Most of us, whether we admit it or not, could benefit from a more efficient homeschool. After all, there’s only one of and we are often outnumbered by our kids. How to accomplish more when we feel pulled in so many different directions?
Lately, I have been making some changes to my home, my work, and yes, my homeschool. I am finding I need additional time to spend with my kids. I have needed to prioritize and become more efficient in order to make this happen. Maybe you can relate?
The Value Of An Efficient Homeschool
Why do we need an efficient homeschool and, maybe more importantly, how do we create one? The truth of the matter is, you are only one person.
No matter which parent works, there is typically one person in the home primarily responsible for the homeschooling. When you start multiplying things
times the number of children, it ends up with being a lot of stuff to do.
Of course we want to be more efficient in our homeschool.
Taking An Innovative Approach In Your Homeschool
It is important that we set aside how we “think” homeschooling should be, and instead, be open to more innovative ideas for out of the box learning.
1. Combine Ages
Combining multiple ages together for learning is a simple way to create more efficiency in our homeschools..
Of course there are some subjects that do not work as well for combined ages, like mathematics, learning how to read and spell. For these subjects, it’s a little harder to combine kids. You’re typically not going to have two right there together in math or right there together in learning how to read. So for those particular subjects, the kids will need to work independently.
In our homeschool, we’ve always had a section of the day called independent time where they’ve done that independent work. Especially when they were little. It looks a lot like me sitting with each one of them for a period of time and working on their independent work together, and then switching to another child.
When you’re reading literature, doing science, and learning history however, your kids don’t have to work separately for those particular subjects.
We call them ‘content area subjects’. You can actually combine your kids together for these.
Now this doesn’t mean that everybody is going to be doing exactly the same thing. If you have a sixth grader and a six year old, they’re not going to be doing the exact same things for history. They may be listening to you read the same books, but that’s all the six year old is going to do. Whereas the sixth grader may also do some additional reading by themselves later in the day. Or, they might do a written narration, fill out a notebooking page or do some kind of project. This is what’s meant by differentiating instruction, which is a fancy buzzword in education.
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2. Add Morning Time
The second way that you can do this is using the practice of morning time.
I have a podcast called The Your Morning Basket Podcast. We’ve got well over one hundred episodes, all about morning time. This is a time in your day when your entire family comes together for all kinds of subjects and practices. In addition to our history example, you can also combine your kids for things like grammar.
We did a little bit of grammar every single day in our morning time with all ages. It was grammar for everyone. We would take one sentence a day and deconstruct it. We would talk about the parts of speech that were in it and role of the nouns and adjectives. We also did our art, music, then our literature. We even did foreign language in morning time.
Morning time not only helps you combine your kids, but it also helps you add in a lot of wonderful subjects that you otherwise might not get to in your day. What I found was when I tried to scatter those little subjects throughout my homeschool day, they would not get done. By combining them together, it gave them more weight.
You don’t have to do it in the morning. You don’t have to call it morning time, but have a period of your day where everyone comes together and you work through all the subjects that can be accomplished as a group.
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3. Begin With Your Vision And Set Goals
When you are setting up what you want your homeschool to look like and what subjects you want to study, don’t start by buying curriculum. You want to
start by looking at what is the vision that you have for education and what things you consider to be important.
What do we want our kids to know and to be able to do? What do we want the atmosphere of our home to be like? Then, what are the specific goals that we have for each child each year?
As you take a realistic look at your children each year, you’re going to see there’s some areas that need a little extra work. Maybe one needs some extra work in math or some extra work in writing. Or they have interests that we want to follow.
By setting some goals that focus on those needs and interests, we are prioritizing what is most important to us. It doesn’t mean
that the other subjects are not getting done. It just means that they are not necessarily a priority.
Top Three Tips For Creating A Successful Homeschool
Let’s summarize. My three tips for creating an effective homeschool are:
- Combine ages and subjects
- Begin a Morning Time routine
- Define a vision and set your goals
More than anything else, I want you to feel the permission to know that you are not gonna be all things to all people all the time. Balance and simplicity come from a more efficient homeschool.