This post is part of a series of helpful teaching tips for homeschoolers. If you haven’t yet, check out Tip #1 and Tip #2.
Imagine you walk into a classroom and take a seat at your desk. There you find a worksheet with a tree diagram. The teacher announces that you’ll be studying trees today. She lists the vocabulary words you should add to your diagram.
Now imagine instead that you walk into a classroom with a three foot wide slice of tree trunk on a table with a few magnifying glasses scattered next to it. The teacher invites you to study the tree for a few minutes and see what you see.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one who would find the second scenario more interesting.
This post is part of a series of helpful teaching tips for homeschoolers. Check out the first post here.
If you look up “how to create a lesson plan,” the first thing that most resources will tell you is to “Know Your Objective.” That is, know what the main point of the lesson is. For example, “after this lesson, the student will be able to name the four largest moons of Jupiter.”
When I started homeschooling, one of the first things I did was to check out a stack of “how-to-teach” books from the library. I was hoping to find the secrets to successful homeschool teaching.
I found about 30% of the information to be really helpful. The other 70% was geared toward navigating the public school system. They covered things like managing classes of 20+ students, working with parents and school administration, and decorating classroom bulletin boards.
Don’t get me wrong. A lot of it was good information. But it just wasn’t relevant for me as a new homeschool mom.
If you’ve been following this series (if not, start here), you’ll probably have noticed a pattern by now. We seem to keep ping-ponging back and forth between work-focused summers and play-focused summers, always trying to find the sweet spot.
Year 3 was a summer of virtually no advanced planning and no academic work. So, you probably won’t be too surprised when I tell you that Year 4 was the complete opposite.
(And, according to my oldest son who was just reading over my shoulder a minute ago, Year 4’s summer was “horrible!” Can’t win ‘em all, I guess.)
Anyone who has homeschooled for more than one hour knows that interruptions are part of the job description.
On my good days, I try and embrace the interruptions – the many opportunities for real life training and modeling grace and patience. I totally agree with the writer of this post who said, “Interruptions are not obstacles to our plan; they are opportunities for us to embrace God’s plan.” So true.
But some seasons bring so many interruptions – so much chaos – it just seems impossible to maintain any semblance of order or sanity, much less get any meaningful homeschooling done.
Over the past four years, we’ve renovated nearly our entire home, room by room. Home renovations are definitely one of those chaos-inflicting seasons – but there ARE things you can do to make it through.
Homeschooling parents have a lot on our plates and, depending on the day or our stage of life, the help we need often takes different forms.
But there are also kinds of support and encouragement that are universally helpful to all homeschoolers. The following three categories of help have been consistently valuable to me in all stages of our homeschooling so far.
In the previous post, I shared how Daniel Tiger reminded me to be grateful and stay positive. We’ve started using gratitude journals in the evenings to help us focus our thoughts on our blessings before bed. So far there haven’t been any complaints about the extra writing – a Christmas miracle!
Daniel has been teaching me other things lately, too.
He knows what we need and he meets us where we’re at… even when “where you’re at” is buried under three loads of laundry, surrounded by a hopeless mess in every direction, with a crying toddler hanging on your leg, an oven timer beeping and older kids who are fighting instead of finishing their math.
It was in a moment like this a few days ago that He caught my attention through the (unbelievably incessant) singing of the PBS character, Daniel Tiger.
🎵“When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.” 🎵