Thursday, October 29, 2015

20 Ways to Be the Best Homeschool Parent {According to 9-year-old Aidyn}

I interviewed Aidyn about what it takes to be the best homeschool parent, in his opinion. I sat down next to him with a notepad and invited him to dish.

So if you'd like to glean a little wisdom from my fun (and honest!) son, please read on. All bold points are his suggestions verbatim; I may have added some insight, explanation, or excuse to save my reputation!

How to Be the Best Homeschool Parent {According to Aidyn}

1. Take them on field trips.
Okay, he has a point here. Field trips rock! He loves them because they get him out of the house and physically moving. I love them because they often fulfill a range of "subjects." Zoography, reading (the placards and signs), geography, physical activity, science, and math can all be accomplished in a trip to the zoo.

2. Have fun.
Well, yeah. But sometimes I really need this reminder.

3. Throw parties.
As an introvert who relishes quiet time, this one is hard for me. But we've thrown skeleton parties and book-related parties, and they've always been a smash with memories that live on longer than any textbook lesson.

4. Have poetry teatimes.
This beautiful family ritual was prompted by the lovely Julie Sweeney Bogart from Brave Writer. We don't always have the fanciest teatimes or the freshest homemade goodies (sometimes a box of cookies from Safeway is all I have), but the mood is always warm and festive and flowing with poetry.

5. Take them to the park.
Everyone loves running around and climbing like a monkey, right?

6. Help them do school by drawing pictures to make things easier to understand.
Sometimes a fun illustration of a glacier plowing through a mountain like a bulldozer makes things easier to understand. And more exciting! (Side note: I'm a terrible artist, but it results in some funny cracks about what I'm drawing)

7. Play outside.
I'm sensing a theme developing.

8. Give them thousands of snacks, yummy snacks, like cupcakes and cookies.
I promise I give him fruit and veggies, too! Really!

9. Give them fun things to do like drawing, coloring, and reading.

10. Do Spelling Power, math, and reading.
I'm glad he covered the basics.

11. Put on Reading Rainbow.
"I can go anywhere!" "I can be anything!" Who doesn't love that?

12. Fall asleep watching an afternoon movie.
I promise I've never fallen asleep during afternoon movie time and neither has he! But we do get comfy and relaxed.

13. Take them shopping for colorful school clothes.
I guess the ritual of school-clothes shopping isn't lost to homeschoolers.

14. Have 80s Saturdays.
I know that might sound confusing, but occasionally we have turned back the clock and had 80s Saturday mornings (just for fun!). I make a YouTube playlist of 80s cartoons and slip old commercials in between, and we stay in our pajamas watching retro cartoons, eating junky cereal, and playing with 80s toys I scrounged from thrift stores. We do the 80s because it's the decade of my childhood, but we've "gone to" the 70s before, and you can easily pick any decade and go there.

15. Take them to Disneyland.
He's definitely my child. But Disneyland can be very educational! We've done so many unit studies inspired by Disneyland themes. The possibilities are endless.

16. Take them to the apple farm and museums.
Of course.

17. Jump in the trampoline while doing school.
This is not something we've done before, but he really wants to try this!

18. Go on walks and look at leaves, bushes, and trees.

19. Tickle and squash and wrestle.
Sometimes it's helpful to be reminded that we are homeschooling, not schooling at home, and home is a place to cuddle, be silly, and roughhouse every once in a while.

20. Build a fort.
Everyone loves forts.

Here's some that I would add (from a homeschool mama perspective) because I've learned how important they are and need the reminder:

  • Chill out.
  • Enjoy them and allow them to help you grow.
  • Embrace the discomfort (hate parties? Throw them anyway).
  • Never underestimate the power of a food break, a coffee break, a retreat-to-our-separate-areas break, a bath break, an outdoor break, a movie break, etc.
  • Everything counts. Even if there is no worksheet to prove you did anything.
  • Never call yourself a perfect homeschool parent; never call yourself the worst.
  • Never underestimate the power of a back rub (for both of you!)

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