Making the most of Sonlight means seeing the content from fresh angles, rebuilding habits to rehabilitate forgotten ideas, and safeguarding a peaceful home-life. When it’s time to restructure and reinvigorate, consider these ideas for a new lease on the homeschool life.
1. Imagine Medical Uses for Your Microscopic Discoveries
Let's face it. The fact that a porcupine has 30,000 quills, is interesting but forgettable. The fact that the little barbs on these quills are being studied to develop strong, degradable stitches, however, is more likely to be remembered.
Think about real-world connections to fortify homeschool facts into memory.
For an imaginative people-person like my daughter, raw observations about the chlorophyll in a leaf may not be enough to hold attention. I fortify these facts by asking my daughter to find uses for them.
For her, the microscope is a little medical laboratory.
- Imagine if humans could use sunlight to make food.
- Might this solve any problems?
- Can we work out how to do this?
2. Model Tricky Schoolwork by Doing it Before They Do
When it was time for science, I sat down with my daughter with my own science journal. I asked her to doodle while she listened to me explain what I was doing.
I had previously scribbled a note of my son’s observation that it hurts when someone shouts into his ear. I grab the Encyclopedia of the Human Body to find out why. I illustrate the anatomy of the ear in my journal, with simple labels. I explain how I’m choosing the information to write down.
Next time, I present her with exactly the same kind of journal and special pencils, and I ask her to copy my work. Next she starts making her own notes.
The idea is to add an oft-neglected first step to her learning process: watching me learn. Seeing how and why I study will prime her, even for more abstract investigations, such as math.
3. Start a Family Shop to Learn Economics
Try buying one hundred marbles and distributing them equally among you, your children, and the children of another family you see often. Challenge them to create something for which their friends or siblings would be willing to pay marbles. Whittle a stick into a shape, for example. Draw a sign of your prices, and bring it to your next meetup. They can sit on a stool and sell their items from the trunk of your car.
When a younger sibling’s offer of mud for ten marbles is rejected, demand becomes a reality. If your seven-year-old sells his whittled stick for four marbles, but buy it back later for six, were they better off in the end? They ought to start keeping an eye on the bottom line.
If a younger sibling ends up with no marbles, is it right for a parent to redistribute equally? Does the market manager get a share of their earnings? Economic concepts will mean very little before an experience like a family shop.
Let these next ideas spark new lights that you can feed with details that work for you.
- Don’t Deride a Child’s Forgetfulness
- Make a Museum of Ancient Architecture Out of LEGO Bricks
- Teach Them How You Teach Them
- Attend Homeschool Groups to Serve, Not to Consume
- Rephrase Key Info Three Separate Ways
- Read Aloud as their Alarm Clock
- Allow Cuddle-Interruptions
- Fill Your Cup More Than Your Wine Glass
- Take Them to Real Workplaces
- Read Mature Works and Decode Them
- Talk About Death
- Lay out a House-Sized Timeline
- Voice-Record Your Discussions
- Invite Passionate People for Dinner
- Write a Bank of Words to Use When You’re Angry
- Write a Bank of Words to use When Your Children are Angry
- Use Paint Friendly Tape to Stick New Terminology on the Wall
- Keep a Notebook of Good Questions
- Practice Division with Sticks in the Forest
- Write Encouraging Letters to Friends
- Read Gladys Aylward as They Copy some Chinese Lettering
- Don’t Stop Praying For a Country after Learning About it
- Be Clear With Your Partner About what Homeschool Help You Need
- Tell Your Children They are Crucial to You
- Model the Criticism of Your Own Study Methods
- Sing Geography Songs even When They’re not Listening
- Declutter Your Evening Time
- Print a Line Graph of Progress
- Write a Letter to a Child Who Doesn’t Listen
- Budget With Your Children
- Tell Them When They’ve Hurt Your Feelings
- Make a Poster About Why You Study
- Hand-Paint a Timeline
- Create Math: The Musical
- Use Pancakes as a Fractions Lesson
- Go Camping with Your Read-Alouds
- Scatter Five-Minute Chunks of Learning
- Forget Sin After Forgiving it
- Memorize Myths and Perform Them
- Read History with a Globe at Hand
- Accept When They Don’t Care About Something, and Come Back Later
- Teach Multiplication with Workout Sets and Reps
- Don’t Fall for Apps
- Point out the Truths in their Wrong Answers
- Have a Child Read All of a Character’s Dialogue in a Read-Aloud
- Invite Them To Air Their Complaints in a Morning Meeting
- Translate your Copywork into French, One Word per Day
If you feel tired of homeschooling, your kids probably do, too. It could be that you need a break, but it's equally possible is that the same-old same-old is getting you down. Take a handful of these ideas and imagine your homeschool lessons with fresh eyes.