Friday, April 25, 2008

Healthy Habits of a Happy Homeschool

I'm not much of a "meme" girl, but this one from Heart of the Matter seemed to be something I could relate to.

One habit that we have with our homeschool philosophy is to attach important things to things you already do. For example, our Bible time always happens during a meal (either breakfast or dinner) and our art study/manners time always occurs during our tea time on Tuesdays. This way, it becomes a habit and we are more likely to do it if it is hooked to something else in our routine.

Tuesday teatime is another habit we've established this year. Please do not read this to be some perfect family time where I make homemade little finger sandwiches while we read classic literature. While that seems wonderful, it is a bit unrealistic for our family at this stage. Still, I wanted to establish the habit of a special relationship building time each week into our routine. And, as mentioned above, I decided to use this time to do our art study and manners instruction, as it was conducive to this type of occasion. The children LOVE this time and are so sad when it is over. Plus, I no longer feel guilty about the desire to do more with art and manners because it is done in such a fun, natural, and regular manner.

Another routine, related to the above manners and art study idea is to start small. Think of something you'd like to add into your routine or curriculum and start small. For example, I used to read about art study and think I would have to create great notebooks, and mimic the styles of artist, etc during the study. Instead of trying to do my ideal art study time, I decided it was more important to start small. So, I chose an artist to focus on(Mary Cassatt), copied some questions from the Hearts and Trees blog, found my prints, and then each week we simply discuss the prints. We compare the prints each week to the other prints. I am astounded how simply 15-20 minutes per week with this routine has produced such joy and appreciation for art in my children. I will never forget when my youngest, who is barely three saw a familiar print in a book at the library and yelled out, "Mommy, look it's Young Muda (Mother )Sewing!" So, start small. Something is better than nothing.

Lastly, I try to have all my oldest's assignments for the week, including chores and special activities such as piano lesson or Spanish class, written out on one piece of paper for the entire week. I use a standard size printer paper, folded into fourths. I use each square for a day of the week, turning it over for Friday. The chores are always listed as "chores" until the day I assign them. Then, when I have the more specific list, I attach that post-it note to the current day. This saves me lots of trouble in explaining. And it makes my big boy more responsible. Now, if I could get him to establish the habit of putting it in the same place each day! ;)

Well, I hope you can use some of these ideas. Check out the Heart of the Matter for more great habit ideas from fellow homeschooling families.


ibdawnk said...

Joni I love the tea time idea and may adopt it.

Between the Trees said...

I totally caught my breath reading this post!!! The tea time/ attachment thing is fabulous! Making that set aside time so special sounds glorious! I'm inspired!


louise said...

Starting small is such great advice. Too often I try to start some huge plan to do something and have it fail because my aim is too high. Thank you for that reminder!


Anonymous said...

Ahhh, yes - start small. A tip that I promised myself I would follow when starting to hs, and simply keep forgetting about! LOL

I also like the idea of chores - personal responsibility so often times neglected.

Bonita said...


This is great advice! I might want to use some of your thoughts in some of my homeschooling talks if you don't mind.

Heidi @ Southpaugh Homeschool said...

Tea Time sounds like a BLAST!!
Last year I tried to incorporate Art into the schedule - - and only got one or two prints discussed.
This sounds like a WAY better (and funner) way to do it.
Thanks for sharing!!