Over the years I have heard often from people “I don’t know how you manage to do so much!”
For me, it’s been normal to be organised and efficient and just get stuff done. But this year has put all of that to the ultimate test, as well as running my own business and looking after a family with 2 rowdy boys, I have taken on the challenge of homeschooling our eldest.
If ever I needed to work out strategies to make life work without pulling out my hair it was now!
Today, I want to share with you the things that have helped me most in this first year:
1. Preparation is key
Whether you are designing your own learning, using a pre-made curriculum or using a more flexible form of learning it pays to be prepared. This may be just making sure you have enough resources for your kids to use their imagination to create masterpieces or having your calendar planned out well for excursions.
For me, I spend some time on the weekend getting together our activities for the week, we are currently using Complete Education so I make sure everything is printed out ready to go and that we have any consumables we may need for the week ahead. I also go through and bookmark all the links I will need so that I can find them quickly and easily.
2. Be flexible
If an opportunity arises that means we can head out and do something fun, we do it. After all, real life learning and getting out and living in the world is worth far more than any workbook.
Additionally, if we are really struggling get any sit down work done (because of me or either of the kids or just life circumstances) I don’t get stressed about it, we just take that day off. In general, we don’t work in term blocks so if we miss a day here or there it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
And I don’t mean trying to eat while driving, you will just end up with mayo down your shirt But, with homeschooling it is super easy to tick off several subjects with one activity.
Got a kid who loves dinosaurs? Perfect! Learn about a dinosaur and then draw and write about it – you have covered science (or HASS if your child is older) as well as English and art. Excursions are always a big winner here because you can often cover almost all subjects in a fun and engaging way.
4. Use your time wisely
Whether you have a year 1 or a year 10 child there are going to be some activities that are independent.
Even with my Pre-Primary child I can leave him to do certain activities on his own. Because we have an open plan living area I am close by should he need my help but he can mostly work alone. I use this time to do the dishes or do tasks for my business that don’t require large blocks of time.
5. Remember your why
We homeschool primarily because I hate the conformity pushed by schools. It’s important for us to follow my son’s interests because that is what we believe is the most powerful thing you can do when you are learning. However, we still consistently provide exposure to new ideas and subjects so he can find other things that grab his interest.
My last tip and if you take nothing else from this article just take this – If in doubt, read!
If things are hard or you have just hit a wall, head to the local library and get out the maximum number of books you can on a variety of subject and read them, as much and as often as your kids want. They can do quiet play while you read and you don’t have to read whole chapters but just read, there is so much knowledge in books and so much value in teaching children to love reading.
Are you a homeschooling mum? What strategies do you find help you on your journey? Share with us in the comments.