So, it’s officially been a year since the lockdowns started. I’m here to assure any of you mamas who were thrown into homeschooling a year ago and struggled. If any of you still want to homeschool, I’m here to assure you that homeschooling can be a sustainable option to compulsory education. It can be fun, relatively! It can be joyful! No matter what happened this past year, if you have some kernel of desire to continue to homeschool because you can see a glimmer of benefits, I’m here to fan that flame!
I have homeschooled four older adult children who have all “graduated” from homeshcool. Two of them have graduated from college. The younger two of these older four are in the middle of college. Then I have three more children still at home. I have been homeschooling for 27 years, since my oldest was born, and I have 7 more years to go. I’m definitely in it for the long-haul.
I speak from experience. Homeschooling works, and it works beautifully! Of course some people out there might be pointed at as “failures” of the homeschooling world. Guess what? Any system or culture of people is going to produce failures. Plenty of people out there are failures of the public school system. Does that mean you say that public school doesn’t work at all? Of course not!
The key for being a happy homeschooling mama is finding the daily academic habits that work for you and your children that you can sustain reminding them/enforcing them on a weekday basis, according to their season of education. That doesn’t necessarily mean “curriculum.” In fact, the less curricula, the better. If the past year has been full of tears and tantrums because of forced assignments, I’m here to say, “Relax. Take it easy. You and your children will survive. Breathe. Take a break from the curriculum.”
So…if you want to keep homeschooling but want a much more doable structure, may I suggest starting with ONE thing (beyond having your children doing their regular household chores. If they aren’t doing chores yet, I suggest you first get consistent on that, and call that “school” before you add academic work on top of that. Here is my post for help on getting children to work).
The ONE thing to start homeschooling easily is to take up the #abookandagameaday challenge. Here’s the challenge:
Aim to read aloud one picture book a day, and ADD to that, playing one tabletop game, either board or card game, a day. That’s IT!
I’m not talking about a 3 hour game of Settlers of Catan. Ugh. You can play a game in 5 – 10 minutes. Yes, such games exist! Like Sushi Go, one of my favorite math games. Everyone has that much time to play a game. You can also play lots of quiz games while eating a meal or snack. You can even quiz your kiddos from a card deck while they are doing dishes, once you have them trained.
It’s fun if the two coordinate, like Monopoly with the picture book below, but don’t stress if your games never match up. I’ve never been one much for Monopoly.
If you don’t have many picture books at home, go to your public library and check out a bunch.
Use my lists here and check out the picture books here.
As far as games go, dust off your board and card games and make them accessible. Go here to get my guide to finding them on a budget. Start getting them at thrift stores for cheap. Tell your relatives, friends, and neighbors you are looking for board games. They’re probably happy to clear out their closets of stuff they don’t use anymore to give to you. Ask your public library if they lend out tabletop games. If they don’t, ask them to consider doing it. You can find so many games that “teach” basically any subject, from history, to genetics, to kinds of birds, to quiltmaking.
If you have an only child, join your local homeschool support group. Google it! Advertise that your home is open to board game playing at such-and-such time. You will be amazed at how much kids can learn from playing games. Have fun!
I really do love that homeschooling gives me an excuse to read picture books and play board games in the middle of the day. Ahhh, the life!
Here is my official guide to homeschooling during lockdown time. Hopefully it won’t be needed much anymore!