It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been homeschooling, whether you’ve been doing it for ten years or you just started today; one thing is for sure: you need to survive. There are some days when homeschooling is a jungle path covered in slippery vines and your only companions keep asking for a drink, a snack, and more screen time. How can you survive the day let alone the rest of the school year?
Make a Plan
Make a plan, any plan. Write it down. Your kids need direction and having something that is even mildly concrete will help them to feel more settled. It will also help to keep you accountable for the day and what you might hope to accomplish in your homeschooling.
Ditch the Plan
Plans are great and having a plan has saved many a day, but the opposite it also true. Sometimes you need to ditch the plan to survive. At this point in our homeschooling year we are tired and unmotivated. Warmer days are on the horizon. We want to be done. Tossing our usual plan out the window and heading to the park to play outside or going for a bike ride is what will revive us for another day.
How can you survive homeschooling if you can’t make heads or tails with your child’s math book? Well, I have to admit that I’ve resorted to YouTube for occasional math support. It’s amazing what you can find to sort out an issue from math to helping a Science lesson come alive.
Call them what you want: chores, jobs, or delightful duties, you need to teach your kids life skills to help you survive homeschooling. My kids started out as toddlers helping Mama sort the laundry. Then they graduated to putting away the Tupperware and silverware from the dishwasher. Your kids need to help around your house to make it possible to keep up with the constant mess and clutter that comes with being home with children of any size.
Take a Break
Once you have a plan, take a look at it and add in break times. It is not reasonable to do your homeschooling without a few breaks in the day. In a school setting classes change, there is lunch, recess, study hall, and electives to break up the day. At home you can build in snack times, a long lunch break, and your own electives like a craft, playdough, Legos, music, or reading time. Breaks for older kids might look more like plain old free time to do whatever they want.
Start on Time
Starting your day at the same time every day will give you the momentum you need to get your homeschooling going. This can be the hardest for a parent to stick to. Who cares if you are still in your pajamas and haven’t finished your coffee? Get the kids started and after a certain length of time give them a break and take care of your own needs.
End on Time
You need a time that your homeschooling day ends. Are your kids unmotivated and is your school work dragging on and on? Maybe your day just needs to be done. Having a set time that school is done for the day every day will make it easier to get through that last hour.
Surviving homeschooling is not easy. Your goal is to first survive it and after that then to thrive in it. If you feel like you are just surviving, it’s ok. Your kids will learn so much just from watching you persevere and endure. You can do it!
Sarah Brutovski is a homeschool mom of three children. She grew up just down the street from where she and her husband are raising their family now in rural Upstate New York. When she is not teaching her kids, grocery shopping, or drinking coffee you might find her training for a half marathon, escaping for a morning at the beach, or chatting on the phone with one of her four siblings. Sarah loves writing on her blog sarahswritingcafe.blogspot.com and currently teaches creative writing at her kids’ weekly co-op.