I’ve been a homeschooling mom for 20 years, and I’ve graduated three students. Two are college graduates, and the third is working on his degree. After adopting seven more children I’m starting completely over.
The most genius thing I’m doing this time around is not stressing out. We’re using Sonlight for preschool and My Father’s World for First Grade. I also enjoy reading chapter books all together (in addition to library books). We’re currently reading Farmer Boy (Little House) by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We’re having a lot of fun!
Homeschooling is completely different than when I started in 1994. There is more curriculum, there are blogs, and there are tons of wonderful ideas. I love hearing about what other people are doing and what works for them. According to The Guardian, homeschooling is much better than going to school.
Recently I asked some of my Facebook friends about their genius ideas. These are some great ones, so I thought I’d share!
Genius Idea #1 – ‘Home Ec’ Day
Dee Ann: One day a week was Home-Ec class beginning in Kindergarten. It was a great way to teach them everything from folding laundry, to using the washer, ironing, cleaning house, sewing, gardening, baking, meal planning and prep. We started simple, and got more complex as the years went by. They were “responsible” for dinner one day a week from Kindergarten on. They had a simple kids cookbook with things like bunny rabbit pear salad and hot dogs. They did all the planning, and I only stepped in when they asked for help. I just sat at the table in the kitchen, and did paperwork or other projects. Of course as the years went by, their skills increased to the point I was not needed in the kitchen. They learned to do meal planning using what we had on hand, and if they had to buy any ingredients they had to prove it was the least expensive choice. I only remember one time we couldn’t eat what they prepared. One of them read 2 cups cornstartch instead of cornmeal. No one wanted to eat glue for dinner. I think all of this is needed training for boys and girls. They are all grown, and successful moms and “keepers of the home.”
Genius Idea #2 – ‘Closed Captioning’ = Reading
Kelli: My son turned on the closed captioning on Netflix. He taught himself to read in kindergarten.
Genius Idea #3 – Get Moving!
Cindee: My oldest struggled with comprehension and retention, so we broke out the Legos, Sculpy Clay, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, etc. and I would read everything, for hours, while his hands were busy. We kept it up for 12 years and weren’t sure what would happen in college. He learned to read on the treadmill…for hours. He’s in amazing shape and graduating with a great GPA in just four years. We’ve carried on the tradition with our other four. Our second son earned a Presidential four year scholarship. And…we grown a whole houseful of creatives.
Genius Idea #4 – Take School Outdoors
Julie: When we were homeschooling, we homeschooled year round. In the spring and fall we would pack up some of our school supplies and go to the park a few days a week. Every so often we would take a break and my children would go play for a bit. When their break was almost done I’d pull out a story book and start reading and they would automatically come over and sit down and play with match box cars or color while I read the story (great for calming down after running around and playing). After the story was done, they’d continue on their schoolwork. This worked great for those spring and fall days when there was schoolwork to do, but everyone wanted to be outside.
Genius Idea #5 – Thank You Letters
Kerri Stites: This may seem small but it’s turning out to be one of my favorite things. My girls (12 and 16) have a letter due to me on Wednesday mornings. It can be anyone God lays on their hearts to write to and it must be encouraging or thanking the person in some way; letting the person know they’ve made a difference etc. It’s turning out to be one of our favorite things about homeschooling. We could have been doing this all along but weren’t. Many kids don’t know how to address an envelope or how the mail works etc. so there are many benefits to this. Now a few others have asked if they can do this Wednesday Letter also. YES! Everyone is invited! (for more about Kerri go here.)
Genius Idea #6 – Get Organized
Debbie: Workboxes were a lifesaver for us. The kids loved having their own boxes for their work and knowing they could go from one to the next independently… after we did a few subjects together in the morning. I highly recommend them.
Genius Idea #7 – Start the Day with the Bible & Prayer
Amy: We start every day with the Bible, Awana verses, and prayer. Sometimes I pray and sometimes they pray. I think it’s important and they do better with their Awana verses.
Genius Idea #8 – Dry Erase To-Do Lists
Carol: I put the girls’ assignment pages in sheet protectors, then they could check off each subject w/ a dry erase marker. The next day, wipe it off & start over