As homeschool moms, we can easily get bogged down in the must-do’s and ought-to-do’s and wanna-do’s of educating our children. Because we desire the best for them and want them to be the best they can be, we may put undue pressure on them (and ourselves) to reach high academic standards while sacrificing a well-balanced body, mind and spirit.
How can we achieve balance between academics and everything else in life? Have a little fun! Seriously, don’t get too serious. Learning should a life-long journey, not a now-or-never ultimatum. If the atmosphere is a bit heavy in your homeschool, here are a few things that might help you break the tension.
Perfection not required. Our goal for math concepts and grammar usage and such is mastery. Our children should know these things so they can thrive in the real world right? True, but ask yourself this – Do they truly need to know it all right now? If the lessons have come to a stand-still, maybe it’s time for a little distraction, something that will revive interest and get the blood circulating to the brain again. If your child is making progress, celebrate it! Mastery does not come to everyone on the same timetable.
Let it go, let it go! When we began homeschooling, the schooling model I was most familiar with was the traditional classroom model. Teacher lectures from the front of the room, children sit with hands on the desks and feet on the floor taking it all in and regurgitating it on worksheets and test pages. How would I ever be able to reproduce that, and did I want to? My husband wisely advised me to let it go! We were not a traditional classroom (3 children 5 and under with good possibility of more in the future) so why not give some non-traditional education models a try? Best decision we ever made!
Go with the flow. A sure-fire way to add a little fun into your homeschool is to follow those rabbit trails. Does an exotic setting spark their interest when reading their literature lesson? Go find it, read about it, talk about what it would be like to live there. Does an account in their history book make their eyes open wide? Go on a virtual field trip (or real life visit if you are nearby.) Is your child daydreaming out the window? That may be your cue to get up and get out, soak up some fresh air and discover something new! Is it ‘just one of those days’ when no one seems to be able to concentrate? Be spontaneous and do something different. Take the books outside or work on lessons at the local coffee shop. A change of scenery is fun and can be just what you need to pump a little life into a lifeless day.
Be intentional. I’m a huge fan of spontaneity. But sometimes it’s helpful to plan the fun into our days. I found that alternating quiet focused lessons with something light and active and then back to focused, sit-down lessons again made my children more productive with better attitudes. We have followed a four-day school week for many years. We hit the books and core subjects on the four days then do some fun-schooling on the fifth. It might be a project or a field trip, maybe the kids have individual interests and hobbies they are pursuing. This gives them time to dig in and enjoy. It’s easy to push aside those opportunities for a little fun, but if we plan to have fun it is likely to happen more often!
Academics are important. But not so important that we should lose sight of the joy and the fun in our days and our homeschooling journey. A little fun will go a long way on this homeschooling path and will make the journey a whole lot more enjoyable for everyone. What sort of fun things do you include in your homeschool days?
Join me as I blog through the alphabet, sharing thoughts to encourage the homeschooling mom in her own homeschooling journey. Join me every Monday as we work our way from A to Z! You can click on the image below to see all the posts in the series.