If there is one question I hear from new homeschool moms more than anything else, it is this one:
What is a day in the life of your homeschool like?
Crazy? Jam-packed? Overwhelming?
There was a time when those would have been the words I would have used to describe our homeschool day. And while I want to make sure our days are full, I’m not immune to the homeschool stereotype of having to “do it all.” Thankfully, as we’ve learned what works and what doesn’t, I’ve been able to let go of the must-do-it-all mindset. Today, I can succinctly describe our homeschool day by narrowing down our must-haves.
It has taken years to perfect our method so that what needs to be completed is, and what doesn’t need to be is either put on the back burner or eliminated altogether.
I can’t say that our homeschool looks the same from day to day; we are pretty delight-directed, even in high school. Truthfully, I often have no idea what’s going to happen, until we’re in the midst of learning. But as I pondered the question, it was easy to come to the conclusion that there are some constants in our homeschool that create days that do have some consistency.
These are the must-haves for homeschooling I would share with you if you emailed me or if we were sitting across from each other discussing what our homeschool day looks like over a cup of tea.
5 Must-haves for Homeschooling
We try very hard to begin our day in the Word. Our favorite resource is Bible Road Trip. This 3-year long survey of both the Old and New Testaments is written at different levels to cover all grades, and it includes a notebooking journal and wonderful list of books to supplement and engage us even more with the Bible. Ben also has memory verses he works on daily.
We read every day. I read silently. Ben reads silently. I read aloud to Ben. Ben reads aloud to me. Reading living books is Ben’s primary mode of learning. We instituted the book basket idea into our homeschool when Ben was very young, and I believe this one technique is most responsible for developing his passion for reading quality literature.
There are various ways in which we use the computer in our homeschool. From online video learning, such as Kahn Academy, to preparing reports with Word or Powerpoint, chances are at some point during the day, you will find Ben on the computer.
He also uses SchoolhouseTeachers.com in a delight-directed approach to cover many electives (he’s interested in learning EVERYTHING), as well as to supplement some of our core curriculum (he really loves the history courses). Use the code: TRIAL to try it for one month for just $5.
Ben is a techy kid. He always has been. And while I have some minor regrets about introducing him to computer and tablet learning a little too early in our homeschool, the struggle now to use them a little too much has been worth the enormous benefits.
One thing I don’t regret is buying him a Kindle soon after they came on the market. That one purchased has probably saved me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in book purchases. Not that we don’t still have a bookshelf (or 5) in practically every room of the house, we do. But all of the free classic literature and historical fiction I’ve been able to upload onto his Kindle means he’s been able to easily read anywhere we go at practically no cost. Best investment in our homeschool ever. The iPad is a close second. There are so many amazing educational and organizational apps that have enriched our homeschool and most of them are free are very cheap. If your homeschool is using a Fire tablet instead, there are plenty of great free apps for Fire as well.
When Ben was younger, we used lapbooking to enrich and review our unit studies. As Ben entered middle and now high school, that has evolved into notebooking. We use notebooking for many subjects now, mostly to help Ben stay organized and to keep a portfolio of his learning. Our favorite resource for notebooking pages is the LIFETIME membership at NotebookingPages.com. There are literally thousands of pages available for every subject you can imagine, for one low price. You can join for free and receive over 600 notebooking pages to get you started. Should you decide to purchase the LIFETIME membership, it is good for any current or future printables.
I am convinced that many homeschool families are struggling with doing too much. For some reason, we often feel that we have to do it all and do it all well. Trust me, it’s just not possible. If you are having a difficult time trying to get it all done, my best advice is to narrow down your own must-haves to the five things that will benefit your homeschool most and go from there. Simplifying things a bit will benefit both you and your students.
What does your homeschool day look like? Let’s chat in the comments!