My 12th year of homeschooling will start in just a couple of short months. That’s really hard to believe! As I pray, ponder, and plan over what our next homeschool year should look like, I revisit my reasons and goals for teaching my children at home. The reasons why we homeschool is a post for another day, however, I will touch on one of the reasons in this post: to instill a love and appreciation for the freedom we enjoy in America.
Having a Patriotic Homeschool wasn’t always on my radar. I certainly incorporated patriotic plans in our curriculum right from the start, and my children said The Pledge of Allegiance for years and years at the beginning of the school day (and we still do a few days a week). I have been much more intentional, however, about creating a patriotic atmosphere in my homeschool over the past few years.
Aside from prayer, being intentional about fill-in-the-blank always seems to be the key to most any mothering or homeschooling task.
I often say we are currently living in Upside Down World, because it certainly feels that way. And as the world gets more topsy-turvy, my natural reaction is to dig in my heels. It makes me work all the harder to homeschool my children in a stable environment, have frequent conversations about God and His grace and goodness, and teach my children how blessed we are to live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
What does this type of Patriotic Homeschool look like for us? I’m so glad you asked.
➡ Click here to read all of the Patriotic Homeschool posts here at Mama’s Learning Corner.
Just a personal note: When Upside Down World first reared its ugly head at the beginning of last year with Covid and the political world, I prayed and prayed for the Lord to show me what my role should be. I instinctively knew we were at a pivotal time in history, and I pleaded with the Lord to show me what I should be actively doing.
My thoughts at the beginning of 2020 were along these lines: Many, many years from now when my 3rd or 4th generation studies this time period and asks, “What did my Great Great-Grandmother Lauren do?”, what will that answer be? I want them to know I fought for them and their freedoms. I didn’t know what that should look like in practical terms, however.
Every time I talked to the Lord about it, His response had to do with teaching my children. Teach them to think critically and not just accept information, teach them the sacrifices that many before them made for their freedom, teach them our own personal family history, and teach them – most importantly – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So that’s what I do until the Lord tells me differently.
What is a Patriotic Homeschool?
A Patriotic Homeschool intentionally teaches the next generation about American history and ideals, while encouraging a love and devotion to these United States of America. It values each person’s God-given right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Our Patriotic Homeschool is simple:
- Our family loves the Lord and strives to put Him first in all things
- Our family works hard to have strong, positive relationships with each other
- Our family loves our country and we do not take our American freedom for granted
I listed these bullets in order of importance on purpose. While this post is all about being a Patriotic Homeschool, my family’s first priority is to be a God-centered Homeschool. To be clear, my desire to instill a love for our country in my children will never supersede what God calls me to do, if those two things ever disagree. Interestingly, God, family, and love of country often go hand in hand. One often flows right into the other to make for blurry lines.
In more practical terms, our Patriotic Homeschool intentionally implements these methods:
— We intentionally study American History, and we do so in a variety of ways. We read living books, text books, visit local historical sites, watch documentaries, and do hands-on crafty projects.
— We study American History every year in our homeschool. While I love the 4-year history cycle which we used for years, I always incorporated a small amount of American History in addition to the Year 1 or Year 2 that we were studying.
— We study American History outside of school hours. Our family frequently talks about current events, which includes American history and American politics. In fact, America itself is a very common topic in our daily conversation.
— I teach my children about American culture. The last 6 weeks of school, my children and I learned patriotic songs. American and folk songs are frequently sung or played here at the Hill House.
— Appreciating American culture is the culture of our home. We proudly fly an American flag, there are American flags in my potted plants outside and occasionally in our yard, we consistently pray for our leaders and their salvation, we know who our local and state lawmakers are, we appreciate our military and try to understand the sacrifice they make to protect our American freedoms, we pray for those around us.
How to Create a Patriotic Homeschool
Bit by bit, these are the strategies and daily rhythms I use to create a Patriotic Homeschool.
Step 1: Be available for conversations.
Like most homeschool families, our academic conversations often overlap with our regular family conversations. Such is the case with most of our talks whether they’re theological, spiritual, or academic in nature. Being available to have those conversations with your children is key.
There are many, many times my introverted self would rather be alone reading a book, or just be alone period. However, in order to talk with my five children, I have to be present and available for them. We can’t have talks about the most recent current events if I am not available physically or mentally to talk.
That’s hard for me sometimes since I crave alone time. Thankfully, the Lord knows that and gives me small opportunities of being alone here and there.
Step 2: Look for small ways to incorporate America into your daily lives.
Fly an American flag on your porch, put up bunting for the July 4th holiday and teach your children why you’re doing it, sing Patriotic songs if you have a family of singers (we do!), say the Pledge of Allegiance each day before school starts, teach about our federal holidays and why they’re important (Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day), take the time to find out about a family member’s military experience, read about our Founding Fathers instead of the typical bedtime stories for a few nights, decorate your home with American decor, choose to buy American-made and explain to your children why that is important.
The list can go on and on! These are just a few ways that our family appreciates America on a daily basis.
Again, homeschool time bleeds into regular family time, so many of these small happenings occur throughout our day and are not homeschool-specific.
Step 3: Choose solid American History resources and then teach them diligently to your children.
I can (and will!) list a whole host of wonderful American learning resources for you and your children. The amount of books, learning activities, and resources are abundant for most every academic age and stage.
Even if you ascribe to the 4-year history cycle or choose to do a year of South America (for example), you can still incorporate American history in a smaller dose than a full curriculum.
Learn all 50 states and their capitals, assign your child American History biographies, learn American landmarks, study American symbols, take field trips to historical sites in your area, complete a History Pocket, cut out paper dolls from a specific American time period.
Learning American history without a curriculum does not have to be super mom-intensive unless you want it to be. Consistent exposure is key.
Step 4: Be a patriot yourself.
I have become much more intentional with this last step over the last couple of years. Like a lot of other areas, my children need to see me genuinely practice what I preach.
They see me vote. I tell them about writing my congressmen and senators regarding various issues. They hear me pray for the salvation of our state and federal leaders. They know I respect and appreciate our military because I tell them I do.
Do you have a Patriotic Homeschool? What does that look like for your family?
Learn more about creating and implementing a Patriotic Homeschool with these posts.
→ July Word Search Packet (contains several Patriotic themes)