It’s summertime, and while the livin’ may be easy, sometimes the homeschool planning mania can get the better of people, especially parents who may be homeschooling for the first time…EVER.
I’ve been giving homeschooling advice for years and now I’ve expanded that role to become a homeschool life coaching. Without a doubt, the single thing I tell homeschool parents most often is this: RELAX.
Please, please, please, relax.
And I understand that may be easier said than done, but give it your best shot.
If you’re homeschooling for the first time this year, remember, you don’t have to do everything this year. Even if you’ll be homeschooling a high school senior who is set to graduate next May, you don’t have to do everything this year.
If you focus on instilling a love a learning in your child, then all you’re doing is saving things to put on the list for next year or the year after that. And if your student graduates, unless you happy to be the parent of a really rare specimen of teenager, chances are good that s/he doesn’t know everything.
I’ve orbited the sun enough times to comes to the core understanding that no matter how old I get or how much I learn, there will always be things I don’t know how to do (knit, make a great mousse, rebuild a carburetor, tie really nifty knots, build rockets and a whole lot more).
And that’s okay.
Eat the elephant one bite at a time and homeschool the same way — one year at a time, one thing at a time.
Homeschooling is not school at home. It’s not teaching to tests or memorizing spelling words. Instead, think of it as embracing a lifestyle that loves learning.
Seriously — if you and your kid(s) did not do a single worksheet, but at the end of the day you sit down and think “wow, they learned so much today” then it was a day at school. Anything they’re learning can be counted as schooling.
Relax — because when your children free read an hour every single day (fiction, non-fiction, or whatever suits their fancy), at the end of a year they’ll have logged 365 hours of reading — that’s more than 45 8-hour days of reading.
Relax — because if your family attends church and Sunday School each week, your kids will have spent more than 100 hours on an activity that can be recorded as part religion, part ancient history, and part music.
Relax — because the reason homeschooling is a lifestyle is gardening, birdwatching, nature hiking are just as much science (or more!) as reading books about botany, sitting in a desk looking at pictures of birds, or watching a video about the forest and trying to identify all the trees.
Relax — because along the way, your kids will find all kids of activities to become involved in. Rather than having a kid stuck in a physical education class learning the finer points of playing cornhole, your children can be taking the swimming, skating, or karate lessons they are passionate about.
Relax — because fractions are much more enjoyable when you learn them by double recipes for homemade chocolate chip cookies or halve the recipe of made-from-scratch-brownies. Because dividing M&Ms is a fun way to understand the concept of division. And even geometry can be fun when you figure the volume of water you need to fill the backyard pool all the way to the top.
So please sit back and relax and soak up being with your kids.
Home education is not a battle to be won. It’s not you against your kids or your kids against you. It’s being in this together and learning together, exploring together, and enjoying the journey…together.