I read something recently where the author reported that at an orientation for an ACCS school, the school said that most classical homeschooling families show up at their school by the third grade – burnt out and looking for help. Really?! Third grade?! Hmmm, I don’t know, but to me that seems amazing.
We’ve been following the classical model since we started…11 years ago, now. It is definitely challenging –but it’s hard for me to believe that so many people would be burned out on it by 3rd grade. At any rate, after thinking about it for a few days, I wondered if encouragement for homeschooling in general might be helpful.
There have been a lot of days that getting everybody up and moving has gone against my nature. Wouldn’t it be best (for them, or me?) to let them sleep in? But we’ve persisted –and sometimes it has taken a lot of prayer and just plain gumption to move everyone through it all.
One thing that has helped us is to have a routine. Developing something – that is flexible enough to change as more little people joined our family, or joined the schooling ranks – but has a framework that is fairly solid. Of course there are interruptions or “special events” which might morph things here and there. But our routine helps accommodate those things, and still maintain structure, stability.
So, as part of our routine, something nifty we developed this year is for the kids to make their own checklists. I asked each of the 4 older kids to make a checklist every morning after recitation time. The list had to include each subject and the “outside” school things, like piano, geography, laundry – that they were responsible for each day. It took a little time for them to get it without forgetting something (and without help)– but not long.
They became pretty creative with their checklists – doing them on the computer, making reproducible print-outs, putting special clip-art designs on them. But the real blessing was that I didn’t have to prompt them about what they should be doing next. They had to check off each subject – only after they finished it completely. Since they made their lists, they knew what they had to do before they could be done with school for the day.
They were more independent.
They were motivated to keep going because when they finished a subject they could check it off on their lists and see their progress.
I didn’t have to prompt them by asking if they had finished such and such.
They felt a sense of accomplishment in finishing everything on their list – without me reminding them.
Lots of good has come from the check off lists – it’s not perfect, but it has definitely made a difference for us.