Several weeks ago I shared with you some things that I would change or do over in our homeschooling. After 27 years I really could probably write 100 of those “do over” posts. Thankfully, I could probably write 100 of these “do again” posts as well. Homeschooling encompasses some of my favorite and best family memories. So, I share a couple of these “do agains” in the hope that they will encourage and bless you.
We Read Aloud
Everyone knows you’re supposed to read to preschoolers and of course we did. However, in our homeschool we try to read aloud every single day right through high school.
We’ve traveled through Narnia together,
We shivered through the wolf attack in Beric the Briton by candlelight.
We sat enthralled and grimacing as the starving Indians fought over the raw buffalo intestines in No Other White Men (about Lewis and Clark).
We wished for our very own pet owls in Owls in the Family.
We laughed so hard we cried at The Best Christmas Pagent Ever.
We cheered as Mark Antony delivered his historic speech over Caesar’s murdered body.
Ok…. and we yawned through Lorna Doone (Just in case you were wondering if some of the read alouds were flops, there were a few. However, even the failures are memorable. To this day no one in my house will touch a book if you say it reminds you of Lorna Doone.)
Even now, my soon to be graduate and I just finished reading Hamlet aloud . He played an awesome Hamlet, but my favorite memory is from the scene with the queen and Ophelia. His rendering of Ophelia was epic. It was perhaps a bit sarcastic as I doubt the mad Ophelia had quite that tone in her voice. Apparently my 17 year old son didn’t quite see what Hamlet found so enthralling about her.
Next on the stack is A Tale of Two Cities.
If you ask my kids for their favorite memories from homeschooling; something we read aloud always makes the top 5.
We Intentionally Teach Bible
For us, we adopted a gentle building block method for teaching the Word. Each morning we read through a portion of the Bible together verse by verse. As soon as they were beginning readers, they got to take a turn in this” read around the room” format; and it was always an anticipated milestone to be old enough to read. Then we just talked and shared about what the verses we read meant, and how they should impact our daily lives. Over each one’s 12 years of education we read and talked about a lot of Scripture, and that’s the idea. It gave us the opportunity to teach what we believe, and show them from the Word why we believe it.
We used games to review and test what they’d learned. Friday was Bible game day in devotions, or sometimes we did it on Sunday nights for family church. We used lots of different games and I’ll try to share some in a future post.
The important thing is to intentionally teach the Word. Let your church support and enrich what you already do at home.
We Make Things FUN on Purpose
Children are like otters. They love to play. They need to play. It’s an integral part of their make-up to play.
It’s so hard to remember this when you’re lost in the trenches of daily homeschooling.
Your child misses half of their math problems on a good day (don’t ask about a bad day).
Their cursive is hopelessly illegible (send that one to med school…. surely that’s a perfect fit).
They don’t remember what a subject and a predicate are (and you just told them).
They got 100 on their spelling test but spell like an illiterate in their daily work.
They got a 30 on their spelling test, and as expected spell like an illiterate.
Meanwhile the toddler is playing in the toilet, again.
Then fun seems both elusive and frivolous.
It is essential.
While it is of course important that you educate your child; it is futile if while you are doing so you fail to capture their heart.
Remember, you want them to treasure this experience of spending all their school days with you. You want them to love the God who called you to it, and live that legacy of faith.
Fun does not have to be elaborate or expensive. As a matter of fact it’s my opinion that it’s better if it isn’t. It can be as simple as lunch outside on the grass or under the kitchen table in a tent. You have to eat lunch anyhow, just eat it in an unusual place. It’s easy to get caught up in the thought that a vacation to Disneyland is fun, and to wait all year for that one experience, but miss all the little moments that are your privilege to share as a homeschool mom.
Play games to review concepts.
Have random silly moments.
Celebrate everything. Corrie Ten Boom (The Hiding Place) said of her dear Christian mother that she could make a party out of anything, and that she made everything “an occasion”. I’ve treasured that description ever since I read it.
Don’t let the serious nature of your calling obscure the main point.
It’s all about the heart and ultimately the life that that heart will lead.
Teach them, train them, yes; but don’t forget to play and to celebrate.
Schoolwork successes will come and go. They won’t always spell like an illiterate (they’ll use spellcheck) 😉 . They will however always remember the experiences they had with you.
I’m striving with you to choose to make each day a treasure to remember.
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my homeschooling blog posts and to share them. I want you to know that I have really appreciated your encouraging words.