We all know by now, it has been one heck of a year. Whether you were thrown into homeschooling with no choice, or whether you decided that it was the best of a bucket-load of bad options, you have somehow found your way to homeschooling. Congratulations! You have survived the year and maybe have decided that this homeschooling gig isn’t so bad after all. But after being a classroom teacher turned homeschooling mom for nearly five years now, I’ve compiled a list of my best homeschooling tips for parents (from a totally imperfect parent!).
I’ll be the first to admit that when you homeschool your kids, there are sometimes just days when nothing you do is right. And I’ll be honest, there really aren’t any “tips” that can make those days better, the best you can do is minimize the collateral damage. I’ve been through every stage in the journey from why we decided to do it, to evaluating and changing our curriculum. Anyone who says it is easy either isn’t doing it right, or obviously knows something that I don’t know.
I had quite a few friends call me during the height of the pandemic, hysterical, hiding in the closet from their children, and downing Oreo’s by the sleeve desperate to know if I had any homeschooling tips for parents that would help them (and their kids) live to see another day.
Homeschooling tips for parents
Create a routine that works for you
There are two parts of this tip that need special attention. The first part is the idea of a routine. Creating a routine for your family take time. The kids will likely fight you each and every day, each and every task until they understand that whining and complaining about the things they don’t want to do won’t work. The first two weeks of a routine are the most difficult, but stick with it! This is literally my number one homeschooling tip for parents— ROUTINE IS LIFE!
Following that same idea, the important thing to also remember is to come up with what works for YOU! If your family is pretty good about getting up and getting moving, then keep that in mind when you create your routine. What works for another family might not work for you, or even for every child in your house. Keep what is working and change what doesn’t.
“The first two weeks of a routine are the most difficult, but stick with it!”
Don’t be afraid to change your curriculum
Yes, I know you’ve likely spent hundreds of dollars (not to mention hours) on choosing and purchasing your curriculum. You make what you thought was the best decision at the time, you were totally PUMPED about the activities, content, and evaluation options. Then, well… not so much. Sometimes what seems like the perfect curriculum turns out not to be. But, after careful evaluation, you decided that it just won’t work for your child. That’s okay. It happens to all of us. Over time, you get better at making selections, but we all have stumbling blocks.
If you decide that no matter what you do, you just can’t make it work for your child, you have a few options. You can save it to possibly use it with another child. Evaluate to see if you can sell it online. Or even go to a homeschooling SWAP and use it to trade for some new resources. Who knows, it just might be the perfect curriculum for another family out there.
ALWAYS plan for outside time
It is okay to think beyond the traditional 8-3 school hours when you make your schedule. But make sure, no matter what your schedule is, you include plenty of outdoor and activity time. You can even include some outdoor chores for this time, such as walking the dog.
Learn when to push your child and when to back off
Sometimes, it is a really good idea to push your child just past that point of comfort when you are teaching. But it is important to learn when this is a good idea for your child, and when it is better to just back off and give your child some time to process the information. I have a post with many more details about this tip here.
Try to start each day with the right mindset
If you incorporate Christian beliefs into your homeschooling, try to start each day with a family prayer along with some quiet activities such as coloring or free choice reading. Doing this will allow you to start each day fresh and to help let go of some of the challenges you may have faced the day before.
Include household responsibilities into your curiculum
Teaching your children how to cook, bake, do the dishes, or fold the laundry are all important daily living skills. Learning how to do these things are a major benefit of homeschooling your children. For children who are traditionally schooled, often there aren’t enough hours in the day to include your children in many of these tasks. Usually you are rushing to get dinner at the end of a long stressful day and you don’t have the time or patience left to show your child how to measure out 3/4 c of flour for tomorrows cupcake fundraiser. When you are homeschooling, you are able to include many of these tasks, so why wouldn’t you?
Think outside the desk
There are a million and one places where your child can effectively learn. It doesn’t ALWAYS have to be sitting at a desk with pencil in hand. Couches, bedrooms, floors, decks, and porches all make great places to spark learning.
Tips I wish someone would have told me as a new homeschooling parent
Honestly, more than anything, I really wish that someone would have said to me those first months (and even years) of homeschooling was that it is okay.
It is okay if things are done “perfectly.”
It is okay if every now and again you throw up your hands and just say, “We are finished for today.”
And finally, it is okay to just give yourself a little grace and leave a little room for the Holy Spirit to work a little magic in your little family.
If you’d like to read more homeschooling tips for parents along with some of the benefits of choosing homeschooling, check out some of the following posts:
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Homeschooling Tips for Parents