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This past spring my family turned our homeschool year upside down by selling our home just a few months before our homeschool year was coming to a close. This decision made me heartsick at first because making memories has become such an important factor to our year feeling like it was a good one. I thought, how can I keep all our fun memories going while we pack up & sell our house?
One of the first rooms I packed up was our homeschool room, which I had just set up the previous August to what finally felt to be the perfect set up for my family. Mama tears flowed as I pondered how we were going keep our year feeling memorable with most of our supplies and books packed in boxes.
As we went through the stages of preparing our house to sell, cleaning for home showings, selling and packing our home up for good we kept slowly picking away at our homeschool schedule. Even with no school room, while living at my parents home for the summer while we hunted for a new home, our memory making kept going because it had become routine. With minimal supplies set aside in plastic boxes, something cool happened, we kept making memories, they were just in different places in slightly different ways.
Memory making throughout our homeschool years does not have to be complicated.
It’s easy to push memory making to the bottom of our list, as an unimportant part of working with our kids each day, after all we have important things to do! How can we think about creating memories when there are tough math problems to solve, little kids to teach how to read and high school kids to get into college? That doesn’t even include our regular life mom tasks that need to get done like actually feeding these kids or keeping up with the eternal laundry battle.
Remember that amidst all these academic lessons we are teaching our kids, someday the memories they carry with them of homeschool life will either give them an aversion or love for homeschooling. Most of us want our kids to carry warm, fuzzy feelings of our homeschool days together but it can feel overwhelming to add that on top of our overflowing plates. We convince ourselves we need to create a Pinterest worthy moment for it to count when what our kids are waiting for is usually just our consistent time & attention.
What I learned during our move is that some of the most effective ways we can create memories are the simple ways. These homeschool memory making routines carried with us even when our life was a bit chaotic. It turned out that memory making was the glue that was holding the atmosphere of our home together, even when our home was on the move. Here are 4 simple ways to create a memorable homeschool.
1. Reading Aloud
Each afternoon throughout the school year we have read aloud time together as many homeschool families do. During times that are extra busy we keep this time going by listening to a book on audio. This is a part of the day we look forward to as a time to recharge in the afternoon with a good snack, a quiet story & time spent on the couch together. Our last day in our home, we ate lunch on a makeshift table built with moving boxes while listening to Mr. Popper’s Penguins. No matter where our location, I know we will have fond memories of the many adventures we take through books together each and every day!
2. Intentional Conversations
Our days at home have the potential to be filled with fantastic, intentional conversations with our kids. Make space for deep conversations about history lessons, books read or what is going on in the life of your child. These conversations can help our kids lessons stick, get them to think critically about different ideas as well as build a relationship with you as their mom. As homeschool moms we can forget that a crucial part of our role as home educator is to make connections with our kids on a relational level. Educational sparks will fly when we relate with & have deep conversations with our kids!
3. Space to Create
Art is such a huge part of my kids life but probably not the kind of art you are thinking of. The art my kids most love to do is of their own design. Sure they like it when I “teach” them art too, but when I take my hands off and give them the chance to just imagine, that is when they make memories as siblings. Part of our read aloud time each afternoon includes getting out art supplies as well. They draw, color and cut papers to their heart’s content while we journey through a story together. When we moved I set aside one box of art supplies for my kids which they used every single day throughout our move. This allowed them to continue to imagine and create their own amazing art while continuing to keep making memories together!
4. Nature to Explore
This looks different for many families but adding nature study to your homeschool can be so simple. Our family loves to enjoy the outdoors while some may not enjoy it quite as much, let that determine your start! Your family might start by sticking a bird feeder in the backyard to watch birds together. For others it may be taking a weekly nature hike! My favorite part of nature as a way we make homeschool memories together is that it isn’t inhibited by our school schedule. When our school year ended this year the first thing we did was pack our camper and go explore our local state park for the weekend! All year-long we enjoy time together in nature whether it’s with our camper watching the stars or at home watching the birds while we eat breakfast.
If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling as a way to make memories with your kids, I hope these ideas are a start! Take it from a former homeschool kid, pleasant memories are what your kids will remember fondly. A little bit at a time will make for more fun days for both mama and kids. Memorable homeschool moments are the glue that holds your family together through the hard homeschool moments which will inevitably come.
What are some simple ways your family has created a memorable homeschool? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!