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Homeschool Lifestyle: Our 6 Best Tips for Cultivating Lifelong Learning
There’s so much information out there today, and it’s available NOW. You may fear that you’ll leave gaps in your children’s education or won’t be able to teach them all the things they need to succeed. We have some good news: You don’t have to!
Instead, focus on cultivating lifelong learning as a part of your homeschool lifestyle. You can teach your kids how to learn and not just what to learn so they’ll be equipped to flourish in an ever changing world.
We’ve got six easy tips for starting today.
Make Reading a Family Affair
Reading aloud together is a great way to help your kids develop a love of reading! And those who read tend to think more deeply, communicate better, and find creative solutions to problems.
Younger students will hear literature that they might not be ready to read on their own, yet can understand and enjoy. As a family, you can talk about the books you are reading and discuss topics they might bring up. The conversations you have will help you to get to know one another as you get insight to the ways each of you think.
Reading is both an academic skill and a way to build better relationships with one another.
Learn Alongside of Your Children
Our kids ask questions we don’t know the answers to all the time. We have a choice to make when it happens. We can get annoyed or say I don’t know. We can even tell them to look up the answer (and sometimes that’s a great idea.)
Or we can take a different approach—one that says we’re in this learning thing together. We can respond by saying, “I don’t know, but let’s find out.”
When we say this, we are teaching our kids that it’s fine not to know everything. We’re showing them how to be lifelong learners by engaging in the process of figuring things out together.
Be a Lifelong Learner Yourself
It doesn’t stop with helping your kids find answers to their questions. What’s something you want to learn about? What new skills do you want to develop? Is there something you feel passionate about and want to pursue? The homeschool lifestyle shouldn’t just be about what our kids are learning. A lifestyle means it’s the way we all live.
Consider Homeschooling Year Round
When we follow the traditional school year calendar, we’re giving a subtle message that education happens during certain months of the year. When we shake off those arbitrary dates of August through May, we communicate to our kids that learning never stops. We can take advantage of seasonal learning opportunities and special holiday celebrations, we can travel during the off-season when it’s less expensive, and we will have margin for the inevitable interruptions that happen in life—because the homeschool lifestyle is just as much about life as school. And that brings us to our next tip…
Stop Seeing “School” Simply as Academic Subjects
Meals need to be planned and made, things break around the house that need to be repaired, families go through tough times—whether it’s an illness or financial struggle… This is life. And for homeschoolers, life is school and as the saying goes, “The world is our classroom.”
Learning how to budget and cook and manage time, dealing with conflict and interruptions and difficult times—these are skills our kids need. Place just as much importance on teaching these life skills as you do Algebra, grammar, and science.
And the best way to teach life skills is to do life with one another. Taking a break and dealing with a big life event, putting time in your schedule to take care of things around the house, and stopping what you’re doing in order to show your kids how to deal with conflict are a part of the homeschool lifestyle.
Dont’ feel guilty. Remember that this too is “school”.
Make it FUN!
We all learn better when we are having fun! Let’s face it… no one feels motivated to do something “boring”. (When was the last time you said, “I can’t wait to do the laundry!”???)
So incorporate some of these ideas for making learning fun:
- Play board games and do puzzles on a regular basis
- Dress up and act out scenes from books or a historical event
- Cook the foods from a country you are studying
- Get a giant outline map to do geography activities on
- Create notebooks and lapbooks
- Do experiments and hands-on projects
We want our kids to associate learning with good feelings—having fun, building family relationships, seeing learning as an adventure.
Cultivating Lifelong Learning
Learning and life are fluid and homeschooling is the perfect environment to help kids see that education goes beyond academic subjects. Yes, it encompasses learning math facts, doing experiments, writing papers, etc. But it’s more than that. It’s about living alongside one another, pursuing passions and interests, finding the answers to questions. It’s about being a lifelong learner.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can incorporate a homeschool lifestyle or rhythm in your home, check out our self-paced planning course for parents. We cover how you can adapt these ideas and more to your homeschool.