Delight Directed Schooling

I heard the term “delight directed studies” years ago from Sonja Harris and it stuck with me. For you who already teach this way, please feel free to comment about ideas or topics you have done that have worked for your family. You may teach using all textbooks, which is fantastic! But, I am giving you permission to also add some topics that are not planned. Topics your son/daughter has shown interest in.

This might look like a study of __________ (dinosaurs, the planets and stars, cooking or baking). You can study whatever your daughter/ son has shown an interest in. Things you could do to capture that interest would be to order books online from the library, purchase a science kit, watch a video about the topic, go to a museum, do a unit study, (Homeschool Share) etc. My granddaughter loves cake pops and I am going to go over to her house to make them. We will measure, mix, pour, bake, and decorate cake pops. You see, there is math, science, and art all covered in this one special activity. I think I am just as excited as I know she will be in making them. Look for things that are fun for your child and if you like it, that’s a bonus too!

Step out, don’t be afraid to try. It might be scary to deviate from the curriculum, but trust me, it will be fine. In fact, you might like it so much you find it hard to return to your textbooks. 🙂 One , two, even three units is fine to add to your school year if you have curriculum you are using. I found that by adding something that my boys wanted to learn they were more willing to do the rest of their work to pursue what they were interested in learning.

There can be failure, but don’t give up! Yes, you might prepare all of these great resources and activities and your daughter turns up her nose or your son lets you know he just mentioned it, he didn’t want to study more about it. Go through with the topic of study because s/he might just come back and say they liked it. Yes, I got excited about a topic and thought the boys would like it too, only to discover their interest had fizzled out. Well, you can either finish the study or drop it. It’s up to you. But, I wouldn’t set a precedent that if they complain you stop. (Pick your battles. 🙂 )

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Homeshooling: You’ve Got This

I was very confident when we decided to homeschool. It wasn’t until I started sharing with my family and friends that I started to second-guess myself. Could I do this? Can you do this? With much thought, discussion, prayer, and seeking wise counsel of veteran homeschoolers I realized I could do this, not just for one year, but for as long as my husband I felt we should do it. Can you do it? Absolutely! Here are some questions that were frequently asked, I bet you have heard some of these before too. 🙂

What about socialization? If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I think I would be a wealthy woman. (haha) In this age of Corona virus people are wanting children to keep their distance, eat lunch six feet apart, not play on the playground, etc. I don’t see socializing happening much at school. There are community programs and activities that you can take your son/ daughter to that can provide experiences to interact with others. We were involved in co-ops, PE and art classes, park programs, play dates, and all kinds of things where the boys could make friends.

Was I the best teacher for my child? I realized that I was the best simply because I knew my son better than anyone else. I knew what he liked, what he didn’t like and I could adjust things as needed for optimum learning, whether that was curricula, schedules, or interests.

How could I teach multiple children? (This question came later since my kids were three years apart.) I knew I could teach some subjects together (social studies, science, Bible, health, and safety). I figured out a schedule and system for me to teach language arts and math separately because of ability. Here is something to consider: your teacher to student ratio is better than if your child was in a traditional classroom.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

Showing Kindness

I had a deep and to the point conversation with my almost four year old granddaughter this week. She was talking about a friend who she had loved dearly and talked about all the time, but I noticed over the past several months she hasn’t said much about her. I found out why.

“Marmie, I used to love playing with ______, but now I don’t. She is so mean to me! Why does she have to be so mean?”

“Well, she shouldn’t treat you like that. It doesn’t make you feel very good, does it? Can you ask her to stop?”

My granddaughter looked at my with a stern expression and a wagging finger and said, “I have told her, but I will tell her again. I will say, be kind!” Well said, Little One, but I reminded her to say it nicely and with a smile.

I know this doesn’t directly relate to homeschooling as far as subjects, but it has everything to do with life. Which is really the most important part of educating our children. Quite a few people can teach the subject content, but we as parents (and grandparents) are the best for instructing them in character building.

Can you teach children to be kind? Yes, I think you can provide instruction and opportunity to show your children that kindness counts.

Model kindness. I can’t expect that from my children if I don’t do it myself. It might seem cheesy and self-promoting, but as you do something kind you can say, “I am being kind by _fill-in-the-blank__ because I love you and I want the best for you.” Showing kindness to strangers while going about your routine and sharing what you did with your children helps them to see you are preferring others over yourself.

Make a phone call, send a card to someone, create a “thinking of you” video. I love it when someone calls to say hello with no agenda. Who could your children reach out to that would brighten their day?

Serve someone. Kindness begins at home. Look for teachable moments for your children how to be kind to one another (and you). Kindness is being others focused- setting the table, picking up toys, saying please and thank you are just some of the ways we can teach our children to be kind. You can make a kindness chart, have a kindness competition, make Kind Coupons to be given to family members. Some examples could be: One hour of borrowing a toy; helping build a Lego model; doing a craft, etc.

Serve others that are not your family. Food pantries are always in need of staples. How about collecting some a little each week and have your daughter/son put them in a box? Once you it is filled, take the kids and drop it off at a local food pantry. You can contact your pastor or check with your neighbors to see if there is someone who needs help (yard work, grocery shopping, etc.). What about paying for the person’s coffee behind you in the drive-through window? Be creative! There are lots of opportunities to do acts of kindness.

Lighten someone’s load. Homeschooling can be overwhelming. Do you have a friend who could use an afternoon to themselves? Taking the kids to the park could be a huge help. If that doesn’t work out, how about a pot of chili or a taco bar?

I saw this saying on Facebook and had to copy it to share with you. I can’t look you in the eyes, 😦 but I can tell you, “You are awesome! You are doing a great job teaching your children and they are blessed to have such a caring teacher and parent.”

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

How to Keep Going on Hard Days

Photo by Anna Shvets on

Wails, whines, and why’s coming from our children all happen at some point when homeschooling. But, how do you look past the behavior and continue with school?

Talk to your child about their behavior.
Is the work too hard? Is there something s/he is not understanding? Is s/he tired? Or, has this behavior worked before and you have stopped the lesson to maintain peace? (This happened in our school.)

Take steps to correct the behavior.
If the material is too difficult then go back to a previous lesson that your daughter/son understood and build from there. This will help them to feel successful and more willing to move ahead when the material is more challenging.

Is your child staying up too late? Try changing the bedtime routine, have quiet activities in the evening and turn off all electronic devices 60 minutes before bedtime. If you keep late evening hours then start school later in the day.

Has less desirable behavior given your daughter/son the desired outcome of stopping the lesson for the day? Wearing the ‘ol mom down was something I had to determine that I would not let happen as often as possible. Although, it certainly did happen at times. I found out that if that happened too often it became an established habit that was hard to break. I would tell the boys that the work was still going to be there, regardless if they did it that day or the next, or the next… I would have them do at least a little of it and we would tackle more of it the next day. I like to think of it as eating I detest them, but I know they are good for me, so I figured out that if I put a bunch of them on a fork, grab a glass of water, shove the peas in my mouth and swallow them like pills, I have “eaten” them.

Let your child know you are partners in homeschooling.
You are both learning, you are both tackling hard things. You might not like teaching Social Studies, but you are going to because it is part of the Ohio homeschool requirements. Our attitudes, as teachers toward schoolwork and routines, help set the atmosphere of our school.

Celebrate the victories!
Doing things that are hard deserve recognition. Call attention to good behavior and perseverance. If it was especially hard, then give a sticker, ten minutes of extra time for games, whatever you feel would be appropriate. Let your child see that you appreciate their effort.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

The Unexpected: 7 Things to Keep Going

You plan as best as you can and, seemingly out of nowhere, something happens to derail those plans. Having to help school your child at home; having a baby, losing a job, moving, illness, you can fill in the blank for what has happened to you to change your circumstances. You probably feel overwhelmed and a bit stuck on what to do next. Screen Shot 2020-08-17 at 12.44.41 PM.png

1.Reach out Having someone to listen is a great help. Many times they can offer help or give a different perspective.

2. Get connected Is there a support group that can help? What about a Facebook group, an internet meeting, a community program? Since Covid-19 so much more online opportunities have been created and there are more ways to be doing things virtually. I know it isn’t like being there, but you can get connected with people and programs.

3. Do the next thing What is one thing you can do right now? You will feel better knowing that you have done something rather than nothing. Maybe just writing down all of the things you have to do will help. That is the first step…

4. Make a plan What do you want to see accomplished today? What do you need to do to accomplish it? Just write down a few reasonable things that you know can be done. One year I was teaching four classes and having to create all new lessons for  50% of them and was tutoring ten students. I know! What was I thinking?! I had an extremely long list of tasks I needed  to do and it was sooo gratifying to put a big ol’ line through the items I got finished each day. I try to be too ambitious and put a bunch of things on the list. I have realized that if I plan for a couple of things I can always add more to what I wanted to do for the day.

5. Ask for help How many times have you seen your child struggle and you know if they just asked for help they could go on. I tell homeschool families that I don’t have all of the answers, but I will try my hardest to find someone who can help.

6. Help others I know that may sound crazy when things are topsy-turvy, but being in a situation that you didn’t expect gives us compassion for others. Even if you do not have the time to help, making a batch of cookies or asking how they are doing and listening will help lift your spirits too.

7. It’s okay to fail. Isn’t this what we tell our children? Why don’t we heed our own advice?  I try to drag out the spandex tights, cape, and the bright red boots , but I realize that I don’t look so good in that costume and it show every flaw I have, and believe me, I have a lot!  It’s a costume after all, not “real” clothes.

For you who have been thrust into homeschooling, I believe in you! I know you can do this. You love your child and want the best for her/him and I know you will help them to succeed.

Have a great week!  ~Lisa~