Sunday, August 7, 2011

Putting the "Home" back into Homeschool

Choosing to be at home: A crucial step in creating a better homeschool environment is to be…at home! We need the long stretches of time that go uninterrupted by doctors, trips to piano lessons, vet appointments for the pet, post office, and grocery shopping are essential to create a feeling of time and space to learn. Just because you are at home, does not mean that you are “available”. Schedule “at home” days that are inviolable, fixed, and respected.

Pick up your calendar and mark large “X”s through one day each week. This is the day that you are not available! This is the day that you and your children will be at home. Being at home.
Oh, you will find many, many reasons why you can’t keep this little sacrosanct day. We’re not used to putting ourselves first! But keep yourself disciplined! Keep this once-a-week schedule firm. Be together at home. Cook. Lessons. Chores. Movies. Games. Hang out. Talk! After those first few times when you can’t keep this little promise to yourself, you will find that it becomes easier to say “no” to all of the outside activities and to put this family time first! You and your children will look forward to the “home” in homeschool again!

Eventually, you will be surprised at how carefully you protect that day!

Be smart about outside activities. There is no doubt that homeschooling families can find many, many opportunities outside of the home. Lessons, play dates, classes with friends, field trips, museums, et al. I am sure we can all point to dates on our calendars from this month that have all seven days FULL of fun and great activities outside in the community.

We all feel the pressure to do more! Go more! Participate more! Schedule more!

It’s not that I don’t appreciate what prodigies our children are! I know how important these events can be. I also know how important lunch at the kitchen table is. Food that didn’t come through the car window. Juice boxes scattered in the car. Movies and music collections strewn about the vehicle as you drive, frenzied, from here to there. Schlepping! Yes, we have all been SCHLEPPING!

Remember the free time we promised ourselves? Remember the dream of allowing our children to fill those hours with activities of their choice? Remember playing for the sake of playing? Remember the fun of just “hanging out”? We promised ourselves that we would provide a happy childhood to our children. Let’s keep that promise!

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