I am by no means a homeschooling expert... in fact, I consider myself a homeschooling rookie as my oldest is just 6. Whether you homeschool by choice or because you have no other choice, Jewish homeschooling moms share many of the same challenges.
Since I am just a rookie, giving out homeschooling advice is something I don't feel is my place just yet, but what I can do is let you all know the things that really work for us and that help me keep my sanity (most of the time:)
Going with the flow
I have a few little ones at home and rely heavily on their nap times to get things done with the older kids. For the most part, this works as they are on a great schedule, but there are days where one of them will decide not to nap, or one isn't feeling well and the next thing you know, all plans for the day are out the window.
So now you have 2 choices:
1. Get extremely frustrated that things didn't go according to plan, feel like a failure that you didn't get to "teach" your kids for the day and end the day on a sour note since "nothing" was accomplished
2. Realize that we are NOT in control. That Hashem is running the show, as much as we like to think we are. Realize that yes, there will be days that no official teaching will get done and things might be a bit chaotic... but guess what: it will be okay! Tomorrow is an entire new day! and if it is like that for more then a day or 2 or 3, it will be okay too, trust me- I have been there, and my kids are turning out just fine. Actually, they are turning out pretty awesome:)
Trust your kids
I am not talking trust as in kids telling the truth. I am talking having faith in them as curious intelligent little beings. Little people that Hashem has created, little people who taught themselves how to crawl, how to walk, how to speak- yes, without your help! (well, my first got lots of special attention in all those departments since I actually had the time to sit with him one on one and point to his nose and say NOSE until he got it right- but guess what: as each little one came along... 4 more in 3 years! they all pretty much figured out where there noses were and how to say nose all by themselves. Who would have thought?:)
So yes, we feel like if we dont sit down with out kids and drill information into their heads, they will never know anything. WRONG. Just give them the tools. Surround them with lots and lots of great books, talk to them, answer ALL of their questions and if you don't know an answer, look it up together. Encourage them to ask. Every thing we do with our kids is a learning experience.
Another thing is, the younger kids learn SO much from the older kids. I never sat down and taught any of my younger ones any letters, numbers, shapes or colors. They just figured it out. It is all around them. Our kids are just so much smarter and capable of learning then we actually realize. We just need to get to a place where we trust that they will learn things without us throwing it at them.
I also have a lot to say about the whole "Curriculum" idea, but will save that for another post. It goes somewhere along the lines of, "Kids will automatically be good at something they enjoy doing. So encourage it. Don't force your kids to learn something if they are not showing an interest in it. And encourage the things that they are showing an interest in." Stay posted for more on this subject matter:)
Personal Mom time/Mom and Dad time
Okay. This ones a biggie. Whether you homeschool or not, these 2 are imperative.
I was speaking with a friend about this the other day and she asked me what I do for myself, you know, in my "personal" time. Embarrassingly enough, I had no answer. Um... check my email at the end of the day? That's personal, right? Blog once in a while. Oooh, I LOVE going onto Pinterest! She just shook her head. No, no, no! You have GOT to make some time for yourself, doing something, ANYTHING, even if its just 2 hours a week, that is JUST YOU.
Take a walk. Go to a coffee shop and have a cup of tea. Go window shopping. Dedicate 2 hours a week, just for you.
Now some of you may be thinking, wow, poor lady! 2 hours a week, are you kidding me?? that's nothing! Or some of you may be thinking, wow! I guess I am not the only one who could use a little me time! Whoever you are, do what works for you, but YOU need to do something, out of the house, just for YOU. Even if it means putting on headphones and walking around the block.
Date Night. Once a week. No questions asked. Doesn't matter where you go or what you do. Just take one night a week. Take a shower, get dressed up, do your hair, put on make up, heels, whatever makes you feel like a WOMAN and go out with your man.
And that folks, is my two cents for the week.
Have an absolutely fabulous Shabbos!