If you suddenly find yourself at home, educating your children, it can be overwhelming to think about how to start homeschooling. And no matter how many children you have, spending all of your time together can be a big change. It’s ok to feel worried, or overwhelmed, or even annoyed. But maybe you feel excited! However you are feeling, I have some tips for you! As a Mom of 5, and homeschooling veteran of 10 years, I’ve learned a few things along the way.
1. Start small.
When you first get started homeschooling, you might feel like you need to do it all. Science! Math! Art! Reading! How much can we fit in the day? But what’s one of my first tips on how to start homeschooling? Start small. On your very first day of homeschooling, maybe just tackle one or two subjects. And then the next day, throw in one more. On the next day, maybe add in some music or art. You don’t have to do everything all in one day!
Even if you are part of a hybrid homeschooling program or something else where you are being sent lesson plans, you can still do some block scheduling. You can do a few math lessons in one day. And then the next day, do a few science lessons. It’s important to not overwhelm your children, or yourself. No one will be learning much at all if everyone is frustrated.
2. Make a schedule.
In our home, all five of my kids KNOW that no one eats breakfast until 8 am. Since my bedroom is so close to the kitchen, no children are even allowed in the kitchen until 8 am. This is just one example of how having a schedule creates peace for everyone.
Since we’ve been doing homeschooling for so long, the kids also know that, as soon as they wake up, they start doing their school work. Of course, that can be difficult with 1st graders or under. But they also have less to do in a day, so it’s ok if they start their day later! Having a schedule makes a lot less questions for Mom all throughout the day. We even have ours on a large whiteboard that is part of our homeschooling space. Let everyone know when lunch will be, when screen time will happen, and you’ll cut down on a lot of unending questions.
3. Assign chores.
When you are wondering how to start homeschooling, you may wonder how things will still get done around the house. How will the laundry get done? What about the dishes? This is an easy one! Assign chores to everyone at the very beginning of the day. Let everyone know what’s expected of them as early as possible
I also use mealtime as learning also. The older kids make dinner once a week and younger ones serve lunch once a week. This involves planning, meal prep, and is a great life lesson. One of our favorite life mottos is “many hands make light work.”
4. Make the best of online resources.
There are so many amazing resources online for homeschoolers. There’s also lots of apps and amazing games available to help supplement lesson plans. Doing a simple search of learning games or free online games will give lots of results! Just be sure to preview them first, because some will be more play than learning. Also, YouTube Kids has lots of amazing learning videos, but those need to be previewed as well.
You can also find full programs like IXL or Splash Math that will guide a child through entire lessons or grade levels. It helps make a parent’s job a lot easier to have something that a child can learn and enjoy at the same time!
5. Tips for work at home moms.
Particularly if you are also working at home, as I am, you’ll have some more challenges. These are some of my best tips for work at home moms.
All sleep is equal. If you work better in the early mornings, set that alarm! If your kids and husband’s schedules allow, and you work better late at night, do that!
Don’t expect to do it all yourself. Hire help. Whether you need a babysitter a few afternoons a week, or you need a house cleaner, make your life work in the ways that your budget allows.
Include screen time in your day when needed. As Moms, sometimes we start to feel guilty if our kids have too much screen time. But guess what? If you’re worrying about that, you are probably doing just fine as a Mom.
Don’t strive for perfection. There will be days when school work won’t get done. There will be days when the laundry is stacked high. And that’s ok. Of course.
Feel proud of your work. Remember that you are contributing to your family with your work. Sometimes, as Moms, we feel guilty for working. For me, it’s taken years to get over that. But my husband supports me, he’s proud of me, and my kids have plenty of time with me.
Find support both online and in real life. I love my community on Instagram, and have found real friends through that platform. I’m also blessed with amazing friends in real life who are my constant cheerleaders. I am abundantly blessed with these relationships. They help restore my sanity daily.
Don’t neglect yourself. In all ways, spiritually, physically, with hobbies, with your relationships, you need to make sure you are taking care of your own needs, as well as those of others.
4. How to start homeschooling? Just do it.
I know the feeling. We will start another day. We’ll start in a few hours. But if you are wondering how to start homeschooling, the simple answer is to just do it! It’s not going to get any easier. And until you get started, you won’t be able to figure out your own groover or your own style. You will figure out the best way to homeschool for yourself and for your family.
I’m not going to lie to you; it won’t be easy when you first start. I always say, that no matter when you start homeschooling, the first few weeks are the hardest. And whether you are homeschooling for a short time, or starting a new season in life, hopefully these tips will be helpful! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions!