Ever met a facebook homeschool friend who just . . . gets it? That’s Sara Dennis. She is homeschooling made easy. Like in real life. So it’s a big sigh of contentment to welcome her with us today.
Is your homeschool driving you batty? Are you trying to juggle too many balls each day? As a long time homeschooler with 6 kids, I use these three tips to simplify my homeschool and save my sanity.
3 Easy Tips to Simplify Your Homeschool
1. Limit Activities Outside of the House
While the stereotypical homeschooler stays locked in the house all day, homeschoolers actually tend to pick up too many activities. You have dance classes, soccer, science clubs, co-op, church, park days, field trips, scouting trips, and more!
The question becomes not if you stay locked in the house all day, but when are you ever home!
But having too many activities is as bad as having none. You lose the time you need for family dinners around the table. The time kids need for hunting ants in the back yard. Time you need to actually sit down and complete your studies.
So when people ask how I simplify my homeschool, my first answer is I limit our outside activities.
I limit our activities to the afternoon hours. The mornings are for homeschooling and completing educational activities. Evenings are family time. Time we gather in the living room and enjoy being a family.
But our afternoons are free to explore!
I also limit the number of activities the younger children are involved in. My own kids have swimming lessons, park day, nature hikes, and trips to the library. We’ll even join the occasional field trip. But the goal is to leave time for the best homeschooling has to offer.
Make sure you have time to enjoy life, study the slug on the side of the trail, and follow the rabbit trails.
2. Combine, Combine, Combine
Combining content studies in a large family simplifies your life tremendously. By content studies, I mean history, science, art, and music.
Have everyone studying the same time period in history. For instance, your entire family can study Ancient Rome. Older children take an in-depth look at the Roman government. What caused Rome to change from a republic to an Empire? Your younger kids learn about Romulus and Remus, Hannibal crossing the Alps, and Julius Caesar conquering the Gauls. And you’ll stay sane with all your children studying Ancient Rome!
Do the same with science, art, and music.
Introduce your children to Mozart and pull out a picture book for your young elementary kids. Encourage your high school teens to read a biography about Mozart and learn what makes his music distinctive.
Combining subjects wisely simplifies your life and allows you to give the children an awesome education.
3. Use the Same Curriculum
I know the common advice is to personalize the curriculum to each child. I don’t. Personalizing the curriculum each child uses complicated my life to no end!
Each curriculum has a different lesson plan, a different style of teaching, and different types of problems. Trying to learn the ins and outs of using the various curricula gives me a headache!
Instead, use the same curriculum for each child and learn the curriculum backwards, forwards, and upside down. Truly master the curriculum.
This allows you to adapt the curriculum to each child’s needs. Does one child loathe answering questions about their history readings? Why not create a notebook page or write a short report instead.
If your little 1st grader loathes sounding out words, pull out the magnetic letters and spell words instead. Or play memory until you’re sick and tired of the game!
Mastering one curriculum and tailoring the curriculum to each child’s needs is simpler than spending your days and weeks researching curriculum.
And wasting time trying to find the perfect curriculum.
These three tips for simplifying my homeschool have kept me sane over my 16 years of homeschooling. My family has enjoyed time to study ants in the backyard. We’ve discussed The American Revolution at the dinner table with even the youngest kids joining the conversation.
And I saved time and money when I stopped searching for the perfect curriculum for each child and instead made the most of the curriculum on my shelves.
How do you simplify your homeschool?
Sara Dennis is a homeschool mom striving to give her kids an excellent classical education. After years of trial and error, she’s convinced a well-run homeschool is the key to a beautiful and doable education. Sara blogs at Classically Homeschooling about classical education and the well-run homeschool. You can follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.
Do you wish homeschooling was easy? And wonder how Sara and I and so many other homeschoolers can teach and work and play and enjoy life . . . while remaining human? That’s what Homeschool Made Easy and Homeschool High School Made Easy help you with. And maybe put that smile back on your face and spring back into your step. Maybe . . . that book and a cup of coffee and some warm, fuzzy slippers.