It took me five years to figure out how to make homeschooling a lifestyle. Our first couple of years were essentially spent doing school at home instead of homeschooling. I let a combination of what other people did and what I remembered from public school rule our days. You’d be correct in assuming that no one was overly excited about our school days.
Thankfully, I realized the error of my ways and after a bit of research, a lot of trial and error, and some good books, we stumbled into a comfortable rhythm that increases the kids’ knowledge, brings us closer as a family, and never ever leaves us bored.
How to make homeschooling a lifestyle
To make homeschooling a lifestyle isn’t hard, but it does take some examination of what you’re currently doing. I knew we weren’t happy with the way things were, but I had to figure out what exactly needed to be changed.
Don’t get hung up on a location
When we first started homeschooling, I remade our loft into a school room. I got desks, a whiteboard, everything needed to recreate a classroom. We had lunch breaks in the kitchen and then back up to the schoolroom to finish our work (because I didn’t dare leave any scheduled schoolwork undone). I didn’t allow any food in the schoolroom so anytime we wanted a snack we had to go back downstairs. It was a huge hassle. I had it in my head that any and all learning had to be done in the schoolroom.
Looking back now, I can only say that I was crazy! No wonder my kids hated school!
It took a while to break out of my school-at-home mindset. Thankfully, we (I) have learned that we can read in any room of the house. We can totally have a snack on the couch (like I shared the other day on Instagram) while we watch documentaries or read aloud.
We have also found that the picnic table in the backyard is the perfect spot to do math or copywork. Although we have decided that the floor is the best place to do our map work.
My point is that you can’t “do school” in only one room! You live in every room of your house, which means logically that learning will take place in every room of your house.
We keep all of our curriculum that we use daily in our school cart so I can wheel it wherever I need in the house. And we keep the rest of our books in what we call the library. It’s not really a library, per se, but is a room filled with bookshelves and books and a desk, so that kinda counts, right?
Be prepared to switch things up
Sometimes we do our schoolwork inside, sometimes outside, in the van, at the dentist, doctors, or grandma’s house. We’ve listened to audiobooks in the grocery store. We’ve taken our table work to the library and done it there for a change of pace.
On really nice days we go to the nature park to walk, observe, and play. And that totally counts as science (and gym)!
Don’t get caught in the “school must be done at a table” mindset. Your children will thank you!
Life skills totally count
I am a huge fan of freezer cooking. Usually, I try to get my freezer cooking done on Saturdays. On those Saturdays, I’ll put a few dozen muffins, crockpot freezer meals, or smoothie packs in the freezer by myself or maybe with a helper or two. However, sometimes I do huge freezer cooking days where we put 40+ meals in the freezer. These freezer cooking days tend to last one to two days. And you know what, I totally count those as school days!
If my kids are in the kitchen measuring, cooking, labeling, following directions . . . they’re learning! Not just math and writing, they’re learning how to be self-sufficient people.
The same goes for big cleaning days, although these don’t happen nearly as often!
Make the most of teachable moments
A teachable moment is an unplanned opportunity that arises where a teacher has an ideal chance to offer insight to her students. A teachable moment is not something that you can plan for; rather, it is a fleeting opportunity that must be sensed and seized.
These moments are very special.
Sometimes it’s wonderment about why leaves are shaped differently. Why does bread rise? Where does dust come from? Why do we breathe?
It’s these kinds of questions that tend to come at the most inopportune time. Am I right? But, if we take the time to answer their questions, cultivate their wonder and imagination, then we’re also teaching them to ask questions and love learning. And let me tell you, a child who loves to learn is way easier to teach than one who doesn’t!
Don’t be afraid of the rabbit trail
This falls in line with the teachable moments. Sometimes the kids take a particular interest in something mentioned in a book we read. And sometimes said interest leads us to the library and into a unit study!
In the early years, I’d get irritated when the kids wanted to step out of my plans and curriculum schedule. I believed we had to do all of our regularly scheduled schoolwork as well as whatever extra stuff they were interested in. I’m going to let you in on a little secret . . . that is NOT true. As long as you and the kids are learning and having fun together, it counts! You DO NOT have to double up on things. Your checklist is not the end-all.
It took me years to get past that!
The kids and I are all much happier now that I have. 😉
To make homeschooling a lifestyle, you simply have to live with the understanding that learning can happen anywhere, anytime. Even when it’s not in the lesson plans.
Need some help keeping track of how often you do each subject or read each book? Give my Weekly Routine Worksheet a try!
This post was written as a contribution to Week 1 of the Virtual Homeschool Fair.
Several other bloggers are participating in the Virtual Homeschool Fair hosted by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Now, let’s see what my fellow homeschool bloggers have to say about The Reasons We Homeschool.
Note: all posts will be live after 8 am EST.
5 Reasons to Homeschool High School by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Weird Homeschoolers by Kim R. @ Good Sweet Love
How We Make Homeschooling a Lifestyle by Jeniffer @ Thou Shall Not Whine
Our Ever Evolving Homeschool Story by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
5 Reasons You Will Want to Homeschool by Michele@ Family, Faith and Fridays
How Our Homeschool Came To Be (and why we continue) by Sabrina @ Kids, Crunch, and Christ
So… Tell Me Again Why You Homeschool? by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road
Virtual Homeschool Fair 2018 – Week 1 – Why do I Homeschool by Joelle@Homeschooling For His Glory
Homeschool Reasons: Bullies, Faith and More by Annette @ A Net In Time
In Pursuit of Purpose by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
A Long Time Ago . . . Why We Decided To Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
The Why Behind Hopkins Homeschool by Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool
5 Reasons We Love Homeschooling by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart
Why We Homeschool – It’s What We Do by Kristen H @ Sunrise to Sunset
Why we Home Educate and Extra Benefits by Sarah@Delivering Grace
Homeschooling: The Big WHY? by Lisa @ True North Homeschool Academy at Golden Grasses
Regaining Your Homeschool Focus by Jen @ A Helping Hand Homeschool
Why do we homeschool? by Dana @ Life Led Homeschool
Our �Homeschool� Why by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
It’s Worth it! Why We Homeschool, Even After All These Years by Hillary @ Walking Fruitfully
Because Life is Precious by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
1998 vs. 2018: Why We Homeschool by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter