*Disclaimer* Because I’m going to be talking about some basics and sharing thoughts on supplies, I’ll be slipping in a link to my Amazon store for easy perusing. Know that if you choose to purchase something through this link you won’t spend any extra, and I’ll get a smidge back to keep the Happy Home running and more importantly, caffeinated. Also know that all of these supplies can be found elsewhere, and that I have a full disclosure page here.*
Hello Friends! In keeping with my promise to make Tuesdays primarily about home school, I thought we’d go back to the basics today with How to Home School. Of course I’m supremely qualified to teach you all about this subject, because of course I home school, and everything that works for me will also work perfectly for you.
Hahahahahahahahahaha, ok… alright, I’m sorry, I’m done now. We can get back to business. I don’t even know what I’m doing half the time. No, really, I don’t. It changes so often. Sometimes it seems like it changes Every. Single. Minute. Mostly it’s Geekling running the show, except of course when Happy Baby is running the show. Here’s the big secret though… there’s nothing wrong with that. Because it shows that he’s engaged, and when he’s engaged he’s learning. I do however have a few basic tips that might be helpful for people just beginning to explore this path, or that perhaps have had something change recently in their homeschooling journey, like the arrival of a hurricane. I mean, toddler. Yes, toddler, obviously.
- Be open to new ideas and changes. Always, always be open to new ideas and changes. I’ve seen my fair share of burnt out parents in online groups, and a similarity I noticed in almost ALL of them was the refusal to accept that a different way might work when theirs is not. Many of them I’m afraid gave up altogether rather than trying something new.
- Take a day off once in a while. Take a lot of days off once in a while. Revel in your flexibility and your ability to go out and do things at non traditional times. Sometimes you get lucky enough to call it school.
- Call your experiences school. Seriously. You will be AMAZED at how many boxes you can check off if you look at your daily journeys. History, Science, Language Arts, Math, Physical Education, Art, Music. Look for these activities in your day to day life, find opportunities to expand on them, link them back to previous learning, or use the enthusiasm built from them to plan new lessons.
- Use your library. Use the library SO hardcore. Take out stacks and stacks of books. Books for reading, books for planning, books just to look at the awesome pictures. The single greatest thing you can add to enrich your homeschool is books, and if you can get them for free at the library then you can get so many more. We try to go to the library weekly, sometimes we don’t even need books, but we leave with them anyway.
- Use a whiteboard if you can. No, seriously, it’s all more fun on a whiteboard. This is something a friend of mine reminded me of recently. We use our whiteboard to write out lessons and take quick notes from discussion, then I take pictures on my phone to save. I’m looking forward to how much paper it saves me at the end of the year portfolio time. Because heaven forbid I be responsible and deal with paper one a more frequent basis than once a year.
Speaking of paper: never run out. Never, ever, never run out of paper. Because you never know when a big inspiration is going to hit. We keep several types around here. Our most used are our big roll of paper (Ikea if you have it. Best value, best paper), our blank index cards, and regular printer paper, although notebooks (both spiral and composition) get a fair amount of use too. We also keep a big stock of markers (fat and skinny), colored pencils, regular pencils, crayons, highlighters, and sharpies. Many of my favorite supplies can be found at my Amazon Store if you’re inclined to check them out.
Which brings me to… where to get these things. Stocking up at the clearance from Back to School is always a good idea. the great thing is, as the teacher you get to decide what you need next year. I usually decide based on what’s 90% off at Target. I also use coupons from craft stores, and take heavy advantage of Amazon Prime.
- Use the flexibility to make things special. Geekling and I like to school over coffee, cocoa, or cider. It makes things seem cozier. Pajamas and pillow nests are also encouraged.
10. Discuss. Discuss, discuss, discuss, discuss, and then when you think you’re done, discuss some more. 85% of our home school learning takes place through discussions. We discuss what we’re reading, we discuss science articles, movies, different vocabulary words we run across, news articles, and math problems. I try to find ways to link and connect what we’re talking about to a book we read or a show we watched, but sometimes we’re just talking it out. It’s through discussion I find out exactly how much Geekling is connecting the dots on his own.
Mostly, just enjoy it when and how you can. Enjoy the journey, enjoy the time, enjoy the benefits. Goodness knows there’s enough work involved. It will never be 100% easy all the time. But don’t let the hard times take away from the joy and the reason you’re choosing this path. Now get out there and learn something. Or watch a movie. Or go to the library. Because you home school, you can do whichever one you want, and at some point you’ll do all three, possibly at the same time. Some people call that multitasking, we just call it life.