5 Homeschool Must-haves for 2008

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. But I do like to reassess my life and make adjustments when the time is right. Jan 4th is a great time to reassess; the holidays are over, it’s almost time to start classes again, and I have a huge deadline in a couple of days. So yes, it’s time to get my head on straight (again) and move forward.

5 things in 2007 made a difference for me. And for 2008, they will be must-haves for our homeschooling success.

1) A place to work. I’m not super neat, although I like clean spaces. And I’m not obsessed with keeping the house organized, although I am comforted by knowing where things are. The one thing that keeps us sane, is having one clean space where we can do our projects. If we can have 3-4 clean spaces, even better. It worked well in 2007 to focus on the key points in the house that need to be clean, and letting the rest go.

2) My own hobbies. It may not seem like having my own hobbies is important for homeschooling. But in 2007, the times I was anxious, nervous, or over-worried about my kids were the times that I felt like I had no purpose. Scrutinizing my kids became my purpose. The times I had my hobbies in order, and felt like I had my own meaning, I was a better parent, a better teacher, and our homeschooling was overall more effective.

Case in point: I’ve been learning about social networking and social bookmarking. I’m pretty tech savvy, but this is giving me quite a bit of a challenge. There is just so much to know. I feel like there’s a wall that I have to get over. Once I’m over it, it’ll all make sense. It’s so important that I go through this, because with this experience, I am reminded what my kids feel like when they are learning something new. What they really need during this time isn’t for me to try and pull them over the wall. It’s a whole lot easier to help someone get a foothold and boost them over the wall when they want to do it, than it is to carry dead weight over it. I didn’t learn about social networking before now because I didn’t want to. My husband tried, but I wouldn’t budge. Now, I’m willing to put the effort in, and every little boost is welcome.

My own hobbies = understanding how to help my kids better.

3) A hug in the morning and a hug at night. This is a ritual I promised myself I’d do when my kids were born. First thing in the morning – a hug. Last thing at night – a hug. 2007 was a great year for that. I did slide here and there because of being sick, or falling asleep before the kids did, or being grumpy. Overall, it was a good habit. The morning hug is like a reset button for the day. The nighttime hug helps us all sleep better. Being close is our number one priority. 2008 will be another year of hugs and love.

4) Tape, paint, paper, pencils, markers, marbles and paper towel rolls. We’re fans of pre-fab activities and projects. But nothing gets a workout like the random open-ended materials we have on hand. 2007 was pretty good with that. So I’d like to do even more with this. Maybe even get a big clear box, that can hold lots of small boxes, each with a different kind of material to use. Glue, paint and other messy things will be in a separate box. All of the working materials in the big box. And have it near our clean space. What do you think – which cheap open-ended material could I store in there? The possibilities are endless!

5) Free time. Scheduled time is easy to come by and easy to manage. It’s the free time that we all need more of, and we all need to (continue to) learn how to enjoy. Time is a commodity that we can never have more of. Asking for more time is like asking for the moon. All we can do is rearrange the time we have, choosing to spend it in different ways. Free time is when I get to work on those hobbies, in my clean space, while giving the kids hugs. Free time doesn’t happen on its own, we gotta make it happen.

2008 is going to be great! Equipped with these five homeschooling must-haves, we’re ready to have a fantastic year.

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13 Responses to “5 Homeschool Must-haves for 2008”

  1. Anna Says:

    Patience, wine, enthusiasm, patience, sense of humor

  2. Tammy Says:

    Wine! I forgot about that. I guess that’s on my list of “5 life must-haves” so I forgot to put it in. Thanks for reminding me 🙂

  3. Summer Says:

    Great list. 🙂 And I’m sconding the wine. Definitely a must have for life. LOL

  4. Heather Says:

    Loved your list…I’d add wine too! 😉

    I started scheduling free time again. Something I got out of doing for awhile but it is sooooo necessary. If something comes up for me or the kids to go to or do on a scheduled free day I just say I’m sorry we have plans. Plans of a free day!!!

    I love your hug in the morning/hug at night….I tend to be huggy anyway with my kids but occasionally they’ll go to bed or I’ll go to bed to just read but fall asleep and I’ll suddenly wake up realizing that I didn’t kiss them or say goodnight!

    I love having supplies and clean areas to do them in too. It’s frustrating for me when I don’t have them. Don’t get me started on pencils around here….

    Having your own hobbies…YES! Absolutely!! That is one of my main goals to do for myself this year. I’m signing up for a yoga and art class as soon as I have some extra money!!

  5. Sheri Says:

    Okay, I’ve gotta fourth or fifth (whatever we’re up to now) on the wine.

    And making time for my own hobbies. As much as I’d like to agree on a clean space, I’ve given up the fight. I’ll settle for “room enough”.

    Because no matter what I want to do, it always means moving other people’s (re: beloved family members) crap out of the way.

    What I really need are things to do that REQUIRE me being out of the house.

    And don’t get me started about pencils and why in a house where I know there’s more than a hundred, I can’t ever seem to find ONE that sharpened.

  6. Living By Learning Says:

    We have way too much whine, and not enough wine in our home.

    Maybe if we did the twice daily hugs, and scheduling free time first (not last) we would have much less whine!

  7. Mom Is Teaching » Blog Archive » What Are Your Homeschool Must Haves? Says:

    […] Are Your Homeschool Must Haves? by Summer Minor Tammy of Just Enough shared her 5 Homeschool Must-haves for 2008. It is a great list to read over. Instead of filling up a page of resolutions, that we all know […]

  8. sunniemom Says:

    Ditto on figuring out all this social networking and bookmarking. After you get it figured out, will you adopt me? :p

    My homeschool essentials are all about having workable organized space, and making time for important things. An answering machine or voice mail are essential, IMO, because everyone who calls thinks they are 1) the only person who calls during ‘school hours’ & 2) the only person who you don’t mind interrupting your life for.

  9. Nicole Says:

    Social networking keeps me sane. I can let out the crazy in little bursts on twitter during the day, bigger chunks on the blog, and verbally on the podcast. Hooray for internets!

  10. Carnival of Homeschooling — The Rhythm Method « Red Sea School Says:

    […] also has a list of her Five Homeschool Must-haves for 2008, at Just Enough, and Nothing […]

  11. eloquy Says:

    Ooh! Good list. I am terrible at making time for myself. Definately will try harder this year.
    I like the craft box idea too – especially if the contents were swopped regularly to keep it interesting – we like fabric, tin foil (err, sorry – not sure its called that in the US?), home-made booklets in different shapes, string, paper plates and pine cones!

  12. candaceclayton100 Says:

    Love the list! I will try to use some if these ideas in my homeschooling!

  13. Michelle Says:

    I just “discovered” you and I really LIKE you!! I’ve bookmarked your blog…

    I find my teen son stays up later than I do these days…….so HE hugs me and tucks ME in and it is kinda sweet how that role reversal works!! :o) Especially on the nights when he just snugs up to me (back to back) and chatters on about everything and nothing until he discovers I’ve fallen asleep….. lol

    I love how homeschooling has recaptured the innocence/sweetness he lost when in public school!!!

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