Most of the moments in our homeschool days don’t feel very “Instagram,” worthy…I wish they could all be cute with pinecones, flowers, and watercolors…(And pants—pants are good.) But no—many of our moments don’t make for great photo ops…The daily grind isn’t always very romantic: math, phonics, worksheets. Not to mention dirty dishes and piles of Legos…But sometimes it’s those mundane moments that actually highlight the beauty of homeschooling! Let’s not miss the beauty and blessing in the little things—which can be harder to capture in a photo (or even words). Here’s a pic of my son doing his least favorite part of the day—a phonics lesson. And I’m sharing it because it highlights 3 reasons I love homeschooling!
1. Homeschooling is not always “cute,”—but it can always be done with love.
Trust me, my little guy doesn’t always love to sit down and do his work—and here is where I get to choose: Love & Patience or Anger & Frustration.
And I also get to choose—What do we really need to do today? Does he need to do all the pages I have planned, or because we spent extra time in other areas today, can I cut back on some of the phonics/math/writing/etc…? How can I make this lesson do double duty?
Which leads to #2…
2) Homeschooling is all about Individualization!
I decided to cut out some of the phonics and handwriting work I had planned, and instead I asked him to do his very best handwriting on this one page, because that would also be his writing practice. And because he knew that this one page was the only thing he had to write—he happily focused and did his very best work.
Math is a subject I customize regularly! I use Saxon Math with my 2nd grader and here are some ways I individualize the curriculum so that it works for my son:
- Cut out some or all of the Warm-Up Problems!
- Teach the Objective using manipulatives or a game instead of following the lesson plan.
- Do the worksheet together!
- Have manipulatives & number charts readily available during assignments!
- Skip the worksheet, especially if we’ve already done a lot of math for the day! (Kids can only stay focused for so long before becoming frustrated! Just because the worksheet doesn’t get done, doesn’t mean all the math you did doesn’t count! It does!)
- Skip tests! (Saxon has a lot of tests—and sometimes I’ve felt that they test too often.)
- Give lots of extra time for fact sheets—my son works on beating his own best time!
- If an assignment or fact sheet looks large and overwhelming—break it up! Do 3 rows today & 3 rows tomorrow!
**Remember—bite size lesson and assignments are a good thing! Julie Bogart also writes about this in her book, The Brave Learner (which I highly recommend)! It’s consistency and a love of learning we’re aiming for with our young students…These two things will pave the way to a solid foundation in your homeschool!
3) Homeschooling is all about getting our kids to take ownership of their learning!
When our kids take pride in their work and direct themselves—we rejoice! (This is a huge overarching, long-term goal—we don’t get to see the true fruit of this until our kids are older!)
So how does this actually look for our little kids—how can we begin teaching these skills?
One way I’ve found really effective with my young kids, is to ask them what was their best work…I often use this technique with handwriting. I ask my kids to pick out the best example (or best 3) on the page. They judge—they take ownership! Then I also find my favorite and explain what I like about it—it’s a great way to focus on the positive! (Kids love to hear what you thought was best about their work!)
Another effective way to begin teaching elementary kids to take ownership of their learning is to allow them some freedom in directing their assignments.
What does that look like? Well using our phonics lesson, here’s what it looked like at our house today:
“So you’re going to read the word, write the word, and then find the matching picture—okay? Got it, Buddy?”
My son looks over the page…
Sweet Little Guy:
“Well, what if I want to write all the words first and then go back and then read them and find the picture?”
And of course, I said: “Yes! I love that idea!”
I was thrilled that my little guy took ownership of the lesson—he had a stake in the work and felt a sense of responsibility and pride for his idea!
I walked away and came back a few minutes later to perfect work, beautiful handwriting, and a beaming child.
The Progress is Amazing…
It’s hard to see all the progress your kids are making when you’re so close to the situation. What’s that old saying “you can’t see the forest for the trees”…But I promise—you are making progress! They are making progress! Don’t worry if it’s not cute—because the truth is: it’s life. And it’s beautiful! Your kids will grow into amazing learners & independent people and you will wonder how this even happened! (I have to share this video of what homeschooling looks like for my 10th grade daughter…Somehow we went from me sitting with her for every. single. lesson. To this…It really gives me pause and is actually truly humbling—God is so good!
Daily Dose of Encouragement
I put together some of my favorite Bible verses for when I need a dose of homeschool or parenting encouragement! (Which is DAILY! I also HIGHLY recommend starting your day with Jesus—the First 5 App is FREE and such a great daily bible study!) Grab them to print in my free subscriber resource library—or become a subscriber and sign-up for the download below! (I’d be so honored to have you join my sweet tribe)!
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive and inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24
“Do everything in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14