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Don’t Do School at Home!

Starting Out Doing School at Home

As a homeschooler, I have changed many things along the way. I started out doing things the way I saw them being done at school. I had been a first grade teacher in public school. The only way I knew to teach was the way they did in school. I had a book for phonics. I thought I should make my son do a page each day. I had a math book (which he hated). I had flash cards (which he hated). I tried to make him do the Pledge of Allegiance and sit at the table with me and work in his workbooks (all of which he hated!).

My Son Hated School at Home!

We both got tired of the struggle and contention, so I knew I needed to do something different. After a few years of struggling to make him conform to my way of doing school, I started to learn about the Charlotte Mason homeschool method. I read a book called “For the Children’s Sake” by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay, which I highly recommend to every homeschooler, and I got a new vision for how to homeschool. I started to realize that the main thing I needed to do was to read good living books to my children. I found good booklists of living books and started checking those out of the library. I read them aloud to my children and had them narrate them. I found ways to get good art and music into our home. I started using copywork. All of these are main elements to the Charlotte Mason approach.

I began to let my children learn more from real life. I didn’t try to get them to sit down with workbooks every day. I read aloud to them more than anything else. They narrated the stories and committed many details to memory. We did lots of nature study. We studied our Bible. We studied topics together in unit studies.

One Way You Can Move Away from School at Home

I recommend that you lighten the burden for your child and for yourself as the mom. Consider following a routine instead of a schedule. If you try to follow a time schedule, you’re sure to meet obstacles that will keep you from starting at the exact time you planned. You will deal with life happening and kids’ attitudes, tiredness, unexpected events, your own tiredness, and different paces that you all move at. These things can cause frustration for everyone. Consider using a framework and routines instead of a minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour schedule.

You have freedom at home to be more relaxed and not rigid. You can follow your own rhythms and preferences. If your family tends to be night owls, you can sleep in later. If you have one child that is a night owl and one that is an early bird, you can allow them to do what works best for each of them. The hours of “school” time do not have to be within the “regular” school hours. Some families start at 8 or 9 AM, while others may not start until 10 or 11 Some may not have a regular starting time.

I will be writing more in the future about how to move away from doing school at home. Stay tuned for more.

If you have any questions about how to get started, please leave a comment and I will be happy to answer your questions.

I have graduated 6 children from homeschooling, and I’m still homeschooling 4 of my children. I have advised many beginning homeschoolers over the last 24 years. I would love to help anyone who is starting out and needs some advice and encouragement!

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