7 Homeschool Heresies

Do you remember when the “holiday season” started on or around Thanksgiving? Now I am told that it begins on the first of October. Goodness sakes! Maybe that sounds cozy and delightful to you, but truly, it is a marketing ploy designed to get consumers to buy more – from halloween costumes to fall decorations to hostess gifts to fancy sugar-laden food, etc. I’m not buying it… exactly.

But whether I agree with the commercialization of the fall and winter holidays, doesn’t change the fact that the distractions exist and I am left to figure out what to do with them.  Take halloween costumes for example… when did it become embarrassing to wear home-made costumes. Does every kid need a new costume off the rack every year? I hope not or we’d have gone broke several years ago!

Well in this vein of sarcasm, I write to you about my 7 homeschool heresies and hope that you will find some encouragement or a least a chuckle somewhere within.

blessingBut first, go check out the Big Blessing Sale only going on THIS week – October 10-14.  Get over $120 worth of resources for less than $20. It’s a fabulous sale and I own many of the products and can vouch for quality!

Terri’s 7 Homeschool Heresies:

(I call these Homeschool Heresies because sometimes when I share one of these ideas, I will receive a look of shock from the listener, as though I had just said something terrible.)

1. You can do school when YOU want to!

You do not have to start at 8 or 9 o’clock in the morning. If it works better for your schedule, you can do school with your children in the afternoon. I did this a couple of times when I had a baby or toddler who was taking a nap in the afternoon and it was the only time that I could concentrate whole-heartedly on the task at hand.

2. You do not have to do every subject every day, or every week, or even every year!

We do grammar 3x a week and spelling 2x a week. We do science 3x a week and history 4x a week. You might decide to do history one week and then science the next, or even a monthly rotation, even yearly. You don’t have to start grammar until 3rd grade. Keep your daily subjects reasonable – don’t do more than 4-5 a day. During the holidays, you can trim this to 3 or 4.

3. You can be finished before noon!

In fact, you should be if you have kids in grades 6 and under. Schoolwork with the little ones should take 2 hours or less. My high schoolers spend 3-5 hours a day on their school work, usually closer to 3 or 4. And they take outside classes and can still pull this off!

4. You should never reward quick work with more work!

This is the surest way to squelch efficiency in your homeschool. If a child works quickly and completes what you have asked him to do, reward that child with extra free time or a fun activity that he/she has been longing to do. If you want your kids to work slowly, then make them do extra work when they finish before the time you have allotted for that subject.

5. Don’t turn every interest that your child has into a unit study!

This is another way to squelch the love of learning, particularly the love of learning about something on your own. If every time your child shows a passion for something (say butterflies or racing cars) and you decide to assign a paper on it, they will stop sharing with you their interests. Am I against unit studies? Oh, far to the contrary! We love to do unit studies to break up the monotony of school, especially during the winter and spring months. We’ll talk more about unit studies in a few minutes.

6. School is a given!

School should be so much a part of your routine that your kids do not ask you, “Are we doing school today?” It should be on the same level as brushing teeth or getting dress. School is just what we do. Besides, routine is comforting for children. In fact, when we have something special planned and I am secretly planning to give my kids the day off school, they will often have it finished before I get up and have my first cup of coffee.

7. Take days off when you want to (or need to)!

You are the master of your schedule and you are in charge. If you want to take a day off school, then do it! The beauty of homeschooling is that we can choose our days off. We often do not take the federally recognized holidays off, such as Columbus Day or Veterans Day. We sometimes do not take 2 weeks off at Christmas, maybe only one and get back to it after Christmas, instead of waiting until after New Years. But I almost always take the entire week of Thanksgiving off because I have relatives coming into town and want to get the house clean and the food prepared in advance.  Take the days off that you will most enjoy and need the most to get other things accomplished.

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This entry was posted on Monday, October 10th, 2011 at 6:55 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “7 Homeschool Heresies”

Susan October 11th, 2011 at 9:00 am

Terri,
So glad you wrote this! We are in our 21st year of homeschooling and run ours much as you have described above. Homeschooling is just part of our life, as natural as anything else we do. I see so many younger women burdened by following a tight schedule and ‘needing to finish the book’ that they burn out in just a couple of years. Thanks for your encouraging words to the homeschooling community. May the Lord bless you.

Alana October 11th, 2011 at 9:58 am

Thank you so much for this article!!!! I truly believe in all of the ideas you’ve listed. It was a blessing to read it and know that others feel the same way. I was one of those “let’s get EVERYTHING on the listed curriculum” people at first and then I realized I was burning out my whole family. By doing it our way, we set our own schedule and we get more done in less time. Your encouragement is a blessing! Thank you again. Blessings!

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