Learn some new homeschooling hacks for a better school year!
Before I jump right into the homeschooling hacks, let me tell you what makes me authorized to share these hacks! If you’re new here, let me tell you a little about myself. I’m a homeschooling Mom of 5. And I’ve been doing this homeschooling thing for 13 years. My oldest is now a senior and in the process of applying to colleges! So I have some experience in homeschooling while pregnant, nursing, through surgeries and serious illnesses, and more.
There are different seasons of a Mom’s life. That’s something that I’ve realized later in life that has been very helpful. Sometimes, you can do it all. The crafts, the sports, the playdates; it’s all on the schedule! And then some years, you are doing great if you just get math and reading done. So it’s important to recognize what type of season you’re in. And be kind to yourself with respect to that season. But no matter what season you’re in, these homeschooling hacks can be helpful in your day to day homeschooling life!
Homeschooling Hacks During the Baby Stage
Homeschooling with babies underfoot is one of the most difficult stages in a homeschooling Mom’s career. It’s busy, tiring, and can be overwhelming. But it can also be one of the most precious seasons in motherhood. My best advice is to not let this season only be busy and hectic.
- Don’t wish the time away. I know, I know, this is what older Moms say all the time. But it really is true. One of my favorite sayings is, “The days are long but the years are short.” And it couldn’t be more true. Babies don’t keep, as my Granny used to say. Rock them and play with them and see them as the gift they are, rather than as a distraction or a bother.
- Create a circle time as a family. I bet you’re thinking- I really don’t need another task Amber! But trust me, this was the very best thing I established in my homeschool years and years ago. It’s a time for everyone to spend some focused time together, and will be important to have established as a routine as your kids get older. If you want to learn more about it, I have a whole blog post about it: https://www.amberlikes.com/circle-time-activities/
- Enlist the help of older children if possible. You’d be surprised how helpful an older child can be in your home. Even having them do little things like play with the baby for 10 minutes or empty the silverware in the dishwasher can be very helpful!
- Don’t do it all. I’m currently a professor, blogger, and homeschool Mom. But I couldn’t do all of that in all seasons of life. When I was in the thick of birthing babies, nursing babies, and changing babies, I couldn’t do nearly as many of the things as I do now. Seasons! Focus on what you’ve been given right now to do, and do that well.
- Don’t be ashamed to enlist help. Homeschool Moms have a tendency to think we are superheroes. And we are! But even superheroes need some help sometimes! If your budget allows, think about a cleaner once a month, or ask a teen girl to come over for a few hours a week, or trade date nights with another family. Get creative to look for ways to give yourself a break sometimes! There’s another famous saying I like to remind Moms of, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Be kind to yourself so that you can be even more kind to those in your home and beyond.
Homeschooling Hacks for the Teen Years
I’m going to jump right to one of the other busiest seasons in a Mom’s life. And it’s busy in a completely different way! Instead of changing diapers and preparing baby food, you’re managing schedules, activities, playing taxi, and preparing for graduation and college. It can be overwhelming in a different way than the baby stage. And it still requires some homeschooling hacks to get it all done. Depending on what your child’s goals are for after high school, you’ll need to spend time helping them prepare for their future. So find some of my best homeschooling hacks for the teen years!
- Don’t be afraid to let them fly. Driving, college, dating, oh my. The teen years are filled with new things and new experiences. I guard my kids hearts and minds throughout childhood. But I’m also a huge proponent of letting them have gradually more independence. Encourage the driver’s license, discuss their future, and let them do things on their own.
- Help prepare them for the future. Don’t ignore the invevitable. I’ve met too many homeschooling families that don’t have a clue what their teen is going to do upon graduation. But it’s not a surprise that it’s coming! Whether it’s college, work, technical school, or volunteering, start talking about it early in their teen years.
- Be available to talk when they want to, even if it’s midnight! This is a hard one. But with the independence we talked about earlier, comes more late nights. And when they get home from the movies or youth group, or whatever kept them out later, that’s the most likely time they will want to open up. So make yourself available! Even if it’s not every night, be there when they need you.
- Look for group classes and resume building opportunities. If your child is headed to college, it’s a great idea to diversify their transcript with some online courses, dual enrollment courses, CLEP exams, AP courses, and more. This will show future college admissions counselors that they are ready for “real classes” that weren’t just grading by Mom.
- Recognize that they aren’t little anymore. Don’t treat your teen in the same way that you treat your 5 year old. Give them more independence, different chores, and allow them to be more part of your adult life. It will build their independence and allow you the chance to get to know your child as an emerging adult.
Tips for When Everything is Going Wrong
We’ve all been there. There’s been many times when everything we do just seems wrong. Perhaps there are medical issues, personal issues, marital issues, or financial issues. And when this is happening, we need to focus on the essentials as homeschooling Moms.
- Focus on math and reading. No matter what the age of your children, focus on the essentials. If you don’t have any more time in the day than for one or two things, do math and reading. One of my favorite sayings is, “First you learn to read, then you read to learn.” Create lifelong learners when you create lifelong readers.
- Enlist help. Depending on what is causing trouble in your home, be sure to rotate who is in charge. An older teen can help drive younger kids. A spouse can teach a subject or two. Get creative in finding help!
- Find Amazon deals and products you’ll love. There are so many amazing resources for homeschooling Moms on Amazon. Check out my list here!
- Don’t forget Circle Time. Find time to just be together for at least 20 minutes a day. I incorporated a circle time (or morning meeting time) into our day a long time ago. And it’s something that I absolutely hate to miss. It centers us all, and allows us to bond and to be calm. It’s worth it.
- Consider support programs and group classes. There are so many hybrid homeschooling programs out there! It can take some creativity to find them, but they really do exist. Where we live in Central Florida, there are so many options. These programs can be lifesaving in busy or stressful seasons. Take some planning and more out of the homeschooling day.
Homeschooling Hacks that are Always Helpful
So what about those general homeschooling times when life isn’t overwhelmingly stressful, and you’re just getting through your day? Check out these tips for an easier and smoother homeschooling life.
- Go to the library. This is a simple one, but it also represents making use of lots of free homeschooling resources. It’s a treasure trove of resources! And be sure to check free or cheap local museums and historical places. It can be so enriching to your homeschooling life!
- Schedule playdates. Depending on the age of your children, this can be called different things. Don’t just schedule them for your kids, but for yourself also. Nothing lifts your spirits like time with friends.
- Make a schedule. I don’t love an hour by hour schedule. But I do love a general idea of what everyone is going to do. I write our schedule and everyone’s chores on a white board that is visible throughout our homeschooling area. This really helps keep everyone on track.
- Get some extra sleep. Don’t devalue rest. This can be a hard one for me. But a few mornings of sleeping in can make a world of difference to growing kids, and their parents! Make time for rest.
- Make lists. As I mentioned earlier, giving everyone clear instructions cuts down on a lot of confusion throughout the day. And can cut down on Mom having to hear the same questions a million times! Make lists of chores, to do items, and school work tasks. Trust me!
There you have it! 20 homeschooling hacks that you hopefully haven’t thought of yet. I hope there was at least one or two new ones that can make your life easier. Have any tips to share? Drop them in the comments! And feel free to connect with me on Instagram for more on homeschooling, travel, and Mom life.