When I first began our homeschooling journey, I took my children out to run some errands with me. I remember walking by a cafe and seeing another family sitting together at a table. The children all sitting quietly while their mother read. I felt comforted by this scene and so I went on with my errands. I took my two small children into a Hallmark store. The two clerks working in the store had rather disdainful on their faces. It is not easy to keep young hands from touching delicate things and I am sure the ladies had a fear of something breaking.
One of the sales clerks said, “shouldn’t your children be in school?”
With much pride I said, “Oh no, I home-school them.”
She replied, “Well shouldn’t they be at home schooling?”
That was the beginning of me learning a lot about what it really means to home school my children.
When you home school people think that you have a lot of free time. I have been invited to a lot of bible studies, or Christian women’s meetings, or get-together, or people thinking that I can just go to lunch, or go have coffee and spend two and a half hours talking because I am at home….schooling. This goes back to what that woman said to me that first day. That is if you are going to be successful at homeschooling you have to be at home. If your goal is to really educate your children it is important to plan your schedule so that you do spend a good portion of your day educating your children. Remember that children thrive in routine.
Sometimes a situation arises that takes you away from the stay-at-home routine of home school. In 2003 my father was dying. in that routine and children thrive in routine. Every Thursday we would drive about 45 miles to visit my father in the nursing home and drive back home. Now that is a life learning experience especially for young children to witness. If part of your teaching is to encourage your children to help take care of elderly or deliver meals on wheels than that can be established within the routine. It shouldn’t be everyday but instead within the routine of the week. It might be every Thursday delivering meals on wheels or every Tuesday we do this or that. It is hard for me when people just assume because I am home schooling my children I can just walk away and it is not a big deal. It is a big deal.
Some things that have been reinforced with me that I have heard from other sources and I agree with is:
Get up at the same time every day.
Get dressed, don’t stay in your pajamas, don’t let the kids stay in their pajamas necessarily, I mean sometimes they can but as a rule get up and get dressed get everybody dressed
Get exercise. do some sort of physical exercise, especially as a family,
While you are homeschooling don’t answer the phone. Don’t make that the time for checking emails or texting or communicating. While you are in your education time, it really should be one – on -one or five-on-one, if you do group teaching. The focus should be on the children. So if someone texts or whatever other forms of communication there are it is really best to ignore those. Set a time when you can respond to those communications. At 12:30 while the children are eating lunch I will check my phone, my Facebook, my text then I will return phone calls.
Things like laundry, the dishes and vacuuming and cleaning house can also be set aside for other times. We set our schedule so that our education hours (and this should be different for your family, what works for you), are from 9:00 am to 12:00, we have lunch from 12:00-1:00 during that time we make the meal, we eat the meal and we clean up the meal. Now this is an ideal schedule and may differ depending on the age of your children and their learning styles and abilities. It doesn’t always work that way but if you have a set time and you are doing your school at those set times for 85% of the time you are going to be more successful than having a more sporadic scheduling. Routine is beneficial to running your house and educating your children at home.