What is my home school? What does it look like? Well, it looks a little different every day! And some days are definitely better than others. We have graduated our fourth and last student now. We had a schedule for every day and used BJU Press Curriculum. BJU Press curriculum allowed for both structure and flexibility. Until my oldest was in 5th grade, I did all the teaching.
BJU Distance Learning Classes
At that time, we began adding BJU distance learning classes for the children (I have 4 children.) This allowed me to change from being the sole teacher to being the facilitator. I helped my children figure out what the teacher wanted. That change in dynamic was very beneficial for our family.
It is easy for children who are home schooled to view Mom as the bad guy who makes them do school. Why? Because they are not seeing thousands of their peers every day across the nation going to school and studying.
In a public or non-public traditional school setting there can be positive peer pressure in a classroom. In home schooling, you have to have inner discipline and self-motivation. This self-responsibility takes years to develop and so you as the Mom have to keep everyone moving forward.
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What motivates your children?
It is a little more difficult to replicate this in the home school environment unless all of your children at their different ages and stages are motivated by the exact same things.
I found that we had to use different positive and negative consequences for each child to get the maximum results. This takes some coordination, but is worth it. Perhaps this action plan will help you.
If you need more direction about home school discipline, please read my article 5 Home Schooling Helps for Parents: Discipline.
Our day began with breakfast at 8 and we started our school day at 8:30 am with Bible class — BJU Press has excellent Bible curriculum. Since their curriculum does not have a lesson every day, some days we would review their Bible verse and pray.
Each child had a learning area.
Each of my children had a learning area that was their learning space. Home school textbooks were kept on a common bookshelf or by their desk area and no where else.
Know Where The Homeschooling Books Are
There was too much lost time if the books traveled to other parts of the house, so I tried to be very strict about this.
Also I had a schedule for myself so that each child got specific individual time with me, as well as the roving time I spent overseeing everyone.
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Stay close by!
When my children were young, I found that it was very important to have Mom sitting beside them most of the day to keep them on track. I did this for one child up through 4th grade. Sure, it meant that I was very limited in what else I could get done during the day.
Take a break!
Starting a load of laundry, filling or emptying the dishwasher, or meal preparation became a good break between classes for my child to do with me.
I think it is very important to have the child help with chores. Why should the child get to play while mom works herself into exhaustion every day? Work together and then you can have fun together!
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Home schooling worked best when I was dedicated to helping the children from 8:30 am till they finished each day. I had a couple of kids that didn’t mind making their home school day stretch out till 8 pm! When I realized that, there were three new rules:
1) Finish four classes by lunchtime,
2) One of those classes must be math, and
3) all school must be done by 5 pm.
What is my home school? We had happy days and frustrating days, fun days and days with tears, days of laughter and creativity and other days when we slogged through the work grudgingly.
We kept a good schedule.
Working consistently every day made a huge positive difference in our home schooling. I always say a good home schooling mom is half drill sergeant!
Mom Needs To Set The Tone
You, Mom will need to set a tone of discipline and consistency in your home school. Your example is very important to a successful day. Get up and get going every morning. Have a schedule and stick to it.
Consistency over time will help everyone make progress. You will all appreciate it when you finish the school year on time or early. It is very satisfying to be able to take a day to do something fun without feeling guilty.
There were days that things went fairly smoothly and everyone sat down and did their work. But most days involved some unhappiness about something. We dealt with the normal difficulties of life like everyone else.
It is normal to have regular conflict between siblings, some change of plans because of illness, or company coming, or the normal difficulties of life.
There is a lot of character training involved in home schooling. When the children had conflicts, we took the time to resolve it biblically. The children had to apologize to each other and forgive.
Thankfully home schooling allows for the needed flexibility of changing needs and schedules.
I tried to keep everyone on track and pushing ahead of schedule so that when the disruptions came, we did not end up getting further and further behind. We did not want to home school in the nice weather of summer!
Some days we had a double-day. This allowed all of us to feel ahead of schedule. As a home school mom, there is no fun feeling behind all of the time.
When the children were younger, we could finish by early afternoon. When the children were older, they tried to finish in 4 days, and by 5 pm, so they could snow board on Fridays or go see a friend.
So what is my home school? It is the wonderful opportunity to train and educate my children at home. Home schooling is flexible when it needs to be and rigid enough to make progress every day.
It means art projects, field trips, exploding volcanoes, and gym class with a co-op group on Thursdays. For more information on my home school, see Teach My Child? Who? Me?!
Your home school doesn’t need to look like mine. It needs to work for you. What does your home school look like? Let me know in the comments below.
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