August 23, 2006

Seven Five Habits of Highly Effective Homeschoolers

I was tagged over at Trinity Prep School a while back and am just now getting around to answering the meme. I enjoyed the answers they gave, so you'll have to click over and read her links. I'll keep it short because we have got to get the ball rolling today and get school done... too much to do, too little time!

The Seven Five Habits of Highly Effective
New School Years

(Just for fun, mine is organized with
the "KONOS five D's!")

1. Do--To Capture Attention:
Start your day with the Lord. Write in a prayer journal to see how God is answering prayers and moving in your life. Memorize scripture verses and read the Bible with your kids. The day goes so much better when you start it right!

2. Discover--to Foster Thinking:
Have fun. KONOS and unit study methods are the way we do this best. Remember to laugh, sing and play while you learn. Studies show that laughing and being happy actually increases learning and memory retention! Hands-on learning stimulates the brain! Let your kids discover new ways to meet objectives and find out information. Ask interesting questions that help them make their own connections with the material that will increase their understanding and spark their enjoyment of learning.

3. Dramatize--to Visualize:
Plan ahead and follow through. Take time out the month before, the week before, and the night before to go over your goals, review the curriculum, and gather up library books and supplies. An ounce of planning may just be the prevention of homeschool mom burn-out and bad days at home! Reward the kids for getting their school work done. Don't overload your days and schedule in plenty of free time and physical activity each week to keep the wiggles at bay!

4. Dialogue--to Internalize:
Limit activities outside the home. Keep your play-dates, co-op meets, library days, sports, clubs, and errands limited to one day to minimize distractions and increase your ability to accomplish academic goals. Also limit your distractions at home so that you are able to keep the kids on task. Only answer the phone if you are expecting a phone-call that is school-related. Keep the kids on a routine that will promote efficiency with your schedule.

5. Drill--to Crystallize:
Provide good books - As many original and unabridged books as you can supply! Read to your kids. Read around your kids. Let them see how much you enjoy reading so they will model it. Keep a home library and keep your library card maxed out with check-outs. Require reading every day. Read family chapter books in the evenings. Give rewards for reading books. Let the kids write book reports and dramatize stories in books. Let them listen to books on tape or see Reading Rainbow re-runs where other people read books aloud. Literature is a window to learning!

If you would like to add your name to the growing list of participants in this meme, please visit the link under the title of this post!

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Anonymous said...

Great list....and very creative presentation too! Thanks for participating in this Seven Habits project


betsy said...


I'm a new homeschooler this year, and I have read your blog for a couple of months off and on... You seem like you really have it together, and I admire your homeschooling attitude and style!

One thing I'm struggling with, that maybe you could address in a future post or point me to some past posts that expand upon #3 from your list, which is "Don't overload your day." My schedule is very full, and by the end of the day... the kids and I are exhausted because I feel like I need to "get it all in". How do you know what to "skip" and still make progress?

Also, you have 2 kids that are close in age... how do you separate their work during the day for Phonics, Reading and Math? Or do you?

Anyway, thanks for the great blog... it's been really helpful for our homeschooling venture! :-)

Sprittibee said...

Maureen - Thanks for inviting me! Thanks for the encouragement also.

homegirl mama - I laugh when you say I have it together. If only you knew how hard I have to TRY. ;) As for the attitude and style, some would just say that I'm a weirdo... but I sure don't mind you saying you like me, regardless! ;)

When I say don't overload your day... I mean... when you start to notice that your kids are completely not paying attention anymore... and making comments like "Do we HAVE to read ANOTHER book about INDIANS tonight, Mommy?"

That's when you've probably gone too far. *sigh* Although I have done it so many times, I certainly know the tell-tale signs of input-overload.

Also, if they have no time for anything but school, eating, restroom breaks, reading, showering, and sleeping... you probably should schedule in some free time! If not, you are likely to have some unhappy campers - which will make for an even more unhappy mama.

I like the way that KONOS writer, Jessica Hulcy puts it when she talks about how learning should be like hot chocolate rather than lemonade. Laughing, loving, and learning go hand-in-hand. If you set your goals and pencil them down on a lesson planner, you can keep yourself guided and yet leave room for being flexible enough to keep school fun.

For more specifics than that, I would suggest prayer - and lots of it. God knows exactly what your family needs better than any other homeschooler. Starting my fifth year, I have finally discovered that no-one else's homeschool "style" really will fit my own to a 'T'. There's a uniqueness to you that God put there on purpose. Your kids are special, also. You are the best teacher for them... and He'll guide you to make the best choices if you ask Him to lead the way!

On seperating work for my kids... it is actually MUCH easier when you have kids close in age. My son is in Fourth and my daughter is in Third. He is 9, and she is 7. He is ON grade level, but she is a grade ahead. So although they are two years apart, they are only ONE grade apart. My son repeated Kindergarten because I had to work at a private school the year he would have gone to homeschool FIRST Grade.

They use seperate Math books, seperate handwriting books, and read a few different books (she is not quite, but almost at his reading level - which is jr. high/highschool level anyway). We use A Beka for Math (although I would use Math U See if I could afford it as I have heard so many good things about it). But the KONOS is lovely because you ALL read together and work together on projects, field trips, activities, experiments, etc. Each child to the level they are able to participate. There's no "GRADE LEVEL" to putting on an Indian Feast. Some kids are able to do book reports on Plains Indians and others are only able to talk about what they have learned and show pictures in a book.

Grade levels are really a thing of 'institutionalized learning'. We just work on the next thing that each child needs to accomplish. The KONOS Compass is a great guide that helps tell what your children need to know by grade. I have also bought the "What Your Child Needs to Know" series, but most of that is just short stories and such. Most is already covered by KONOS anyway.

Hope that helps! If you would like to ask more specific questions, feel free to email me!



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