Tomorrow the Barrett family homeschool begins it's tenth year of operation. We have learned many things over the last ten years, Dave and I more so than the children I think. One thing we have made kind of a tradition is spending the day before the school year begins cleaning and prepping the various spaces that we use for school throughout the house together. This gives the children a day to mentally prepare for the upcoming year.
This year, after we thoroughly cleaned the basement learning room (which had been completely decluttered by me over the course of the summer), we sat down will the children for our annual family meeting to go over the rules and expectations that we have for them. Brendan was not included in the meeting being only four and a pre-k student. But for everyone else (11th grade, 9th grade, 6th grade, 5thgrade and two 2nd graders) attendance was mandatory.
Anyone who has ever attended my homeschool talks knows how important I think it is that dad's be an intregal part of homeschooling. Homeschooling is a lifestyle and dad needs to be active in the life and culture of the home. That isn't to say that he should quit his job and start teaching but he should be treated as the "principal" to coin a public school term, and should be the disciplinary head of the school. If he can be involved in teaching so much the better.
That being said we choose a day for the family meeting that Dave can be here and can "lay down the law" for the coming year. It's a little wearing that the same issues need to be addressed every year but we are training people here and it's a long business.
This year we focused on routines. The getting up/ready/dressed/brushed/room picked up/ getting down to the kitchen for breakfast was a big part of that. It's a place where, in the past, we have slacked off and it makes a rocky start to the day. Rules regarding TV and computer time were established and a few daily chores were handed out. Then Dave gave a general talk on discipline and responsibility. How work must be completed and if mama needs to be giving attention elsewhere then work still must be done. Authority was handed to the "substitutes" (Katie and Erin) and we went over the responsiblities of those left in charge of little ones.
The meeting is usually pretty quick, a half hour at most, and is followed up during the year as we feel is necessary. When the rules and routines are not followed Dad is contacted IMMEDIATELY via text, video chat or phone and the offender is dealt with.
Having Dave as an active participant in school has helped my whole day run better. He asks to see work when he comes home and offers assistance in math and science as needed, my weak spots.
After the meeting today, the teacher got to go out to lunch with the principal where she received some much needed encouragement and appreciation.
How do you begin your school year?
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