Peace & Joy in the Homeschool: Ten Tips

Midwinter Mayhem? A More Mellow Mindset? Whatever your family treasures about the Holiday Season, it is likely that somewhere amidst the General Feeling there is a hope for more Peace and Joy in the coming New Year!

It may be somewhat unrealistic to expect a Consistently Calm and Perfectly Planned homeschooling experience year after year – as it is to yearn for a Predictably Pretty, Twinkling and Trouble-free midwinter celebration. But that doesn’t stop any of us from wanting exactly that, and doing our best to achieve it!

Indeed, homeschooling families are a particularly resilient lot. Like pop-eyed Christmas shoppers Determined to Buy That Thing, we plough ahead, unstoppable, with New Resolutions for Yet Another School Term. We wade into (and out of) the emotional soup of Each And Every School Day with Astonishing Fortitude.

Forgive the Excessive Use of Capital Letters, but it really is an Impressive Accomplishment to homeschool, and I think we should all, students and parents alike, Be Proud!

A Kind and Helpful Word is truly a Gift. If you are currently taking a Little Break, and if the change of pace from daily studies allows you the odd Moment of Reflection, you may enjoy the following ten Words of Advice and Encouragement that I have greatly appreciated receiving over the past eight years of homeschooling. I hope these tips bring you a moment of Cheer, and perhaps inspire a Sigh of Relief. Enjoy!

  1. Don’t worry!
  2. Have faith in yourself to be a perfectly adequate – even an excellent – teacher.
  3. Enjoy the time you spend with your family, time spent on schooling or doing laundry or doing nothing or anything else.
  4. Humour is a wonderful way to ‘let steam out’, and it’s OK to make fun of a subject you really find difficult. (Sample joke: If a car is travelling at 25km/hr across a bridge that is 100 feet above a river, and I toss my Math homework out the window, how long will it take to reach the water??!)
  5. Taking difficult times very seriously only puts more pressure on you and your youngster. On the other hand, reassuring both yourself and your student, rather than criticising, (regardless of how you really feel at that particular moment) can really help.
  6. You do not need a big, complicated, pre-planned curriculum. It is easier, less expensive, and more fun to make a list of subjects and then acquire small bits of curriculum here and there as the need arises (such as those available at currclick.com).
  7. You can teach what you know best ‘off the cuff’. You can forget to teach things, miss part of a course, and make mistakes. School teachers say that they rarely cover every single topic in a planned set of lessons.
  8. There are plenty of books, videos, lapbooks, etc. for any subject that you are afraid of. Delegate! It’s perfectly fine to tell your child that you are just not good at Science or English (or whatever subject you find tricky) and help them to learn from someone else. It’s alright to take a very long time to learn something difficult. You will be amazed that, in the end, everything will be fine.
  9. Forgive your child for struggling in ways that you also struggle – and begin by forgiving yourself. In fact, forgive everyone, all the time, over and over, no matter what!
  10. Doing too much produces the same unpleasant results as doing not enough: be willing to adjust your schedule over and over as circumstances change, and forgive yourself for Getting It Wrong more than once. You probably Get It Right just as often, but just don’t notice!

There are as many ways to homeschool and raise a family as there are Snowflakes and Sunsets – and like these beautiful gifts of midwinter, each is Unique and Perfect In Its Own Way.

Happy Holidays!

 

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