If you are just starting out, you may think you will have an awesome schedule. You will get up early, fix a pancake breakfast, and sit down to six different subjects everyday. Your kids will never fight so much over a lesson that you give up and say “let’s try it tomorrow.”
Let me just crush that dream for you right now. Although we eat breakfast every morning, it’s usually cereal. We learn a lot, but some days math and reading are the only official subjects we fit in. Some days I definitely throw in the towel and tell my kids we can try their assignment again tomorrow when I have more patience to help them. We shut the offending core studies books and suddenly art becomes really important.
So now that I have crushed your dream, let me tell you how to make homeschooling work for you. Give yourself and your kids some breathing room. Let life happen. Don’t let the mom guilt set in if you don’t touch every subject every day. You are teaching your kids valuable skills. You will get it.
We started out our homeschooling journey with set hours we would do homeschooling. That didn’t work out too well for us because there were surprise visits from family, ball practices, and kids who refused to do chores on time. For my own sanity, I decided when I mapped out my week I would map out what absolutely had to get done and not worry if my optional things were touched at all.
Why I love Fridays
We school regularly four days a week. Friday is “Ketchup” day. If we fall behind during the rest of the week, we catch ourselves up to where we need to be that day. Friday is also our field trip day, so the less we have to get done, the longer our field trip can be. Some days we do a half hour long virtual field trip. We did Mt. Vernon just last week. Other days we shuttle everyone two hours away and explore a museum for a few hours before returning home.
Find a Way to Keep Your Sanity
Find something that works for you as a buffer area so you aren’t stressing out like crazy. If you want to set goals for the year and say you will summer school if they aren’t met, go for it. Maybe some days you will make quick fix dinners instead of elaborate meals so you can get extra school in even though you really value a nutritional diet. Find where you are willing to compromise so you can keep your valuable sanity.
Provide them the tools of learning and let them explore the world you have set at their feet, but don’t be sad if they aren’t excited about the same things you are. Let them get excited about the lesson on bees even though you thought the butterfly one would be more interesting and maybe even spent more money on it.
Learning Happens Anyway
I wish someone had told me as a new homeschool mom that as long as you are honestly trying, your kids will learn. Use loop scheduling, a morning basket, whatever type of schedule makes your life easier, but in the end, don’t be a stickler for the schedule.
Learning occurs when you least expect it. Before long your kids will be begging to watch documentaries on Saturdays. They will be playing at the park and randomly start talking about George Washington to another kid whose mom will give you odd looks. It happens. Enjoy the ride.