Last weekend was the Chattanooga Curriculum Fair, and that means there were a ton of newbie home schoolers. Now, I have been to the Chattanooga fair many, many times. I have also attended fairs in Atlanta. While the Atlanta fairs are better, more organized and have far better speakers the Chattanooga event does has a large number of vendors and many resources to get the newbie home schoolers started.
Typically a newbie will be super motivated to teach at least 8 full subjects to their little ones and to plan attending a co-op of some sort. Let's not forget the music and art lessons and maybe some dance or gymnastics to boot.
While this is a super idea in a parent's head, I can promise that this sort of schedule will only lead to one thing. Burnout!
Burnout is a big deal too, because burnout tends to make one think they can't home school or that they are not patient enough or they are too inadequate. Burnout stinks, big time!
Today I want to share with you newbies what home schooling typically looks like over here. Now, keep in mind that everyone does things differently, hence the absolute beauty of home schooling. At any rate, here are some images for you to store away in your mind so that you might feel LESS compelled to speed your way down the road to burnout.
When you start the day out it's okay if the kids and yourself do not crawl out of bed at the crack of dawn, really. Sometimes it's nice to lay in bed together and read books or maybe everyone would rather run outside to help gather acorns and cool leaves first thing in the morning. On a cold winter day, math is always more fun if everyone is still in Pj's and sipping hot chocolate (don't forget the mini marshmallows).
You don't need desks, either. There are a multitude of places to get some school work done such as the kitchen table, the big family room recliner or even the front porch.
What about that perfectly perfect schedule you spent hours charting so that everyone can move from subject to subject with ease? I can promise that life as a home schooler ,especially with many children, does need a schedule but it is better to follow a "rough" schedule. Be flexible. Disasters happen, lessons get interrupted, and diapers often need changing. Don't sweat it.
Then there is the calender full of activities and extra lessons such as karate and music. Pick one and let the others go. What good is home schooling if you are NEVER home? I once watched a family with 3 kids working on their math in the waiting room at the dentist office. Seriously, if you MUST do math in the waiting room before getting your teeth cleaned then you are either waaaaay too inflexible or not home enough to get the work done. I promise your kids will be fine if they do not get to participate in every activity that pops up.
The activity that demands the most attention would be dinner. Please be home together for dinner, I promise you will be happy you did.
You really do not have to sit and do busy work 5 days a week, either. Often we use Fridays as a day to go outside and learn or we might use that day for a fun outing. Be creative and remember that you are a home schooler. You do NOT have to follow the public school schedule in your area. One year we actually took off from Thanksgiving until the New Year so that we would have days to watch movies, bake cookies and complete crafts for the holidays. Take control of your calender!
What if a little one wakes up sick or extra cranky? What if EVERYONE is feeling extra cranky and weepy? I usually throw the schedule for the day out and we spend time outside or playing in rooms. I see no point in making a house full of cranky, ill kids worse by sitting them down to mess with school. A good dinner and early bedtime will do wonders for those bad moods too, allowing the next day to be much better.
Home schooling is not simply a chore that must be completed for a few hours a day, rather it is a life style. It requires parents to make decisions that are completely centered around family life. It's sometimes tiring and other times exhilarating. It is how you live your life everyday, how you learn everyday. It's also learning not to compare yourself or your children to others or to the public system.
It's finding your own way, spending valuable time with your kids, and watching them learn...one day at a time.
Oh my Lucy is starting to bag up! This means that her udders are getting filled with milk and that labor will be soon. Hopefully within a week we will have a little calf.
I have been busy getting everything in her paddock cleaned up and ready. Tomorrow I will pull the milker out and make sure it's nice a clean and ready to go too.
There is about 1 week left in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Mom's of Large Families contest. I would really appreciate you hopping over to give me a vote. I am at the number 10 spot! Thanks!
I have been super busy finishing up a quilt this week and trying to start a crochet afghan because you know I do not have enough projects to juggle:-) I will post a picture of the quilt as soon as I finish the top!
Until then, how does home schooling look at your house?