What is my home school? What does it look like? Well, it looks a little different every day! And some days are definitely better than others. We have graduated our fourth and last student now. We had a schedule for every day and used BJU Press Curriculum. BJU Press curriculum allowed for both structure and flexibility. Until my oldest was in 5th grade, I did all the teaching. At that time, we began adding BJU distance learning classes for the children (I have 4 children.) This allowed me to change from being the sole teacher to being the facilitator. I helped my children figure out what the teacher wanted. That change in dynamic was very beneficial for our family.
It is easy for children who are home schooled to view Mom as the bad guy who makes them do school. Why? Because they are not seeing thousands of their peers every day across the nation doing the same thing. In a public or non-public traditional school setting there can be positive peer pressure in a classroom. In home schooling, you have to have inner discipline and self-motivation. This self-responsibility takes years to develop and so you as the Mom have to keep everyone moving forward.
What motivates your children?
It is a little more difficult to replicate this in the home school environment unless all of your children at their different ages and stages are motivated by the exact same things. I found that we had to use different positive and negative consequences for each child to get the maximum results. This takes some coordination, but is worth it. Perhaps this action plan will help you.
Our day began with breakfast at 8 and we started our school day at 8:30 am with Bible class — BJU Press has excellent Bible curriculum. Since their curriculum does not have a lesson every day, some days we would review their Bible verse and pray.
Each child had a learning area.
Each of my children had a learning area that was their learning space. Home school textbooks were kept on a common bookshelf or by their desk area and no where else. There was too much lost time if the books traveled to other parts of the house, so I tried to be very strict about this. Also I had a schedule for myself so that each child got specific individual time with me, as well as the roving time I spent overseeing everyone.
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When my children were young, I found that it was very important to have Mom sitting beside them most of the day to keep them on track. I did this for one child up through 4th grade. Sure, it meant that I was very limited in what else I could get done during the day. Starting a load of laundry, filling or emptying the dishwasher, or meal preparation became a good break between classes for my child to do with me. Schooling was a priority and it worked best when I was dedicated to helping them from 8:30 am till they finished each day. I had a couple of kids that didn’t mind making their home school day stretch out till 8 pm! When I realized that, there were three new rules:
1) Four classes must be done by lunch,
2) one of those classes must be math, and
3) all school must be done by 5 pm.
What is my home school? We had happy days and frustrating days, fun days and days with tears, days of laughter and creativity and other days when we slogged through the work grudgingly. There were days that things went fairly smoothly and everyone sat down and did their work. But most days involved some unhappiness about something, some conflict between siblings, some change of plans because of illness, or company coming, or the normal difficulties of life. Thankfully home schooling allows for the needed flexibility.
I tried to keep everyone on track and pushing ahead of schedule so that when the disruptions came, we did not end up getting further and further behind. We did not want to home school in the nice weather of summer! When the children were younger, we could finish by early afternoon. When the children were older, they tried to finish in 4 days, and by 5 pm, so they could snow board on Fridays or go see a friend.
So what is my home school? It is the wonderful opportunity to train and educate my children at home. Home schooling is flexible when it needs to be and rigid enough to make progress every day. It means art projects, field trips, exploding volcanoes, and gym class with a co-op group on Thursdays. For more information on my home school, see Teach My Child? Who? Me?!
Your home school doesn’t need to look like mine. It needs to work for you. What does your home school look like? Let me know in the comments below.