This year has been a doozy, and the new school year has finally arrived. You might be homeschooling for the first time, homeschooling multiple children of various ages, or homeschooling while stuck completely indoors. Doubts might be flying around y our head to if you can do this. While this will be challenging, I’ve put together some of my best homeschooling tips to make life just a little bit easier.
You don’t need your homeschool to be just like a traditional school
One of the best tidbits I was told, was that your homeschool doesn’t need to look like a traditional school with posters plastered all over walls and bright colors everywhere, nor does it need to follow the same schedule as a traditional school. Too often, people try to make their homeschool fit exactly in a box of how they think school should be, whether due to how their own school experience was, or how they believe school should look like. Don’t do this! Work with what’s best for your family. That’s one of the best parts of homeschooling! Flexibility.
Some days you will need to take a break—and that’s okay.
There will be some days where you’re so burnt out. The kids don’t cooperate, they’re fighting you at every move, and they’re burnt out too. It’s okay to just put on a documentary or audiobook that day. It’s okay to just head to the park and let the kids run around and get fresh air. These are weird times for everyone and you have to give yourself some grace or you will wear yourself thin. While we want to thrive, we are still in partial survival mode.
Homeschool doesn’t take a full 6 hours to do
How awesome is that?! Since you’re not trying to get a room full of kids on the same page (sometimes literally), your school day is going to be significantly shorter! It takes us about 2 hours to finish all our work for early elementary. After core work is done, we work on additional things to do in the day that are not worksheets to keep everyone from boredom and to continue learning. I feel that this is particularly important right now to avoid the endless loop of groundhog day during the pandemic.
Engage your child in different ways. Figure out what works best for your family
Does your child like to doodle? Can’t sit still? Has an appetite for nature? Try out various methods to teach a subject. Just because you have a worksheet, doesn’t mean that’s how you have to teach your child. Use a stick and write have them write their letters in the dirt, use rocks as math counters, there are a lot of different ways to show children how to learn. Experiment, have fun with it.
You don’t have to teach every subject daily
This might drive you and your kids crazy if you attempt it. Most schools don’t even teach every subject daily. I would recommend math and English every day if possible, but history, science, and other subjects can be done once or twice a week. I do
Don’t think you need to have a million resources in order to teach properly
Every beautiful picture of homeschooling on social media and Pinterest will tell you that you need the most expensive and most beautiful supplies in order to homeschool properly. This is a lie. Don’t fall for it! Of course, it would be nice to have all these amazing things, but 100% not necessary. This year, I made my homeschool space out of everything I already had or received for free. You don’t need a special room, matching furniture, or strawberry colored wallpaper. Use what you have. Use. Things that have multiple uses. Be happy.
Go by a routine / rhythm over a schedule
Ooo this is was one of the hardest things for me. I’m a plan by the minute type of person and there is a list for everything in my life. Well, until I had kids. My doctor ended up telling me after I had my first child that I needed to stop trying to do so much with set times or I’ll be constantly disappointed. I said goodbye to timed schedules and haven’t looked back since. I have a routine that the kids follow so they know what to expect, but there are no starting or ending times. This allows the kids to spend more time on things they enjoy and saves you from stress of feeling behind. On really hard days, I pick 1-3 things that are a MUST get done. If I can still do that despite not getting everything done, it was a successful day.
Connect with other homeschooling families
Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out to families and talk! We live in the age of technology and there are plenty of ways to communicate. Try and form a group of likeminded moms (or dads!) to talk to and get you through the hard times and celebrate the good. It’s great to bounce ideas off people and to know that you’re not alone. Community is everything.
Take it one day at a time. There will be good days and there will be bad days
This year will be hard. With all the uncertainty and with things changing constantly, it’s hard to find a moment to relax. While you absolutely want to make sure your kids are doing well in school, remember to take care of yourself as well. Take a moment for yourself, do something to recharge. Your self care is vital to a happy family. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will not be able to teach your children and they won’t see you at your best.
This is not how homeschool usually is
Remind yourself often, that this is not how regular homeschool is. If this is your first time homeschooling, know that nothing about this is normal. Homeschool allows you to go out into the world and learn, taking various trips to places of importance. You gather with friends in a co-op and learn together, you’re visiting the libraries and museums. Being stuck at home is not normal.
I hope that these homeschooling tips will help you prepare and get through the school year. It will be challenging, but you’ve got this! Remember to find a support group and enjoy this time as challenging as it is. If you have any other questions about homeschool, please ask me in the comments below!
Here are some of my favorite resources from podcasts to fun things for your school year. Wishing you all the best!
Favorite homeschooling resources:
Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that I may receive some commission at no additional cost to you. All of these items I use personally and find them valuable. I would never recommend something I don’t approve of. Thank you for your support! It’s what keeps Apron Warrior alive!
- Read Aloud Family
- The Brave Learner
- Around the World with Picture Books
- Exploring Nature with Children
- The Organic Artist for Kids
- Wild & Free Handcrafts
The Homeschool Sisters — I cannot recommend this enough!