Homeschooling = Freedom to Grow in Your Interests!

Heart of Dakota Tidbit:

Homeschooling = Freedom to Grow in Your Interests!

In one of our previous tidbits, we looked at how homeschooling has helped our kids explore new interests, such as making their first YouTube video. Since releasing that video ten years ago, thanks to the freedom homeschooling gives, our boys have had the time to continue to hone their skills in this hobby. This has recently culminated in an exciting way with them releasing their latest short film after three years of work! Their short film, “Remember Me,” tracks the experiences of a fictional Union sharpshooter during the American Civil War. You can watch their film below!

PS: Want to see more examples of how homeschooling gives kids the freedom to develop and pursue personal interests? Have a look at this blog article here:

Why homeschool? Free Time for Personal Interests, Hobbies, and Skill Development

Do you have a plan for laundry at your house?

Teaching Tip: 

Do you have a plan for laundry at your house?

Having a routine for dealing with laundry each week is a huge time saver. Laundry may seem like an odd topic to include on our teaching tip day! But, laundry can really interfere with teaching by taking up needed space for “school” and overtaking your house! So, I’ll just share a tip that may get you thinking of how to address laundry at your house.

How do we deal with sorting laundry each week?

As our family has grown, we’ve discovered that the sorting of whose clothes belong to whom can really take time. It also slows down the folding process. So, we’ve found it’s easier to keep the laundry more separated from start to finish. To do this, each of our bedrooms has a laundry hamper. Even within the bedrooms, we have individual clothes baskets for our boys. This reduces the amount of mixing of clothes among family members.

How do we schedule our laundry to be done?

We schedule our laundry to be done in smaller chunks each day to keep it more manageable. So, at our house, Monday is our littlest guy’s laundry day. Tuesday is towel day and also the day my hubby and I’s laundry is done. Wednesday is our third son’s laundry day. His laundry requires special laundry detergent, due to skin allergies. Thursday is our oldest son’s laundry day. Friday is our second son’s laundry day. Saturday and Sunday we have off from laundry.

What is our laundry routine?

Everyone just brings their own laundry downstairs in their hamper or basket on their designated day. The person whose laundry it is also helps fold and put away on his/her assigned day. This makes sense, as each person knows best where his/her own clothes go! Of course, we all pitch in to help fold and put away when we are in a hurry. We have a goal to get everything put away by bedtime. Sometimes, we don’t quite make it. But, having a school workspace free of folded laundry is a great motivator!

Try making a laundry plan and see what you think.

Having a plan for your laundry may really free you up from feeling like the laundry is never really done. Try making a laundry plan, and see what you think!


Homeschooling = Freedom to Explore Your Interests!

Heart of Dakota Tidbit:

Homeschooling = Freedom to Explore Your Interests!

One of the benefits of homeschooling is that it gives our families freedom to explore their own interests and hobbies. Oftentimes these look different for each child, as they each have their own personalities and interests, but occasionally, our boys pool their interests for shared projects! For example, when our kids were little, they loved to work together making home videos like “The Morning Express”.

While “The Morning Express” will probably never be a blockbuster cinema hit, it holds a special place in our hearts because it reminds us again why we love homeschooling. It gives our kids the freedom to explore interests and spend precious moments with each other that they would have never had if they had gone to public school. Looking back, we wouldn’t trade the happy, laughter-filled hours our young kids spent on projects like this for the world! 🙂

PS: Want to see more examples of how homeschooling gives kids the freedom to develop personal interests? Have a look at this blog article here:

Why homeschool? Free Time for Personal Interests, Hobbies, and Skill Development

What is one easy way to put “home” in your homeschool?

Teaching Tip:

What is one easy way to put “home” in your homeschool?

Do you want school time at home to seem less “schoolish” and more homey?  One simple way to do this is to read the history, science, and “Storytime” books on the couch.  Cuddling up with your child on the couch with a good book sets a different tone for your “school.”  It reminds your child that he/she is at home and that you are a parent first and teacher second.

What does this look like at our house?

At our house, we intersperse our reading times throughout each child’s school day.  This means that we’re settled on the couch with each child multiple times throughout our day. We also do Bible this way if possible. Then, we return to the table to do any written work.

Why does the location of where you read make a difference?

Prior to homeschooling my own four boys these last 18 years, I spent 11 years teaching in the public school classroom.  During my years in the classroom, we did everything we could to make the classroom more “homey.”  We added blankets, pillows, beach chairs, colorful plastic tablecloths, fake flowers in vases, quiet background music, lamps, etc. The kids loved these touches of home and couldn’t wait to take turns cuddling up with a good book.  So, once I came home to teach my own boys, I knew I wanted to capitalize on the advantages of home!

Capitalize on the advantages of home!

Instead of recreating school at home, capitalize on the advantages of home.  Read on the couch or snuggled up in an easy chair.  Cuddle up in blankets or stretch out on the floor with a pillow.  If the weather is nice, read outside in the backyard. Have a snack time and allow your kiddos to sip beverages during school (with spill-proof cups of course)!  Allow them to work alongside a favorite stuffed animal or listen to quiet music while they work.  Utilize the fireplace! Schedule a little break outside mid-morning. The possibilities are endless!

Think of how you can capitalize on the advantages of home. 

Look for ways to bring your home into your school.  Try this easy tip and see whether the “tone” of your school day changes!


PS: If you enjoyed this blog post, you might also be interested in this post by Julie with more practical tips on how to enjoy your homeschool life!

Enjoy Your Everyday Heart of Dakota Life

Why homeschool? You run your own schedule!

From Our House to Yours

Why should you homeschool?… A Series on Reasons to Homeschool

There are many reasons to homeschool, and at Heart of Dakota, we are focused on sharing them in this From Our House to Yours series!  First, we talked about how you get to spend more time with your children. Second, we talked about how you know what your children did for the day. Today, we’ll talk about the third reason, which is one of the biggest reasons I love to homeschool!  Simply put, you get to run your own schedule.

#3 – You run your own schedule.

Are you tired of someone else telling you what you have to do, where you have to be, when you have to be there, and how long you have to stay? If you homeschool in your own home and you are the teacher, no one else gets to tell you these things. Why? Because you run your own schedule! This reason to homeschool is so big, I really could divide it into multiple posts. I’ll just touch on some of the big ideas here!

Whether you homeschool or not can depend on the weather!

We have blizzards in South Dakota, and what do public schools do? They call off school. Where are our South Dakota children during some of our nicest months temperature-wise, like spring and fall, when they could actually enjoy playing outside? Indoors, at school. In Arizona, one of the hottest, most unbearable months temperature-wise is July. Where are the children? Stuck indoors, at home, not doing school.  Where are they when Arizona has some of the nicest temperatures, and they could actually enjoy playing outside? Still indoors, but now at school. However, if you choose to homeschool, you run the schedule. If it’s nice outside, your children can be outside. If it’s either a freezing cold blizzard or a stifling hot summer day outside, you can be indoors homeschooling.

Vacation when no one else can!

Do you know how much money you can save when you can vacation when no one else can? A lot! We love to vacation in September. Why? No one else with children in school can. Hotels can be half the cost. Lines to rides or shows or entertainment of any kind can be half as long. Airline tickets can be half the price. VRBO’s can be a fraction of the cost. Restaurants can have half the wait time. National Parks can have half as long of lines of cars. Parking lots actually have places open to park. Hiking trails can have half as many people. Pools can have room to actually swim. Nothing beats vacationing when no one else can!

Pick the best time to homeschool for your family and your children!

Are you an early riser or a night owl? How about your children? When you homeschool, you can pick the best time to homeschool for you and for and your children.  Best of all, not everyone must have the exact same schedule.  If you are an early riser, you can partner with one of your children who is also an early riser and start school earlier with that child. Meanwhile, your child who is not an early riser but is more of a night owl can do some homeschool work at night and sleep in the next morning. Each person can have a say in the homeschool day, and that makes everyone happier!

Sick days, field trip days, special days – you can take them off whenever you want!

It is hard to take days off from public school. You can’t really take them off because the teacher is still assigning work to the rest of the class. That work must be made up, and it piles up, making it almost impossible to catch up or maintain good grades.  This is why sick children are attending school. In homeschooling, if your children are sick, you simply do school a different day. They rest. Recuperate. And no work piles up. They return to homeschool healthy and ready to learn. Likewise, if you want to take a field trip, you can. Or, if there is a special day you want to take off, you do!  We always take our birthdays off.  The birthday person chooses what to have for breakfast, lunch, and supper. He picks a board game to play, a movie to watch, and an activity to play. With homeschooling, you run the schedule, and fun is allowed.

Mealtimes, movement, and moments with Dad are at your discretion!

When does your family like to have mealtimes? Early morning? Late morning? Noon? 1 PM? It’s totally up to you in homeschooling. In public school, your child may need to eat breakfast at 6:30 AM to be able to catch the bus. But, school lunch might not be until 1 PM. That’s a loooooooong time to go without eating and not be allowed to snack!

Do you have an active child? In school, movement is limited. Your child may be sitting at a desk doing seatwork in a crowded room with 20-some other students for long periods of time. Just getting permission to go to the bathroom can be tough!  However, you run the schedule in homeschooling. If your child needs a break, he can get up and move, and return to homeschooling with a fresh mind ready to learn.

Does your husband like to fish? Or to hunt? To toss around a baseball? Or to bike ride?  In homeschooling, your children can join him at any time. He can round up the children impromptu when the weather is just right, and enjoy the day with them anytime his schedule allows it. Moments with Dad can happen any time it works with his schedule, and if your husband is anything like mine, he will love that! These are just a few reasons I think you will love to homeschool!  Fellow homeschool moms and homeschool moms soon to be – never underestimate the blessing of being able to run your own schedule!  It is one of the very best reasons why you should homeschool!

In Christ,