*This is an updated post, with an entirely new list of ways to pour some love onto your little homeschool! You can check out the original post, and last year’s 14 acts of love here.
Dear Homeschool, will you be my Valentine?
Relationships are complicated and messy. Especially when love is involved. It struck me the other day that in many ways, the relationships we have with our “Homeschools” are really no different from our relationships with our loved ones . . . particularly our romantic relationships.
Humor me (if only in honor of Valentine’s Day) in taking a look at Homeschooling through the perplexing lens of LOVE:
Some of us fell head over heels in love to start;
a sort of storybook love-at-first-sight.
Others of us fell in love almost against our will . . .
but it hunted us down.
Many are still waiting to fall in love.
Or wondering if this love is cursed.
Some don’t believe this whole “love” thing even exists.
Then there is unrequited love:
when we seem to give everything we have . . .
only to receive practically nothing in return.
But regardless of how we fell in love (or how we didn’t) . . .
whether we are experiencing young love . . .
old love . . .
puppy love . . .
blind love . . .
whether we are love sick,
or just plain sick of love . . .
our love affairs are anything but stable.
There are ups and downs.
Passionate days and days of rut.
Exemplary days and disastrous days.
Spats and storms.
There’s love, and there’s war . . . sometimes in the same hour.
There are countless labors of love.
Days, weeks, months of tough love.
Some days we feel positively besotted . . .
bursting with love.
Other days we feel that maybe the flame has gone out;
that we have fallen out of love.
That perhaps our love is lost.
We may even wonder if our love was ever true to begin with.
Sometimes we forget our love.
Sometimes we forget our commitment to love.
We forget that love is a choice . . .
a practice . . .
We forget that Newsboys song . . .
that love, love, love is a verb.
Sometimes we forget that love has its seasons;
that not every day is May . . .
and that sunny days shine brighter after a rain.
We forget that love is a garden
in need of planting, watering, weeding, and pruning.
That sweat on the brow and dirt under the fingernails is required.
That love is good, old-fashioned work.
And not for the faint-of-heart.
Sometimes we forget that true love is unconditional.
That love bears all things . . .
believes all things . . .
hopes all things . . .
endures all things . . .
and that love never fails.
If your Homeschooling journey could use a little (or a lot of) love, take heart! It is not all roses and sunshine for any of us! Not even on Valentine’s Day.
14 acts of LOVE for our Homeschools!
1.) FACILITATE more freedom in your homeschool!
Truth be told, I don’t really spend very much time at all actually “teaching.” I do not stand in front of a chalk board yelling out vocabulary words, smacking a pointer stick at math problems, or singing out states and capitals songs at the top of my lungs. I am not the teacher who raps the math lesson, sings the pronouns, acts out the sonnet, or does the robot when a kid gets an answer right. Talk about exhausting! Although I fully identify as an educator, I do not fit the mold of the “headmaster,” “lecturer,” or “enertainer” type. And honestly, I don’t think too many parents out there fit that bill or warm to those images! As for myself, I don’t even identify as, or aspire to be “teacher” for very much of the day at all. Been there, done that.
Rather, I aspire to the role of “keeper” in our Homeschool.
What do I mean by “keeper?” Think of the role of a bee-keeper. She doesn’t make honey. She doesn’t even teach her bees to make honey. A bee-keeper simply “keeps” her bees, facilitating their natural process.
2.) CULTIVATE a lifelong love for reading!
Whether your child likes, loves, lives with, or loathes reading, this list of tips and tricks is for all us parents who desire to help our child’s love for books flourish and grow! Perhaps your child hasn’t fallen in love with reading yet. Or perhaps your child has recently fallen out of love with reading. Or perhaps your child simply prefers other things over reading and does not voluntarily read or ask to be read to as often as you would like.
Whatever your child’s relationship with books, I hope that this list of ideas will help guide you in your quest to gift your child with a deep, life-long love for the written word!
3.) EMPOWER your kids with a weekly Skill School!
Come along with us on a truly extraordinary journey teaching our kids practical-life skills; building independence, inspiring self-confidence, and instilling a deep respect for good, old-fashioned work. Best of all, we’ve done all of the prep and planning for you! Check out our Skill-School Series to help your kids delve into the satisfying, practical-life vocations of gardening, cooking, woodworking, housekeeping, leathercraft, and more!
I can honestly say that our “Skill School Days” are among the happiest, most grounding, most rewarding days of our children’s little lives thus far. Join us and see for yourself the magic that Skill-School can work on a child’s self-esteem and overall zest and appreciation for life!
4.) WELCOME a softer approach to academics!
What kind of education do we really want for our children, anyway? Sure, we want them to be able to read and write and compute. That’s kind of a given. But is that all we want for their education?
Do we just want to check off all of those boxes? Or do we really, in our heart of hearts, want to fill their baskets –nourishing our children not just in mind, but in body and soul as well?
Do we want them to be at their reading and math levels and call it a day? Or do we want to impart to our kids a true LOVE FOR LEARNING in all it’s delightful diversity?
To pass on (or cultivate along with them) a love for art, music, nature, God, literature, people; to ignite in them a truly insatiable LOVE FOR LIFE?
5.) REFRESH your routine!
Whatever grade your kids are, and whatever stage of Spring Fever you may find yourselves, I have found (as a student, teacher, and now Homeschool mom) that the best antidote for the monotony of it all is to simply switch things up. Just like our house needs a good and hearty spring-clean at the conclusion of winter, so does the Homeschool routine need a spirited spruce toward the end of the school year. The dust and clutter has accumulated on our Homeschool routine and it’s time for a refreshing clear out!
6.) DISCOVER the wonders of live-action Science!
If a child ever says that “science is boring”, it only means one thing: we’re doing it all wrong. Studies in science shouldn’t be presented as flat, from a textbook, one-dimensional, randomly introduced lessons. Rather, they should be full-color, full of life, delight-directed, in our face, sensory-rich celebrations of God’s glorious creation! In short, science shouldn’t be learned; it should be discovered.
So, to that end, here are our seven steps to sensory-rich science at home!
7.) RECOGNIZE your worth as a Homeschool parent!
If you’re anything like me, you probably beat yourself up more than you should when the events of the day don’t meet your (admittedly high) expectations or when things go any direction other than “according to the plan.” Unfortunately, our “failings” in a homeschool day are often easy to spot, while our triumphs tend to escape our notice. We are indeed our own worst critics.
And sometimes, especially when we are tired or overwhelmed, we deceive ourselves into believing that the education we are offering our children is somehow “less than” or “inferior” to what we could so easily subcontract out.
But as someone who has taught both in the public school system and now in our little homeschool, I just have to give you my two cents, dear mamas and papas: if you’re thinking YOU may not be what’s best for YOUR kids, I’d put a lot more than my measly two cents on it that you’re short-changing yourself.
In short, I would just bet that you (yes, you!) are doing a way better job at this homeschooling gig than you think you are.
8.) VENTURE off-road with “Unschooling!”
Unschooling is not alone in its effort to abandon the “norm” and forge a new path. In fact, there are many “denominations” if you will of alternative classroom as well as Homeschool models that have chosen to unsubscribe entirely from standard education, and each do so with truly inspired flare!
Step into a Montessori classroom and be at once captivated by the order, simplicity, and buzz of children in “flow” . . .
Tread into a Waldorf school garden and witness the enchantment of free play and unhindered childhood whimsy . . .
Sit in on a read-aloud with a Literature-Based Homeschool Family, and be swept up and carried lands away . . .
Stand at a vintage school desk singing “America the Beautiful” and be overwhelmed by the depth of heritage-steeped education . . .
Tramp alongside an Unschooled family through the woods and feel the stirring of your soul as you humbly enter nature’s classroom . . .
9.) GIVE your child(ren) this free yet priceless gift!
Each of us —my children and me (and even Papa when he’s home)— all derive a different benefit from the deep, daily connections we share cultivated over books, nature, tea, snuggles, games, conversation, art, music. All of this is wholly dependent on one thing— a gentle, protective (yes, I admit it) canopy arching over our days, providing the only resource we need to leisurely enjoy an arboretum of beauty, wisdom, and creativity.
Find out what our “IT” is here: The #1 Reason Why We Homeschool
10.) ENROLL (mama or papa) as a student in your homeschool!
We can all be enrolled in home education together, parents and children. Taking time for personal growth and lifelong learning doesn’t have to rob time from our kids. Rather, it can invest in each of our on-going relationships with our children and family community. Can we challenge ourselves to grow at a rate to continually converge with our brilliant children throughout their lives? This year . . . can we give ourselves the gift of time, and space, and grace to grow alongside our children?
11.) TUNE IN to “Happy Homeschooling!”
Give your Homeschool days a productivity boost and mood-lift in one go, with our “Happy Homeschooling” playlist; a collection of songs carefully chosen (and always evolving) to stimulate deep focus and happy flow for our lovely little learners!
12.) TRUST that *it* will be enough.
I’m not always a Zen-master Homeschooling mama. Just as I practice “crow” over and over again during my morning yoga sessions —some days nearly breaking my nose, other days somehow supporting my whole body; inverted over my wrists even for just a brief and slightly terrifying moment— I’m slowly learning the art of teaching our children from a place of trust.
13.) SOW seeds of service with “The Miss Rumphius Challenge!”
Doing something practical, something useful, or creating something beautiful (with our hands or with our minds) is the best recourse I know of (other than prayer) for conquering worry, uncertainty, struggle, helplessness, and regaining PURPOSE in our lives. Better yet, what if the purpose we set our hands to was an unselfish one?
14.) CELEBRATE Valentine’s Day with your kids!
- Make valentines with your kids! Check out our free printable valentines here.
- Bake a valentine cake with your kids! Nothing says “I love you” quite like a cake. Especially if the cake is . . . chocolate. Try our favorite cake recipe here: Vegan Valentine Chocolate Cake!
- Boogie with your love-bugs!
Thank you so much for reading!
Happy Valentine’s Week!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~