Back to Basics!
Homeschooling. Something I never thought I would do!
If 26 years ago on my wedding day, someone would have told me I would be a stay-at-home mom, I would have laughed at them. If they would have continued on to tell me I would be homeschooling, I would have thought they were crazy. No! More like INSANE!!!
Now, I am here to tell you that after 19 years of staying home with my kids and homeschooling, I am so glad God chose that path for me. I am not going to lie. I went into it kicking and screaming. I kept telling God I had other plans, and that I did not and still do not have any patience!!! I am also not going to lead any of you to believe that my children are perfect, that they were National Merit Scholarship recipients, and got a full ride to an ivy league university because that didn’t happen. We will leave this story for another post. It is encouraging.
The Lord laid it on my heart to share this now during this time when everyone is having to homeschool, not because they wanted to, or felt led to do so, but because it is what everyone is having to do.
I am here to cheer you on and encourage you!
First, I want to address a few misconceptions. Due to our circumstances and having to practice social distancing, we are not able to get out and do the typical activities we normally do. Therefore, I don’t want you to think the picture you are getting currently of homeschooling is accurate because it is not.
What I want to share today is specifically to encourage those who are just beginning their homeschool journey and those who have been forced into this situation. With that said, let’s go back to basics and what really matters, the three Rs (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic). I promise you that if you focus on just these three, everything else will fall into place.
Read to your kids aloud. It is just as important to read aloud to your kids as it is for your kids to go find a quiet spot and read to themselves. There is a lot of research on this. Just Google it, but a great resource and my favorite is Read-Aloud Revival. When you read aloud to your kids, you can read books above their reading level and introduce them to higher vocabulary. It also allows you and your children to go into an adventure together!!! If you are not comfortable reading aloud, that is ok. Download an audiobook and listen to it during lunch, in the evening, or at bedtime. By the way, if you have fidgeters, give them something to do while they listen. Make sure it is something quiet as to not disturb the others trying to listen. Wikki Stix are amazing, so are Legos and coloring sheets.
Here is the beautiful thing about reading. If you teach your child to read well and understand what they are reading, they can learn anything. They can pick up a history book and learn about history. They can pick up a science book and learn about science. Personally, I love Sonlight because they teach history through literature instead of only using textbooks. It makes history come to life and allows the child to be engaged. Reading opens up a whole new world of opportunity for learning. Also, may I encourage you to be an example to your child and be excited about the book you are currently reading or are about to read together? Also, make sure your kids see you reading books, not just scrolling through your phone! All this social distancing has led me to start a virtual book club group on Facebook. I hope you will join us. You can find us at The Potter’s Hand Home Academy Book Club.
Don’t make your kid write without giving them clear instructions on specifically what you want. My favorite writing curriculum is from the Institute of Excellence in Writing, also known as IEW. Listen to all the free podcasts. They are truly eye-opening! Hating writing in high school and in college, I never thought this would become such an enjoyable activity.
Figure out what kind of learner you have: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. Usually, we are predominantly stronger in one area, but if you tell, show, and allow your child to manipulate something, he/she will learn it and better yet, retain the information. One of my kids just wanted me to show her how to do it and didn’t want to waste time with manipulatives. Another one of my kids HAD to have manipulatives. And the other two whom I’m still teaching, are very different as well. If you have a kid who just wants to do it and is getting the concept, I highly recommend Teaching Textbooks. If you have a kid who needs to see it and touch it, I highly recommend Shiller Math and Math-U-See.
I know this is a lot to digest, but you got this. If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me. Please make sure to subscribe (top right) so you get an update every time I post. I am trying to be more consistent and post once a week. I don’t want to do more than that and bombard you with too many posts. One last thing, in the comments, share which if the three Rs is most daunting to you.