Well another year has come and gone. Once again I have learned many things along the way. I’ve learned to not push ahead when we’re having a bad day. Instead it’s better to change the pace and choose a different activity for a while. Some ways we do this are to play a board game, put together a jigsaw puzzle, do a simple art project, watch an educational show on DVD or Netflix (National Geographic and the History Channel have some great ones).
Another thing I’ve learned is to be more flexible. Home education requires quite a bit of flexibility because children bring many surprises to life. Children get sick, have dentist appointments, eye exams, and those dreaded injuries that require a doctor visit ASAP. (Earlier this year our 5 year old somehow stepped on a rusty nail that went through her shoe and cut her toe. We had to squeeze in a trip to the doctor for a tetanus booster into our already planned out day. She was fine, but better safe than sorry!)
Occasionally YOU, the teacher, will have a headache, lose your voice, or get the flu. These are the days it’s better to just smile, say a prayer, and lounge on the couch. The children might enjoy reading books to each other or watching National Geographic on these days. Our 8 year old will proudly tell anyone about the deadliest creatures in the world from watching “The Deadliest Dozen” many times on Netflix.
You may be wondering how to catch back up after taking time off for a prolonged illness, or too many hectic days where things didn’t go as planned. Well, first you need to think about what are you trying to “catch back up” to? Are you trying to keep pace with your local public or private school? If so why? Are you trying to finish a specific book or curriculum before the end of the school year? The beauty of home education is you can set your own schedule and even teach year-round if you want.
One thing to keep in mind is the first couple of chapters of the next book will often review what was learned the previous year. No matter how long you take for a summer break, keep reading to each other and keep talking to your children about all sorts of topics. Discussing new vocabulary they come across in a book, places you visit, and situations as they occur are all part of the process of learning. Children are ALWAYS learning, whether you are actively teaching them or not. Take advantage of this by giving them materials geared towards their interests. Take the time to answer their billions of questions or point them towards the resources with the answers. 🙂