Homeschool moms have one of the hardest jobs out there. We work from sun up to sun down. Our job consists of all that is included in a homemaker and a mom, and on top of that, we work a third job as a teacher. It is easy to become overwhelmed, stressed, and burnt out.
However, it doesn’t have to be like that. There are ways to make your homeschool more successful and less stressful. Many of us are taking time right now to plan for the next school year, and while curriculum planning, routines, and all those lists are important, so is homeschool success.
Here are a few things I have found through the years that have made a huge difference in our homeschool. These are things you can plan for now and can help you avoid burn out, grumpy mom syndrome, and homeschooling out of negligence.
Realizing I can Relax!
Looking back at my school days my favorite teachers were the ones who made learning fun. My first few years of homeschooling, I insisted on my littles sitting and learning while I read. It was NOT fun! I had to change my idea of what education was supposed to look like. I added in hands-on activities. I realized it was okay for kids to fidget, bounce on a ball, color, or build with LEGO while I read. I pushed less and relaxed more. I had fun with my kids, and our homeschool became a much more relaxed environment. Those first few years I have so much regret. So, dear momma, as you plan for the new school year, relax, and realize education may not look like all those perfect photos on Instagram.
If you become overwhelmed don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it be from your husband, a friend, or even your children. Don’t assume you can keep up with all of the housework, childcare, and homeschool on your own. One of the best decisions I ever made for my homeschool was hiring out art a few years ago for my older two children. A local college student who was an art education major came over twice a month and did art lessons and messy crafts with my kids. Paper mache, painting cardboard, origami, and much more were all part of my kid’s education that year. And I didn’t have to do any of it! I had a newborn at the time and those 3 hours each month allowed me to love on my baby without interruption, fold laundry, catch up on a good book (if the baby was sleeping) or to just breathe. Through the years we have also switched to independent programs like Teaching Textbooks for math, and online programs like Schoolhouse Teachers for other courses that I may struggle with teaching. One common misconception homeschool moms have is that we have to do everything, and teach everything. We don’t! Hire a housekeeper, outsource a few subjects, pay a local teen to be mother’s helper a few times a month. Enlisting help can help you feel refreshed, and recharged. It can also prevent homeschool burnout.
Reduce Outside Commitments
One thing that is sure to get in the way of homeschooling, and your sanity, is tons of outside commitments. Plan now to reduce this if possible. Outside commitments are an energy zapper, and often times are not necessary. A few years ago we were running 3-4 days a week. We would take school books with us and was carschooling. The kids were exhausted, I was getting behind on housework, and work in general. None of us were happy.
So, as a family, we decided to reduce outside commitments. For us, we choose one homeschool activity a week to participate in. If the kids disagreed on which activity to partake in, we took turns letting them pick, or took a vote. Our kids are also only allowed to be in one activity at a time. This means you can’t play soccer while doing 4H, or you can’t take art classes while participating in theater. This allows us more time at home, enjoying each other as a family. It is also less running and stress on me. Believe it or not our kids have not missed the carschooling lifestyle, chances are yours won’t either.
Don’t Do All Subjects Every Day
As you plan out your new school year, I want you to consider the idea of not doing every subject every day. Consider a rotation where you do Science 2 days a week, History 2 days a week and the three R’s daily. Consider taking a day off of book work to just do those projects you don’t usually have time for. Another idea is to do a month of Science, then a month of History. We switched to a four-block schedule a few years ago and our days have gone so much smoother. Trying to get every subject in each day will wear you down quickly. As you plan out your next school year, consider a looser routine, this will allow you more time to work on each subject, and will lessen the stress in your homeschool.
Make Time for Fun
Have you ever said no to something fun, because you felt like you were “behind” in school? I have, and looking back I regret some of those decisions. While we need to say no to running all the time, we also need to say yes to fun sometimes. Homeschoolers are in charge of their schedules. Don’t let a schedule, or schoolwork dictate all your time and never get out with friends. As you plan out your school year, be sure to make time for getting together with your homeschool group, or going out to lunch with friends. Schedule a park day or a field trip. Make time for fun. You will enjoy the fellowship and so will your kids!
So, dear mommas as you plan now for the next school year, remember that planning is more than just book work and a schedule. Plan for success! You can do that by remembering that homeschool doesn’t have to be perfection. Consider ways now that you can enlist help in your upcoming homeschool year. Say no to things that have you and your kids running ragged. Find a schedule that works for you, and forget the idea that you have to cram every subject into every day. And lastly, plan for homeschool fun. Doing these things now will set you up for a successful homeschool year, and will leave you and your kids with cherished memories, not a burned out momma.
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- How Homeschool Moms Can Find the Time to Work From Home - June 27, 2017