how we prep for school + our method for schooling

We are gearing up to begin school in one week and this year I am implementing a behavior bootcamp for the week leading up to school. You are probably wondering what that is exactly. :)  I will try to keep this short and simple + enough information for you too.

Behavior Bootcamp is a week long bootcamp where you start to prepare your heart + your kiddos hearts and attitudes for school. It's a great refresher for getting back into a consistent rhythm plus habits that might have fallen away during the summer.

So write down how you would like your days to flow, what rhythm you would like (I love using this to map it out) and then begin implementing everything but school. It helps get you into the consistent routine before adding school time. So you aren't overwhelmed when you begin.

This is also a time to remind your kiddos about immediate obedience, consequences, a joyful heart and no grumbling. It's also a great time to practice as a mama  -- speaking to your kiddos without getting to the frustrating mode where we begin yelling (guilty).

Immediate obedience is about following through the first time when you ask them to do something (example- put their shoes away or clean up the stairs), if they grumble, complain or don't reply... there is a consequence. This is such a helpful habit to form with kiddos because it will save you so much time and stress when schooling at home and just in life too!

This will be our 3rd official year schooling at home (I am not counting preschool or pre-k). My philosophy on schooling at home has shifted over the past two years and I honestly used to be the one who rolled her eyes at those who did unschooling and I bite my tongue more now and remember to never say never! I believe it truly came from a lack of understanding, on my part, what this method of teaching meant.

My thoughts about teaching at home have honestly been shaped by two main methods: Unschooling (which is mainly interest led learning) and Charlotte Mason which advocates beautiful education in the home and outdoors. I truly believe there is no perfect method of learning and every home needs to find what works for them. What I do here might not perfectly work for your tweak it for how it works for you.

The first place to begin if you are even just a bit curious about unschooling is to go buy and read Jodi Mockabee's Getting Started Manual. It helps you lay out a rhythm and routine for your days and gives ideas and tips on how to begin! That is how I began.

Schooling at home is a beautiful extension to parenting. It is also not something you should jump into half-heartedly and without a vision. Just as it says in Proverbs "where there is no vision, the people perish...", you need a vision for what your goals or mission statement is for schooling at home.

This is ours:

+ strong family relationships and godly character. 
+ pursue what you are passionate about and your talents God has gifted you with. 
+ become a lifelong learner and be disciplined in daily life with habits. 
+ be grateful, strong, kind, loving and creative. 
+ confident and true to the song in your heart. 

"Homeschooling is not a race to the finish line, it's a journey of a million small discoveries that lead you along the path God has marked out for you." 

The next question and decision you need to begin thinking about is your environment. What kind of environment do you want to have, what kind of tone do you want to set to help stimulate learning, confidence, passions (whatever words you chose in your vision statement). For our family, I wanted to have any art supplies available to spark creativity, a place to sit down and draw, books that encourage learning and growth and lots of games. Our family loves to keep things simple so we have a homeschool cabinet that holds our school books + art supplies, we have bookshelves in almost every room to instill a love for reading and a desk, table and coffee table for a place to use for writing, playing games, etc.

I realized a year ago that I was playing tug of war when it came to school with my boys. I kept trying to re-create a public schoolroom in our home and it was not working. So I removed anything from our home that did not spark joy, a love for learning and our vision for school. It completely changed my perspective and our attitudes towards learning- it was amazing!

I stripped everything down and started over by piecing together a feast (as Charlotte Mason calls it) for my little men. Suddenly our school was simplified. It felt like a huge weight was lifted off our shoulders and my chest and I became eager to learn alongside them and they have always been eager to read together and learn with me. Yes, we still have those grumbling days and hearts sometimes - but it is all a part of learning and growing together.

For our home we do year-round schooling, it looks lighter for us in the summer and around December. Every six weeks, I take one week off of school and evaluate a few things:

what is working
what isn't working
what is frustrating each child
what can we work on
what are they interested in learning more about 

This helps our year go so much smoother when I look over this and write it down every few weeks instead of once a year!

Later this week I will share more of what our days look like and what we will be using this year for our school. I am so excited to have you follow along with us, you can catch more over on instagram.