There are days when I feel like we are just not doing what we are supposed to be doing – that I’ve got things all wrong – that life is out of balance. What to do!! I had a day like that yesterday. Sometimes these feelings are purely emotional, and other times they are the beginnings of symptoms which prompt us to look carefully at our direction. This is what helped me yesterday:

Do the basics that you know are right –

Relationships with God and Each Other: We had a great family devotion as we discussed Ephesians 5:21 – Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. There were a few niggles in relationships around here and discussing this, hashing it out, applying it was a great start to our day. We then moved into discussing our Character trait of the month: Cautiousness. We discussed that a cautious person would ask themselves “Do I have the freedom?” to do something in order to check if this was the right timing. A great reminder of a principle we have taught for a long time but now as the kids are older it looks different and they need to grow into older responsibility.

Discipline Studies: These are the things that need to be practiced every day. These subjects differ for each student and change as they grow older.
Daniel – Reading, Copywork, Math, Typing
Nomi – Reading, Writing, Piano
Jessica – Math, Writing, Piano
Joshua – Math

Read Alouds and Discussions: How easy it is to let this slide and fill your day with school subjects. And yet it is through the discussion of things that our children make connections; this so often leads to learning way beyond one lesson that I could have planned. We read about Eratosthenes who was the man who first measured the circumference of the earth. I got a little out of my depth so Peter came to show the kids how he did this. The kids ended up with a math lesson as well as a geography/history lesson (as well as time with their daddy!)

Notebooking: Notebooking is simply recording what you have learnt. For the kids pages today I photocopied a sketch of Eratosthenes and a map of his part of the world – Egypt and Greece. They have written a short biography of Eratosthenes. On another page they simply copied the drawing Peter had on the whiteboard, and I typed the summary Peter wrote for them which they stuck on with the drawing. The second notebook page was nothing original but it is a record of their work and it will connect to the lesson Peter gave them.

Talk to a friend: Over the years I have had wonderful support from people who can help me process my feelings and thoughts. Usually it has been my mum but this time I initially talked to Josh and Jess. I wanted to process what I did with them that worked, and compared that with what was happening now with the younger two that I wasn’t so happy about. We came up with a few ideas. They encouraged me to talk to another homeschool mum – which did happen at the end of the day. She was having the same concerns with her family. Adjusting to round two (a younger set of children). These are some of the keys we felt we needed to focus on:

  • Talk about wisdom not knowledge. Knowledge is facts. Wisdom is the application to life. I like to define wisdom as: practical application of knowing Jesus.
  • Journal vs Diary. Journaling is recording our ideas, feelings, thoughts and inspirations whereas a diary is simply recording what happened. This can be reflected in our discussions and our notebooking. We need the kids to write more reflective, to think about the implications and applications of their knowledge to their life (and the lives of others).
  • Talking with our kids makes connections – this takes our learning from knowledge to wisdom. E.g. discussing the Dingo is a knowledge based discussion, it can lead though to a discussion on the Lindy Chamberlain case, which leads to a discussion on the Australian justice system, which leads to a discussion on what is God’s justice system, what is God’s penalty for falsely accusing, which leads to a discussion on falsely accusing someone in our family (remember the outcry – “Someone stole my pen!”) Note to self: I don’t think all conversations with our kids need to be wisdom – but a good portion of them do.

So if you ever have those days – don’t make rash decision – stick to the basics and rediscover the joy of learning yourself. This will be contagious and your family will be reignited.

Related articles at Lifestyle Homeschool:
My Homeschool Guiding Principles
Discipleship – A Working Definition
Development of an Independent Learner
Discipleship Scope and Sequence

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