I like to think of homeschooling as my job, don’t you? And like any job, I want to be good at it. So I am always looking for ways to improve.
The children and I went to a talk by The British Cycling Association to hear how they train kids up for professional cycling. They told the kids that to get good at cycling they needed to be ‘Snickers Good’ .
A Snickers bar has 5 key elements (wrapper, nuts, nougat, chocolate, and caramel) – and if any of these elements are missing – well, it isn’t a Snickers bar any more! They talked to the kids about using the 5 keys in their cycling. And how they should practice ALL of them to be great cyclists.
Of course, I couldn’t wait to try this out with homeschooling.
How can we get ‘Snickers Good‘ at homeshooling?
1. The Caramel = Bravery.
Deciding to homeschool takes a certain amount of bravery. We have all had the “Gosh, you are soooo brave to do that’ comments when we announce our decision!
But I don’t think we should discount the day to day bravery of homeschoolers. Keeping the faith on those days when everything goes wrong. The times when it feels like your kids do nothing but ‘mess around’ and don’t seem to be learning anything at all. The courage to keep going even when everyone else’s children are taking hundreds of exams or tests at school – and you want your children to have the time and space to develop without the pressure of tests.
There is also the bravery of trying something new or different when things aren’t working. We all have times when our homeschool just doesn’t seem to be quite the way we want it. When we need to take a deep breath and try a new approach. Flexibility in homeschooling is important – and that can take a lot of courage. It is one of the reasons I produce homeschooling mom badges. Sometimes you need a pat on the back for the courage you have shown.
We can practice bravery every day. By listening to our instincts. By trying something new and different. Or on a really bad day – by just getting out of bed!
2. The Nougat = Speed
Judging speed is an important asset! Sometimes we need to go slowly – and sometimes we need to go ‘faster than the speed of light’! Not just in teaching our children – but in our whole homeschooling approach.
Sometimes judging speed means not finishing a project because everyone needs to move onto something new. Sometimes speed means making a lot of mistakes quickly in how you do things. Making mistakes quickly will give you experience, and help you decide the best way to homeschool your family.
And sometimes it means just slowing down and enjoying the moment.
If you are having ‘one of those’ moments with your homeschooling, try changing your speed and seeing if that makes a difference. I often ask myself “Will they still be struggling with this when they are 18?” It gives me perspective and helps me slow down!
3. Peanuts = Skill
This is the part that new homeschoolers struggle with most of all. Knowing where to find things out or where to look for the best ideas or worksheets or curriculum . Learning the best site for shopping. Learning how to engage your children or sometimes just knowing how to start.
You need to apply courage and speed in learning your craft. Just jump right in and do it. The internet is awash with resources. Try a few and see what suits your family.
Read everything you can get your hands on. Ask questions of other homeschoolers. See it as a whole new learning experience for yourself.
4. The chocolate = Tactics
As well as skill, you need homeschooling tactics! How will you do things? Again, there is no ‘one size fits all’ with homeschooling. What works for me (strewing and planned spontaneity for example) may not work for you. So try things out. See what works. Does it work better if you plan things out? Or go with the flow? Which approach enthuses your children and inspires them to learn?
No-one can really tell you how to homeschool because your family is unique. But stay open to different homeschooling methods and scheduling ideas. You might need to change your tactics at some point and the more approaches you have in your homeschool arsenal the more flexible you will be.
5. The wrapper = Work Ethic
Work ethic is what ties everything together. I know I don’t need to tell you to be there for your children. But are you being a role model to them? Are you asking them to work hard at something and then slipping off for a quiet cup of coffee?
I think work ethic also means you know your limits. Sometimes you do just have to stop and take a breather. It is ok to manage your time so that you feel refreshed and enthusiastic about things – and not keep working yourself into a bad case of homeschool burnout.
I am years into my homeschooling and I still have a lot to learn 🙂 I think the Snickers approach will be a good framework to work with. It gives me a guideline for improving my homeschooling abilities.
I am going to get snickers good! How about you?