Tuesday, October 9, 2012

31 days of Homeschool Encouragement - Top 10 ways to change the atmosphere in your homeschool

When I began homeschooling - I thought our day was supposed to look like school - at home.

I spent hours researching and planning and pulling up worksheets - only to be met with resistance from the troops.

My boys hate to write. Yes, I admit it. They are proficient complainers when it comes to the subject. Making up stories doesn't appear to be the problem. They just have an adverse reaction to the idea of sitting at a desk for long periods while holding a pencil.

Now, I'm not claiming that I am no longer subjected to whining. I'm a mother. I expect there to be some of

that. But I am telling you that when it comes time for school - I have been able to reduce it and sometimes I'd even say the term stifle it would apply - usually, even.

I took a hard look at the personalities of my children, their learning styles and our curriculum. I spent time in prayer and talked to my husband about what was going on - and my struggle to get them to the school table without  a fight  resistance. 

I highly recommend that no matter what your teaching style - or curriculum - you begin and end with Jesus. Not only that, but you can actually put the family bible to good use as the core curriculum in your home. Yes. Curriculum. It's easy to use the Bible for reading, writing, and spelling. You can even move beyond that into science, history, and geography as well.

If your homeschool life has been less than desirable - consider making some radical changes.

 Top 10 Changes you can make to shift the atmosphere 

and simplify your homeschool:

1. Catch them off guard with an announcement that you are NOT having the usual school day. What if you were to scrap the whole thing and start the year over? Imagine with me for a moment - a new day. You wake for the school day and stumble to the kitchen where kids are expecting to be fed. Maybe this is normally a time where they complain about not wanting to do school - but this day - you beat them to the punch by announcing that they will NOT be doing their normal school day.

2. Add praise!  While you start breakfast - flip the switch and turn on some praise music. Tell your kids what you are thankful for about each one of them.  Ask them about their prayer requests. Maybe share a story from the news or friends you know who you can pray for together. The atmosphere in your home is improving by the minute. 

3. Get yourselves and the house a bit organized. At this point you spend a few good minutes afterward  having everyone make their beds, get dressed and freshen up. A little lipstick brightens you up and helps you feel pulled together for the day.

4. Location Location Location: You normally begin your school by heading to a particular area in home - this day you choose a different spot. Announce a family meeting or devotion time - instead of the "beginning of school". Help everyone find a comfortable place to sit around you (floor pillows work just fine). In a calm, peaceful voice - you lead the prayer time (or let each family member take a few minutes to pray out loud).

5. Begin with bible: You copy the weekly bible verse on the dry erase board to say together and then help the children copy it down into spiral notebooks. Each student does copy work to their own ability. Little ones may work on letters or a few words you pull out for them Older ones work on their cursive. Pull out a few spelling words, phonics blends, vocabulary words to look up from the verses. Read a chapter from the bible (surrounding your weekly verse/verses)  for your devotions.

6. Pull in details from history and geography from God's Word:  Later, you all get down in the floor together to find the area on the map from the setting of your bible story.

7. Get outside: Take a break from the usual desk and paper situation and head out the door for a nature walk. There is hardly a better way to connect with your children, and to help them connect to their Creator - than by going outside to admire His handiwork in Creation. A brisk walk and some fresh air will do wonders for the attitude.

8. Stop and smell the roses - or the weeds. Take time to notice the beauty around you and comment on it - giving God the glory. Allow the kids to take pictures, sketch in nature journals and/or look carefully at details through a magnifying glass. Having a closer look will often help you recognize the Master's fingerprint with the extreme order in nature.

9. Recognize math in nature. Look for patterns in the natural world. Count petals on flowers or seeds in pods. Take some measurements using objects God created. Estimate height of trees. Collect data on flora and fauna to put in a graph. God is there - in the order and the details. Tell your children about the order and attention to detail He put into creation. Look for examples of that in nature. (snowflakes, flowers)

10. Keep it simple: you can tweak things and add details as you go through this process. But don't add too much at a time to avoid overload. You don't want to end up right back in the same place. You can always pull in some good resources from your curriculum or other books - but don't push it - take your time. The idea is to stop and turn toward Jesus. Keep your focus on Him. The rest will come. Once the attitudes have changed and the atmosphere in your homeschool is glorifying God each day - you'll have an easier time pulling in any other information or subjects for your family. God is faithful - He'll be working on your kids as you pray for them and point them to Him. 

Please let me know if you find these reminders and information useful or if there is something else you are looking for. I am happy to share what God has led us through (some pretty big challenges) and how He continues to carry us through each day.

1 comment:

DeAnna D said...

This was absolutely beautiful to read! I will definitly be starting off our days this way. THANK YOU for sharing this.