5 Tips for Schooling at Home from a Homeschool Mom

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Since all local schools, have been closed until mid-April (or later) many of you are scrambling to take up the temporary role of “homeschool teacher”.

Have you seen the funny memes on social media about the new widespread homeschool life? I have some personal favorites… like the one that says: “If you see me talking to myself this week, mind your business! I’m having a parent-teacher conference.”

Or the one that reads: “Homeschool day 1: Wondering how I can get this kid transferred out of my class.”

Now, I need to confess something to you that might cause you to question my sanity. I have been homeschooling my kids for seven years. Yep, I signed on for this gig voluntarily. I now have a 6th grader, 5th grader, and kindergartener.

Recent circumstances might cause you to wonder why ANYONE would CHOOSE this year after year. I totally get that! But if you will take a chance on me, I invite you to lean in a bit. I’m hoping to offer you some encouragement and a little perspective today.

Tips from a Homeschool Mom

Breathe. And relax your expectations.

I have tried to maintain our homeschooling routine during times of personal crisis and upheaval. It is hard. I HAD to simplify and strip down our studies to the bare minimum. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to jump into homeschooling for the very first time under those circumstances. And for better or for worse, we are ALL in a time of upheaval and crisis right now.

Prioritize connection and stability through routine. 

Don’t think of yourself as your kids’ new teacher. Think of this time as an opportunity to learn and grow together. One of the best ways to facilitate this is to create a routine at home that gives them some stability and invites them to nurture their minds and bodies. 

Our current routine includes: Breakfast and chores. Family devotion and read-aloud time from a chapter book. Walk around the block. Individual reading time. Science projects from our ongoing home school curriculum. Lunch. Family movie. Walk around the block. Free time. Dinner. Family art project or another movie. Bedtime.

Give your kids a paper calendar.

When we are off routine, we can become disoriented and uneasy. It’s nice to be free from schedules and commitments for a time.  But when this is prolonged, we can all feel shaky. It might be empowering for your kids to look at a calendar of their own every morning to keep track of what day it is, and to feel connected to a rhythm. You can do this together in the morning and talk about your expectations and hopes for the day. You might be surprised at how beneficial this is for all of you.

Ask your kids if there’s something about school they miss. 

This could be very revealing. Attempt to let their input guide what you try to do with them academically. 

Is it their friends? Your main “home school project” for that day could be to write snail mail to their friends and address the envelope. 

Is it lunchtime? Let your main lesson be to create a lunch menu and prepare it together.

Is it science or history? Ask them about their favorite science or history lesson and tell them to be the teacher and tell you what they remember.

Keep a family journal. 

Years from now, you will all be so fascinated to revisit your musings from Spring 2020. Even your preschooler can dictate to you what they are thinking and feeling right now while you write. Another variation would be to have each family member write a letter to their future self about what the quarantine was like.  Seal them in envelopes and agree upon a future date to open them!

It’s okay to change the plans. A temporary home school routine is only helpful it if truly serves you and your family. If you need to change something, don’t feel guilty. It’s also okay to observe the chosen routine on certain days. Maybe a Monday/Wednesday/Friday “homeschool” schedule is all your family can handle. No worries. No shame.

Looking for more homeschool ideas? Check out our Homeschool Board on Pinterest. 

You can do this! All of us at DMMB are here for you. I am rooting for you. And were are in it together.

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Erika Stevenson grew up in San Antonio, Texas but has made her home in Des Moines for 15 years. She and her husband, Darin have been married for 14 years and live in a turn-of-the-century home in the heart of Des Moines where they raise Lucy (10), Collin (9) and Nora (4). Erika first became a mom to Lucy in an open domestic adoption and eventually gave birth to Collin and Nora. When she's not busy with home-school lessons, laundry and meal-planning, she loves to sew, knit, and read.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I have been homeschooling for a few years now and I think your post was spot on. Thanks for encouraging all the new to homeschooling moms!

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