An acronym reveals six tips to apply to your homeschool.
To be a homeschool mentor is to have a listening ear and a willingness to share your homeschool experience. Each of us, whether we’ve been homeschooling for one year or 21 years, has our unique experience to share. And each of our unique experiences are valuable and worth sharing. We can encourage and help to equip another homeschool mom if only we would take the time, and courage, to share with them.
I would like to share just a bit of my homeschool experience in the form of an acronym using the word “mentor.” I do hope you will find something encouraging, inspiring or thought-provoking here. Most of all, though, I hope you reach out to other moms and share your experience!
M is for music: Music is something I incorporate into each day. Whether it’s singing along to patriotic or folk songs while doing morning chores or listening to classical music while doing bookwork, it never ceases to be uplifting and to bring joy and harmony into our home. Music is powerful and, I believe, can help turn around a “bad” day.
E is for extracurricular: Extracurricular activities, chosen well, can help instruct and refine children in areas of interest and natural gifting. For us this has included music lessons, the study of ballet and theatre, gymnastics, and swimming, and most recently horseback riding and a 4-H Sharp Shooters club. What fun to see your children honing their skills and interests while learning important life lessons such as responsibility, respect for authority (other than Mom and Dad!), organization, attentiveness and the ability to get along with others!
N is for nature: Nature study is fun and rewarding! You don’t have to know it all; you simply learn along with the children. This is an area where their curiosity can lead you. Step outside, go for a walk and see what they find. Use field guides to learn all you can about the discovery. Have the kids sketch it to the best of their ability for a nature journal entry — you give it a try too! It is amazing how much the kids learn and retain with this simple activity. Should I mention that the first year we did this as our science, my kids’ standardized test scores in science skyrocketed?
T is for time: Time is one of the real and often overlooked benefits of homeschooling. Kids have the time to learn, to play, to “be” who God made them to be. They have time to build strong relationships with their parents and especially with their siblings. Not surprisingly, my children love each other. More surprisingly, they know each other well and like each other. They are not perfect — of course, they have their share of disagreements. But because of the time they’ve spent, they have an unbreakable bond that I believe will last. They are truly friends. And they are comfortable and confident with who God has made them to be, being far more grounded in their faith and in who they are than I ever dreamed of being at their ages (and possibly now)! All this is due, in part, to the time they’ve been blessed with.
O is for outreach: Outreach is a great thing to add into your homeschool. It can be as simple as praying for others as a family, helping a neighbor, gathering blankets for the homeless or buying a few extra groceries for a single mom. Outreach is a way to make loving others tangible and personal for your kids. It can be creative and unique to your family, and it can be fun!
R is for reading: Reading is one of my very favorite things to do with my children and on my own, being not only one of my true joys in life but also something I’ve continued to do right up through high school. There are so many rich stories out there: picture books and chapter books, fiction and non-fiction. We love reading for pure enjoyment and for learning purposes. My kids love to read on their own, to read to each other, and to listen to well-done audio books. When all other plans fail, you can always reclaim a day by reading! Books also are powerful and can open our minds and our hearts, change our perspective, and take us to times and places we can never experience any other way!
As I said before, I hope this has been an encouragement or an inspiration, or has at least created some food for thought. Please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions.
Now get out there and share your experience with someone!
Stacie has homeschooled her four children for 17 years with the support and encouragement of her husband, Jonathan. She has helped serve at the Mentoring Moms booth at the FPEA Florida Homeschool Convention and in various local homeschool leadership positions.