One of the tricks of any smart teacher—at home or in the classroom—is the ability to save time. I know from personal experience that when you’re in a classroom setting there are incredible demands for your time from many different sources. Now I’ve discovered that even though the demands are different, there are just as many of them when you’re teaching at home.
In the classroom, I always looked for opportunities to cover more than one curriculum requirement with a single activity or lesson. Sometimes this was easy, and other times it was hard to make it work because of outside conflicts. At home, it’s a bit easier to combine subjects since I am the one deciding when we’ll cover things. I try to plan things this way; sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s difficult, and sometimes it falls into your lap completely done for you.
This morning, the stars aligned, the heavens opened, and my computer screen brought forth the Holy Grail of lesson planning: a simple activity that covered no less than three separate topics I needed to address. Bonus: All of the supplies were in my cupboard already. Instead of working with watercolors (from our Five in a Row lesson), completing a page on symmetry (for math), and working on a Valentine craft (Wednesdays we do either a seasonal craft or something to go along with our artist study), we did the Symmetrical Valentine Birds project from Art Projects for Kids—notice that it’s even labeled symmetry, Valentine’s Day, watercolor. Be still my heart. It doesn’t always happen like it did today, but it sure is nice when it does.
I’ve spent enough time on various homeschooling forums to know that there are those out there—most often those new to homeschooling—who stress about covering every single subject every single day. Their five year olds are doing science experiments and making maps and doing math worksheets and phonics worksheets and story writing every day. If that’s what you want to do and it’s working for you, go for it. Most of these moms are burned out trying to prepare all of these activities, though, and I can only imagine that their kids are not too far behind.
There is plenty of time for your kids to grow up and worry about covering all the content needed for a high school transcript. When they’re young, take the time to relax and enjoy learning. Combine topics where you can and take the extra free time to do something fun together!