I love to encourage new homeschoolers and today I continue the next in a series of letters I have written to myself, reflecting over the 19+ years of homeschooling… thoughts, attitudes, ideas and approaches that have changed and grown as I have travelled on this journey …
Homeschool is about life and not the tick-the-box-schedule. Your smooth homeschool days are a blessing, but life happens and all your plans can fall apart very quickly!
How do you work with constant interruptions? What do you do when there is a crisis? What happens when a child or mom is sick? How do you cope with the turmoil of a move?
Remember this golden rule ~ “People before things“.
Firstly, have realistic expectations. Young toddlers are disruptive. They move quickly from one thing to the next and create chaos with surprising ease. If you are homeschooling with a toddler, expect disruptions and interruptions and plan accordingly.
Secondly, create some ground rules regarding your schooling time. Working in a family business will require a balancing act. Answering telephones and responding to emails is a huge intrusion. Get up early and tackle the inbox before the school day starts. Answer text messages before school, and then put the cellphone on silent and set the landline to the answering machine. When working from home, discuss the times you are available and do most office work before and in the afternoons after school. Politely let your family and friends know that you are working in the mornings and cannot “do tea” or chit-chat until after lunch.
Habit training is vital to smooth flowing homeschool days. Maintain a simple schedule, a predictable routine and a consistent approach. Gentle nighttime reminders help set up the day ahead.
Find your family’s rhythm. We tried for years to start at 8am, but failed. Our busy mornings on the farm, as well as each child’s natural waking cycle means that we normally start
at after 9:30ish. I stressed about starting times for ages. I have realised that young kids and toddlers are revving to go by 7am, while high schoolers work better later in the day and finish their work more independently. Find what works for your family in this season and your kid’s age and stage.
Keep moving forward … just put one step in front of the next. Don’t give up. It is far harder to start from scratch than to keep doing a little every day. By-and-by you can catch up and include more subjects and activities.
So, practically, how to keep on track?
- Begin your homeschooling with as many kids on the same core as possible. Having a separate core for each child is an enormous task and you will quickly feel overwhelmed and fall behind. You will dread each day and easily burn out.
- Find simple, short, sweet lessons for the 3R’s for each child, but select one core for the History/ Social Study read alouds.
- Start your day together with circle time and then guide the older kids to start some independent work while you focus on setting up an activity with your toddler.
- Break for young kids with physical activities such as action songs, quick bean bag games, jump on the mini trampoline, skip, enjoy a healthy snack.
- When you have fallen off the tracks, and when all else fails, read aloud to your kids.
- Don’t worry about delays, down-time and long interruptions unless your high schooler is writing their final exams. When it comes to all young children, remember that THEY DON’T FALL BEHIND! It is amazing, and I can’t quite explain it, but they carry on growing and learning.
- Read how I catch up ~ SPOT, SKIP or SPEED
Be encouraged … the Lord meets you with grace and mercy fresh each morning. He is hope. He will gently guide moms with their young. He is never in a crisis, never too early or too late and will provide all the grace, strength and wisdom you need to stay on track.
With hindsight blessings,
I’d love to hear your views and thoughts on this topic! Please would you share yours in the comments.
In case you missed any of my previous “Letters To Me” in this series: