5 Things That Bring Peace Homeschool Days - Growing a Content Heart
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5 Things That Bring Peace to Our Homeschool Days

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As a stay-at-home, work-at-home, homeschool mom ninja, I wear about a thousand hats.  Every mom can relate on some level.  And adding his homeschool thing brings so much pressure to “get it right,” on top of everything else we are responsible for. For the longest time, I simply accepted the pressure of Pinterest, the perfect homeschool mom bloggers, what I thought people expected of me and my kids, and my own perfectionism.  I let this pressure rule how I planned my homeschool days.  You better believe my kids felt that pressure too.

The Lord has taken me down a couple notches.  I am learning contentment—the whole point of this blog.

As I look back on the journey of the last couple years, I see 5 key things that have brought peace to our homeschool days.  I’d like to share them with you.

5 Things That Bring Peace Homeschool Days - Growing a Content Heart

 

5 Things That Bring Peace to Our Homeschool Days

 

1. Morning Chores

My 10 year old is currently working on laundry in the mornings, plus something else.

My 7 year old boy gets into cleaning the bathroom, so we rotate through various parts of that through the week.  Toilet Monday, sink and counters Tuesday, bathtub Wednesday…you get it.

My 5 year old loves, loves, loves to keep the living room clean, so she tidies, dusts, empties the little trash can by the couch, etc.

The toddler gets to wander around the a duster or a baby wipe for the floors or something simple.  He also loves to stand on the step stool and “help” with dishes.  (Picture me learning to be content with sticky bubbles everywhere and a wet floor.  *deep breath*  This is why God invented towels.)



“Chores” may not be a word that makes you feel peaceful. But the days that I make this happen (with a smile on my face) are more peaceful days, because I’m not stressed out during school time, thinking of all the undone things or that I’m the one “doing everything around here.”  As mom, I can push us to continue on into schoolwork without feeling like I’m ignoring my house.  I know we’ll have another “tidy up the nursery” fling at the end of the day before daddy comes home for dinner.  We’re good.  And they start the day with an attitude of helpfulness and being part of the team.  Builds character, not to mention actual life skills.  Learning how to keep a house should be part of a child’s education.

A method of teaching new chores that has brought incredible peace to chore time, for me and the kids, I got from The Unhurried Homeschooler by Durenda Wilson. She calls it the “Watch me—Help me—I help you—I watch you” model.  Pretty self-explanatory.  My two oldest have pretty serious anxiety about anything new, but there are always new chores to learn as they grow and can handle more.

If they watch me, they see that I am ok with working and doing this task. (Besides, obviously, learning how to do it.)

When they help me, we are a team, and they don’t feel as nervous.

When they control more of the task and I help them, it builds confidence.

When I watch them, they own it.

The fun times are when I show them once, ask them to help, and they dismiss me with an “I got this, mom.”

Morning chores.  A surprising and effective bringer of peace to our days.


2. Morning Time

Some people call it “Circle Time” or “Morning Meeting.”  The concept of Morning Time, however, goes beyond calendar, educational songs, or information sharing.  It is a family ritual—a space to contemplate truth, goodness, and beauty together.

I always used to end my homeschool days and think things like this:

“I wish I could find time or remember to sing hymns with the kids.  I love them so much and want them to know and love hymns.”

“I need to be memorizing Scripture with the kids.”

“We never read poetry together…that sounds like it would be beneficial.”

“Well, we checked off our lessons on the to-do list, but I don’t feel like I really connected with my kids.  There were no smiles or laughing together today.  Shouldn’t homeschooling be happy?”

Then I read about Morning Time, and it clicked.  We were going to make time for this.  The 3 elements of Morning Time typically are:

  1. Ritual
  2. Reading Aloud
  3. Recitation

We have kept it simple, because I have a toddler and because my brain needs me to keep my plans simple.

Our ritual is singing a hymn (usually only a verse or two).  I do one a month, so it gets in our hearts.  They typically can sing them still months later.

Our recitation comes right after the hymn, and for now is a Bible verse.  (My 10 year old can handle more, but I keep it simple because I have little ones. I can give my eldest more assignments on her own.)

Our reading aloud is usually a good library picture book.  (I try to choose quality literature for read alouds and often “cheat” by having it relate to something we are learning in other subjects.)  And yes.  Even my 10 year old reading on a middle school level enjoys listening to these.

During the school year, this routine often happened with a mid-morning snack.  I have chosen, for the summer, to do it as a part of breakfast.  That way we can get chores done and get to whatever fun activity we have planned for the day!

Here is homeschool mom Pam Barnhill’s original article with a simple presentation of the Morning Time practice.  It’s the best post I’ve found on the subject:  “Morning Time and How it Can Change Your Homeschool.”

She has also written a new book that goes deeper into it, called “Better Together.” (Click the image with her quote below to check it out.)Better Together Pam Barnhill

3. Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool

Last summer, planning toward another homeschool year, it became clear in my mind that some curriculum we had been using was not working for our family.  And that was the most expensive material I was using!  Things that make you go, “Hmmmm……”

So, we needed new math for everybody and grammer/writing for my oldest.  And I had no money for curriculum.  I already knew a friend who was using the online curriculum Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool.

One of the best things about it? It’s completely FREE.  I can work with free.  (So I’m not being compensated to tell you about it!) So I spent some nerdy-fun hours looking through website, and decided that we needed this in our homeschool.  Here’s why:

  • Did I mention it’s 100% FREE?  Every subject.  Every grade.
  • No lesson planning for me.  They are all planned. (I do look ahead to know what we are covering, and check the links.)  My life, my brain, and my heart are very full at this particular point in my life.  It has brought a measure of peace to have less homeschool planning to do.
  • It takes less time to do lessons.  What is covered is sufficient.  As the creator says of her curriculum, “It is enough.”  Sure, you can add extra stuff.  But there is no need for it, if it doesn’t fit in your life.  And then there is more time for using our imaginations, something my children can do pleasantly for hours….and hours….
  • It is fun!  Many lessons involve playing online games to reinforce concepts.  There are links to fun video lessons and songs.  My kids can’t wait for school time now!

We are having so much fun learning, we are fitting in more subjects, and none of us is stressed by a curriculum that takes too much time to plan for and work through.  Now, we only supplement for handwriting and spelling.  Using Easy Peasy has brought so much peace to our days, especially in this phase of life we are walking through.

If you didn’t click the link above, here’s another chance to check it out:

Easy Peasy

4. The Sabbath Week

The Sabbath concept God modeled for us when He created the entire universe is 6 days of work, followed by 1 day of rest.  I have applied this idea to weeks of school.  6 weeks of school.  1 week off.  Do this rotation 6 times and you’ve got a full school year.

Now, we are not super strict.  Sometimes, we squeeze in some extra days off, or fit in an extra week of school here, so we can justify 2 weeks of Christmas and New Year’s vacation.  But this rhythm has helped me and my kids.

I can get over my tendency to say, “Nah, you don’t have to school today, let’s just watch movies and play.” I can push through our school routine (especially with Morning Time getting our hearts in the right place and Easy Peasy leaving “more time for happy,” as the tagline goes) because I know we have a week of rest coming.  The kids know this too, and we dive right back in with refreshed attitudes, after a Sabbath week.


5. The word “NO”

Remember my perfectionism and all the “perfect” moms I felt the pressure to be like?  I am the queen of setting my own standards too high.  Also queen of comparing myself to others and worrying about what other people think.  The word “NO” does not come naturally for me.

Again, God has brought me down a couple notches and given me grace to learn this word.  Here are some things I have learned to say “no” to.

  • all the great Pinterest ideas (seriously, search anything homeshool on there and the panic starts to set in)
  • all the bright shiny curriculums (something new and different, something a friend swears I should try, everything you need for X in one box…instead of planning from what my children need)
  • all the great deals (because it’s cheap and I might use it in the next 20 years, I should get it)
  • all the good extra-curricular activities (besides I can’t afford them all!)

I do use some great Pinterest ideas.  That’s what it’s for.  But I have become very picky.  I cannot do all of them, nor will all of them work for my kids and my life.

And I do find great deals for things to use in my homeschool.  But I do not need all of them cluttering my home and my brain.

I must be realistic about what my kids can handle.  We cannot do all the extra-curricular activities that look good for us.  We value down time for life processing, creativity and imagination, and emotional health for anxious and sensory kids.

The word “NO” has brought tremendous peace to my family and our homeschool days.

Homeschooling is a large part of my family’s life, and the Lord has been growing a content heart in me when it comes to this.  Your journey will look different than mine.  But my hope is that you come away from this post inspired to simplify and make the best of your days.


 

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