I am still learning and this has been a heck of a year. More than I ever anticipated for sure. Here is a short list of what I have learned and heard and seen to be true. And hope to finally implement….
1. Discipline, structure and consistency starts with the mother. Every day. Inside of that truth is more than enough room for grace. Still trying to find the dance moves to those two truths.
2. Academics are second place to instilling within your children the love and knowledge of God, the walking with him. Especially in these early, foundational years. Study, in Jesus’ day, was considered the highest form of worship. Post this. And a day started without prayer and joy and even a walk or bike ride will be a total ruin.
3. Getting through the books is not as important as making sure the knowledge is understood and transformational. Release some academic expectations. You are not living abnormally and you are not anti-world as a lot of people will make you feel both indirectly and not. Blow it off . As a friend just told me, “If you get math and language arts done strong every day and can get them to love reading, count the elementary years as a sucess! In ninth grade you start keeping detailed records for transcripts, before that loosen up just a bit.”
4. A designated “schoolroom” is crucial. At least for us. Away from the never-ending slew of laundry and dishes.
5. Curriculum is important, but not as important as attitude and relationship and having sheer delight in learning. You don’t have to spend a lot and be tempted and overwhelmed by the vast array of options and supplies out there. Use the library and the Internet more. Homeschooling can be a rather odd sub-culture. You usually cannot afford to do it. We can’t, but it works out. We’ll take it a year at a time.
6. Pencils will disappear by multitudes. And boys do need to move often. A lot.
7. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. Take a time-out when you need it. Every teacher needs this.
8. Stick to a routine as far as what you study each day and in what order. Start the school year on time and lay out how many pages of what need to be done daily. Plan when breaks will be and stick to it.
9. Honor your investment and see it as “I am at work”. Don’t make the school hours so long you are exhausted by Friday. And have the children work together in the same room so you can keep both on task.
10. Read to them, an hour a day. Talk about what you are reading. Dream, imagine, wonder, meditate, investigate. Focus and shut out all other voices.
11. Do the chores, except the breakfast dishes and a quick sweep, after school hours. Have it be the end of your school day for everyone to do their chores and then be free. Okay so I write this pre-baby!
12. Besides sports club and co-op, pick one extra-curricular activity to be involved in that Dad takes them to. Don’t wear yourself out with running around! I can’t stand running around.
13. Read about educational philisophy and theories and come up with what you align yourself with so you know what your goals and approach are for the year. Don’t start haphazard and merely see it as getting through the books and taking tests. I like the word intentional, if you have not gathered thus far.
14. Have a good friend for your child over 1x a week and vice-versa. Have it in the schedule. Anders doesn’t care about this yet, but this is huge to Lars.
15. Get a family computer with a filter on it. Use Brain Pop and other educational CDS and games and typing tutors and research We are working on this. My little laptop, faithful through a degree and a book is all we have at this point. Never was important before, but is it becoming as Lars gets older.
16. Find a homeschool community and find your own style to home education. What you emphasize will be different than what another family does. Your reason for doing it will be different. Your philosophy will. Your learning environment will. Boys will be wilder than girls. Every child learns differently.
17. Think global, act local. I am passionate about this for my children, though at times limited in the acting part at this stage in the game.
I am sure there is more, the year is not done…I want to delight in my boys. They will be old enough, soon enough…