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Why are you homeschooling? It’s an important question to ask since it gives you a starting point for both what you do want AND what you don’t want in your homeschool.
Set Limits for a Well-Run Homeschool
Because if you keep adding and adding to your homeschool, your life will be too full to enjoy the best homeschooling has to offer.
Start by Limiting Curriculum Choices
Use your why for homeschooling to limit your curriculum choices. For instance, if you’re needed to keep pace with the local school systems for testing purposes, textbooks might be the best solution.
On the other hand, if you’re wanting to use living books in your homeschool, go ahead and cross textbooks off the list. Don’t even consider them.
A well-run homeschool uses a curriculum that supports our why, our needs, and our desires. Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole just doesn’t work. So limit your curriculum choices to those which fit your family’s goals for homeschooling.
Limit School Hours
At the same time, you’ll need to limit formal school hours. Since we educate our children ourselves, the school has a tendency to spread out and take over the day. And I’m not talking about living an educational lifestyle, I’m talking about math worksheets, grammar drills, and spelling tests.
Generally, there are two ways to limit school hours. The first is to keep to a schedule. You work on math for 30 minutes, then spelling for 10 minutes, writing for 30 minutes, etc. If you don’t finish a lesson today, it will be finished tomorrow. If you make it through two lessons in the 30 minutes, it’s been an excellent school day.
The second is to plan a set amount of work. For instance, I expect my children to complete a math lesson every day. It doesn’t matter if the lesson takes 5 minutes (usually my kindergartners) or if it takes 2 hours (my 12th graders). We complete a math lesson a day.
There’s always the option of mixing the two. I’ll admit I expect a math lesson completed each school day, but some subjects are best done with time limits.
For instance, my daughter is studying Japanese using Rosetta Stone. She loves the program and views it as a game. It’s best I set a time limit or she’ll spend all day studying just Japanese.
Remember, the formal school hours are just that: the formal school hours. Watching movies about the historical time period, going on field trips, and family discussions tend to fall outside the formal school hours for my family.
It’s simply part of the homeschool lifestyle.
Limit Outside Activities
Around here there are more and more outside activities available for homeschoolers. It’s wonderful, exciting, and overwhelming!
Again go back to why you’re homeschooling and keep it in mind while you’re choosing outside activities for your family. But also keep in mind that the outside activities can also become a critical part of your homeschool.
For instance, I know a family that structured their homeschool around the Boyscouts and the church. It worked very well for their family. They used earning Boyscout merit badges as their lesson plans. The end result, the boys were graduating high school and heading off to universities well-prepared for adult life.
You may have a budding artist, actor, or dance. Fold the outside activities into your homeschool day.
Do remember to keep your outside activities to those activities which are important and beneficial for your family.
And remember to say no to the good to save time for the best. Give your family margin to breathe.
A well-run homeschool depends upon your ability to set limits on your homeschool. Limit the types of curriculum you choose, limit the amount of time you spend in formal homeschooling, and limit the number of outside activities.
Choose those things that support your family’s reasons for homeschool and don’t be afraid to say no to many good opportunities which are not a good fit for your homeschool.
Set limits for a well-run homeschool.
This post is part of the series 31 Days to a Well-Run Homeschool.