It’s hard to believe that my kids have already been back to full time school (as opposed to summer school) for four weeks! Like most homeschooling parents, I get really excited for summer to begin. I can’t wait for all of those fun activities and trips. However, by the middle of July, I am in awe of the amount of chaos six bored kids can unleash upon my world!
That’s when I start mapping out a super rigid and retributive homeschool schedule in my head. One so rigorous that my kids won’t have time to use their infernal electronics, or fight, or whine about being bored. I’m talking a schedule that has them getting up early, doing a bunch of chores, and then doing laborious book work until More Love Mama comes home from her job each day.
Eventually, I always come back to practical reality. I realize that my proposed schedule would be a terrible idea. My kids would hate it. I would hate it. There is nothing positive about causing my kids hate school. So in the end, I make a more reasonable schedule. One that keeps everyone happy (ish) and learning.
This year I’m going to add a few new tools to my teaching toolbox (oh how manly, Brian)! Hopefully, this will keep everyone (especially me) motivated, happy, and eager to learn.
Taking it Slow
I can remember back in the day when I actually got paid to teach someone else’s kids. At the end of summer, we teachers would get a letter informing us what day and time to report back to work for the new school year. It would always irritate me that we would have to be at work by 7:00 am. on that very first day. Why so early? There were no kids! Didn’t they realize that we teachers had been sleeping in (at least a little bit past 5am) for the past 72 days? I mean, show us some mercy, a little love!
Thoughts of this made me realize that my kids too need to be eased out of summer paradise (if you can call Houston summer a paradise). So, gently we go forth, for my sake, as well as my kids. The first week we start off slow, with just enough activities and school work to remind my kids that summer is indeed over. Over the next four or five weeks, the schedule that we will follow for the rest of the school year will emerge. Hopefully, the ride will be smooth, the kids will learn, and I won’t lose my mind. Heck, there might even be some fun (and stealthy) learning going on this year.
There are four families that we are close friends with through our church that homeschool their kids. My hope is that we will get together once or twice per week to do science experiments, social studies activities, and arts and crafts (um yeah, that’s specifically where I’m hoping my friends will come through). There is no point in designing cool experiments and not sharing them with everyone, right? So, that’s the plan.
Already, my friend Jodie has committed to teaming up each week to do science experiments and social studies projects. Teaming up takes a bit of the pressure out of one parent always having to come up with material. Plus, my kids seem to think these types of activities are play dates. No need to tell them the truth, right?
Join a Local Homeschool Group or Co-op
After several years of being a free agent (you see how I inserted that cool manly sporting reference) I have decided to get involved with a neighborhood homeschool group. Through this group, we can take part in field trips and play dates. I’m really looking forward to my kids having more opportunities to get out of the house, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt for them to broaden their friendships. As for me, I’m not sure how I will fit in with a group that lacks a single Y chromosome.
I have a friend who has been gently nudging me for the past three years to get out there and mix it up with other homeschoolers. In the spring, we hope to join a coop which will offer my kids lots of opportunities to study interesting things like robotics, and participate in other mind stretching activities. I am expected to contribute in some way. I better think of something that I’m good at. I’m pretty sure my proposal to teach Napping Physiology will be rejected.
Join a Facebook Group for Homeschooling Parents
Being a homeschool parent can seem lonely at times, especially if you aren’t connected with other homeschool parents. We naturally tend to wonder if we are teaching the right things, in the right way. Facebook groups are super helpful, because they allow you to connect with other parents who have traveled your path, or are travelling the same path that you are now. Facebook groups allow you to:
- Connect with other parents who homeschool.
- Help each other with advice and moral support.
- Provide a forum to discus homeschool related concerns and questions.
- Share cool curriculum, activities, and software programs.
There are lots of Facebook groups out there, and some of them are tailored to a particular homeschooling demographic, such as large families, religious groups, and even homeschooling philosophies.
I recently started a homeschool group with a bunch of my homeschooling friends. The purpose of the group has been to provide the type of support that I listed above. We also have the added goal of continuing to develop and share the philosophy of Worry Free Homeschooling. After all, this journey that we take with our kids should be fun and rewarding, not anxious and stressful.
Do You Want to get Connected?
If you are on Facebook, and would like to get connected, it’s easy to find a homeschool group that fits your needs. If you would like to learn more about the Worry Free Homeschooling philosophy, you can read this article (which really needs to be updated). You can also just jump into our Facebook group, Worry Free Homeschooling by clicking here. Note: The group is set to private so it may take up to a day for you to be able to participate in the discussions.
Whether you are an old pro or just beginning your first year as a homeschool teacher, you can always use a support system. I would love for you to consider joining the Worry Free Homeschooling Facebook group.
Daddy Go To Timeout