“Play is the highest form of research.” --Albert Einstein
We've been homeschooling our four children pretty much since day one. We tried school here and there for our oldest, Eliel, but it felt as though I was missing out on his whole day...like I was missing out on a huge chunk of his life. This intuitively didn't sit well with me. I relish in seeing firsthand my kids' unique personalities, learning styles, and as their teacher, nothing beats seeing their faces light up while learning a new concept.
Many moms ask how I could possibly stand having all four of my kids around me--pretty much nonstop. They ask why I choose to homeschool. In an effort to give an incredibly in depth answer in a sound bite type response, I'll say this: homeschooling feels right for my family. We love it. It ain't easy all the time. But for us, we know it's worth it.
If you don't want to or feel called to homeschool, I don't believe you should. I don't believe in a one-size-fit-all approach to parenting. In other words, sis, you gotta just do you. You gotta do what works for your unique family.
But for the moms genuinely interested in some tips and tools I use to help me balance it all while homeschooling my tribe, I've compiled the below list to hopefully inspire you on your journey. And hey--even if you're not a homeschooler, I believe you can still glean some wisdom from what I've learned via trial and error as a work from home homeschooling mama of four.
Ready? Leh GO.
We look at LIFE as school
Homeschooling for us is an all day, all night process. Whether we are conversing with a neighbor, paying for something at a convenience store, traveling for work, or finding new lizards in our backyard--we look at life as our classroom. Life seems to present opportunities to learn and grow ceaselessly. My goal is for my kids to be lifelong learners. I believe with our learning style, they will be.
I've given up the idea of my home being perfectly clean all the time
I'm a gal who loves a clean home. Seeing my home clean, organized, and beautiful makes me feel calm, happy, and peaceful. But with three kids and a very full life, I've realized some of my standards need adjustment. The season I'm in right now calls for simplicity (as much as possible). It calls for the ability to go with the flow. To loosen up type A behaviors. My home is not an absolute mess (that'd wreak havoc on my mental state), but having every inch perfectly tidy? That's no longer a value of mine. I now let the kids keep their toys out during the day. They tidy them up during their evening routine. I don't freak out if the dishes aren't done before bed. On days I'm exhausted, I wash the big items (blender, pots, pans), and leave the rest for the following day. I've decided that when I'm 90, I'd prefer to have more happy memories (even if they're messy at times) than a perfectly tidy home. We also balance this with the next tip! I have the kids help during chore time While we don't always have a perfectly tidy home, I do have Ariel and Eliel help load the laundry, fold and put away their clothes. They clean mirrors; help make the bed. One of our mantras in our home is "Everything has a home". I love teaching them the value of organization and discipline in daily life. I know it'll serve them when they're adults! And having them help out appropriately ensures I am not feeling resentful for doing more than I feel is fair.
We make homeschooling FUN!
Ok. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is my ability to be a KID again with my kids! Dancing, painting, playing sports, read-aloud time--aaaahhh!...I love these things as much as they do. Lol. So I give myself permission to make teaching my kids FUN. Any time I start to get frustrated, I quickly remind myself that I am creative enough to make the process exciting. My goal is to create beautiful memories with my children; not just fill their brains with information.
We make our homeschooling journey authentic I've bought and read all the homeschooling books. I get great value from all of them. Two of my mentors are veteran homeschooling/mompreneur moms too! I love learning how other amazing moms are balancing it all. I also understand that my lifestyle is insanely unique. (All of ours is). And what works or worked for someone else; may not work for my family in the season we're in. Tailoring our curriculum has been huge for our success. I haven't found one style of homeschooling that fits all of our needs, so I blend 'em and make it our own! For instance, I am incorporating entrepreneurial work for Eliel in with Math. I incorporate Bible Study in with Good Citizenship. We learn Spanish via calling up relatives. And we create our own affirmations, workouts, and other creative ventures for my business; Moms Wear Heels (check these tools out if you want to live your best life as a mom). My goal for homeschooling is to give my children all the tools they need to thrive. Which brings me to my last point in this blog...
Understanding each one of my children's learning styles and gifts ...Has helped tremendously. Eliel? Has to be active. Like, really active. He jumps on our trampoline, for instance, while I read a loud. I've also noticed he has an insane ability to memorize everything! Ariel on the other hand? Needs more quiet time to be her beautiful, creative, introverted self. She creates things many wouldn't dream of. Rafi? He's in that stage where he's just soaking up the world around him. My job as their parent is to pay close attention to where their gifts are, and to acknowledge, nurture them. Each person born in this world is given gifts unique to them. Can you imagine trying to teach a fish how to fly? Exactly. This is how it feels to a soul when we try to fit them into a life not meant for them. Catering our curriculum to fit each one of my children's unique gifts will aid them in living our their destiny.
Ok. Immanuel is ready to nurse. And Eliel is ready to make his volcano for science. And Ariel is demanding I watch her practice her arabesque in ballet. Until next blog, mamas. xo, Monica