Keeping life simple has been a challenge lately. Many of us are now facing the new and unexpected challenges of homeschooling our children. Even though this isn’t strictly a minimalist topic it is a topic on the mind of many women and parents and it can make our simple life very complicated. Let me share with you some homeschooling tips that will make life easier!
This article is important to me because I myself was home-schooled from 7th grade on and I loved it. I also wanted to write this article because I know and respect many home-schooling mamas who are rocking it! Their experience can help you tackle this simply and successfully! I asked them some questions and I will share that with you now.
Homeschooling Tips That Will Help You Get Started!
Many of us have started homeschooling or virtual learning in the last couple of years due to ever-changing school situations during the pandemic. But many people start homeschooling for other reasons. I started homeschooling because I was a smart kid that got sick a lot. They wanted to hold me back because I missed too many days even though I was turning in A+ make-up work. Having more flexibility in our schedule was becoming a must.
My friend Adriane, who started homeschooling a couple of years ago says;
“We started homeschooling our 6th and 4th grader because there was a school shooting very close to home. The feeling of not having control over our own children during a lockdown and not truly feeling like they were safe was a big part of our decision. Initially, I felt scared, nervous, but also excited about the flexibility provided by homeschool.”Adriane
Homeschooling was chosen by another friend of mine because her daughter was being bullied.
Whatever your reason for starting homeschooling, it can be done and it can be successful!
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Homeschooling Tips for Getting a Schedule and a Rythym
One of the most important homeschooling tips you need is to stick to a schedule. It is very important to have a basic schedule for your schooling that works for the program you are using and your family’s schedule.
My friend who is a teacher checks in and gives the assignments in the morning and again in the afternoon. If that is the schedule of your schooling situation, that keeps you to a classic school schedule and that will help you keep moving forward at a good pace.
When I was home-schooling I wasn’t on a strict schedule like that. I knew how many tests I needed to complete in a week and we broke up the work by days. Most days I was able to finish the work in half the time of a normal school day.
My friend Avery, who is currently homeschooling, loves her schedule because she is able to watch video lessons and complete her tests for each day in about an hour. She enjoys learning lots of different crafts and skills in her spare time and says that regularly school wastes a lot of time.
Adriane also spoke about being reasonable with your schedule and rhythm. She says;
“We either have a rhythm or we don’t. Life throws curve balls and I’ve learned to take each one as it comes and make adjustments…
Scheduling is important but I’ve also learned that being a business owner, wife, mother, teacher, and even a woman I have to make adjustments and have some flexibility to my schedule…Sometimes if I am overwhelmed with work we take the day off with schooling.
Other days I can focus more on schooling and we catch up or even get ahead. I am busy and I know that I cannot focus primarily on school from the time I get up until the end of a school day. This being said sometimes we have different lessons at night. It doesn’t hurt because there is no rule saying school time is from 8 – 3 every day. Again “Be Flexible!”Adriane
So, as you can see, there are lots of ways to schedule your homeschooling depending on the program you are using but homeschooling can be simple because it can match your life!
HomeschoolingTips to Help You Stay Motivated
When you are thinking of homeschooling tips you need you are probably wondering how to keep your kids motivated. It can be hard to keep kids on task when they are homeschooling or doing virtual learning but there are ways to do it.
All kids are different. When I was home-schooling I was pretty self-motivated. That is until I started working too. From my personal experience, I definitely recommend finishing home-schooling before your kids go into the workforce. The good news? With many homeschooling programs, it is very possible to finish early!
But what about younger kids? What about kids that aren’t self-motivated?
My home-schooled young friend Avery told me that it was very hard to be motivated to go to school all day but with homeschooling, “It’s not as hard to be motivated because I know that it’s not going to take that long, and then I can move on.”
Sometimes, as mothers, you may have to withhold privileges until they finish their work. This may mean no video games or internet use. Whatever makes sense for your family.
“Keeping the boys focused can be difficult. My oldest is pretty determined to stay on track with his schedule and he has good positive peer pressure to finish.
My middle son struggles with wanting to learn but not being the best reader. I try to play to his strengths and focus on those. He improves all the time. I realize that everybody is unique and learns at their own pace. He has always been behind in reading but he continues to make progress.
I don’t have to compare him to my other children or even to other kids his own age. He’s learning and that, at the end of the day, is what matters most. He also is an amazing artist and I believe this is something that can’t really be taught. Play to their strengths!”ADRIANE
AS you can see motivating home-schoolers doesn’t have to be as hard as you imagine. Play to their strengths, help them out with their struggles, and encourage them to enjoy the freedom that homeschooling gives them to be creative and learn new skills!
Creating Learning Spaces
One of the most important homeschooling tips I can give you is to create a good workspace. Having a space designed for learning will help your kids focus on learning.
As I mentioned in last week’s post, 7 EASY Ways to Make Online Learning a Success, it is important to have a clearly defined workspace. Sometimes this can be a permanent station and sometimes it needs to be mobile but whatever you do it has to have good light, good organization, and an upright but comfortable chair. Here are some things that will create a great learning space:
- Good lighting. A bright desk light is nice and natural light will help you stay alert and productive.
- Open space for your currents projects.
- Accordian Files or folders for your different classes and projects.
- A comfortable chair that is upright. (This isn’t nap time.)
- Pens and paper for notes.
- Sticky notes or a dry erase board for reminders.
Every parent will set up their homeschooling station differently.
Avery and her brother do their work in a small office. They have desks set up at opposite ends of the room.
Avery says that her and her brother use very few school supplies aside from a few notebooks to write down things because almost everything they do is online. That is great news! Fewer school supplies means tons of money saved and really makes home-schooling simple and minimalist friendly!
Adriane’s boys work at individual spaces along with a wall-length desk in the family room. They store their supplies in common areas so that everyone knows where everything is. Everyone knows they need to keep their desk cleaned up. Adriane’s homeschooling area is exposed to the rest of the house. Because of this, she says;
“I find that I enjoy more of a decorative look to my supply holders…The mason jars have been great for rubber bands, pencils, pens, crayons, and markers. Each boy has a rolling file cabinet to help keep the desks clean and their space organized. Occasionally I have to go thru their spaces with them as they like to keep miscellaneous items, toys, legos, etc. that can easily clutter up their area and make it very distracting during school time.”Adriane
Homeschooling Tips for When You Need a Little Extra Help…
I know this is one of the biggest fears every parent has. What happens when our kids need help with their work? What if I don’t know the new ways to do division! I know that freaked me out as a substitute teacher.
Thankfully most of the homeschooling programs and certainly the virtual learning programs have all the support you need. If you do need to put together some assignments for your younger children Adriane recommends Spectrum workbooks from Amazon. She also says;
“I use Google and YouTube videos both for myself and for the boys. I usually can find an answer to any question to help me teach or instruct or even understand something that I don’t.”Adriane
Is there anything else that may help you and your kids stay organized and complete your work? Adriane highly recommends her subscription to Microsoft office. She says;
“I use Word and Excel for both school and work and my boys have used PowerPoint quite frequently for school assignments.”Adriane
The Benefits of Homeschooling
As you can see homeschooling doesn’t have to be as hard as you think! When you use these homeschooling tips homeschooling and virtual learning can actually simplify your life!
Avery loves homeschooling because she no longer has to deal with bullies and she has time to develop other skills. (As her sewing teacher, I can personally attest to the fact that we have a new fashion designer on our hands.)
Avery also feels that homeschooling has given her a better work ethic. She finds that she is motivated to do her schooling because she knows that if she focuses on her work she can finish faster and enjoy other parts of her life more.
When I was homeschooling I felt the same. It gave me the opportunity to travel with my family when I wouldn’t have been able to, do volunteer work, and learn how to play the violin and sew. Homeschooling also strengthened my relationship with my parents. That relationship is strong down to this day.
“I don’t feel like I’m biased when I say that I have some kind, good, mostly hard-working children. I want my boys to be young men, responsible, kind, loving, generous. Sometimes you can miss out on these important things when you focus just on “book” smarts.”Adriane
As homeschooling parents, you have the ability to grow closer to your children and raise not just smart kids but good humans! I know you can do it! You and your kids may even love it! Just remember to stay calm and keep it simple.
Want to learn more tips to simplify your life?
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