I remember researching every curriculum under the sun. It was overwhelming and as the books kept arriving, my mom brain was so excited to begin diving into them. However, as I began lesson planning, I realized we were going to be “doing school” for 5-6 hours a day and honestly, my kids were WAY too young for that. Plus, I run 2 businesses and cannot actually afford to loose that daily time. So, I paired way back and took the advice of a long time homeschool family who I deeply valued. Here are a few tips that helped our first 2 years of homeschool go off without many hiccups (and a whole lot less frustration)!
This is time you don’t get back with your kids. Sticking to schedules over the mental wellbeing of your child is not going to serve either of you. The number of completed lessons this year is not going to determine your worth. Your value lies most deeply in the little lessons of flexibility, emotional resilience and love that you provide your kiddo. Create an environment where you can nurture the above and all of the other things seem to fall into place.
Keep in mind, they won’t remember the concepts you taught them, they’ll remember how they felt while you taught them.
Friend, I’m saying this with a loving hand on your shoulder, you are a great teacher for your child.
1. Don’t try to recreate school at home.
You don’t need to have fancy desks and schedules and timelines and plans. In fact, we embrace more of a Montesorri style homeschool where, instead, I have chosen to run with our kids interests at the time. Our kids are happier and our homeschool environment is so much more peaceful. I love curriculum that is grab and go vs lots of lesson planning.
At one point in Levi’s Kindergarten year, he was struggling with his math. Instead of harping on the same subject until he got it, we began playing card games instead. Not only did he develop a strong foundation for math, but he had a really good time.
2. Less is more.
Your kiddos age determines their attention span. A LOT of time is spent in traditional school just trying to wrangle the number of kids each teacher has. The average kindergarten kiddo has an attention span of just 2-5 MINUTES. In Elementary especially, play is an important part of schooling so break out those (non electronic) toys and let their imagination fly. We have loved inserting books before and after a short lesson to help their little brains switch gears.
Homeschool is a deeply enriching part of a kids life IF you let it be. If there are tears, frustration and overwhelm, take a step back and see what you can to do to make learning fun again. This is a time to connect with your little one, a time you don’t get back.
3. Let go of the worry that your kiddo might be “behind”.
YOU set the standards in homeschool. There is no comparison in our household. My kids might be really good at certain things and not at others but, fostering a love for learning is the most important thing you can do for you child. We can learn to do literally anything, so teaching them how to learn is the most vital skill a child could ever have. I use assessments as a way to gauge my teaching. Not to measure my child. Sometimes, we go back and redo things. Sometimes, we put a subject away for a few weeks because it’s causing too much angst. ALL of that is ok. It just means they aren’t ready yet. If your munchkin is struggling to get a concept, it might mean its just too advanced. Take a step backwards and try again later. I promise, your kiddo wont be behind. In fact, they’ll likely thrive.
As you navigate this new season in your life, I’m sending you all the love, grace and positivity. Happy Homeschooling, friend.