3 Ways to Turn Your Homeschool Around

Recently, I was thinking about what the most important things one can do in their homeschool are. After 7 years into this homeschool journey, plus reflections on my own homeschooling experience as a child, I have a unique perspective of both the giving and receiving end of home education. In fact, I’ve had people ask me, “What’s the one thing you would impart to a new (or burned out) homeschooler?” 

It’s not what you think!

Honestly, if I could sit across from you with a cup of hot tea (or whatever your favorite beverage is) and share with you my fondest memories of my homeschooling childhood or tell you the things I’ve enjoyed most with my own kids, would you be all that surprised to learn that we didn’t bond over textbooks?! I mean, really. Yet that’s the thing so many new homeschoolers get hung up on: which curriculum to buy. I can’t tell you how many countless hours I myself wasted pouring over resource magazines and websites, thinking I would find the holy grail of homeschool there. It’s not out there. 

If you haven’t yet, read this post.

Just to be clear, I don’t think everyone should necessarily homeschool the way we do it in our home. What works for us, works for now. It’s not what our homeschool looked like 2 years ago. And as my kids grow and develop new interests, our homeschool may look a little different in the future as well.

I hope you find comfort and joy in knowing that your homeschool journey will be an ever evolving journey of discovery as well. Nothing is set in stone…Except. These 3 foundational things, I wholeheartedly believe, should be the starting point of every homeschool. This is where you’ll connect with your kids, learn about them and yourself, and figure out how you all will learn and work together best. 

So what are the 3 very most important things you need to begin to shape the homeschool of your dreams? Drumroll please…

1. Morning quiet time

Contemplative prayer (AKA meditation), is the first button in the right hole when it comes to homeschooling. You spend all day with your kids (or most of it anyway) and that can be draining at times. Start your day with a full cup spiritually and emotionally. Spending even 10-20 minutes meditating on the loving kindness of Our Creator and communing with His Spirit is life changing. I’m talking about being still and quiet. No list of requests or thanks or talking at all. Just rest, listen and be. Soak in His love and kindness.

Here are some Christian guided meditations if you’re new to the concept. Try 28 consecutive days of contemplative prayer and see if it doesn’t change your outlook, patience level and kindness towards your family and yourself. 

2. Read Aloud

Some refer to this as the morning basket. Whatever you call it, reading aloud is a wonderful way to start off the day, connecting with your children over excellent literature.

Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook is a wonderful resource to dig into the research and development studies on the importance of reading aloud to children. It honestly astounded me!

My kids learn so much about expression, language flow and vocabulary just by listening to me read. They are more interested in books and reading or learning to read for themselves since I started reading aloud to them. And I can’t begin to tell you of the deep conversations we’ve had about character qualities and choices, inspired by the stories we’ve read together. They’re also better communicators (written and verbal) since we incorporated reading aloud.

3. Nature Walks

So much education and connection happens out of doors. It’s so important for us to prioritize getting fresh air for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. It’s absolutely essential for kids and I believe equally important for us mamas, too! Real talk: this is the hardest one for me to do personally. It’s easy to kick the kids outside. It’s another thing entirely to get myself and the baby bundled up to go for a walk. But even a stroll around the yard or neighborhood is better than skipping because we can’t go for a proper hike in the forest.

Check out https://www.1000hoursoutside.com for ideas, inspiration and take the challenge with us! 

We do American Heritage Girls which is a scouting program, so we get lots of hiking and camping with our troop and as a family during the summer months.. But on a daily/weekly basis, we have to be more intentional about planning outside time or being cognisant of when to take a break and go play in the backyard. My husband is the LARP (Live Action Role Play) instructor at our homeschool co-op, so we have an arsenal of weapons crafted from pool noodles, PVC pipe and duct tape which makes for fun sibling dispute settlements. 

Closing

So there you have it, my 3 essential practices that every homeschool mom should prioritize. Before curriculum or socialization. Before academics and GPA’s. I would encourage you to just give it a try for one month. Do these 3 most important things and then pick up your books or go to the play dates or whatever else you have on your homeschool agenda. But first, meditate, read aloud and get outside. After one month, I’d love to know your results! Do you love it, hate it? 

I’m willing to bet you and your kids will feel more joyful and connected to one another. 

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