What do we mean by “education is a life”?

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

“In saying that ‘education is a life,’ the need of intellectual and moral as well as of physical sustenance is implied. The mind feeds on ideas, and therefore children should have a generous curriculum.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 6; Preface to the ‘Home Education’ Series)

Make an effort to be fully present during school time.

Teaching Tip:

Make an effort to be fully present during school time.

During school time with my kiddos, I am often reminded how important it is for me to be “fully present.” If I don’t make a conscious effort to focus on my kids, I can easily be distracted. The telephone, computer, people at the door, cooking tasks, laundry, texting, errands, or a million tasks can divide my attention. When I am doing all these tasks while schooling, my boys are continually waiting on me. This means their school day (and mine) drags on longer than it should!

Try to minimize interruptions and limit outside tasks during school time.

So, I am reminded anew to try to minimize interruptions and limit my tasks to a time when I am not teaching. Depending on the ages of your students, you can do this in several ways.

For younger students, try alternating school time with breaks.

If your students are young, you can alternate a half hour of school with a half hour break. Simply continue this alternating pattern until the school subjects are done for the day. This pattern alternates chunks of school time with chunks of free time. We followed this plan for years when our boys were young, so we know it works. Just be sure to return to school after each half hour break!

For older students, try focused teaching hours.

If your students are older, and their school day is longer, you can focus your teaching time during certain hours. At our house, we typically teach from 9 A.M. – 1 P.M. With this plan, the kiddos often have school left in the afternoon, but my formal teaching is done by 1 PM. I simply schedule more independent subjects for my boys to complete after 1:00 PM.

The last few years, our older boys have done several school subjects in the evening to “get ahead.” They always do independent subjects that would typically be done after lunch the next day. Working ahead helps them finish by 1:00 PM the next day, which they prefer. Doing several subjects in the evening is another option to help your children get done earlier.

Or, try a scheduled mid-day break before returning to school.

One other scenario we tried in the past was to take a scheduled mid-day break. One year we took a scheduled break from 1:00-3:30 PM. This allowed me to deal with many things that needed my attention before it got too late in the day. We then returned to school from 3:30-5:30 PM. This was a plan that worked for a year, but I must admit it was hard to return to school at 3:30!

It is amazing what can be accomplished in a short time if you are fully present.

I am amazed what I can get done in a very short time with my boys if I am “fully present.” While this is not always possible, I encourage you to see with a new light any time stealers that really can wait. Strive to be mentally and physically present as much as possible during school time. If emergencies and situations that need to be dealt with occur, return to the pattern of being fully present as soon as possible. I am trying to focus on being fully present and am finding new joy in the time I do have with my boys!

Blessings,
Carrie

Schedule a healthy mid-morning snack time.

Teaching Tip:

Make sure your students aren’t hungry during school time.

Here is one simple tip that can really make a big impact on your day! Make sure your students aren’t hungry during school time. If you think about it, what happens when you are hungry? Once your own stomach starts to protest that it is need of food, your mind can often think of little else. The same is true for students.

Schedule a healthy mid-morning snack time.

To combat the tummy rumbles before they start, be sure to schedule a healthy snack time sometime during the mid-morning. We have our snack time around 10:30. I have a list of snack choices on our cupboard door. My kiddos have a snack time scheduled so they know when to go and get a snack for themselves. My little ones must have their snack at the kitchen table. My older ones can take their snack to their work area and keep on working.

What are some ideas for snacks?

Our snack choice list includes the following: applesauce, banana, yogurt raisins, mountain mix, mixed nuts, dried fruit, Clif bar, Craisins, oatmeal bar, yogurt or gogurt, mandarin orange cup, diced peach cup, diced pear cup, peanut butter crackers, goldfish crackers, Cheez-its, pretzels, teddy grahams, or a cheese stick. For those snacks that are eaten by hand, we bought small dishwasher safe glass cups that are one serving size. The kiddos use the small cups for dishing out snacks like yogurt raisins, mountain mix, or dried fruit. That way they don’t get too much!

Try adding a mid-morning snack to your schedule.

Try adding a mid-morning snack time to your schedule! See if your kiddos’ sense of urgency for lunch is abated (allowing them to concentrate better). I know it works here! Who knows? You may even enjoy having a snack time too!

Blessings,
Carrie

Doing school tasks well in the assigned time

A Charlotte Mason Moment:

“But, if the schoolgirl is to get two or three hours intact [for play], she will owe it to her mother’s firmness as much as to her good management. In the first place, that the school tasks be done, and done well, in the assigned time, should be a most fixed law. The young people will maintain that it is impossible, but let the mother insist; she will thereby cultivate the habit of attention, the very key to success in every pursuit, as well as secure for her children’s enjoyment.”

(Home Education by Charlotte M. Vol. 5, p. 195)

How much “together time” is beneficial?

Teaching Tip: 

How much “together time” is beneficial?

In my last teaching tip, I mentioned how we can always be assured of plenty of “together time” in a homeschooling setting! One thing to weigh is how much “together time” is truly beneficial? Often as homeschool teachers, we default into thinking that anything done together is better. Often we think that knowledge shared in a group is better, because it is shared.

How do you learn best?

Think through the way that you learn best. Would you say that the “group experience” is the only way or the best way for you to learn? I know for me this isn’t necessarily true.

Be specific in choosing which experiences are shared.

This is why it is important to be specific in choosing which experiences are shared and which ones are individual. Sometimes experiences are shared only between teacher and one student.

What kind of experiences are best done one-on-one?

Personal/private sharing is best done one-on-one. Difficult subjects are best done one-on-one. Subjects that require concentrated attention are best done with few interruptions.

Make a conscious choice about how to handle each subject.

Try making a conscious choice about which subjects are best as a group experience and which subjects are best one-on-one. This specific choosing will make each subject more meaningful. It will also help each subject be better suited to your students’ needs! Try make conscious choices today, and see if your school day goes more smoothly!

Blessings,
Carrie