Our children are growing every day. They are not just growing taller—they are also growing in their understanding of the world and in their ability to interact with it in a meaningful way. God created our children as emotional creatures—they respond emotionally to the world around them. We can observe these emotions in our children from very young ages. Babies scream when their world is unpleasant—when their diapers are wet, or their bellies are hurting. Toddlers sometimes display their temper when something doesn’t go their way. It’s important for our children to grow in their ability to express and manage their own emotions and empathize with others. They won’t be able to function well as adults if they don’t learn these skills. As homeschool parents, we get to encourage and observe this emotional growth.
When I was a homeschooled student, February seemed to drag on forever. It was cold and snowy (I lived in Illinois). There weren’t many opportunities to get out of the house and winter boredom hit hard. The routine of homeschooling seemed dull, and I was ready to be done.
Now I’m the homeschool mom instead of the homeschool student. I live in the South where the winters are milder, but I have still found the winter months to be a challenging time to homeschool. By the time February rolls around, I (and my kids) just want to be done homeschooling for the year. But we can’t just quit. We have to stick with it to the very end. Here’s a few ideas to help you and your homeschool crew make it past those “winter doldrums.”
Homeschooling is hard. Parenting is even harder. We homeschool parents probably have it the hardest of all—we have to be both the teacher and the parent all day long. This dual role can be a blessing. We have the opportunity to deal with character issues that would likely not be addressed if our child sat in a traditional classroom. But wearing both hats can also be deeply discouraging. Without a positive tone in our homeschool, we may feel like we are constantly having to correct our children. We’re correcting their schoolwork, their attitudes, and wrong behavior. Correction, correction, correction. All. Day. Long.
We homeschool parents have a unique superpower—we set the tone of the atmosphere in our homes. Have you ever noticed that when you are feeling grumpy everyone in your house gets grumpy too? The same phenomena happens when we are full of joy. It’s contagious. So if we want to change the tone in our home away from the constant doom and gloom of correction, we are going to need to change both our words and our actions. Here are some ways to get you started on creating a positive tone in your homeschool.
Christmas is going to look different for a lot of people this year. Some families may not be able to travel to see loved ones as they have in the past. Some families may not be able to take part in much-loved traditions such as attending church Christmas programs, caroling at nursing homes, or enjoying Christmas parties with friends. And, because of job losses or other financial hardships, some families may not be able to exchange gifts like they have in the past. Many families are needing to plan for a much more minimal Christmas season.
I have four daughters, and they are all very different. They are individuals who have different interests, different personalities, different strengths, and different weaknesses. And I have found that I can’t homeschool them all in the same way.
One of the great strengths of homeschooling is the ability to tailor instruction to your individual child. But in order to do that well, you have to learn some specific things about your child. Here are a few to start off with.