Core scripture: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Message: I am not sure about your situation, but I just traded in over 100 students for two boys, nine and eight-years-old. I never thought I would be home schooling my boys right now, but that it what it comes down to. Lucky for me, I have a wife who has taught everything from preschool to middle school. We sat down two days ago and hashed out a plan together which will start here about 7:30 am when our boys wake up.
I thought it might be useful to talk a little about home schooling your kids today. Feel free to share this post with friends who are not teachers that might be thrust into home schooling without ever been taught themselves how to teach. Take these suggestions for what they are worth. Pick and choose which ones work for you and try them out.
- Provide structure: Kids need structure. Come up with a plan that moves your kids from activity to activity. Set limits on screen time. You can even use screen time as an incentive to dangle like a carrot in your kid’s face. Don’t forget to include exercise and down time in your plan. We plan on getting all of their core subjects done in the morning, which is what they are used to at school.
- Provide choice: Giving kids a say in how they learn goes a long way. For example, you could ask if they would prefer a math website or a math booklet you found. Or simply ask if they would like to read or do a science experiment first. We even let our boys have a say in their schedule after creating our own chart. Providing a menu of choices throughout the day may be the secret ingredient to get your kids to work.
- Include life lessons: Need to run an errand? Show kids how you budget your money. Time for lunch? Allow them to help you fix a meal. Teach your kids how to do a chore they have never done before. Let your kids volunteer to help someone in need. It is the little things we do in life that matter. Those lessons will stick!
- Include religion: One of the top priorities in our schedule is quiet time. My boys know if they wake up a bit early, they always ask, “Daddy, did you finish your quiet time yet?” They know I prioritize God number one in my day, and they will do so as well. Quiet time can include reading the Bible, journaling, doing a devotion, watching Superbook on Rightnowmedia, praying, or anything else we come up with to get them closer to the Lord.
- Be flexible: Nothing should be set in stone. If something is not working, change things up. Our little schedule we came up with is totally a rough draft of what home schooling might look like in another few weeks. Every day may not be the same. Give grace where needed but provide a schedule that pushes your kids to excel as well.
Are you ready for this? I just heard the door open upstairs. Yep, one of my little ones is awake. I hear him taking a leak right now. Time to get my home school on!
Challenge: Take the suggestions that work for you and try them out.
Just for fun: Do you want to see what happens after a week of home schooling in the Holdernes Family household? Check out this Barenaked Ladies parody of “One Week.”
Prayer: Father, give us patience and wisdom as we begin homeschooling our kids. Help us make learning enjoyable, challenging, and strategic. Amen.