As a homeschooling mom for twenty years (with fifteen years to go), I have a lot of stuff. Books, papers, DVDs, CDs, schedules, papers, you name it. Yet even more consuming is organizing my thoughts and plans. There is so much you can do, how do you know what you should do?
After twenty years of trial and error, here are 5 keys to homeschooling success:
- Let your natural bent, guide you. As a writer, I love everything literature-based. The curriculum that has been most successful throughout the years is curriculum based on a lot of reading . . . and writing. I enjoy teaching it, so it makes it enjoyable for my kids. What do you enjoy? How can you use that to benefit your homeschooling?
- Be realistic with your time. Because I’m a work-at-home and homeschooling mom, I can’t spend hours each day grading papers and planning lessons. Pre-planned curricula like Sonlight and Alpha-Omega’s Switched on Schoolhouse work well for me. There is a lot I can do, but a curriculum that saves time equals a curriculum I can stick to.
- Understand your child’s natural bent. Each child is unique. I spent far too much time trying to force my son to sit down and read his lessons and answer questions. I discovered he was an auditory learner, and it made all the difference. During high school, I used DVDs from The Teaching Company. My son loved them and learned a lot, which made me a happy camper.
- Don’t compare. It’s easy to see what others are doing and judge your homeschooling day. Remember that the photos we see on Facebook and that we pin on Pinterest are only part of the real picture. Don’t compare your weaknesses with someone else’s strengths. Don’t even compare your ordinary life with someone else’s highlight reel. (Click to tweet!) Embrace your life, and your strengths. Embrace your day, your home.
- Cut out the good things that try to pull you away from the best things. Here is an activity that I share in my new book Balanced: Finding Center As a Work-At-Home Mom that could help you:
Cut-it-out. How to clear your schedule:
Are you currently volunteering because you didn’t want to say no or signed your kids up for an activity because everyone else did? How would you feel if you didn’t have those things on your calendar?
Spend some time going through your schedule. Rank everything 1-4.
1- Things you have to do. (Feed children, get them dressed, homeschooling/homework, work projects, Bible study and prayer)
2- Things you should do. (Laundry, cook dinner, bathe your kids, serve others, church attendance)
3- Things you want to do. (Things you enjoy doing/things that help you: Facebook, Bible Study group, exercise class, coffee with a friend, your child’s favorite sport or activity)
4- Things you are doing to look good or are doing out of guilt. (Volunteering because you couldn’t say no, extra extracurricular activities, things that you think will make you a good mom.)
➢ Now, cut out all the 4s.
➢ Limit the 3s, realizing there will be different seasons in life when you can do them.
➢ Take a moment to appreciate the white space.
➢ Pick 5-10 things you want to fill your calendar with: family dinners, church attendance, quiet time with God, your child’s favorite sport or class.
➢ Realize that your choices today will make the days to come—and the years to come—so much easier!
Remember, the keys to success start with organizing your thoughts. Success is choosing what you won’t do as much as it choosing what you will do. It’s using strengths to benefit you, your kids, and your homeschooling day. And mostly is understanding your homeschooling life won’t be like anyone else’s.. and that’s a good thing. More than that … it’s a God thing!
Hope and Refreshment for Homeschooling Parents
Need more ideas and advice on homeschooling? Pick up a copy of Homeschool Basics. Receive tried-and-true homeschool advice from veteran homeschooling moms Tricia Goyer and Kristi Clover. We dish out practical help on getting started and staying the course. Homeschool Basics will remind you that the best homeschooling starts with the heart. Packed with ideas to help you push aside your fears and raise kids who will grow to be life-long learners.
Kristi and I believe that homeschooling can transform your life, your home, and your family. Mostly, we believe homeschooling can truly prepare your children for the life God’s called them to live.
Don’t let doubts hold you back any longer.