I’m going to admit something to you. When we first decided to go the homeschooling route, I thought it would be no big deal. After all, my degree is teaching! I taught 1st grade and spent time in a pre-k and kinder classroom. This will be a piece of cake! However, the truth is homeschooling is not on the same level. I have learned so much and continue to learn more. I know there are other busy mamas out there sending out an SOS, so here are my homeschooling tips for busy moms.
Homeschooling Tips For Busy Moms
What Is Your Homeschool Philosophy?
The first thing I recommend is writing out your homeschool philosophy. It doesn’t have to be a whole page or novel. Just take a few moments to really think about what you want your homeschool journey to look like. Here are some things to think about why writing your philosophy:
- What do you want your homeschool journey to look like?
- Do you have an ultimate goal in mind?
- What is your reason for homeschooling?
- Ideas, methods, steps to help you meet your ultimate goal?
It is important to keep in mind that this philosophy doesn’t have to be set in stone. In fact, it will change more than likely over time, especially as your children get older and move on to different levels of their education.
Honestly, the most important reason for this philosophy is to serve as a motivation for you (and your spouse.) I have my philosophy written out and tacked onto my tack board in our “classroom.” It is a great reminder to have on your bad days, especially days you might want to quit. I included a printable sheet for you to write out your homeschool philosophy. Feel free to use it as inspiration to make your own or click on it and print the PDF.
Don’t Stress About Replicating Public School
Replicating a public school setting doesn’t work for everyone. I say that because it works for me. However, it doesn’t work for my best friend. Honestly, I think it works for me because my degree is in teaching, so I am used to that setting. I find comfort and security in that setting. However, let me be clear, just because my “classroom” AKA “toy room” looks like a smaller public school classroom, we don’t always run like a public school. My kids aren’t in their seats from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, we don’t have a set daily curriculum, and we don’t always have work in the classroom. The key is to find what works best for you, your spouse, and your children.
Create A Positive Learning Environment
Whether you choose to replicate a public school setting or go in the complete opposite direction, it is important to create a positive learning environment. If we are working with worksheets or laptops, I try to make sure the lighting is good, space isn’t cluttered, and they aren’t too relaxed. When I say too relaxed, I mean not lying down while doing their homework. Let me state that just because that is what my kids need, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be the “rules” for your kids. However, you set up your environment, the key is to make sure they feel comfortable and thrive.
Keep in mind that kids are easily distracted. Keep this in mind if this is your first year homeschooling. Your kids might not see the home as a place to “learn,” especially if they are accustomed to public school. Don’t get me wrong, I know you are constantly teaching your children, but they might need some time to see it as more than just home, a place to rest and play. I know that the TV has to be off with my kiddos, and no toys within arm’s length of my 4-year-old or nothing will get done. The bottom line, you know your kids. Do whatever makes it easier for them to focus.
Change Can Be Good
To be brutally honest, change is a part of life. You might as well go ahead and accept it. The good thing about homeschooling is that change can be a good thing! You are in control of your homeschooling journey. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it up…curriculum, method, schedule? Whatever it is, change it and do what works best for you and your kids. For example, my 7-year-old LOVES math! He wants to do math every day, and he will move onto 2nd-grade math before his other subjects. However, that’s ok. I am not going to hold him back if he wants to keep excelling in math.
That is one thing that I love about homeschooling, let them loose on topics that they love, and they will be more eager to learn.
Flexibility Is Key
Flexibility goes hand in hand with change. Homeschooling is going to change year to year, maybe even month to month. Life happens, kids get sick, moms get sick, and your homeschooling schedule will have to flex accordingly. For example, if you have a newborn baby at home, you might have to change up your schedule a little bit to fit your little one’s sleeping and eating patterns.
Let me ease your burden a bit, Mama. This is real life, and I guarantee you that your kids are going to learn more by watching you handle life than any textbook. Let your schedule be a guide, not something that is set in stone. Be open to taking advantage of learning situations that arise.
Create Your Own Routine
Allow yourself to create your own routine, do not feel like you have to do what “schools” do. You don’t have to do all the subjects every day. I let my oldest (not my pre-k little man) help me create his routine. We sat down and discussed it together. We made compromises, and he took pride in being in the decision making. It gives him more responsibility, and he takes pride in that. Here is an example of a “normal” day for us, when life doesn’t take over:
- Up between 7:30 and 8:00
- Breakfast (coffee for me) and sometimes we watch a movie or cartoon
- 9:30- Prayer, calendar, sight words, alphabet, count to 100
- 9:45-10:30ish- Subject 1
- 10:30-10:45- Read aloud
- 1:00ish Subject 2
- Outside play!
We only do 2 or 3 subjects a day, and we do a lot of hands-on and playtime. Do I want to make cookies? Ok, let’s make cookies and talk about science and math! Be creative! Have fun with it!
Comparison Is The Killer Of Joy
In life, I have learned that comparison is the killer of joy. The same goes for homeschooling. Please, do not get caught up in the comparison game. Your homeschooling journey does not have to look like anyone elses. All families are different, all kids learn differently, and we all have different experiences. It isn’t supposed to look the same and comparing will only bring you down or make you feel like you are failing. You have enough to worry about you don’t need to add the thought of failure to the list.
Set Your Own Pace
If this is your first year, I recommend easing into it. In fact, I was told to set up a routine that works for you before you even expect too much productivity. It is new for everyone, and it will take time. If you are feeling overwhelmed, start with only one or two subjects for the first few weeks. Just feel it out, set up a routine, and ease into it. There isn’t a timeline. I mean, obviously, you want your kiddos to be reading by the time they are 18 and ready to leave the nest, but don’t beat yourself up about timelines. Honestly, kids learn so much more than you could imagine just by watching and interacting with you every day.
Find Your People
Connect with other homeschooling families. It is a great reminder that you aren’t alone. Plus, other homeschooling families are like you; no one is tied to a public school calendar. So you want to take a day trip to a museum with other homeschooling families in the middle of the week? Do it! Believe it or not, there are a lot of resources available to you if you just look. Do a little research on your state. We have a Texas Homeschooling Coalition with TONS of resources and legal aid if the public school ever tried to give us issues. Take advantage of any specials that local museums or movie theatres might have for homeschooling families.
Being available and engaged in your children’s education is critical to being successful with homeschooling. Your children are going to look to you for guidance, support, and encouragement. Honestly, you want it that way. It is a good thing to be the person they run to.
Just remember that you don’t have to be perfect. You are going to make mistakes. Give yourself some grace during this time. I hope these homeschooling tips for busy moms help ease your worries a bit. However, remember to have fun and make memories along the way.
“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31