This post is part of the Ultimate Homeschool Series.
It's important to begin (or continue) every year with habits which help us continue on the path God has called for us. Even when the goals are similar, often, having a fresh perspective, a fresh year, and maturing children allows us further direction into fine tuning those habits.
We need to focus on areas that can improve and continue to pour into our relationship with Christ in deeper ways so we can lead our children into a deeper relationship with Him as well.
Here are 5 habits to include in your homeschool year:
Not just Bible reading and meal time prayers, but real discipleship; when we read and what we're taught is lived out. When we point out God's promises as He is faithful and learn to trust Him when we cannot see, and talk regularly with our children on these real-life happenings and how they relate to the Bible and what we've learned.
Part of discipleship is discipline. The rest is recognizing His Spirit and learning to tune ourselves into Him every moment of everyday. It's important we are dedicated to growing our relationship with God and leading our children to do the same. Part of this is done through Scripture and prayer, but the majority of it is living it out and showing our children we trust God and point out how He works in our lives so our children can "see" Him.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Everyone around thrives on routine. My goal is to continue to solidify our schedule even more through adding some important elements to our daily routine.
These include read aloud time (more on that below), devotionals (in addition to Bible reading), meals and chores, and focusing most on those morning hours.
It's important for my children that we at least do chores and lessons in the same order everyday. It helps them know what to expect and what is expected of them.
The morning hours are really our golden time of day here. Once lunch is over, our minds start drifting and it's time for something more hands on. So I need to make sure I am utilizing the precious time during the morning to do any work that requires some focus and brain power.
It's really up to the parents to form habits within the child, so we are the ones who need to be on top of making that happen every single day.
I can tell you from experience that when I fail to work my habits and help my children remember to work theirs, they don't work 'em. They are still in training and will need consistency for a long time!
Regular Reading Aloud
Reading aloud is such an important part of parenting. It's not only great for academic nurture, it's excellent mother-to-child nurture. It helps us connect and spend time together.
Reading aloud helps create a language rich atmosphere and opens doors to imagination and critical thinking skills.
It's so easy (unfortunately) to fall out of the habit of reading aloud. It is something that we must be intentional about. Having a stack of titles ready to go, and making regular trips to the library in order to pick up said titles helps with this.
When we fail to plan, I fail to read.
Focus on Fine Arts
Another thing that's easy to do is get caught up in too much book work and drilling and forget about the hands-on learning that really helps open up the creative minds of our children. Just like us, our children need an outlet. I really believe fine arts is that place. A place to unleash their passion in a way that allows their creativity to take shape.
At times, I get so focused on making sure all the academics are covered, I leave little room for creating.
My girls do ballet at a dance academy and my eight year old son is teaching himself piano. But I need to allow for more painting and drawing, too. Most of my children love to write, so I do allow time for story-making.
You can pick one day of the week to really allow your children to focus on the fine arts they are interested in. They can work at home or you can join a co-op if you feel that option is a good fit for your family.
Creativity needs to come alive to help academics flourish. It's important we don't neglect that part of our children's homeschooling.
Learn Through Life
Although this shouldn't be a tricky habit, for me it is. I grew up going to public schools so all my ideas of learning are compartmentalized and formal. I want to integrate our lessons in our everyday life naturally, and also be mindful of more teachable moments throughout our days for spiritual growth and life lessons.
The only way I know how to do this is to be mindful of my moments with my children. There are some things they will learn from me that a book really cannot teach.
Remember, successful homeschooling depends on good habits.