From a Mom who Learned the Hard Way
Homeschooling Tips | Learning A New Way
Homeschooling. The first thing that comes to mind is “how in the world do I do this?” Right?! Take it from me, a mom that learned the hard way, it isn’t as complicated as we can make it at times. Here are some tips that I learned along our bumpy…no, super rocky start to homeschooling our family. In this current COVID-19 season of our lives, I thought I could share some insights.
Relax! I started out years ago believing that I had to mimic a traditional classroom. You know, the 6-8 hour day with breaks, and quiet reading and snack times. You DON’T, I promise! Most homeschooling moms will tell you that your home is not a class room. It’s not filled with 13-18 rambunctious children and only 1-2 teachers managing all the crazy that comes along with that many children in one area. Relax and ease up. It is way more enjoyable for everyone involved if no one is super stressed out.
Do it YOUR way! For real, your way. You know your kids better than anyone else, so why try to teach them like Sally down the street? If your child is more focused in the morning, that’s when you do your schooling. If your child is like my Quinn, we school after dinner. It’s her most productive time of the day. This we really learned the hard way. In the beginning I had it in my head that we wake up, eat breakfast and knock out school before lunch. Boy was I wrong! This resulted in a lot of arguments and some tears.
If you find it’s challenging to get your kiddo to focus, ease up and try again at a different time of day. Allowing myself to be flexible was one of the biggest and best changes to our day and it made a world of difference in our overall schooling process. Also, one last thought on this, our homeschool day for our 2nd grader looks far different from our senior, and it’s ok. Every kid is different and sometimes it’s better to allow them to work in their own ways.
You don’t have to school for a solid 6-8 hours. Let’s think about it. How much “actual” individual instruction time goes into a traditional classroom setting? Then think about the obvious issue that there are multiple children with different learning styles and abilities, which takes additional time. Now, you have one or maybe two that need instruction. You know how they learn.
So, use your productive school time wisely. I know that, for example, Quinn can work through an entire quarter of history in one sitting, because she loves it! But math, on the other hand, takes time……a lot of time. We have also realized that the amount of focused school time depends on the subject and how much she loves it. So give your kiddos some flexibility and allow for a few breaks if a subject gets tough.
Break it down. Like I mentioned in the previous tip, some subjects are your child’s strength and other not so much. Use the sandwich method. What’s that? It’s simple. Sandwich the difficult, harder subjects between two that they enjoy. This will start them out with a positive and then get the tougher stuff accomplished. While you’re working really hard with your child to get that harder subject completed, they know that the next thing is something that they will enjoy.
It’s motivation for them, while teaching them that even though they don’t like doing something, it still needs to be done. This is a convo that our house has often, not just with school but any basic chore I need help with. We are planting the seeds of a good work ethic!
Give yourself a break and TAKE BREAKS! When we first started out we ran a traditional Monday through Friday school week. This works for some families, but not this one and I’ll tell you why. I am a stay at home, self-employed mama with kids that range from ages 3 to 18 (in the house). We have activities that we do, friends that want to play or necessary errands and doctors appointments that don’t always happen at the same times or days of the week.
It’s ok if you don’t keep a solid schedule. Some of you are screaming at this post right now….I can feel it. Yes, schedules and routines are very important for kids, I get it. I’m not saying to throw everything at the wind and see what happens…..please don’t!! All I am saying is that when life is crazy and things get jumbled up, it’s ok to take a break, go with the flow and regroup. Don’t beat yourself up if on Tuesday you only got one subject finished. It’s ok, I promise.
You homeschool and you can make it up and get it all done the next day (or week, yes that happens) when life is calmer.
Get creative! Kids (most of them) don’t like to just sit at a table or a desk for hours. We recently implemented flex seating to fix this HUGE issue we were having. This pretty much means that we sit where ever we are comfortable. Sometimes we school on the couch, in bed or even in the yard. A change of environment is also a good way to get your kiddos to refocus if things are starting to get stressful and they become defiant.
Having issues with fractions? Take them in the kitchen and bake cookies. Seriously Jennifer?! Yes, seriously!! We iron out a lot of math issues in the kitchen or at the grocery store. Some kids are visual learners and having the world as a resource is amazing! And at the end of your math lesson, y’all can eat some chocolate chip cookies. Oh wait, there is more to that lesson, break the cookies into pieces and then reinforce the lesson while enjoying them! If you need specific ideas, comment below and I would be more than happy to help you out!
Believe in yourself. You got this! Your children love you and you WILL do a great job. Don’t forget that we are all in this together now and you have a community of other parents homeschooling for the first time. Reach out to your friends and neighbors if you need a little help and/or encouragement. You’re not alone and you should never feel like you are. One of the things that we love the most about homeschooling is the love and support that we all share with each other.
I am literally teaching a preschool math lesson while writing this. Multitasking and patience, are the two greatest things that I learned through this process. God trusted me with these children because he knows that I can take care of them, I can teach them in a way that is best for us as well as rewarding for our family.
Here are some resourses:
• This website is where you can search by state for your local laws for homeschooling.
• Here is my Pinterest board that I have put together with some fun schooling ideas, crafts and alternative learning ideas!
Want to learn more about me and see my family? Check out this post 🙂