Dear homeschool mommas who are overwhelmed,
I get it. We old-timers get it! So much to do and so many kids! School starts soon! And you still have to plan every single hour of every single day for the next school year for every single child!!!😲
No. You don’t. You really don’t.
Take a deep breath. Pause. Pray.
What’s most important to you? What do you care most about?
Is it getting your child into a great college? Teaching them to spell? Or teaching them to be good, kind, loving people?
Are you modeling what you want them to be, how you want them to live, or what you want them to do?
Or are you yelling at them to pick up their room and get their school done?
We are always teaching our children. They watch our every move and hear our every word. Think about exactly what your actions and words are teaching your children. Love? Joy? Patience?
(And please just give up on trying to duplicate the public school in your home. Please! You have chosen to homeschool. You cannot duplicate a public school classroom in your home. So stop trying to!)
As for school subjects and choosing curriculum, here’s my $.02.
Kindergarten and under
The priority for these ages is teaching obedience, not academics. Complete, immediately, joyful obedience. With a bunch of fun and giggles and cuddles. Working on this will make the rest of schooling so much easier! For you, them, and their older siblings.
Don’t worry about buying curriculum. Not for preschool. Not for kindergarten. Or at least don’t buy a bunch of curriculum which will overwhelm you and your child.
Take tiny steps to teach obedience and following instructions. Play games like Simon Says, Red Light Green Light, Freeze tag, etc. Work on following directions and matching. Use lots of play to teach. Have fun! But teach obedience so you can set them to play quietly while you spend time teaching an older child. So they will play safely while you concentrate on listening to an older child read or do math drills or write.
If your kid can count to 10 at 18 months, great! If she can read by three, wonderful! If not, don’t worry. They are still young and have lots of time to learn. One of mine was still wetting the bed at nine. He got into college. And even had a date or two. 😂😳
Don’t buy into the thought that you need to spend hundreds of dollars or many hours each day on Kindergarten. 20-30 minutes of school work a few times per week is plenty.
First through fourth grades
Stick with the basics: Reading, writing, math. That’s it!
But what about history, science, geography, and all the other things the curriculum companies try to sell you!!?!?!?
Don’t worry. They’ll get there. Your child will learn that stuff if they know how to read.
READING Teaching a child to READ and follow instructions matters. If a child can read he can learn other things. If he can follow directions he can do science experiments and
blow things up I mean, learn cool stuff. 😊
Teaching a child to read requires reading, lots of reading. Aloud. To your children. With your children. Read where you child can see the letters and words, so in your lap or next to you works well.
Read good books. Books THEY like. Books that make them laugh. Exciting books. Books that make them want more.
Please don’t just hand them a tablet and expect an app to teach your child. Read aloud to your children while cuddling with them. They really are small for such a short time.
MATH Math rules! As an accountant married to an engineer, I love math! But even if you don’t, your child needs to learn math.
They need to understand arithmetic. Drills. Addition tables. All the math tables.
Even if it scares you, they eventually need algebra. And to learn algebra they need to be solid in the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
In the early grades teach them the basic math facts. We loved Calculadders. Drills. Flash cards. Manipulatives. Legos can work well. But do it! Teach them math!
About 4-5 grade we added Keys to Fractions and Keys to Decimals to help fill in the gaps before moving on to harder math.
WRITING Teach them their letters and let them write. We loved Explode the Code. Let your child write. Let them write what they want to write!
And by “write” I mean compose. You mat be doing most of the physical writing at first. That’s okay. Let them dictate to you stories, letters, notes to their friends, or whatever they want to communicate.
They will have lots of time for writing reports later, like in high school. Yes, they need to learn handwriting and how to form letters, but in the early grades teach them their words matter! Give them a voice! And listen to them.
Let them tell stories and you write them until they can write easily. Silly stories. Fun stories. Short, very short stories. Don’t try to correct everything. Just let them be creative.
And if they ask how to spell a word, tell them! I can’t tell you how many times I used simpler words only because it was too much work to look up the spelling of harder words. If you want to encourage writing, make it easier for your student. At least for now. They can learn to use a dictionary later.
Help them write letters. Or notes to friends. Write thank you notes to grandma. When your first grader dictates a the letter to grandma, write it exactly as they speak it. “Thanks for the Christmas presents. Next time can you get me a flashlight?” is perfectly wonderful when “written” by a six year old. ❤️
Let your child color, play with sidewalk chalk, and draw in the dirt. These teach coordination skills (writing skills) while playing.
Let them make letters with their fingers in shaving cream or pudding. Be creative! Have fun teaching them their letters. Do things in ways that show them writing can be fun!
Writing well, neat handwriting, takes lots of time and physical maturity. Enjoy their words now, deal with neatness later. And by the way, some may never have neat handwriting; teach them to type!
What about the other subjects?? Science, history, geography, and all the rest are extras at this age. Get good books for your child to read and, trust me, they will learn science and history by reading those books. Choose history stories like Anne of Avonlea, Ralph Moody books and others. Let them check out books about animals, rockets, trains, or bugs. As they read, they will learn.
Worry about Middle School and High School later. By then, they can read the instructions and learn most of it on their own anyway.
You can do this! As a mom who had seven amazing (and challenging) children finish high school and go on to college, I encourage you to do less this year. Buy less. Schedule less. Require less.
And love them more.
Let your young kids play and laugh and enjoy being kids!
Yes, academics matter. But they don’t matter as much as kindness, honesty, integrity, and love.
If you’re homeschool schedule has you so overwhelmed that yelling and tears are the norm, for you and the kids…stop. Just stop. Take a few days to reset. Work on obedience, attitudes, and kindness. Yours and your student’s.
Then start again with a joyful heart and lighter schedule.