Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and founder of Steady Mom
A note from Jamie: As we start to head into the holiday season, it’s good to remember how to scale back in our homeschool–how to remember the most important things and let go of the rest. This post originally published on November 15, 2010.
Schooling at home relieves us of many complications that traditional schoolers face: There’s no rushing kids to the bus stop, no packing lunches the night before, and no after school pickups required.
But sometimes the complications in homeschooling arise from within–from the knowledge of the overwhelming responsibility we have taken for our children’s education. If results don’t turn out as planned or hoped, there’s no school system or mean teacher to blame.
Often, in my own life, it can be my fears and insecurities that complicate matters.
That’s why we need reminders of how to keep school at home simple. What is actually needed and required? What is beneficial and a blessing in our family?
Constant tension in a home is not what most of us had in mind when we signed up for this gig. Therefore we need to accomplish what is truly important and let go of unrealistic, unnecessary expectations.
Here are three ideas that help me to do just that.
1. Books and Math
In her post Jena suggests that the bare minimum a family should do is to surround your children with literature and to do math at least once a week. The rest of the hours in the day can be spent exploring a child’s own educational interests.
Jena knows what she’s talking about–having graduated two students to the colleges of their choice and having one daughter who is thriving in public high school after spending her previous years at home.
2. The 7th Grade Reminder
Last April I heard speaker and writer Joyce Herzog give several inspiring messages at a homeschooling convention I attended. She has decades of experience in the traditional school system and now consults for homeschooling families.
Joyce said that 90% of what a child learns before they enter 7th Grade (Age 12/13) will be forgotten. This tells me that before that age, our main focus as parents should be creating an educational atmosphere in our homes, rather than focusing on specific skills or information. Of the utmost importance is to help our children retain their love of learning, so that after 7th Grade they’ll be self-motivated to continue learning.
3. Leadership Education Goals
The three jobs of a leadership education parent are:
1. Develop, nurture, and heal family relationships.
2. Create an inspiring environment.
3. Respond effectively to your children’s inspiration.
Sound easy? It is! I know I can accomplish those goals, and if I can–so can you.
When those homeschooling fears rear their ugly heads to threaten you, tell them to head back where they belong. Remember that the investment you’re making into the lives of your family will reap an awesome return in the near future.
What steps do you take to keep school simple?