Don’t Waste Your Time Homeschooling – 72 Things I Wish I’d Known by Traci Matt
The title of this book is a bit tongue and cheek but the author is definitely correct about all the time wasted as we try to educate children. I know this from first-hand experience as a public school teacher for the past eighteen years. Just imagine all the free time kids can, and should, have.
“You don’t need to log as many hours as a classroom teacher when you are doing one-on-one studies. My kids did not spend one minute of their school lives standing in lines, waiting for others to catch up (physically or intellectually), moving from classroom to classroom, or recovering from the countless distractions of a traditional school. We measured our school day by accomplishments, not by time elapsed.”
As you can see Matt isn’t against homeschooling at all. In fact, just the opposite. She wants us to learn from her experience and does a great job dispensing advice.
Where I live, there are relatively few requirements when it comes to legally homeschooling your children. It differs from province to province and state to state so . . .
“Pay good attention to the recordkeeping requirements laid down by your state, and if they are loose, go overboard. Keep all the piano practicing notebooks, nature walk photos, and soccer tournament scorecards. One friend of mine kept the receipt of every book her family checked out from the library. I don’t know anyone who regretted keeping detailed records.”
Record everything. Make notes of what activities you did and learning that occurred. You just might need it later.
Keep Your Qualifications Up
“Do everything you can to stay current in your profession.”
This is good advice. I plan to keep my qualifications and remain a certified teacher. This way, if I ever decide to return to traditional teaching, it will a lot easier.
Keeping up your “work qualifications as you raise kids . . . will serve you better in the end, and models to your children that no one stops learning and growing.”
Connect With Other Parents and Families
Matt knows that the social opportunities her church provides is invaluable. She offers a few suggestions for those living a secular lifestyle, “If church is not your thing, get together with other local moms—or even retirees—one morning a week. Reach out on social media or a neighborhood website and see who is around during the day. Someone else may be feeling as isolated as you are and would welcome a regular park day or lunch date.”
“Yes, I know you are too busy to read. But if your kids don’t observe you kicking back with a good novel once in a while, how will they become lifelong readers? You don’t want them to think that visiting the library or bookstore is a habit which they should outgrow at some point.”
Both my wife and I are avid readers. My son is already shaping up to be one too.
I keep track of everything I read here on my blog, so I already do this next suggestion.
“Create categories, keep a record of what you have read, mark books you want to read, leave reviews, ask your favorite authors questions, and engage in conversations with others who love to read the same things you do.”
Let the Kids Cook
This one is scary. When I was a kid I loved peanut butter and had the brilliant idea to use it instead of tomato sauce on pizza. My parents encouraged me to make it. And they actually ate it. The problem was that peanut butter dries out in the over and doesn’t work so well with cheese. It’s an concoction I never tried again. I wonder what strange dish my son will want to try. When the time comes, I will embrace it.
Grocery Store as Classroom
“The grocery store itself is a classroom that is hard to rival. If you are taking multiple children along, set up department specific scavenger hunts and let them gather items on your list. Talk, talk, talk about the thousands of options they face. Is it cheaper to buy dry or canned beans? Is it worth it to pay more for de-boned chicken? How many gallons of milk does it take to last until your next shopping trip? Do you want large curd or small curd cottage cheese for lasagna? Why do you pay for nutrition-rich greens when iceberg lettuce is so much cheaper? How do you know if that avocado is ripe? If your store provides a cost-per-unit breakdown on shelf tags, point out that some bottled water costs more per ounce than steak.”
Don’t overlook a tutorial involving the store layout, which will come in handy once the older ones start to drive and you can send them to fetch that last-minute item. Go through the sale flier and talk about loss leaders, and the marketing ploys of candy and magazines in the checkout lanes. Be sure to grab an item or two to fill the food bank barrels as you exit the store, and discuss the many blessings which allow you to go to sleep each night with full bellies.
Join the HSLDA
The Home School Legal Defence Association is a great organization to belong to. It’s a non-profit that works to empower, protect, and encourage homeschooling families.
Schedule a Weekly Family Night
“Family night can give older kids a little practice with special event planning. Let each child choose a theme or activity, create a budget, research menu options, and make a grocery list. If appropriate, hand over the credit card and let them do the shopping.”
Let me know if you have any questions or need some help.