Take Your Homeschool Back to the Basics

Take Your Homeschool Back to the Basics

By Donna Vail

Educating your children at home can bring about a lot of freedoms not available to conventional schooling. No longer are you rushing to make lunches, running to catch the bus, setting teacher conferences and meeting homework deadlines each night.

However, homeschooling can become overwhelming and burdensome when we stand in our own way. Feelings of doing too much bring often bring about fears of failure that lead to stress and other complications. It takes focus and conscious effort to stick to the basics, make the learning really count and create a flow that inspires the whole family.

When I first began homeschooling I jumped in full force; recreating a school at home, purchasing large expensive boxes of curriculum, grading papers and even though I didn’t ring a bell, we ran through a stack of subjects each day. It wasn’t long before we crashed and burned.

Instead of throwing in the towel and quitting altogether we dropped the curriculum and took an entire year off to decompress and rediscover our love for learning again. We read stacks of books that we wanted to read, worked through how-to books making things and tapping into the creative side of life and enjoyed being fully present with each other every day as a family. Throughout the year as our rediscovery evolved, a natural flow began to develop. Gradually, I found myself adding in core learning through self-education. It was such a release from the boxed curriculum and our “schoolish” ways. Not only were my children able to learn more in-depth, our whole family took on a lifestyle of learning becoming well educated and successful. When you’re modeling self-education in your homeschool, you’re learning new and amazing things right along with them.

Children don’t need a laundry list of subjects forced upon them and a one-size-fits-all education simply does not work because there’s no such thing.

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” –John Dewey

Children need time and space to learn and grow. Here are 3 ways to get back to the basics for every day success that will last a lifetime.

1. Independent Study Time

This is when you stick to the core; self-educating in math, reading and writing. Through these three subjects we cover all subjects. Whether it’s in the morning, afternoon or evening, be sure this Independent Study Time is supportive and conducive for your whole family and your own way of living. Create this time block as a time reserved for quiet study time. Mastering self-education during this time will equip them to learn anything they need anytime, anywhere.

2. Free Exploration Time

Once children have completed their academic Independent Study Time, it’s time to apply the knowledge. This means giving them plenty of time to run, play, create things, do art, pretend, build things or do whatever interests them. A child’s play is his work. Remember, this is free time.

3. Shared Family Time

It’s important that families intentionally set aside time to share as a family. While you will be sharing your whole day together as you homeschool, coming and going here and there, you’ll want to have a time for the whole family to be gathered together in an intimate way. This could include the entire evening that begins with supper, clean up, read-aloud, board games, music, or more studying perhaps as a group rather than independently. It can even be as simple as sitting around talking, sharing, being silly, or discussing things on a broader scale such as the Olympics or the presidential race.


“Be inspired to give your children time each day for exploration and discoveries. Oceans of truth lay before them in nature. The daily aligning with nature and living naturally allows them the time and space to discover their truths. This is one of the highest honors you can give to your child. It will be the firm foundation they will rely upon all throughout their life.” –Donna Vail


Parents Inspired to Action:

  • Create your scheduled time blocks: Independent Study Time, Free Exploration Time, and Shared Family Time.
  • Structure your children’s core learning to incorporate their whole academic study.
  • Don’t expect everything to change overnight or for children to be curious right away if it has been conditioned out of them. Give them the space and time to work into this.

 Children Inspired to Action:  

  • Set them up for success but allow real life to be experienced in the safety of you.
  • Consciously make decisions around honoring the family structure and values.
  • Allow your children to expand and build relationships with others and the world around them. Help them identify and appreciate the richness that is added to life through these relationships.

Have you incorporated self-education in your home yet? What do your children do during their Free Exploration Time? What does your family like to do the most during Shared Family Time?  Please join our inspired families share by leaving a comment below.

It shouldn’t be a lot of work or take hours and hours each day to create the homeschool you desire. That’s why I created the Mentor Mastery Inner Circle. It’s an easy way to stay focused on your homeschool and family, creating the balance you desire with education, work and life. Whether you’re a new to homeschooling or a long-time homeschooler looking to simplify, I highly recommend joining the Mentor Mastery Inner Circle so you can easily grow your homeschool and life each week. It keeps you inspired and you receive coaching directly from Donna in the critical areas needed to successfully set up and execute simple and effective homeschool systems providing an education in excellence while creating family harmony. It’s easy. It’s affordable. Get started today at www.donnavailinternational.com/inner-circle.html.

About Donna Vail

Donna Vail is an education-parenting specialist, coach, mompreneur, homeschooling mother of six children, author and founder of An Inspired Education. She helps families create a lifestyle of true freedom by balancing education, work and life through self-education, entrepreneurship and inspiration. She is a highly sought after consultant for her successful guidance and resources that enable parents to let go of traditional parenting and education models, creating a lifestyle of learning where the whole family flourishes. You can find more of her resources at http://donnavailinternational.com

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