I want a more relaxed homeschooling environment, but how do I find the balance between allowing our days to unfold and following a traditional homeschool methods approach?
I have shared with you all over the past few months my slow change into a more relaxed homeschool routine. Because of that, I have been getting a LOT of questions about our homeschool routine, my homeschooling methods, and how in the world we can find the balance between a rigorous academic schedule and a more relaxed one.
I share some of my thoughts on this in this in my biggest homeschool regret post. However, this comment from a reader enticed me to write more about this topic:
We are just starting out (my oldest are triplets currently in homeschool kindergarten) but THIS is the tone I want to set in our home and school days. My question is, how do I find the balance (as they get older) between allowing days to unfold and learning to emerge in the most important areas while not allowing us to become negligent in the “other stuff” (math, sciences, social studies, etc) that are actually important as well (my husband is a clinical pharmacist- he would not be if he weren’t skilled in math and science).
Where do we find the balance??
How Do We Find Homeschool Balance?
The answer? I don’t know!
Okay, seriously guys I don’t. Homeschool bloggers don’t have all the answers. We are on this journey just like you guys. We are making mistakes, sharing our failures, and rejoicing in our successes. We are learning as we go. Just like you!
What I Have Learned from Homeschooling
What I can do is share what I used to do, what I have learned, and what I want to do moving forward.
- I used to PUSH textbooks on my kids. ALL of our subjects were textbooks. This was KINDERGARTEN. It didn’t work and wasn’t fun. Now, I am taking a more literature-based approach to homeschooling. My kids LOVE to read and this works well for them.
- I used to make sure ALL homeschool subjects were covered every day. Now, we take a more relaxed approach to homeschooling. We do History 2 days a week, Science 2 days a week and Fridays are flexible and allow time for homeschool fun.
- I used to do a FULL homeschool schedule Monday through Friday. Now, our Fridays are flex days. If we miss a day through the week we make it up. If we don’t, we use Fridays for fun things like Art projects, field trips, or socialization!
- I used to stress over EVERY single detail in our homeschool. Now, I figure if the Lord called me to it, He will equip me to complete the journey.
- I used to worry about my kids being “behind”. I now know that they will learn what their strengths are and embracing love for learning is SO much more important than teaching to the test.
- I used to never veer from the curriculum. I now know that if we need to take an extra week to master a math skill it is okay. If my kids want to take a week off of our normal Science to study and learn about locust, it is okay. I am NOT a slave to a curriculum. It is a tool and should be used as such.
- I have learned that my kids are not the same. They don’t have to learn the same things at the same time. One can study more music and less science. One can study more science and ditch the music. They have their own interests and I need to embrace that.
What I Won’t Change in our Homeschool
These are all areas where I have learned to find a balance between traditional and relaxed homeschooling. Now, that being said there are a few things I have NOT become relaxed on. I think this is where balance comes into play.
- Math is a must. Every day.
- My kids need to learn the basics like cursive, the parts of speech, and how to read. This is a must, not something to be brushed aside to accommodate a relaxed schedule.
- The three R’s are where I concentrate most. The other subjects can come into play in a more relaxed manner. These are the areas where I am okay with them following their own interests and I am encouraging that more than I used to.
- School has to happen. Period. It is my job to make sure my kids are getting an education. How this looks may look different in my home than yours, but it is my job and my duty to ensure that happens.
Moms, if you are wondering how to find the balance between a relaxed and a rigorous homeschool, I encourage you to take a look at your children. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What are their interests? What are areas where you are NOT willing to “relax” in?
Answer those questions for yourself and for your family. In doing so, I am confident you will find the balance that you are looking for!
PS: This book changed my view on homeschooling in every way. It is a MUST read for those looking for a more relaxed approach to homeschooling, but yet who also still worry about what their kids are learning.
PS: Are you still afraid of failing at homeschooling? Grab this presentation on homeschool fears. You won’t regret it!