Let’s face it – if homeschooling was easy, we would all be doing it. Yet, most of us are dreading it. If you have decided to take on homeschooling (and you should in no way feel like you have to!), consider that it might be easier than you think and that there are certain ways to keep it simple.
Why Homeschooling is More Efficient
If there is one fact that did become clear to me after talking to homeschoolers was that homeschooling is more efficient because there is little to no wasted time.
Kids are getting a lot more one-on-one instruction and they can work at whatever level is optimal in each subject.
If your child excels at reading, they can read at a higher level while completing math at a lower grade level if required.
Make the Schedule that Works for You
The advantages to this situation are that you can operate on your schedule. Some parents prefer to have a stricter schedule and others prefer to set parameters like “this work needs to be complete by the end of the day”.
Unlike the classroom, kids don’t have to do fifty minutes of math – they can take more breaks. They can do twenty minutes of math in the morning and thirty in the afternoon.
This might be a total mindset shift but consider that all of the research on neuroplasticity has found it’s not how many hours in one sitting that changes the brain – it has more to do with short 15-20 minute intervals.
Learning Does Not Have to Occur From a Textbook
Also keep in mind that this is the time to make assignments more hands-on and to involve your child. Let them guide their learning by asking them what they want to learn more about?
One of my favourite aspects about homeschooling is that homeschoolers seems to be very aware of every learning opportunity. They are teaching all day.
Learning Occurs All Day – You Just Don’t Realise It
Learning might be explicit at times through a math lesson, but it is embedded into learning into everyday learning. Fractions can be emphasized while baking, and geometry and word problems can also be part of a building project.
If you have decided to take on more academic homeschooling, what every homeschooler has said loud and clear is not to overwhelm yourself. You can’t do it perfectly. You do need to find your way and it’s really easy to create overwhelm if you use too many resources.
When Doing Academic Learning – Start With the Basics
If you do want to focus on curriculum, before you start diving into the endless sea of online resources, start with the basics. So many children today don’t know their times tables, or the map of Canada or the US, basic grammar rules as well as developing a love for reading books that interest them.
You Are Your Child’s First Teacher
The most important thing to remember is to have faith in your competence as your child’s teacher whether they are in school or not. You have taught them so much already. You know your kids better than anyone and you are their teacher for life.
“But My Child Doesn’t Listen to Me Like the Teacher…”
One of the biggest fears parents have is that their child is not going to listen to them as a teacher. We all know that kids can give their parents a harder time than coaches, teachers etc. and this has left a lot of parents feeling like there is no point in trying.
But is that really true?
What if what we really need is a shift in mindset? You taught your child how to do all sorts of things like tying their shoes, counting, making their bed, how to catch a ball and so much more.
It may take some time and experimenting to establish a new dynamic with your child, but don’t let that discourage you. Homeschooling moms do it all the time and not all homeschooling moms have been doing it forever.
It Takes Time to Find Your Rhythm
I have talked to countless moms who became homeschoolers because the school system was either failing their child or was not a right fit. It took time for these moms to become their child’s ‘teacher’.
Consider that in communities where children learn with their parents, that those children actually tend to have a stronger, deeper bond with their parents.
This is because as children learn from their parents, they spend more time with them, see how much their parents know and gain a greater respect.
How Do I Motivate Them?
Most homeschooling moms have told me that routine can go a long way especially in the early days and especially if your child is used to formal schooling.
It will likely take you some time to find your ‘groove’ as a homeschooling parent. In the last two weeks I have already learned that my daughter and I are happiest when we do her math first thing in the morning, followed by a bit of reading and writing.
We tried being ‘loosey-goosey’ but that didn’t work for us. That does not mean, however that a different schedule will not work for your family.
The ‘First, Then‘ Approach
Besides schedules, the common strategy for motivation is rewards. It doesn’t have to be stickers or treats. Several homeschooling moms told me that simple strategies like, “Do X minutes of math and then you can have twenty minutes of screen time”.
Parenting coaches call this the ‘First, Then‘ Approach.
Homeschooling can be daunting, especially when you didn’t sign up for it, but it can also be an incredible opportunity to bond with your child. You can harness your child’s love for learning through relevant, hands-on learning as well as indulging your child’s interests.
The important thing to remember is to focus on your family’s needs and to create a rhythm that works for you!
Want to learn more about how you can optimize your child’s learning and get better behaviour so they can be a happier, more confident kid? Schedule a free 20 minute consult and learn more about my programs that address the root cause of why so many kids are struggling with learning and behaviour today.