Friday, September 13, 2013

Homeschooling Strategies

Do you need a homeschool strategy?
What is a strategy anyway?
On Wikipedia, according to A Greek-English Lexicon, a strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.  Strategy is important because the resources available to achieve these goals are usually limited.

Does your homeschool need a strategy?
From the definition, it seems to me that a strategy becomes necessary when a parent is feeling uncertain.  And I agree.
Choosing any unconventional or non-traditional path brings with it periods of doubt and uncertainty, including homeschooling.  Most of us feel quite convinced that homeschooling is the wise choice, while still having to deal with periods of doubt.  We may be convinced of the basis "rightness" of our lifestyle choice while still having a nagging fear that something is not quite right.

Where is that initial relief that you felt when you finally took the plunge?  Where is the confidence that surged inside as you hit the road in the beginning?  Where is the enthusiasm?  Relief, confidence, enthusiasm:  are you missing them? 

You may not be down right giddy anymore, and maybe that is unrealistic, but where are those sparks of brilliance?
Elizabeth "going Goth"

I've been there!

I am here to admit that this homeschool thing is a real challenge. The house is a disaster.  There are tears.  No one is interested in reading the shiny new books.  It is a struggle to get through the clever banter.  You have gotten into the car and slammed the door just for the silence.

There are no fancy strategies.  Just one reminder:  
You are homeschooling, not schooling at home.

We're Playing, Mom!
Get out of the chair.  Open the door.  Go outside.

The material in those books is secondary to the desire to LEARN.

Recently my daughter was doing something amazing.
In an outward sign of all of our frustration, she decided to paint her face and eyes black, wear all black clothing, and "go Goth".  It was interesting, in retrospect, how she was reflecting all of our feelings.
We got into the car and went to the beach.
At first no one was interested.  They were dragging their feet, moaning, unwilling to play, letting me know how stupid the idea of the beach was.  (couldn't you just laugh at their reaction to the beach?!  lol)

But as time wore on, we watched small children doing cute things, we were attacked by a bird, the breeze continued to blow in, and we began to feel the beach.  They took off their shoes and started dragging their toes in the sand.  And then, despite themselves, they took off down the beach and started running, hair blowing, laughter reaching me, smiles in spite of themselves, bare feet sinking in to sand, stretches of beach ahead, brilliant blue skies, puffy white clouds blowing the kites, water up to their ankles...

We stayed all afternoon and took another several days off to play other places, including board games at home and at the home of friends.

When we got back to work, we were ready.  We have never read books cover to cover unless we absolutely want to.  When a thing is a drag, we just get the main idea and move on.  If I can find a nonfiction book instead of a text book, we use that.  And if we begin a thing and it is awful, we don't stick with it very long...  The idea is to find the things that bring on love of learning.  So, if you are in a place where it all sucks, look for a single thing that is interesting and do more of THAT.

Yesterday we decided to do Zentangles.  John thought it was ridiculous, but by the time he had finished his work, he was smiling and laughing and had enjoyed himself.  Today I have seen markers in his hand again...

Special GREETINGS to my readers in Ireland and in the UK!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:  Some Days Suck  
Or you may enjoy reading:  What Do You Do All Day?   
Or try this one:  Having a Bad Homeschool Day:  14 Ways to Turn Your Day Around


  1. Every time I read one of your posts I find myself literally LOL'ing, but almost always I get a lump in my throat at some point, too. It is SO NICE to hear that someone else has the same struggles that I have (many other homeschooling blogs make it look so easy!). I have two willful children. The adults around us often disparage that particular personality trait, but I feel like, "Hey, that is their fire! Don't put it out!" Of course, that makes it hard to "teach" them anything. You always give me a lot to think about, so thank you :)

  2. I am interested. Have you ever run into a subject homeschooling that you couldn't get through? If so how did you handle it? Outside sources? Called in a tutor? I find homeschooling so fascinating and real. Much more real than any public school education.

    1. Read this!


Leave a comment!