Do you have too much together time?
When homeschooling your family, typically there is automatically plenty of “together time.” It is interesting to think about how constructive some of that “together time” really is. Sometimes there can be too much together time! Just as adults crave time alone, students do too. When we as teachers make everything a group activity, school can quickly fall into the category of too much together time.
Choose group activities wisely.
It is important to actually choose when to have an activity together and when to have students work alone. There definitely should be some subjects where a student is able to work alone in a quiet environment.
Be creative in finding quiet work spaces for your children.
You might have to get a bit creative in finding space for your students to have quiet work time alone. I know we had to use my bedroom for one of our older students as a work space! At the time, it was the only quiet spot in our busy household of boys!
Train your children to make good use of their quiet work time.
Often students need to be trained to make good use of their quiet work time. It is wise to keep track of your students when they are first trying to work alone. To help me keep track of my students, I sent my boys up to their quiet space with a timer. The timer was set for the length of time their work was supposed to take. I also set a corresponding timer downstairs to remind me to check on the child after the allotted time. When the timer rang, the child had to check in with me. If the child hadn’t successfully progressed, then he had to work near me for the next subject. This helped train my children to make good use of their quiet work time.
Train your children to be diligent workers.
Through this process, my boys have learned to crave a quiet work environment and to be diligent, independent workers. Try training your children to work alone, and see if they learn to desire a quiet work space too! You may find that when you balance together time and alone time your students will be more attentive during group time too.
From Our House to Yours
Why homeschool? Homeschooling promotes the family as a unit and creates strong ties!
My dad attended a small country school from kindergarten to 8th grade. He had about 12-15 children in his school. Only 1 or 2 students were his same age, and 1 teacher taught them all. Dad rode his horse to school. When he arrived, he would tell his horse to ‘go home.’ The horse would obediently head back home on his own. Children took their lunches to school. They would play baseball, even though they were short players. They would play board games and improvise rules, as they had a wide range of ages. At the end of the day, Dad’s parents would tell his horse to ‘go to school.’ The horse would obediently head back, so Dad could ride him home. The children in country school were like one family that learned to look out and care for one another. They formed strong ties that last still today!
Homeschooling promotes the family as a unit and has strong ties that last!
As little girls, my sisters and I used to pretend we were teaching in Dad’s country schoolhouse. We had chalkboards, books, paper, and one filing cabinet we covered with blue and white checked contact paper. What fun we had! We only had a class of 3, but we loved every minute of ‘school.’ Real (or public) school was alright, but not nearly as much fun. Class sizes were big and the homey feeling was gone. How we missed our one-room schoolhouse at home! Maybe that is why all 3 of us girls decided to homeschool, or maybe it was because our best ‘teacher’ was always our mom. In homeschooling, our family works together as a unit. We form strong ties, and we look out for one another.
In homeschooling, strong family ties can last long past the homeschooling!
My dad has now passed away, but he used to love getting together with past classmates at the All School Reunion. In fact, he actually attended the reunion more than 50 years! When my dad and mom moved to town, my dad surprised my mom by coming home and saying he’d invited his whole class over. There weren’t that many, but still! Even though my dad’s passed away, my mom still gets invited to the reunions, even though she really didn’t attend the school. I guess she just became part of the ‘family.’ In homeschooling, we may not have the ‘right’ number of people or the ‘right’ age of people for everything, but we improvise, and we have all the more fun! Everyone is part of the ‘school.’ No one is left out. And that kind of bond creates strong family ties that last, long past the homeschooling.