Large Family Homeschool Hack #4: Combining the 3 R’s with Self-Directed Learning

Boy, time flies when you’re having fun. Today is the last day of my series about large family homeschool hacks. So far this week I’ve shared tips with you about:

Today I’m going to be sharing with you the benefit of relaxing your homeschool by sticking to the 3 R’s and letting your kids follow their interests to their heart’s content. (Click here for my video on this!)

On the second day of this series, I mentioned how my kids alternate days with their unit studies. On their non-unit study days, they focus mainly on the 3 R’s and then are free to choose how to spend the rest of the day. If you happen to be someone who still possesses a bit of the schoolish mindset, you might be wondering how in the world that constitutes a proper homeschool day.

Since most people have a grasp of what the 3 R’s are- reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic, I’m going to focus this last post on:

5 Reasons Why All Kids Should Have the Opportunity for Self-Directed Learning

1. It allows children to take ownership of their education.

self-directed learning

I think most adults would admit that when we have full autonomy over our decisions, we tend to put forth much more effort than when we’re forced into doing something. Children aren’t any different.


2. It allows them to discover what they’re truly passionate about.

self-directed learning

When we limit the free time our kids have by giving them busywork and other assignments they probably don’t have any interest in, we’re also limiting the opportunity for them to find those things they’re truly passionate about. Remember that when your children choose careers, those careers will more than likely be related to those seemingly innocuous “hobbies” they had as kids, not what they read in their history textbook.


3. It saves time for you, the parent.

self-directed learning saves time

Contrary to what many people believe, homeschool parents don’t need to be hovering over every little thing their children are doing. Giving your children the time to explore gives you more free time, as well.


4. It brings a new perspective into the homeschool routine.

self-directed learning

Following a dictated curriculum may feel safe for those of us who are Type-A parents (yes, that would be me), but think about how many times your children have had an idea that you’d have never considered before. Playing it safe may be comforting, but giving your children the freedom to think outside the box will open doors to topics you’ve never imagined.


5. It allows children to learn in the way they need to.

self-directed learning

I think that even when we have the best intentions of finding out how our kids learn and work diligently to accommodate them, we simply can’t always adequately read our kids’ minds. Self-directed learning not only provides a way for your children to approach things in a way that meets their needs, but it also may be the key to your child discovering what exactly it is that they do need to do in order to learn the most effectively.


Being a homeschooling mom of many doesn’t have to mean days full of stress and short on patience. There are so many options we have available to us to help us meet the needs of our children. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. Each and every family is different, yet there IS a way for each and every family to find their homeschool niche.

Take a step back and assess your large family homeschool routine.  I hope you’ve found some ideas this week to aid you in helping your days get a little shorter and run a little smoother. Keep in mind that there is no perfect homeschool, and there are no perfect families. The last bit of advice I’d like to share with you is to always remember that simplicity is the key to success. Bigger isn’t always better.

Now go get em!


This post is a part of:

Homeschool blogger hopscotch


Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

17 thoughts on “Large Family Homeschool Hack #4: Combining the 3 R’s with Self-Directed Learning”

  1. Hi Shelly,

    It was lovely to see you on my blog. Thank you for liking my latest post!

    I love all your ideas about self-directed learning. When I was at school, I was so busy I never had the time to discover my passions. Kids need time to explore and experiment and find out what really interests them and what talents they have. I think you are right: There’s a good chance our kids are going to base their careers on their passions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love those last lines.. simplicity is key! Bigger isn’t always better… because I constantly struggle with that line of doing too much and not enough. I was fine with just the 3 r’s and an occasional science, history, geography lessons thrown in when they were younger but as my boys age I often fear that I’m not pushing them to do enough. I want them to have time to themselves but I also want to make sure I’m covering everything I should be covering. I have really enjoyed this series so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This are good reminders! I try to plan for time each day for the kids to explore their interests. This has lead to some very creative ideas. Earlier this week, our 4 year old took an old keyboard, some tape, an old car cup holder and some paper and made a titanic!!!! Months later, after we a read-aloud series on the titanic, he still remembers it!

    Beautiful Series!
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your 4 yr old sounds vewry much like several of my kids. I’m always amazed at the things they can come up with, and it’s always a plus when it demonstrates retention of something learned in the past!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: