Here are some of the questions parents have asked about lifeschooling:
How many subjects do I actually need (I know what my state requires, I want to know more practically what is necessary)?
What is the minimum I can teach and still feel confident I am teaching well? How do you discern what is learning versus leisure? Can I trade grammar and science for more time to pursue interests such as painting and drawing?
These questions are not simple questions to answer. We often want someone to hand us a simple checklist that we can follow, but that is not the way God works. I would really suggest you turn to the Lord and ask Him who your child was created to be and don’t be surprised if He makes you wait in faith. You may see some gifts in your children that perhaps do not fit with what we typically visualize as traditional schooling. Don’t be afraid to allow your children time to develop these gifts… Remember Who put them there in the first place! And just see where God leads as you faithfully obey day by day.
God will give you that peace and security you desire as you truly listen to His direction and follow His leading. He cares far more about the success of your children than you do and will not let them fail. Remember Psalm 121:1-3,
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
I need help with managing children at differing levels, many with special needs. I am overwhelmed even before I begin. How can I manage to get all of them through one day of homeschooling without experiencing burnout before I even begin?
This is a question that comes from one of our members. First of all, take a deep breath! You can do this. Many other moms in your situation do it every day without burning out, so there is a way!
I believe one of the best ways to teach children at different levels is to put more of your attention on the older children. Children will reach towards what you give them or expose them to. You may be very surprised what your little ones pick up on just from listening in to the lessons of the older ones! Then you can fill in with some things on their level to solidify the learning.
This simplifies the process and gives you more time, preventing you from feeling so burned out. Remember, the biggest impact you will make in your homeschooling is through building your relationship with your children and training their character. Don’t be afraid to take a day off when things get too overwhelming and hectic and just focus on your relationships. The Bible puts a lot more focus on relationships than on education. We need to have the faith to do the same!
How do you get/keep your child engaged with tangible and paper learning activities when the draw to electronic means is so strong?
I was recently asked how to keep a child engaged when the draw to electronics is so strong. Here is my answer:
This is a tough one! We live in such an electronic age and it is so easy to fall back on that, especially on busy days! For me, being reminded of the negative aspects of too much screen time is helpful in keeping me committed to our standards. Studies have shown that too much screen time negatively impacts a child’s learning.
I also believe that there can be different situations requiring more screen time than others. For example, my oldest son is 17 and spends the majority of his day on a computer because he does programming. My youngest, however, is 7 and much more in need of developing his imagination. He is required to finish chores during the day to earn the privilege of some programs or computer games in the late afternoon when he is a bit more difficult to deal with.
We avoid the reliance on computer programs for his teaching. Reading engaging books and doing hands-on projects makes school exciting enough for him! If you are vigilant in training your children what is allowed and expected, this pull toward electronics will become easier to deal with. Discuss ideas with your spouse on what rules you will set up and then diligently enforce them!
How do you find out what to teach and when to teach your child a certain unit?
It may seem like a complicated question that requires some kind of degree or special training. But the truth is, most of the issue comes back to our own thought patterns about what education is.
I think we have to get out of our heads that there is “a right way” to educate our children. The Bible is our absolute authority in all of life, and I have not yet found a Scope and Sequence in its pages. 😉 We have much freedom! You know your child best, and when you see an interest, then that is usually the time to teach that particular subject.
That doesn’t mean we neglect subjects for which a child has not yet shown interest, of course. But it is a good basic guide. Keeping education fun and exciting is key to helping your children become lifelong self-motivated learners. Bottom line: pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you what should come next, then step out in faith and do it!