Our first week has come and gone. We are now approaching our second week of learning at home and in the world. It has been a much smoother ride this time around. There are a few reasons why this is so, however I would like to share the most important one I have found in our journey. The biggest piece of advice I could give new homeschoolers is to ease into it while building flexibility. You nor your children will benefit from having a rigid schedule packed full of things that need doing. It will only stress you and your learners, which rarely leads to a fun experience.
The best learning experiences that have happened in our home have been the ideas that come up during a lesson or outing. The ability to be flexible is a key factor in our learning environment.
For example, I had planned to have our second art day include a still life drawing of an object, the first day we had completed our annual self portraits. However, while the kids were figuring their allowance (counting earned beads) Blake mentioned that he needed a wallet. I’m unsure how or who brought up duct tape, but in the end we decided that on our next art day we would be making duct tape wallets.
The ability to be flexible with your lesson plans can lead to multifaceted learning. Our wallet project ended up as not just an art lesson, but a lesson that included math concepts, money, typing and internet skills. Before we went out Blake searched online for wallet tutorials (typing, reading and internet skills), I gave him a budget of $10 (math, money management and accountability) he ended up buying 8 different colors/patterns of duct tape! While making the wallets he had to follow directions, use a ruler, and improvise when things didn’t go as planned. He also helped his sister change her wallet into a purse, innovator in the making. In the end we were able to reinforce life skills through an art project while encouraging ideas and self-sufficiency.
It can be easy to get sucked into over scheduling especially if you are a first time homeschooler or just plain ol’ excited about the new year. I recommend covering one or two main subjects daily, with short burst of daily work. This way when ideas are thought up you’ll have the time to discuss them and maybe even plan a project of your own.