In this article we will go over elements that I think are imperative to having a positive atmosphere in your homeschool, for both you and your kids!
Click to save this Pin for later!
Some links are affiliate links, which means I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
1. Setting a time line for your homeschool day
There we were, dinner not started, bed time routine past due, and us sitting at the table: frustrated, tired, and grumpy while trying to finish a lesson. Sound familiar? Then you’re not alone. How can we reduce the time spent on homeschool and avoid it from blurring into the evening routine?
Well, here is an outline of what a usual homeschool day looks for us.
- I make breakfast while the kids get up and dressed.
- After the kids clean up from breakfast, we pull out our paper curriculum.
- After an hour or two of workbooks (reading, writing, math) we pack it up and the kids can work on their art projects, go outside, or really anything that interests them. My oldest is going into 3rd grade, so we aren’t too busy with book work.
- At 3pm school stops, regardless of where we are in the lesson, and I begin to prepare dinner.
- We eat dinner around 5-5:30 most nights.
- Then we start bedtime around 7-7:30.
This schedule is by no means perfect, but it works for our family really well. Not having ridged time lines, but rather, loose guidelines for our day reduces my anxiety and allows flexibility in our day.
Unexpected events are bound to happen daily, after all, my kids are 9 months old to 7 years old.
The only hard and fast time I have is when school stops. Personally, I will get burned out and grumpy if I teach past 3 pm. To mitigate this negativity, we just happily stop when the clock reaches that hour.
Another way I stay organized, and not so scatter brained, is to use a homeschool planner. It helps me stay focused and keeps me on track for what lessons I’d like to cover with the kids each day during our window of school. After trying many different styles over the years, I currently like this planner linked here.
2. Letting go of our expectations
Raise your hand if you’re like me – a first generation homeschooling mom. If so, we have some public-school baggage, and it can easily weigh down our homeschool dreams. Let’s unload that baggage and throw it in the trash. Ok maybe sift through and keep some of the good stuff, but definitely throw out the expectations we are carrying over from that experience.
I really held on to “how” I was taught in public school. With that as my only example, I just mimicked so much of its outline. In the beginning, I just changed “what” I taught to my children. “How” we were taught in public school is really not translatable into a homeschool environment. Besides, isn’t that a huge reason why we want to homeschool? To have the ability to escape the long boring days of sitting in a classroom for EIGHT hours, and be able to explore and move as we learn? I was bored out of our mind, dreaming of the weekends, and not listening to a thing the teacher was saying. Ya, let’s get rid of that expectation in our homeschool.
I’m not saying to not have structure, but I am saying release your expectation of the public school structure.
Mama, you are in charge now! You can influence and directly impact how excited or bored your kids are!!! WOW! Imagine if you could go to your little 8-year-old self and say – you’re done! You don’t have to sit in a classroom any more for eight hours. Instead you can go home and learn for 1-2 hours and then explore nature or other activities you want to pursue and learn about!
What would you say back then? How would you feel?
3. Rewards in homeschool should be something that isn’t tangible
Why would I believe this? I’ll explain, but first let me give some background.
One of the greatest gifts we give our children during homeschool is that we get to be the ones to directly guide and influence their learning journey.
Something that is so powerful when your learning is your emotions.
The emotions we are experiencing while going through a lesson or during any situation we go through in life, greatly impact our understanding, knowledge, and how we use that information.
Many studies have shown that a student feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed will not recall or hold on to the information they are learning compared to a student that is happy, calm, and relaxed.
If there is something to be lost – like a reward – for not succeeding or completing the lesson, this can cause tension or anxiety. The focus is on the reward, when it should be on the enjoyment of learning.
Rather than having a tangible object as a reward, consider giving intangible rewards to your children.
Here is an example of what I mean when working with your children in the elementary years:
If your child is struggling to focus on math that day, instead of saying something like, ‘If you finish this lesson then you can have a treat.’
When this approach is taken, there is a prize based on their performance, and if they fail, they loose their prize.
The act of learning is not a competition where prizes are to be won.
Instead try: ‘Hey buddy, it looks like this math lesson is hard to understand right now, should we take a break? I know I could use a break. Let’s go outside for a while and come back later when we aren’t so overwhelmed.’
This form of reward is far better since it is given whether they succeed or fail during the lesson.
It also allows movement to be incorporated in learning. Think back to a time when you were working on something different, and then you stepped away and came back to it later. You’re thoughts were more clear and you were able to tackle it with a renewed energy!
Furthermore, the first example pressures the child to finish while not addressing their emotions, which clouds up their minds keeping them from learning as they feel stressed to please you.
However, in the second example you are offering relief that it’s ok to process emotions and take a step back to recalibrate. Coupled with quality time, this is a great intangible reward to give your child.
Looking back on life, they will remember that mom spent time together with them when they were struggling. They won’t remember what treat they got as a reward for pressing through their frustration!
Ways to show encouragement:
Here is a list of some other great ways to show encouragement throughout the school year.
- A smile – seriously goes a long way with anyone, after all aren’t they contagious! 😊
- Giving a high five or a thumbs up.
- A word of encouragement.
- Praising them by saying “good job, buddy”.
- Having them sit next to you on the couch and giving them a little squeeze while they are learning. This is my kids’ favorite encouragement.
- When your kids are in ear shot, talk about their achievements to someone else. Maybe after dad comes home from work or to a friend at a co-op or church. It’s important that your kids hear you talking positively about them in social settings.
4. Share in the fruits of their homeschool labors
Parents speech and positive views spoken around their children impact them well into adulthood. As parents, we have so much power to lift up or tear down our kids. I’ve known grown ups that didn’t think they could amount to much because of what their parents thought about them.
Let’s use that power for good and encourage and lift up our kids with our words of encouragement so we can positively impact their entire life!
Another way is by allowing them to teach you what they learned. This method actually helps them remember and do better in the long term! How this looks at our home is during dinner when we are all talking about our days, I will remind the kids to tell dad about something that they learned.
Sometimes sharing their labors of school work doesn’t mean just the good stuff, it could be things they are struggling to learn or a concept that isn’t easy.
Often times we discuss something they struggled with and then dad has a chance to help them navigate through their mistake or struggle. He brings a different perspective that I hadn’t considered.
This is a great way to show the kids that we are a team and that even through our struggles, we can all work together to succeed!
Click to save this Pin for later!
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
What are some ways you stay positive during your homeschool year? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below!
I have 2 favorite things I could talk about endlessly. One of them is homeschooling! I can really nerd out over all the beautiful options of curriculum, school supplies, and getting organized! I just love it all so much! It wasn’t always this way for me. When I decided I’d be homeschooling my daughter, I was scared, lacked confidence, and felt overwhelmed. If you are starting out your homeschooling journey and feel a little lost on where to start, click the link below. This is the blog post I wish I had when I was getting started.
Are you feeling frustrated or burned out by negative emotions in your homeschool? My article about creating a positive homeschool atmosphere might be inspiring and uplifting to you!