As kids all around the country prepare to return back to school, I want to take a moment to remind you of things they need in a classroom that your homeschool can do without. Ready to be encouraged? Here we go!
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You don’t have to be tied down to a dry-as-dust textbook if you don’t want to! Your kids can learn the “old fashioned way” – through living books. If you’re new to homeschooling circles, you might wonder how books get designated as living books.
I’ll let Simply Charlotte Mason explain it:
Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject “come alive.”
But remember – you don’t have to be a Charlotte Mason homeschooler to use living books! These kinds of interesting books work with every style and homeschooling philosophy.
So, for example, if your elementary student is studying Abraham Lincoln, instead of pulling out a history textbook with a few paragraphs of dry facts, pull out an enjoyable Lincoln biography like this one.
And if you want to know how we use Narration with living books (even as non-CM homeschoolers), then check out that post HERE.
25 kids in one room all the same age
When will your kids ever need to navigate a world only filled with their peers?
Except in a traditional classroom setting.
Because in the real world, we need to relate to people younger than us and those older than us.
So, the first issue with this crowded classroom scenario is that it doesn’t prepare our kids for the real world.
One other thing to ask is: do you want their peers to be the most accessible model of appropriate behavior, or you as the parent?
But it also presents an educational problem. One teacher cannot adequately teach 25 kids who are at varying emotional, mental, educational, and cognitive levels on any particular day.
Even if that teacher is the best there is, it’s impossible to meet every student where they are.
I know – I was a middle school classroom teacher, and the best way to teach in a traditional setting is to teach to the middle. Unfortunately, the kids on either end of the middle (which is most) will either be bored, not challenged, or possibly not understand what you’re teaching them.
So, be thankful that you can use the most effective teaching method out there – which is one-on-one parent to child tutoring.
Yes! When you are a homeschool parent, you can adjust everything to fit your child’s needs. You can slow down, back up and repeat, or charge straight ahead to more challenging topics.
When I substitute in our public school several times a year, I’m always giggling a bit in my head at the fact that high schoolers need permission to use the restroom and need a hall pass.
Now, I know that there needs to be accountability in a large institutional environment.
But aren’t you glad that you don’t have to replicate school at home?
No hall passes for using the restroom, no permission needed for going down a literal or figurative rabbit trail and exploring in the backyard just a bit longer.
You have the flexibility to schedule your day with routines instead of rigid times and you can encourage your kids’ natural curiosity.
Ha! Now, really – most of the people in your house are probably fully-clothed while doing homeschool.
Well, possibly everyone except the toddler.
But seriously, isn’t it great that your kids don’t need to keep up with all the fashion trends in the classroom this year?
We really enjoy not having to purchase a certain wardrobe for school. In fact, if we want to stay in our jammies and enjoy a relaxed homeschool, we can!
This is not meant to imply that behavior doesn’t matter. But when you’re home with your kids, you know what they struggle with – and they do too!
You can actively work on character development with each child.
Because we’re with our kids all day, we see the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And they see the same in us! Yes – some of the temper tantrums about our school day come from me instead of the kids! Can you relate?
So, instead of sending the kids and their problems on the big yellow bus in the morning, we get the privilege of modeling to our kids how to say we’re sorry. How to forgive each other. And how to grow in grace.
Easier said than done! But if we embrace this truth instead of running from it, that would be a great first step.
When you homeschool, your kids aren’t relegated to sitting at a desk for 6+ hours a day – and that’s a glorious thing!
You can work together at the dining room table, or you can have a desk if you want to. But you can also take the learning outside – on a nature walk, to a picnic table, or on the trampoline.
And when the kids are little, you can let them be little! They shouldn’t be sitting at a desk for so many hours a day. They need to play. Because studies show that play is essential for their growing brains.
As much time
Like I mentioned before, with the super-efficient homeschool model of one-on-one instruction, you can accomplish the same (or more!) in much shorter periods of time.
So you don’t need as much time as a classroom teacher does to instruct your kids.
It isn’t unrealistic to get “enough” school done in merely 1-2 hours per day in the early grades. And your middle school student, working efficiently and at their best effort, can have a very productive day in just 3-4 hours.
Teaching to a standardized test
Your homeschool doesn’t have to be dictated to by the yearly standardized test. In fact, we generally take them just as a formality, because as the homeschool parent, I already know where the struggles are for each kid.
Active Shooter Drills
Can you believe this is even a thing? We would have never comprehended this when we were in school.
Hold your babies close and be thankful that you are homeschooling.
Truly, nothing can compare to this exhausting, demanding, yet rewarding calling.
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