A couple weeks ago, most of the ads we heard on the radio or saw on TV and the Internet were for “back to school” stuff. All of the flyers had pictures of brightly coloured notebooks, backpacks, and pencils, along with smiling, happy children. The half page newspaper ads for the local schools show pleasant teachers and neat classrooms that have lots of colourful posters. It makes going “back to home school” seem dull or even (gasp) boring!
“No, you don’t need a new math book. Theres stuff that you can do in your sister’s old book.”
“Its time for daily Rosary.” *to which the reply is often* “Mom, do we have to pray it again?”
“No, you cannot do your schoolwork in your room.”
“No movies until the schoolwork is done and music is practised.”
I don’t know about other houses, but in my house the kids sound just like this (yes, they call me Mom, even though I’m their older sister). They dread routine, bore easily with math, and would rather be watching an episode of The Waltons that they had already seen a hundred times before. So what does one do with children like this? How will you teach them anything if they don’t want to learn? How will you get them into a routine if they hate to obey?
Last school year, we didn’t learn much because both parents were out of the house during our prime schoolwork hours; that is, 9 AM to 11:30. And after lunch, who feels like doing schoolwork? The other thing that led to our lack of schooling was the absence of routine. When I was younger I dreaded routine and hated when Mom tried to implement it in mid-October or whenever we started schoolwork. I fought with her for a long time over that one little thing. Eventually she gave up and our household has had a lack of structure and routine ever since. Earlier this year however, I realised how much more can be accomplished in a home if time is managed with wisdom. Those socks in the giant tote tub that need sorting? They can only be sorted when someone has time to do so. The mess of grocery lists, dirty dishes, small toys, and compost on the counter can only be cleaned off if someone has the time to deal with it. When one of the kids needs help with schoolwork, their mom is usually the one to help them, but she first needs to have the time to help them. This is why managing time wisely is important. In the past couple of months I have been working on the schedule that works for our family, shows a record of all the daily and weekly tasks that need to be accomplished, and is a little different each day (so that none of us are bored to death). Today, for example, was baking day. My sister and I baked a few things after schoolwork was finished, and she enjoyed it thoroughly. Plus, we now have something delicious to eat for dessert during the week.
Wise usage of time also leads to a more faith-filled home. In our house we are hardly ever able to pray as a family, and when we are, it is greeted with moaning and complaining. To fix this, I threw morning prayer and evening Rosary into the schedule in hopes that we might grow in faith as individuals and as a family. So far everything seems to be going alright. For the first couple of days the kids were complaining about morning prayer, and they still complain about praying the Rosary, but I can see that the little ones are beginning to like that short bit of time that we spend together in prayer. By praying more as a family and teaching children the importance of prayer in the life of a Christian, it shows them what prayer truly is and why we need to pray.
Well, that sums up the first little bit of our homeschool year. I will be updating this page next week (if all goes well) about self-control and the homeschooling life. Until then, take care and God bless!