Saturday, March 7, 2015

Homeschool Hacks

I will soon be retiring from homeschooling.  My 17 year old, youngest child, is graduating this spring.  I was recently thinking about our years of homeschooling and how fast they have gone by.  After this year we will have completed 16 years.  We began homeschooling in 1999.  I have a few ideas, hacks, as they call them, on some of the tricks of the trade that made homeschooling much easier.  This is not an exhaustive list, but a few things that stand out in my mind of what might be helpful to new or even experienced homeschooling families.  Today I will list a few of my top hacks.

1.  Stay home as much as you can during schooling hours.  Especially if you are a new homeschooling family.  It is easy to get off task and being out running errands, visiting friends or finding things to easily distract you away from home, steals from your schooling hours and causes frustration to all.

2.  Pick one day of the week to be your errand running day.  This should include grocery shopping, library visits, doctor, dentist, orthodontist and other prescheduled appointments, if possible.

3.  Make playdates or field trip dates in advance.  This makes them more enjoyable and they are planned into your schedule.

4.  Try to plan your outings so that you can run several errands in that day.

5.  Keep a journal.  This is an area I really regret not being better about.  I compiled schoolwork notebooks to keep track of schedules, but I rarely journaled our homeschooling adventure.  The few journals I kept are dear treasures to me.  Include special memories and accomplishments of your children and funny sayings little ones say.  There will be many.

6.  Have your children keep journals.  If you can compile these journals for years you will have wonderful memories to share with your grown children some day.

7.  Laugh and have fun together.  These are the best memories I have with my children of our homeschooling days.  Many days were stressful, but if there was something funny that happened during the day it was all worth while.

8.  Travel together as much as possible.  Big trips or small trips, it doesn't matter.  You can find a historical marker in every town.  If there is something special about your town research it with your children and visit locations or people who can enrich your town's value into your child's life.  History comes alive when you go to visit battlefields or famous locations around the country.

9.  Play music together.  Even if you can't sing or play an instrument, find a way to enjoy music together.  We studied music history, learned to play instruments, joined our church's praise team and played music at nursing homes together.  It's a great bonding experience.

10.  Exercise together.  Take time to enjoy a beautiful sunny day with your children out of doors.  My children loved playing Four Square, riding bikes, hiking, swimming, skiing, walking, flying kites, canoeing, chasing farm animals, playing ball and frisbee and much, much more.  Get outside and find a great way to enjoy the beautiful world that the Lord has given us as much as you can.

I will share more homeschool hacks in my next post.

Happy homeschooling!