Elementary Necessities

Ohhh. School is not working so well today. Let's just make cookies instead.

Ohhh, school is not going so well today.  Let’s just make cookies instead.

I’m really not sure what kind of homeschooling Mom I would call myself. Definitely not structured. Maybe a little eclectic. Maybe a little classical. Maybe a little Charlotte Mason. Maybe a little unschooling. But then it also depends on the child. I do like to go with the flow. If I don’t, that spells S-T-R-E-S-S.

If you know about the personality True Colors (it divides personalities into 4 colors), I’m an orange.

I think it must be the most fun color of all.

I think orange must be the most fun color of all.

Oranges are all about having a good time and a good adventure. Oranges will have 1000 ideas at any one time. They live a bit in the future and can see the big picture pretty well. They have to work hard at follow through, though. And they keep their spouses on their toes (right, honey? How is that for turning a negative into a positive!)

But that is all good, because God gave ME these children.

Notice the matching shirts!

Notice the matching shirts!

He knew they would need whatever I have to give and the same is true for you. Bottom line here: Create a home and a school that is YOU. If it isn’t you (i.e. if you are trying to create the same kind of home/school as your friends,) you and your children will be miserable, not to mention your husband.

The Details

Eventually, I will give you my thoughts on each area of school. What is necessary and what is not. What is important and what is a waste of time. But today, we start with the most important thing.

Character

Forget about academics. They are way down the list after character. If you don’t get this right, nothing else matters. If you did only this, I believe your child would probably learn everything else in his own good time, just fine.

The Tools

The Bible is #1

Use it as often as you can. Read it to them. Have them read it when they are able.

As soon as they can read, they get a real Bible on their next birthday.

As soon as they can read, they get a real Bible on their next birthday.

Let them see you reading it. Let them grow up and remember how they saw you read it every day and how important it was to you. There will come a day that they will need to rely on something greater than you.

In The Morning

I like to go into my 6 and 7 yr olds room in the morning, sit in the rocker, maybe in my bathrobe, and read another chapter of the New Testament.

Emma's and Meg's

Emma’s and Meg’s

It’s a great way to wake them up. They love it. It has fascinating stories and they are able, from a young age to take it in, at some level. Don’t think it is too old for them. It is not.

My 11 yr old joins us. She also reads a chapter from the New and Old Testaments on her own. Then finishes this statement in her journal: “Dear God, I think what you are trying to say to me is….”

The Proverbs

My husband reads the Proverbs to them. Sometimes it is before bed, sometimes after dinner. Honestly, finding the right routine lately has been harder since we brought #4 home from Russia, but it will fall back into place.

Many nights he reads other things; like right now he is reading the Narnia books (again!)

But everything a person needs to know about character and how to live life is written in those 31 chapters of Proverbs. Just read the chapter for that date. If it’s April 7th, read Proverbs 7.

Repeat Over And Over

Do this over and over throughout your child’s life and you will mold one incredible human being. If you used to do this, but haven’t for a while, that’s OK. Just start it up again and don’t dwell on the past.

Character First Curriculum

Each volume covers 9 different character qualities.

I bought this about 5 years ago.  Each volume covers 9 different character qualities.

The first character quality in Volume 1 is Attentiveness

The first character quality in Volume 1 is Attentiveness.

Every chapter has a science story related to that particular character quality.

Every chapter has a science story related to that particular character quality.

I have used this sporadically.  I wish I could say I have used it more, BUT it is my favorite tool after the Bible, for character development.

And every chapter has a history story also related to that particular character quality.

And every chapter has a history story also related to that particular character quality.

The children LOVE it.

There are tons of easy games and activities that don't require much planning at all. Yeah!

There are tons of easy games and activities that don’t require much planning at all.  Yeah!

It is easy and fun. And you know me when it comes to crafts. I do not like to deal with complicated or messy. I say, let’s go to the art museum for that! I’ll talk to my friends and you chillen’s go paint til your heart is content. (oh don’t worry. I do give in sometimes.)

There are crafts that just don't get much easier, but the children love. You will almost always have the supplies in your house.

There are crafts that just don’t get much easier, but the children love.  You will almost always have the supplies in your house.

They really seem to remember what they learn.

Another easy craft.

Another easy craft.

It is for all elementary ages.

They can color the coloring pages while you read. These were from the Truthfulness character quality.

They can color the coloring pages while you read.  These were from the Truthfulness character quality.

It also has video and audio supplements.

They have these little baseball-like cards they can collect. Each quality has an animal it is associated with.

They have these little baseball-like cards the children can collect.  Each quality has an animal with which it is associated.  I’ve never actually given these to my children, but a person could.

Or they take one of the

They can take one of the “I will….” statements and make a drawing for it. Emma’s drawing was for “I will not exaggerate the truth.”
Meg's was

Meg’s was “I will encourage others not to lie.”

Henry's was

Henry’s was “I will not steal.”

Of course there is more to character like chores, helping others, apologizing, etc, etc…..

My Last Thought For Today

Don’t harp on your child or exasperate them. Our main job is to create a love of learning, not to cram as many facts as possible down their little throats. Most of us need to get out of the “school” mentality and just teach “life.” If you are fighting a brick wall for some reason, stop for the day and do something different. There is always another day.

Our goal is to get our children to the point of researching and learning on their own. And we want to try to do that in a warm, loving way. Easy to say. Hard to do.

If you say, “yes, Allison, that is all well and good, but I am overwhelmed.” Here is my first response:

YOU ARE DOING TOO MUCH

Stop. Slow down. Say no, when you are asked to do, yet another thing. If you are not good at saying no, say this: “I’m sorry, but this is the season that my children are young and so I cannot do that now. Maybe at a later time.” They will be young for such a short time and what you do now, will make them who they are.

Cut out the running around all the time for errands. Cut out some of the extra curricular activities. Cut out some of the sports at dinner time. Slow down. This is a hard charge in our culture, so you will need to be diligent in accomplishing it.

God Bless You Mama! You’re Doing Great!

PS:  Go here to see some other posts about homeschooling:  fivejs.com

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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