We’ve reached the end! The end of the first round of Homeschooling ABC’s. Yes, there will be another, but there will be a short break first! These last two, Y & Z, are hard letters. But I know what I want to do with them, oh yes I do!

Y is for “Yes, Ma’am!”

Manners. They are so important! And it’s something that has really come to my attention lately. There’s more to manners than simply saying “Please” and “Thank you.” There’s properly addressing adults, manners with hosts and guests, manners for socializing and dealing with people.. there’s a lot!

I want my kids to respond with “Yes, ma’am?” or “I’m sorry” or “Can you repeat that, please?” instead of just “HUH??”

I want them to respond with “Yes, please” or “Yes, thank you” or “Yes, that’s right” instead of just “Yeah.”

I want them to know that it’s rude to open someone’s door without knocking, go into someone’s home without being invited, read someone’s mail/e-mail/text/letters without permission, and SO MUCH MORE.

But here’s the thing: Someone has to teach them! And that someone is ME. Some of those things I’m really good at doing.. I always knock on someone’s door, even if they’re expecting me and told me to “come on in” I will knock and THEN open the door so that I don’t scare the living daylights out of them. But other things, I’m not so good about doing all the time. I’m terrible about just saying “Yeah.” So clearly, this mom is going to have to step up to the plate a little bit. Manners are one of the things that we’ll be addressing over the course of the year as we do our character studies.. but I also need to keep an open eye and look for teachable moments throughout the day to be truly, effectively teaching our children manners. And that, of course, is the hard part.

Z is for “Zest.”

Zest, flavor, spice, gusto. I really don’t want school around our house to be dry and boring. I mean, who does, right? There are just SOME things that are less interesting. Linking verbs? Helping verbs? Meh. A verb’s a verb, right? But even then school doesn’t have to be dull.

I can’t keep everything super interesting all the time, but surely I can keep it from being dull, right? I hope so. I want the  kids, and myself, to add some ZEST to our school day. I can do that by stopping and looking into things that interest them, right then, in the moment. Like last week when we stopped to look up the smallest bird in the world. I can do that by switching things up when they start to drag. Move to a different subject, go outside, work through the lesson together…whatever. I can do that by just being silly. Grammar sentences don’t have to straight and dry. They can be silly. “The boy ate the pirate ship” would send my kids into fits of giggles and they’d still be able to identify the verb. ; )

So Z is for ZEST. Add some to YOUR homeschool today! = )

This is a part of the ABC’s of Homeschooling series by Dawn @ 5 Kids and a Dog. Check  it out! You can see my other ABC posts here:


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Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!