The Amazing Value of Traditions in Your Homeschool

Last week I took the kids back-to-school shopping. My 15 year old son alternated between pushing the 11 year old around in the buggy and trying to climb in it himself. The kids took turns picking out “personality binders” for each other. There was lots of laughter and lots of joking around and only a little annoyance.

Homeschool traditions

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Back-to-school shopping is one of our homeschool traditions.

When we decided to homeschool, there were benefits that I knew we would have. The kids would get more one-on-one attention. I could customize curricula to meet individual needs. We could have some control over what the kids were exposed to and when. But there have been unexpected benefits to homeschooling as well. Homeschool traditions is one.

Over the past thirteen or so years of homeschooling, we’ve developed some traditions that revolve around our homeschooling. Some of these traditions are just for fun. Some have developed around seasons of the year. Some we’ve done with a large group of homeschoolers each year. And some are only with our immediate family.

I’ve found that forming traditions that revolve around our homeschooling is a really valuable thing.

Value of homeschool traditions

Traditions create family unity.

I’ll be honest with you. My kids bicker. It’s not always sunshine and roses at our house. People argue about whose turn it is to walk the dog, who left hair in the bathroom drain, and who made a mean comment first. But I’ve found that when we’re having fun doing something that’s been a long time tradition, it’s hard to stay mad.

We love to go to a local hands-on science museum. It’s been tradition to go there at least once each school year. We might get up and get going with arguing and complaining and mean stares at each other in the car. But it’s hard to stay mad at each other when we’re walking around having fun at the museum.

Having traditions brings us closer. Traditions give us fun times that break up the day-to-day routines and let us just have fun together.

Traditions provide things to look forward to.

Let’s face it. It’s easy for our everyday routines to get boring and bogged down. Even though I like the predictability of routines, I still have days where I wake up and wish there were something besides the same old, same old. And I know that the kids feel the drag at times as well.

Traditions give us things to look forward to throughout the year, events that are place holders that provide a break in the routine.

For years we had two traditions that we held with a group of local homeschoolers. In the fall, the groups would always do an oral book report day. The kids all knew it was coming. They’d pick out their books right after school started back, and they were ready and excited for book report day. (I’ll admit that it was the friendship and snacks they really looked forward to.) This same group got together to celebrate Pi day each spring. We would do some math activities and then eat … pie. (Again, I’m sure the kids were happier about the pie than about the math. But whatever it takes, right?)

Those events gave that group of kids something to look forward to every year. Traditions do that. They give us moments throughout the year to plan on and look forward to.

Traditions provide a rhythm in our lives.

Families usually function better with order than in chaos. Even if you aren’t a strict schedule person, you’ve probably seen that your family runs better with a little bit of structure, with things to look forward to and events that are bookmarks throughout the days and weeks.

Traditions help to create that rhythm in our family. Every fall the kids look forward to back-to-school shopping. Every Christmas we do a Jesse Tree unit study. Every spring we have a field trip and pick strawberries. Events like these are scattered throughout the months. And having those traditions to look forward to provides a flow to our lives that creates the peace of living orderly instead of chaotically.

So traditions are valuable in our homeschools and in our families. I’m at a time in life where I’m realizing more and more how valuable they’ve been. My kids are getting older. I have a senior in high school. With work schedules and friendships and social events, our family is much more scattered now than we’ve ever been. Some of our traditions have had to change over the years. Some have gone away entirely. And some new traditions have come about. These traditions have created a closeness in our family that is more important than ever now that the kids are more busy and more independent. Because we have traditions, we have these markers that draw us together throughout our busy days.

I’ve never, ever heard a mom say when her children are adults- “You know, we just spent too much time together. I wish we hadn’t been together that much.” But I’ve heard plenty of parents bemoan when their children are adults, “I wish we had had more time together.” Our homeschool traditions give us that time together. It’s a privilege and a valuable benefit of homeschooling that we have these awesome traditions.

What are some of your family’s favorite homeschool traditions?

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