I’ve been homeschooling my 12 yr old daughter for the last 6 years, and it’s been an evolving journey of figuring out what works for her, and for me — and it’s obviously changed over time! Something we started a couple years ago was making a list of the different topics that we aimed to cover each day (sometimes different topics on different days). We’ve included Science, Writing, Reading, Math, Games, Art, Baking, Meal Planning, Gardening, Creative Thinking… and Spiritual Tools. I sometimes have a plan or a curriculum for some of the topics, and as she’s gotten more independent, I also let her choose what she’ll do for some of these topics.
The category of “Spiritual Tools” has been a great addition to balance out the more academic subjects. Here are just a few possibilities for incorporating spirituality into homeschooling:
- Gratitude Journal: create an ongoing list of things, people, and experiences that we’re grateful for. We aim for 3 every day. Kids who aren’t comfortable with writing can either use this a writing practice, or draw pictures of their sources of gratitude.
- Sit Spot: the Living Earth School has created a powerful practice of centering in nature for 10-20 minutes each day. Find a comfortable and easily-accessible place outside to sit each day (the same spot every day, so you get familiar with it and can watch it change over time). Set a timer, starting with 5 minutes and working your way up. Sit, breathe, and observe with all your senses. Send love to all the different life forms you can see.
- Meditation: Kids (and adults!) sometimes find it hard to sit still and just breathe for even one minute. We’ve found that kids (and adults!) usually love guided visualizations, and can often sit still with their eyes closed for a long time if they are being led on an inner journey. There are some fantastic recordings of guided visualizations for kids that can be found online, and some great books with meditation scripts for kids, as well, that parents can read out loud from. We’ll be posting some of our favorite guided meditations on this blog, too!
- Great Stories: There are so many wonderful stories from different cultures and traditions that teach spiritual lessons and ideas. Some can be found here, and of course the library is a great source for kids’ books, as well. After reading, you can ask questions about how the lessons of the story relate to your child’s experience of life:
- How do you think that character felt about what happened?
- Have you ever felt that way? Tell me about that time…
- What did that character want/need? Did they get what they wanted/needed? How?
- Have you ever wanted/needed something like that? How did you get it?
(we’ll be posting some read-aloud videos of our favorite kids spiritual books soon!)
- Prayer: There are lots of ways to talk with God/Spirit/Inner Wisdom. Dancing, singing, writing, drawing… ask your child how they want to connect with God today (or whatever word you use in your family), and follow their lead. In Unity Youth Ed, we often end our time together with the Prayer for Protection, by James Dillet Freeman, anchoring ourselves in the power of God:
The light of God surrounds us.
The love of God enfolds us.
The power of God protects us.
The presence of God watches over us.
Wherever we are, God is.
And wherever God is, all is well.
Now it’s your turn! What’s worked for you with bringing spiritual practice into your homeschooling days? Share your ideas in the comments below!