manual included in this type of curriculum is worth its weight in gold.
Many times parents and children alike view the study of poetry as they might think of taking cough syrup: “I don’t like it, but I know I need it.” However, this negative perspective does not have to be the case. Poetry can be fun, engaging, and educational, but it all depends on where you begin.
A better analogy for poetry might be that it is like trying a new food. You are hesitant, unsure, and a little afraid at first, but the results are delicious, and the food can become a new favorite.
Keeping a large family focused and moving forward while homeschooling is a difficult task. One child wants to play with LEGOs, another child needs to potty train, and yet a third wants you to explain algebra. There are so many needs and so many opinions. How do you juggle it all?
Work from a detailed schedule which begins when you wake up and ends when you go to bed. Time is allotted for chores, meals, playtime, and homeschooling. You’ll never be able to follow the schedule exactly, but the schedule will form the framework of your daily routine. Everything that needs to be done will get done.
As I type, I am currently about 1800 miles away from my home in Minneapolis. Because my husband had to work and I needed to experience some adventure this summer, I decided to be brave (or maybe crazy), and hit the road with my four kids—all the way from Minnesota to Glacier Park, Montana. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I’m sure the ride home will be just as great. But without looking too far into the distance, I thought I should let you in on a little secret: reading is the key to a successful long car ride.
Everyone organizes differently for a new homeschool year, but we all want creative learning spaces that are both functional and fun.
Discover unconventional ways of organizing by arranging furniture differently. Take two open backed book cases and lay them sidewise. Butt them back to back. Place a large finished out piece of wood on top of the bookcases. Use a few nails to keep the top in place, and you have a beautiful work table with open storage below.
I walk into a new book store, and take a whiff. I find a seat, pull out a book, and read. Taking in the sights and smells that surround me, I revel in the smell and feel of a new book.
We are a family of readers, and most of the time we have a book in our hands. However, I rarely buy new books. One reason is of course to save money, but the other is that, quite frankly, we don’t have the space.