One of the joys of being an older homeschooling mom is that I have more time to learn along with my children. Last year I learned a lot about Bible, history, and literature by going through Omnibus with my teens. I have time to take pictures of flowers and insects, like the one above. One mom took a writing course with her children and now writes regularly for publication. Other moms learn photography, develop their creativity, study nutrition, or read widely.
This year, I’m excited about studying Canadian history with my three youngest. We also plan to sew, learn fabric and yarn crafts, and do some decorating. I’m eager to study more Omnibus, to learn to draw the map of Canada by heart, to read more about the history of science, and to spend time on a nature journal. I’m planning to read Nancy Pearcey’s books, recommended by my 74-year-old father who is still modeling a lifestyle of learning to everyone around him. Although I do not particularly want to learn the sounds of the Greek alphabet, I’ll do that just because it will motivate the children.
Because we homeschooling moms are trying to nourish a love of learning in our children, it’s a good idea to model it ourselves. With a houseful of children, this can be a challenge. In fact, there have been some years when the main thing I’ve modeled is a love of sleep.
Over the years, I’ve discovered a few keys to joyful learning for the homeschooling mom:
- Focus on your priorities. For me, this means Bible reading, with my family and by myself. I also try to learn skills or concepts that will help me be a more effective mom and homeschooler.
- Keep your goals reasonable and low-stress. Don’t expect to learn a lot of Latin or to master calculus if you have a newborn and are sleep deprived.
- Tie your learning in with what your children are learning. This doubles the fun and helps you apply it right away.
- Keep up with your children’s reading as much as you reasonably can. This obviously has many benefits beyond learning.
- Don’t get stuck in a rut but explore a variety of ideas even if you have one main focus. One way to expand your horizons is to pick up some of your children’s interests.
- Keep it low key and be flexible. Learning for fun and being able to put it aside when necessary is refreshing; taking official courses with deadlines and exams will likely add stress to your life.
In our area, school starts in just over two weeks. My son heads off to university, and our homeschool will be down to three students. Yes, that is bittersweet, but we’re hoping to have a beautiful year of learning together. Yes, me too. And I’m excited!
How about you? Have you thought about what you hope to learn this school year?