When we send our kids to public or private school, there’s no question. They will do school while they are there. Sure, there might be distractions and interruptions in a classroom, but at home there are many.
One of the most significant differences I’ve found between homeschooling and public or private school is the chance that school might not happen some days. Making homeschool happen isn’t as simple and easy as it may seem.
There are things like sick kiddos, phone calls, or the meter reader knocking at the door. Some days include taking the teenager to his job, a colicky baby, or a trip for car repairs.
You might get thrown off routine by a home renovation project that’s taking much longer than expected. Or your kid (or you) might feel unmotivated and sluggish.
Many things can throw a homeschool day off schedule, but these ideas that will help you make sure you get in some school every single day.
Making Homeschool Happen During Busy Seasons
December and May are both busy months for us–probably for you too. But we all have busy seasons throughout the years for different reasons. Here are a few ways to make sure school happens even in your busiest months.
- Scale back to the basics. Don’t worry so much about fancy science projects or extras. Focus on the main subjects: reading (like read alouds and individual reading), math, and language arts.
- Keep educational resources in the car like audiobooks or easy-to-play-on-the-go games, so you’ve always got something educational to do.
- Don’t feel guilty for relying on resources like educational apps or TV shows in the midst of a busy season. Your kids keep learning, and you can focus on the thing that’s making life busy. We love CuriosityStream for educational TV. It’s like Netflix, but all documentaries!
Making Homeschool Happen Despite Constant Interruptions
Doing school at home is a lot different than in a traditional school setting. Home isn’t supposed to be like school, so expect interruptions. Try these tips for rolling with those interruptions and still getting school done.
- Put your phone away. My phone is often one of my biggest distractions. How about you? I remedy this by putting it in a drawer while we’re doing the most focused part of our school day. Not seeing it sitting there helps keep it out of mind!
- Have a basket of things your child can do without your help while you’re tending to other things. Whether you are helping another child, paying a bill you forgot about, or answering the door, it’s easy to lose your audience! Having a basket of things your child can do without your assistance helps if you get called away. Some ideas: card games, a doodle book, flash cards, or copywork.
- Assess your days and weeks. You might be spinning your wheels trying to get things done during the busiest time of your day. Adjust your routine a bit to clear the calendar. For example: plan all your errands for the same day to avoid constantly running around. Try to schedule doctor or dental visits on the same day. Guard your school time by not planning other activities and errands during that time. Make calls, appointments, and other commitments before or after school time.
- Let school time be just for school. Don’t try to get 100 things done. Instead, focus on one thing at a time and doing that one thing well.
Making Homeschool Happen When You’re Unmotivated
Springtime is one of those times for me. Something about spring makes me feel tired and not so motivated to do school. Try these ideas that help me make homeschool happen when we’re short on motivation.
- Make a monthly plan! When I’m unmotivated for school, I’m unmotivated planning for school too. So, I sit down once a month and plan out the whole month. I write in pencil in case I have to adjust. I designed a simple grid layout that makes planning easy. It really helps me to just follow the plan without thinking about what we’re going to do every day!
- Shake things up! Put the math books away for a while and play math games.
- Work toward something as a family. Maybe make a goal of going out to a favorite restaurant on Friday night after a week of focused schoolwork. Or getting milkshakes after you finish a challenging chapter of the science book. Be creative and come up with something fun you can work towards together!
And If All Else Fails, Remember This
My biggest tip, especially for those hard days where it feels like you’re accomplishing nothing is this: Keep a record of what you do complete in your homeschool each day. Each day, make a quick list of all the things you did, both big and small. Make notes such as: watched a documentary, read a chapter of the read aloud, had a conversation about politics, and cooked a meal together.
These are all learning experiences that add up to so much! Record them! The growing list provides proof that you really are getting a lot done in your homeschool!
We all go through seasons where homeschool is clicking along nicely. We also go through seasons where we continuously feel off routine. When we’re at home, this is bound to happen. Keep things loose. Know that there will be periods of “off-kilter” and interruptions.
If you’re flexible with your days, you’re less apt to feel disappointed when things don’t go exactly according to plan.
You’ve got this, mama!
What do you do to make sure homeschooling happens during busy seasons?