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Homeschooling with Prayer

Here are some practical tips for homeschooling using the PRAYER method.

A mother homeschools her son and daughter.

New to homeschooling? Try incorporating these practical suggestions for a successful and productive school year. I call it the PRAYER method.

P—Pray. Start each day with prayer. Pray collectively as a family and dedicate the school day to God, that He might be glorified and honored in all that is said and done. Share praises and gratitude. Talk about prayer requests for immediate and extended family members, friends and church acquaintances. Discuss world and national current events that demand prayers as delicately or deeply as the ages of your children allow.

Encourage individual quiet time, too. Let each family member keep a prayer journal, recording dated petitions and praises.

Decide if your family will participate in collective bible study and daily scripture reading, individual devotional time or a combination of both.

R—Relax. Keep in mind that there really isn’t a “right” or “wrong” way to homeschool.  Research a variety of methods, like unit studies with much hands-on activities or a co-op with other homeschooling families or a curriculum-based approach or an accredited online program.

Do what works best for your family and try not to compare your methods to those in a school setting or to other homeschooling families.

A—Accept. Accept the individuality of each member of your family and choose each child’s curriculum accordingly. What works for one child may not work for another. Know each child’s learning style and preferences and try to teach to meet those needs. That’s part of the beauty of homeschooling!

Investigate the plethora of homeschooling curriculums available. You can do this online, obviously, but it’s often helpful to attend a homeschooling conference where vendors showcase their curriculum for you to peruse.

Don’t let the curriculum you choose dictate to you, either. Follow your children’s interests and get creative. Make each day fun as well as educational.

Whatever method or curriculum or program you decide to use, remember that you have the freedom to change that decision at any time you feel it is no longer the best approach.

Y—Yearn. Encourage a hunger for learning throughout the day, not just when “school” is in session. Make every moment a teachable moment. Trips to the grocery store can involve math concepts, such as calculating the number of ounces of cheese you need for a recipe or determining which detergent is the most economical. A family walk in the early evening can turn into a science lesson by snapping photos of various flora and fauna you encounter and then researching online the scientific or common name to go with each one.

Read books aloud as a family, from classics to currents, and keep a list of new vocabulary words you encounter.

E—Expect. Expect interruptions. The toddler may get sick. An elderly neighbor might need assistance. Daddy may suddenly have the day off. Be flexible. Adapt your schedule to meet the needs of that day. Don’t fret or sweat the small stuff. Again, the beauty of homeschooling—you make your own schedule.

That freedom might allow you to finish an interrupted lesson later in the evening, combine the missed activity with tomorrow’s lesson or postpone the day altogether and turn a Saturday morning into school time.  

R—Reward. Reward yourself and the kids often for a successful school day, with a tangible treat like a cookie or fruit smoothie, a trip to the park or walking trail, or a late movie and then extra sleep-time the next morning. Reward the big moments—a successful grade on a unit test, a completed art project or memorization of the books of the bible in correct order. And reward the little moments—mastery of subtraction with borrowing or completion of chores without a reminder.

Find clever ways to enjoy special time together. Put together a jigsaw puzzle or complete a crossword puzzle. Match a basket of socks and then toss them back into the hamper in a mock basketball shootout. Blow bubbles, make homemade modeling dough, play hopscotch, decorate the driveway with chalk, put on a puppet show, reenact a scene from the social studies book, hop like leapfrogs on February 29 or go for a walk on a rainy day with umbrellas and rain boots.

Remember, you get extra hours with your kids that other families don’t have, so make the most of every moment.  

I wish you the best of luck incorporating the PRAYER method into your school year. Happy homeschooling!

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