#1. Starting each day when we were ready
I have to say, this is a major reason why I started homeschooling in the first place. Getting 3 kids out the door for a 7:50 school start time was becoming unbearable! After my daughter had attended full time school for 4 years (K-3), I was done with the early mornings. We always barely had breakfast, and then of course we were always eating in the car. In my family, we keep artist hours, going to bed at 11pm-1am. We just think better when we work until late at night. That is when we are most creative! When we began homeschooling, we worked into a lovely pattern where we stumbled out of bed at 9, and started our group work at 10 AM. Two hours of work and it was lunch at 12! How are the mornings for you? When do your kids work best?
#2. Beautiful, eclectic field trips
Field trips were a huge perk in homeschooling. Trips with close homeschool friends were so fun! We had oodles of time to make plans and interweave on-site learning into our studies. Some of my favorite field trips were when we explored California during our study of California history (in 6 nights): We went to see state history places in Sacramento (capitol tour), Columbia State Historic Park (Gold Rush history), and Yosemite. It was a spectacular trip! Some other memorable trips and tours were the International Printing Museum (Carson), the Orange Coast College Aquarium private tour, Disney Concert Hall tour, and the Gamble House tour. The ability to decide what we wanted to do and work backward as to how to get there (having freedom of schedule) was unbelievable! It is a gift and a privilege to be able to do it!
#3. Making silly crafts
Other fun memories came from making silly crafts. When we started homeschool, to inagurate our year we created “mummy” pencil holders. Totally a Pinterest idea, they set a tone of personalization. Also during our first year, we celebrated Earth Day by making earth rice crispy globes, made of green and blue rice crispy colors. What fun projects have you done?
#4. Cooking: Incorporating food into our curriculum!
One of the things that I think we all enjoyed was cooking. Though it took preparation to shop and prepare—learning was always made more tangible. As we studied US History, we used the awesome Eat Your Way Through the USA book. For my sixth and third grader, learning was fun, individualized, and memorable with the state recipes.
#5. Learning so much, personally
Finally, as I reflect back on our years of homechooling, I am amazed at how much I learned! While attending school growing up, I had always been a good student, earning A’s and all that. I found myself learning in a very new wayas we plowed through astronomy, the Renaissance, US history, and ornithology (study of birds). As I was putting together the studies for my kids, I saw new connections in the subject areas that I had never considered until we homeschooled. To give an example, as we studied physical science using Visual Manna’s Teaching Astronomy Through Art, I took in the fact that we have bits of stars in us. All the minerals and elements on our planet came from a space story of planet creation, where our little planet was drawn together with a liquid core. Matter that is on earth came from a larger story of the cosmos. The cosmos in us…..amazing!
There are so many aspects I dearly miss from homeschooling my kids: creative crafts, fun field trips, incorporating cooking, having more control of our schedule, and learning so much personally. For those of you have that have been homeschooling for a while, remember that you will not always be doing it. It is hard work! And for those of you who are thinking about it or perhaps just started, know it can be a really deep and intense time of learning, if you let it be. Take lots of pictures, as some day you, like me, will wistfully look back on those days as a time when you gave a gift to both your children, and yourself!