Homeschool Humor: A Lifeline for Homeschooling High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Homeschool Humor: A Lifeline for Homeschooling High School. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Homeschool Humor: A Lifeline for Homeschooling High School

Homeschool Humor: A Lifeline for Homeschooling High School

Laughter is the best medicine! When you want to make the best of homeschooling your teens, working in some daily humor helps. Sabrina, Vicki and Kym talk about why humor helps learning work better and how to cook up some merriment!

We all know that Scripture says:

A merry heart does good like a medicine. (Proverbs 17:22)

Amazingly, research has found out that this is true. Funny how God had it right the whole time 🙂

Anyway, when we laugh our brains release happy hormones such as endorphins and oxytocin.

These hormones not only help you feel happier but they literally boost your immune system. Thus, laughter helps your physical body be healthier!

Not only that, but laughter aids learning.

When our kids receive information when they have been laughing, their brains hold that information better. Laughter helps part of our memory center (the hippocampus) work more efficiently.

(Queue the rabbit-hole giggles of Sabrina, Vicki and Kym visualizing a happy hippo with his graduation cap at hippo graduation from the campus of his hippo school…)

Kym gives the example of her homeschool umbrella-school Spanish class. She has them memorize Bible verses in Spanish. Recently one included the phrase “sobrepasa”, which her silly teens decided sounded like the English phrase “sober pasta” (leave it to homeschool high schoolers!). They laughed so hard that they learned that verse more quickly.

Sabrina brought up the idea of malapropisms (the unintentional use of a word in place of a similar-sounding word, usually with an unintentionally humorous effect). We know that Shakespeare was the king at creating characters who were full of malapropisms. One of her favorites was Dogberry from Much Ado about Nothing (watch for the 7Sisters literature study guide coming soon…and check out the other no-busywork, inspiring Shakespeare guides).

For instance, in Act 3, Dogberry instructs:

Only get the learned writer to set down our excommunication, and meet me at the jail.

Of course, we know that Dogberry meant “communication” when he said, “excommunication”. However, the outcome is humorous.

Which also lead Sabrina to tell about her beloved husband’s frequent malapropisms, such as: Whenever the kids tell him something profound, he says:

Wow! You’re wise behind your ears!

A merry heart does good like a medicine

Another benefit of laughter together is bonding

When we laugh together over something amusing, we feel more bonded to the folks we are laughing with. (Note, however, that laughing “with” is different than laughing “at”. Laughing at is bullying.

So how do we use humor in homeschooling?

Remember when you starting off in your homeschooling journey? Did you have Pinterest-perfect ideas about school time, dinners together, chores done well together? However, reality rarely looks like what we wanted on the day-to-day basis. This can lead to frustration.

In fact, Sabrina says that:

If you are experiencing frustration, you are doing homeschooling right!

However, in order for frustration to work for us, we have to set the intention of not taking ourselves too seriously! In fact, we need to plan on incorporating the ability to laugh at the moment and laugh together into our daily habits.

Homeschool humor is a lifeline for homeschooling high school!

BTW- Vicki says that if you cannot think of anything else to laugh about, have everyone stop during a difficult moment and watch a silly cat video on YouTube.

Homeschool humor is an antidote for perfectionism

In fact, when we can learn to laugh at ourselves (not derisively) when we do not get something done perfectly. Rather than look foolish because of our glitches, the glitches actually make us appear charming. So mistakes are charming, not a disaster!

This is a COOL skill to give our homeschool high schoolers! Laugh and move on.

Malicious humor is not a good thing and should be avoided in your homeschooling family

Sometimes teens like to try on different kinds of humor. Sometimes, they will try the kind of humor that tears others down. This is a teaching moment for moms. Help them learn to to watch their spirit. Humor “at” (unless they are having fun “at themselves” in a kind way) breaks others’ spirit (which is one way bullying works- do we say this enough?). Here is an interview with Candice Duggar with some ways parents and organizations can help teens avoid bullying.

On the other hand, sometimes you can have some humor “at” if the power dynamic is correct. For instance, sarcasm is only funny if you are using it towards someone more powerful than you. Otherwise, if you are using “sarcasm” with a peer, it is bullying.

Thus, if teens want to “tease”, they need to tease up-line (to someone more powerful than themselves) or with a well-established peer relationship. Sometimes, when teens are trying to break into a new group, they will try to tease the already-established members of the group. This can create awkward situations and sometimes peer rejection.

Also, teens need to be aware of teasing in a group. They might have a bff who is so close that they can do some friendly teasing. However, if they are teasing each other within a group setting, newer teens in the group may feel uncomfortable. SO, keep the teasing to not-large-group settings!

Not only that, teens need to learn the kind of teasing that is culturally appropriate

Vicki pointed out that her family moved from backwoods Florida, where insulting is not considered appropriate. However, when her family moved to the Philadelphia area, she found that the way boys on sports teams showed they wanted to be friends was to insult the new person.

The friendly boy to the newcomer: “Them’s ugly shoes!” 

Thus, Vicki’s teens had to learn to give a friendly insult back, such as, “Your face has ugly shoes!” (Those were the days of “your face” jokes…)

The key was the smile. Both the giver and the receiver would have a smile on their faces when the insults were given!

However, this kind of sports-guy humor did not translate to church activities. Insulting humor at church youth group was never appropriate! Therefore, teens have to learn the cultural context of humor use. That is a LOT but it is part of growing up!

Sabrina points out that this cultural context extends to families

Some families, like Sabrina’s, rely on “gallows humor” to lighten up really tough times. However, her family knows their audience. They keep the gallows humor at home because it might be overwhelming to folks who did not understand the inside joking of it all.

Also, the timing is everything. Try not to joke too soon. Sabrina points out that during a tough time in their family, her teens were using gallows humor. However, for Sabrina, who was still early in the stages of grieving, the humor was too soon. Therefore, they kept at “too-soon jar”. If her teens made a gallows-humor joke before mom was able to handle it, they had to put a dollar in the jar. When they got to twenty dollars in the jar, they would order pizza!

On the other hand, telling jokes is good lots of times!

Therefore, keep some jokes on hand, so that if the circumstances allow, share a joke and have a laugh. For instance, during awkward silences try a corny joke such as:

How do you tie two Hondas together? With one Accord! 

Remember: laughter is contagious! Everyone feels better after a laugh!

Okay, well, we love all our 7th Siblings. Thanks for being part of our homeschool family. Join our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group and share some jokes!

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for some giggles and encouragement.

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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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