I sat down with my mother-in-law, a homeschool veteran if there ever was one, and also a researcher by nature, and talked to her about the pressure I felt to make it ‘great’ and make it ‘unique’. She encouraged me that keeping it simple is a beautiful and brilliant way to homeschool in this season of life. Go back to the root of homeschooling. It is meant to give us the freedom to be down to earth and teach our children in the way they each learn best. It doesn’t have to be a lot of table work or a lot of busy work. There doesn’t have to be an elaborate craft every single week for my child to grow up and be a straight-A student. Those
things are not bad by any means! But if they add stress to the school environment because they do not really fit into our family’s season this year, then it is okay to let them go. They’ll have their turn…maybe once a month, maybe when the mood strikes, or maybe through a co-op. So, I did a little of my own research on what knowledge was most important to gain in first grade and decided on two main subjects, with the other subjects being more laid back and flexible. I also decided for my kindergartener that I wasn’t going to use a lot of curriculum but rather do one series that worked great for my eldest and then do flash cards, activity books, and books on cd for her- no need to get intense at the age of five. I did not venture on Pinterest for anything school related this year. I ordered what we needed for the main goals; we were gifted some flash cards and found some manipulatives at garage sales, as well as lots offabulous children’s literature.
I created a ‘Morning Basket’ that has something pertaining to history or social studies in it as well as our current fiction book. It also contains our evening books which are the Bible, Answer’s for Kids, and a fiction book we read with their father. Whenever we find the time before lunch to dive into our two morning books, the youngest two children (ages 3 and 1) play quietly around close that enough they can hear. The older two sit close and listen. During afternoon nap time when the youngest two are napping, I set up homemade dividers in the middle of the table for the older two. They each get a tea light in their spot and choose a mug of tea for the school hour. At this point we sit and focus on their studies for about an hour or so and we seem to get through all that we need to. I have found that it works best for them not to take breaks between topics because they struggle going in and out of play time/school time. So, we make that cozy environment and settle into it. We have found a good rhythm where they have learned to focus on their own work when I’m working with the other and I’ve learned its okay to include them in on each other’s schoolwork. I’ll even task my oldest to working on the alphabet or numbers with my kindergartener, he loves doing that! I’ve heard that teaching is the best way to remember what you’ve, learned so I figured it can’t hurt to have him teach herfrom time to time.
All in all, I kept it simple this year, and so far it’s going great. School time is the smoothest time of our day, and one I really look forward to and the children seem to be
adjusting to school days as well. They like the work I have for them. None of us seem to be overwhelmed by what is set out before us, and when we wrap it up for the day they aren’t bouncing out of their skin because they sat to long. It works for us! We still enjoy a craft here and there, a hike, a field trip, playing outside of course, and as the seasons call for it I have been teaching my eldest how to do some home canning and cooking in the kitchen. There’s so much freedom in homeschooling. Thankfully, that includes the freedom to keep it simple!