We are in our third year of home schooling. It has been a crazy journey! I love home schooling. I look forward to sitting down with my kids, and seeing them “get” it. I love that my oldest is 8, and he’s reading his brand new little devotional in bed by himself before he goes to sleep. I love that my 6-year-old is getting excited to read Level 1 readers! It can be so much fun!
But then there are the days that aren’t so fun. Here are a few tiny tips that have helped me have a better home schooling day.
- Spend time with the Lord FIRST. That should go without saying. But how often do I start out the day all wrong? When the day is begun, we start fighting a spiritual battle. It seems like we’re fighting the kids ;), but that’s not true. We wrestle against “…against principalities, against powers…” How do I think I can fight this battle
without putting on the whole armor of God? This one thing has revolutionized my home school day, and my life. It’s one of those things you know, but don’t KNOW. Let the Lord begin your day.
- Be prepared. My day never runs smoothly when I get up in the morning and wing it. If copies aren’t made, lessons laid out, supplies ready… it always causes a delay. At the end of the school day, I do my best to check my lesson plans and make sure I have everything ready for the next day. I try to grade everything daily, as much as possible. And I check what we will be doing. I keep ongoing book lists on my library’s website, so I can order a week’s worth of books with just a few clicks. These things add up to a more orderly day.
- Get TICONDEROGA pencils! As silly as this may sound, it’s SO important!
Early on, before we started our first year, I openly asked on facebook for home schooling tips. One mom said she got so stressed out by pencils, and that getting a good pencil sharpener was ideal. I secretly thought, “Seriously?!” But oh my! Now that we are in our third year, I totally get it. I read a blog last year that recommended Ticonderoga pencils. They are worth the little bit of extra money. They don’t break like regular pencils! As your children get bigger, this probably won’t be an issue. But they press down so hard on their pencils. We wasted a lot of time sharpening the same pencil over and over. Now we buy Ticonderogas!
- Nip discipline issues in the bud. When we have trouble in school, it’s usually a general family discipline problem. If I’m not making my children obey throughout the day, why should they do it during school? If they’re allowed to have bad attitudes throughout the day doing a chore, they will carry that same attitude over into their schoolwork. School is not separate from home, therefore, it has caused me to be more aware of their behavior. If we’re all sitting down at the table, I am made much more aware of their character flaws, and my own. Being with my children SO much is very revealing. They often mirror me. Ouch! In home schooling, home and school aren’t separated. Deal with discipline constantly and consistently.
- Read a lot. Our curriculum (My Father’s World) recommends a lot of read-aloud books. At first, it was difficult to transition from children’s picture books. The kids didn’t want to sit still. But over the summer, we read a lot of Boxcar Children books. Now, we read a variety that are fun, or historical, and they are better able to sit and listen. Such a great skill. And I love this time of cuddling on the couch late in the evening. It’s honestly my favorite! Sitting all together, going on an adventure.
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned. Home schooling is a challenge, but it’s a great blessing. Enjoy these years! I’d love to hear your best tips in the comments!