Monday, February 06, 2017

10 Tips on How and Why We Need to Schedule in Homeschool Fun

 Homeschooling was SO MUCH FUN, What Happened?


Homeschooling was really fun when my son was younger. I loved making homemade educational toys, reading countless books together, listening to music, singing, dancing, arts and crafts. It felt like a playdate E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y. Well, at least that is how I remember it.

Then Reality Hits


If your reason to homeschool, like ours, is for academic reasons, then as the years go by, the responsibility for your child’s education starts to bear down more heavily on your shoulders. There is nothing like homeschooling to bring out my A-type personality. The constant work of homeschooling: researching, preparing, planning, scheduling, meeting deadlines, and so on can be so overwhelming and tiring because I had a desire to stay on top of everything all the time.

Homeschooling Becomes a Chore



The pressures I placed on my homeschool mama’s shoulders were tremendous and my role as homeschool “teacher” dominated my role as loving, gentle and fun mama. Yes, even when I was trying to "be aware" and "mindful." Homeschooling became truly exhausting for two years and  it just wasn’t fun anymore. Worst of all, being with my child was not enjoyable and our relationship suffered. What I really struggled with were the power struggles, negotiations, personality clashes, disciplining, and days when things just didn’t work out. I would take these breakdowns in my homeschool system personally and the day would continue to deteriorate. I wasn’t able to STOP, breathe, reassess the situation, and simply move on.

It’s Time to Re-Examine Your Homeschool


We looked into sending our son to public school. He took the required tests for what seemed like a week. We returned home after the last conference with administration aghast that public school just wasn’t the right fit. Back at home, I sat down and decided to re-examine what I was doing wrong and how we could proceed.

Homeschooling Can Continue to be Fun: 


Motivation is what gets you started.
Habit is what keeps you going.
- Jim Rohn -

Work at Learning to Play and Other Tips

“... we must get serious about taking ourselves lightly.
We must work at learning to play.”
- Julia Cameron -

In time, I discovered that homeschooling doesn’t have to be such a chore. In fact, homeschooling can continue to be fun as the child grows up. Just PLAN for FUN. And remember:
Who you’re becoming is far more important than what you’re doing.
And yet, it is what you’re doing that is determining who you’re becoming.
- Hal Elrod -

 Tips:

  1. Internalize that you don’t have to be perfect all the time. Relax and be patient.
  2. Think long term, not short term. You want your child to ENJOY the process, not learn to HATE it.
  3. Trust your child with information. Keep your priorities straight TOGETHER. Discuss your fears together. Find a solution together. A parent cannot make a homeschool day better without help from the most important component of any education system: the child.
  4. Focus on your relationship with your child - not the deadlines, not the schedules, not the small stuff. If your relationship is great, then homeschooling will be a breeze because your child is more receptive to you. If there is something over your child’s head and he/she is unhappy, then homeschool work will simply not get done well. 
  5. Communicate and listen to your child’s wants and needs. What would he like to read? What would he like to learn? What would he like to do? Trust your child's vision, learning style, and goals. By allowing them a voice in their own education, you are creating a learning environment that supports self-motivation.
  6. Schedule in and PLAN FOR FUN daily! You plan for everything else, why not for fun too? Make time for self-care, make time for your kids to have fun, make time to have fun together with your kids, make time for field trips, make time for your kid’s child-led projects, but most importantly, make time for everyone to do NOTHING. This scheduling in of fun and breathing space allows for your homeschool day to be more balanced.
  7. Take a break to re-charge in nature daily. Schedule in time to enjoy the outdoors everyday. At least 15 to 30 minutes of time in the sun and in nature is time well spent. 
  8. Be flexible. If the schedule you planned doesn’t work, chuck it and plan for tomorrow. Or, make up for it another day. Or, reassess and change it up. Being flexible allows you to discover something that works for your family. Keep honing the structure of your day to suit you and your child. 
  9. See your children as you would have them be instead of as they are. Use affirmations with your child to change beliefs, attitudes, or habits to make homeschooling more successful. Instead of berating him throughout the day for undesirable behaviour, use positive affirmations to inspire and encourage positive changes. We write these affirmations down in a journal we share together and we start each homeschool day by reciting these out-loud. Update these affirmations when needed.  
  10. If all else fails, you might be the problem. Are you feeling impatient or harried? Why? Are you demanding too much or controlling the situation? Why? Are you sick and tired of explaining something that your child is not getting? Then figure out a way to explain it better. It’s not your child’s fault he’s not getting it if you haven’t explained it well enough. Have you listened to your child’s wants and needs today? Most of the time, the reason our day isn’t going well is because of some pre-determined, and maybe even unrealistic, plans in my own head.
All that being said, simply understand that there will be days challenged by power struggles, negotiations, personality clashes, disciplining, and days when things just didn’t work out. Children need to learn that they must sometimes do homeschool work they don’t want to do. It may take time for them to learn how to do this. That’s ok. Don’t take these little failures personally. STOP, breathe, read the tips above from 1 to 10,  apologize when needed, make small changes, and simply move on. Tomorrow will be better.
An extraordinary life is all about daily,
continuous improvements in the areas that matter most.
- Robin Sharma -

I am participating in the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February 2017 Blog Hop: When Homeschooling Your Gifted Child Becomes a Drag: My Best Tips. Check out the other amazing GHF bloggers!

7 comments:

  1. Thank you for a wonderful post -- great tips (for homeschooling and parenting generally!). I especially like the reminders to recharge and focus on the relationship. Thank you!

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  2. I was thinking the same as you and Emily - it's so easy to lose sight of the fact that our relationship with our child is at the heart of our homeschooling. Planning for fun - definitely! We do it on a daily, weekly and longer-term basis. Just before we take a break (however long) I never want to stop, but we always come back refreshed, relaxed, and energised. Thanks for an inspiring post. :)

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    1. "take a break (however long) I never want to stop" YES! :D Me too... unless it's a book I really want to read aloud together.

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  3. Great post. It is hard for A type parents to let things go at times. This seems to be especially the case as they get older as you point out. But there will be a point when your child will take greater control of their learning and then you'll be so grateful that you did decide to homeschool!

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    1. Carolyn, this sounds like music to my ears: "there will be a point when your child will take greater control of their learning" and so wonderful to hear it from a homeschool Mama who has been there.

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  4. Love this. This is something I struggle with too. We've started scheduling in down-time just for fun as well.

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  5. You'd think these things would be second nature, but they aren't! Thanks for laying them out so clearly.

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