Homeschool Part II

Go here for Part I.

Where do you have school?
I would love to have a school room.  I have tried to convince Lance to turn our office into a school room but I haven't had any luck yet.  Most days we do our school work at the kitchen table.  It works. I can be prepping things for dinner, making lunch, or baking while we are getting school work done.  I found if I am not in the room to supervise the kids tend to get distracted.  This way I can get a few things done while they are completing their school work.

this cabinet is in our piano room - i store the kids' book and my manuals in this cabinet
butler's pantry - otherwise known as the "school room" although it basically just houses materials
view from the other side of the butlers pantry
kitchen table ie our classroom

When do you run errands, clean the house, etc...?
This has changed every year mostly because of Mauryn's age and working around her napping/eating schedule.  Last year I set one morning a week to run errands - groceries, library, and Target.  It worked really well.  I prefer getting my errands done on weekday mornings because it is not as busy.  We still do our school work on those days... just in the afternoon. Once Mauryn is no longer napping we can do our errands in the afternoons and stick to getting school done in the mornings.

A key to keeping things running smoothly in our home is having a organized and clean house.  It is hard for me to focus on teaching the kids when I see dishes in the sink or floors that need to vacuumed.  I try to make sure the house is in order before I go to bed at night. I started a cleaning schedule where I do certain chores on certain days so that everything gets cleaned just not all on one day. It is too hard to try to tackle the entire house on one day, get school completed, and be able to just spend time playing with the kids.  

Are your kids self motivated to do their work? Do you think this is important for a homeschool student?
Hmm.. that is hard.  I would say that Morgan is self motivated in certain subject areas or if she really likes a topic we are studying.  There are subjects where I need to offer more encouragement.  For the most part she is pretty self motivated.  I have always said Morgan is a "school kid"  She would do well in any type of school environment.  She has been surrounded by school her whole life. When I taught she would spend hours in the summer and on weekends with me in my classroom. She loved it. 

Now Landon on the other hand is motivated to some extent but I really have to pull out more bells and whistles for him and make things FUN!  He is very busy and his main focus is fun and friends.  His motivation now is get his school work done so he can go play :o)  I think that is probably fairly typical for a five year old boy. 

Again I think if they are interested in a topic they will be motivated.  I know there will be times when we study things that they are not interested in so it might take some extra help to keep them focused - like sticker charts or reward charts. I haven't used anything like that... yet. There may come a time when I need to incorporate some type of extrinsic motivation. 

Any tips?
- Get up before your kids and get ready for the day
- Start thinking about dinner right away. I always say if I don't have a plan for dinner by 9 am we won't be having dinner :o)  The day can get away from you so it is good to have a plan in the morning.
- I don't answer my phone during school hours.  I learned early on that answering the phone for what might be someone with a quick question might turn into a 15, 20, or 30 minute phone call and then the kids have lost focused.  It is much harder to pull them back in once they have lost that focus. 
- Each day is a new day. You get a fresh start. 
- Homeschooling is like having a full time job.   I think of homeschooling as being similar to someone who has a home office.  There are advantages to being at home but your focus is teaching your kids during the school day just like the person who home offices has to focus on their job.

I know that homeschooling is not right for every person or every family.  Each family needs to do what is best for their family.  For now, this is what works the best for our family.  

I consider it a privilege to homeschool my children.  There are days when it isn't all sunshine and rainbows BUT the majority of the time it is wonderful.  My kids are learning to work together, encourage each other, learn from each other, be patient with one another, and truly love each other.  


denise said...

It sounds like you are a wonderful mom and teacher to your kids. Thanks for answering so thoughtfully. I appreciate your posts.

Cathi Hamen said...

i agree!! you are amazing! i sent your blog to 3 of my friends whom are homeschool this year for ideas, information and inspiration. Hope you dont mind. Two are fellow bloggers!

Leah in Iowa said...

Great advice, and well said! When we get back from vacation, I need to order all my school stuff. We probably won't start until after Labor Day since we haven't had our summer yet! I prefer summers in the fall. =)

Blessings on your year!

Jenni S. said...

This seems like really practical, helpful advice for anyone homeschooling. Thank you for sharing all of your insights!

Nyla said...

Thanks for sharing your ideas! We have just decided to home school our three this year! I appreciate all your tips and ideas!