I struggle most weeks trying to fit it all in.
We do the academics just fine. I try to make it as fun and engaging as possible.
I want the kids to have the extras too – electives.
While I’m not too concerned yet with keeping track of electives, I want to provide opportunities and continuity throughout their homeschool time – on into middle school and high school credits.
And these should also develop into hobbies and life skills.
I do encourage as much free time as I can.
I really think the children need to be children.
They’re learning that if they complete their lessons quickly, they get more free time. This helps them to learn time management.
They did this pyramid on their own and yelled,
“Mom, take a picture! We’re cute!”
Yes, yes, they are.
I don’t want to schedule their every second.
Often, they complain they’re “bored” and beg to play the iPad or computer or watch TV. Sundays, we try to keep technology free.
I give them ideas of what to do with each other or alone and they almost always have lots of fun playing dress up or pretending with their dollhouses and toy figures. It seems that there’s always one who begs to do more schoolwork or “school play” and Mama’s just needing the break!
Boredom is a good thing. It sparks creativity.
Daily outside time is key.
They burn off energy and ground themselves by going barefoot in the grass. They soak up the sun and fresh air and learn about backyard bugs and plants and critters.
I love to see them running and playing in the yard and we’re all soaking up the sun!
We try to go outside every day unless the weather is just utterly horrible.
We’ve had thunderstorms the last couple evenings, so we sat on the deck right by the door and watched until we had to come inside because of the hail and winds.
We like to watch the bats and hummingbirds at dusk when it’s nicer out.
Our various children do participate in piano lessons, gymnastics, soccer, track, and fishing club, but I try to limit activities so we’re not overscheduled.
I think music is so very important. Learning about it or lessons for an instrument.
Drama or theatre is fun and offers lots of great skills.
PE or sports are very necessary, especially for homeschoolers. It’s up to me!
Health education is super important and we have to make sure we don’t miss anything as homeschoolers.
Also, Civil Air Patrol is a great elective for ages 12+.
Computers and technology are great skills and we just teach as appropriate how to do data processing and use MS Office and how to navigate the Internet and social media.
Teaching kids to be money savvy is certainly something that many schools fail to teach properly.
Arts and Crafts
I have ideas for sewing projects galore, if I could just buckle down and teach the girls to do them when Alex is napping or Daddy is occupying him. Also looking into local affordable classes for crafts, or camps. Hobby Lobby and Joann often offer single project classes.
Art creation and art history is very important. We take lessons and learn along with our history and visit lots of museums!
I made photo journal cards, laminated them, and set them in the girls’ cubes (workboxes).
Let the fun begin!
We learn languages like Latin from about age 8/grade 3 through high school. The kids choose to continue or add Greek or Hebrew. They also like to learn French or German.
Cooking skills are important, or home economics, whatever you want to call it…it’s important!
Elizabeth made these yummy chocolate chocolate chip muffins for breakfast the other morning. She used a mini flower muffin tin and a regular muffin tin. Who doesn’t like “brownies” for breakfast?! I love giving the kids freedom in the kitchen. I sure don’t want to kill any desire they have for cooking.
I found these Simple Mornings natural muffin mixes at the store and I didn’t even care about the price tag (about $4!). It takes the fear out of baking for Liz. She gets a little nervous cooking from scratch with so many different ingredients to measure. She gains confidence with easy mixes and gets excited that she created something yummy for us.
I want my kids to be free explorers as much as possible when young, but sometimes I have to help out with some creativity.
I had some painters tape and I made a road for Alex on the floor of the basement. He thought it was the greatest thing ever!
We do sensory bins every month or so too. I really just try to go with whatever interests him. Cars, dinosaurs, all the boy stuff!
It’s important to find something each child enjoys other than just academics. I encourage perseverance and not just trying a new thing and throwing it away after a few weeks. They need to stick with it for a season or two to learn it and then decide if they should move on to something else.