Today, let’s look ahead for this upcoming year at your house. Here are a few ideas for your homeschool efforts from our experiences as a homeschool family—I hope they are helpful:
1. I wish I had known to relax and enjoy the time together as a family more. In the beginning, we were so nervous about covering everything, using all of the workbook pages, filling up the plan book ahead of time and sticking with it rigidly; so much stress, so little long-time learning, and so little enjoyment of the educational process.
2. Buy plenty of world globes at garage sales—put the world in their hands. For under $1 each, I purchased several globes this way, and everyone had their own globe to study and spin when learning about a new country or perhaps listening to the evening news. The world is “getting smaller” with advanced communications these days, and it is a leap ahead to be able to hold the world in your hands as you learn where a missionary in Cambodia is, how far they are from home, and where the special friend is currently stationed in the military. Hands-on learning at its best—expand their horizons and concepts of the world.
3. Put the ideas, Scripture, or passages that you would like for them to learn right where they can see it. For years, I printed these items and posted them on the doors of the kitchen cupboards, over the kitchen telephone, and in other conspicuous places that the children faced several times a day. Exposure is key—curiosity takes care of the rest.
4. The more we homeschooled, the broader our interests became. No longer pursuing narrow, society-defined topics alone, we enjoyed the freedom to investigate topics like horticulture, sports fitness, glass painting, business and economic concepts for kids, personalized pursuits of art, music, and so much more.
5. Read classic literature with a new eye—finally having the time and curiosity to “see” what the author was saying, and how it fits in with the big picture. When we read The Swiss Family Robinson aloud, and what an eye-opener it was after living out here in the middle of nowhere. While studying lighthouses, we learned that Rudyard Kipling wrote Captains Courageous while living in a lighthouse off the New England coast. This classic took on a whole new meaning with this knowledge.
6. You will never be able to completely fill their minds with absolutely every bit of available information—but you can teach them or learn with them about how to find all kinds of information that they might need to know—research skills are vital for this next generation. The overabundance of information on the Internet is so overwhelming, and at the same time, provides priceless access to things that we could never have found through a local library. Give them the gifts of thinking skills and research ability.
What one idea are you going to implement this coming year?