Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our Rules for a Happy Homeschool

aka. what I wished someone told me in 1995....


1. Outside Time -lots of it!

Outside time should be a priority for every child. Moms that have active children quickly realize that their children are happiest when they have the opportunity to play outside.

Charlotte Mason advocated spending hours.....upward to six hours outside everyday with the children.( Home Education pg.45 ) She didn't encourage us to send them out but to TAKE them out. ( pg. 44) She also suggested that they benefited from being able to be as loud and active as they can.


"The afternoon's games, after luncheon, are an important part of the day's doings for the elder children, though the younger have probably worn themselves out by this time with the ceaseless restlessness by means of which Nature provides for the due development of muscular tissue in them; let them sleep in the sweet air, and awake refreshed. Meanwhile, the elders play; the more they run, and shout, and toss their arms, the more healthful is the play. And this is one reason why mothers should carry their children off to lonely places, where they may use their lungs to their hearts' content without risk of annoying anybody. The muscular structure of the organs of voice is not enough considered; children love to indulge in cries and shouts and view-halloos, and this 'rude' and 'noisy' play, with which their elders have not much patience, is no more than Nature's way of providing for the due exercise of organs, upon whose working power the health and happiness of the child's future largely depend. " ( pg. 82)

Anna Botsford Comstock explains that nature study can be a help to the naughtiness in school that is due to a a child's lack of interest in his school work and his physical inactivity during the school hours.

"The best teachers try to obviate both of the causes of misbehavior rather than punish the naughtiness that results from them. Nature study is an aid in both respects, since it keeps the child interested and also gives them something to do." Handbook of Nature Study. pg. 4.


Wise words.

Outside time should be a priority for our children not used as a reward for good behavior but as a elixar to help prevent bad behavior. Cure for homeschool burnout.....more time outside for the whole family. Try it for a week and see if it helps your day......

2. Limit TV/ Gaming systems / Computer time

Many of a family has wasted precious time with these offenders. Notice I said family......many mamas are as guilty as the children when it comes to spending too much time on the computer. Gaming systems are popular gifts but once introduced in the home there always seems to be a marked reduction of time spent in other pursuits and interest. If you want your children to pursue topics of interest in their free time, limit their time on the tv, gaming system, and computer.

3. Daily Rhythm

Having some sort of plan in place does help a homeschooling mom's day go smoothly. It doesn't not have to be micro-scheduled into 15 min increments to be successful. I'm amazed by moms that can pull off a micro-schedule and not lose their mind! I want my children to have a basic framework to work with but I still want some flexibility. If you say.....hey it's 9 o-clock and the kids automatically start grabbing their books because they know it's time for schoolwork, you are on the right track.

Our Daily Rhythm for Winter 2008

4. Just say NO

This should be a homeschooling moms most used phrased....not to her children but to all the outside activities that are currently offered. In 1995....we had weekly parkdays and monthly fieldtrips. Now in our area there are several co-ops, several options for paid homeschool classes, homeschool Tae Kwon Do, Homeschool sports, Homeschool bands, Homeschool boy/girl scouts, PE classes, Ballroom dance classes, etc. The list goes on and on and that doesn't even include the standard classes offered to all children. Easily, everyday of the week could be filled up with activities. I know moms who spend the day driving from one really great class to another attempting to get some schooling done in the car. Just say NO! If you must, pick one that all or most of your children can participate in and forget the rest . You can always try out something else next year.

5. Work with what you have and not what you wish you had

Have active children? Don't wish they were quieter ....work with that wiggle!

There is a Plan for those active kids and you are just the mama to help them fulfill it. Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of education is simple: Education an atmosphere, a discipline, a life. Your job as a homeschooling mama is to apply that to your family and your kids. Create an enviroment that your kids can be successful!

Have limited funds? Don't wish for more money.....choose and spend wisely! You can teach a child to read with a $20 resource or one that cost 10 x that amount. Your children aren't going to read 10x better with the more expensive option....there just will be more bells and whistles which means more pieces to lose.

No Jonesing with your homeschooling endeavor!


6. The perfect curriculum




There is no such thing so quit looking for it. The BEST curriculum for your family is one that...

Mom enjoys using - if mama ain't happy, nobody is happy!

keeps the kids learning- one of the reason we take on this endeavor.

keeps daddy happy- for obvious reasons!


7. Always be willing to change

Seasons change and so will our children and our lives. The schedule that is working so well for me today won't work this summer and it didn't work last fall. Many moms start planning their homeschool and will have a highschool plan in place when their children are still preschool age. Resist that urge.... I could never have planned the past 12 years when my oldest was just starting out. Resources are different, options are different .....we are different! I've homeschooled through a divorce, as a single working mom, through a major move, through a hurricane, difficult pregnancies, and months of bedrest. My early plans are a source of humility......Relax and take it a year at a time.

8. KISS Keep It Super Simple- organization tips

People are making money off of a homeschooling moms fears and disorganization. All you need to get your school and family organized is right in front of you-your computer and your family. Some of us need a complicated binder bursting full of forms but most of us can get by with a little less fluff. Do the minimal to keep your family happy.

Menus are a necessity at my house, otherwise we will eat junk daily. We have a weekly breakfast and lunch menu and a monthly dinner menu. Every 3-6 months we'll revamp it for a change. Took us 30 minutes to type it up and now it is posted on the fridge for all to see.


We've tried just about everything to keep the school stuff organized. I get a box and everything gets that I think needs to be saved for the year is saved in that box. In our state, we are legally a private school so those saved items are for our own purposes. Ok...the highschool years we did get a bit more organized than that but that is whole topic in itself.

Donna Young Printables is a good place to start looking at options to keeping schedules, lessons plans and the like organized.

Fly Lady is a good place to start looking at ways to organize the housework.

9. Habit training

The rule of all rules.

"Habit is ten natures"

"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children."- Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason writes extensively about the development of habits and had quite a list of desirable habits that we should train our children to do.

Pick a undesirable trait in your family and work on creating a better habit. One at a time is the key.


10. Enjoy every moment


The years go by way too fast- cherish every moment! If you aren't enjoying yourself go back to rule #1.

1 comment:

Hat and Fappy! said...

Thank you, this was a very helpful post.