This year we started homeschooling. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of putting my daughter into public school and after a year of debating, we decided that homeschool is what’s best for her at this point in time. I have gotten lots of praise from other moms and also lots of judgement. As hard as it is to take the criticism with a grain of salt, I know that this is 100% the right decision. With that said, there comes lots of trial and error with homeschooling. These are the tips that have made it go smoothly and made it a lot more fun!
Come up with a plan for curriculum
This is the fun part for me. I sat my daughter down and asked her what she really wants to learn about this year and focus on, so every month we have a new theme that she will enjoy. From there I plan out activities and crafts, laminate a few worksheets, spend tons of time on Pinterest to create our own curriculum based on her learning style.I have a few mom friends that also homeschool and we all do it totally different. I have friends who buy curriculum online so that everything is planned out for them, and then follow along on the provided schedule. Choose what works best for you and your child. For example, right now my daughter loves arts and crafts, so sitting down and doing worksheets isn’t enjoyable for her. So I try to come up with fun artsy and hands on ways to learn the basic skills she needs.
Do it on a schedule that works best for your family
My daughter and I are NOT morning people. I tried doing school our first week right after breakfast at 8am and we could not stop arguing. We both need a few hours to wake up slowly and have some time to ourselves. So after breakfast she plays in her room while I clean the house up. Then we usually start school around 10 but some days we wait until the afternoon. There are days when you or your child may not be in the mood for schooling and one of my favorite homeschool perks is that we can choose when to start each day. If you can, hold off for a time when your child will be most productive and cooperative. I try to make it the most fun and positive experience possible.
I have all of our homeschool supplies in one room to make it easier to grab everything. I have a large box of file folders, one for each theme and as I find new activities to add in, I just throw them in the folder so I can grab them and start. I have a few folders full of random activities and worksheets for days that we get done early. We also have a rolling cart full of all of our supplies, my toddler calls it the “art cart” and it makes it easy for her to grab things that we may need each day.
I am sure you have several reasons why you chose to homeschool and I applaud you for all of them! One of my biggest concerns with public school was picturing my daughter sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day. Life is too short for that. I want her to enjoy herself and have fun learning. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t compare your homeschool journey to other people. Don’t make it more stressful than it needs to be. Try and have as much fun with your child as possible, especially those of you with kids starting in elementary school. Do crafts, paint with them, play games, make it enjoyable!
Get out of the house
Just because its called homeschool, doesn’t mean you have to be stuck inside all day. I try and plan a few “field trips” each week. Last night we went on a nature walk and collected different items, then I had my daughter paint every item we found and describe how they looked and felt. We have gone to Disney and local parks a few times and did some of our curriculum there.
Take care of yourself
I have found that some days I neglect taking care of myself, especially once we added homeschool to our schedule. Be sure to make time for just you each day. My number one struggle is sitting down to eat every meal because a lot of days I don’t even think about it. Then it’s 1pm and all I had was a cup of coffee. Have some snacks and meals prepped that you can just grab and eat on the go.
My new favorite afternoon pick me up are these Dannon® Oikos® Yogurt Drinks. On days that are super crazy, I love knowing I can just grab one of these and get the nutrition I need. They are nonfat and full of protein to get you throughout the day. I always grab the 4 packs at Walmart as they are very convenient to bring along on our field trips! Be sure to click here so you can save $1.00 next time you pick them up at your local Walmart!
For those of you that already homeschool, are there any other tips or tricks you have found made it run more smoothly?