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Homeschool Like a Boss. Literally.


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Written by Alicia Hutchinson of Learning Well Community.

My husband works in the business world. Sometimes when I watch him getting ready and compare his shiny suit and tie to my holey jeans and sweatshirt, I think our daily lives couldn’t be any more different.

Or are they?

We both manage things – him, bankers; me, children and a home. We both have to have a good plan for the day, or we won’t accomplish much – him, meetings with clients and conference calls; me, dinner menus and lesson plans.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized our days have more commonalities than I first noticed. My husband has brought home many stories and business scenarios and usually when I ask him for advice, his response is something he’s learned along the way of years in the business world.

When we recognize that we mamas are the boss of our homeschools, we can be empowered to fully take the reins and go! We don’t have to wait to see what someone else is doing or compare our homeschools to someone else’s. We don’t have to wait for approval from the school board. It’s just us – we are the boss.

Doesn’t that feel good?!

But to be really successful bosses, we need to remember a few things about our little people we’re managing and the homeschool we’re running.

homeschool tips

Have a Vision

Every good owner/boss/manager has a vision for their business. They know what they want the end result to look like and they work backward to get there. Lay out on paper your goals, your plans, and your proposed steps for getting there.

Have one-on-one meetings with your children every quarter or so – as the quarterly review bosses do! – to see how your child is feeling, talk about what they are doing great at, and what needs tweaking.

Don’t write down your plans and forget about them. Keep going back and reviewing and revising your plans – your vision.

Be Prepared for the Day

If you were going to an office job every day and your boss came in an hour later than you every day,  scrambling to arrange her papers, clear off her desk, and get her day going, it would be difficult to stay on task yourself. You wouldn’t be sure what the standards really were if she was always unprepared. Be a good homeschool boss and be prepared for your days.

  • Have your kids’ assignment books filled in
  • Set your coffee to brew as soon as you get up
  • Make sure your desk is cleared off and ready for the new day
  • Clean up messes right after school
  • Start on time if you have a start time
  • Greet your “employees” with a happy smile

Know That YOU are the Boss, Not Your Curriculum

Nobody likes a nagging employee who thinks she’s better than the real boss. Don’t let your curriculum do that to you. {Click to tweet}

We have a tremendous blessing in that we do not have to wait for the school board to approve new curriculum if ours isn’t working. If you and your kids are struggling with your current curriculum, change it. Before you toss it though, make sure you don’t dislike it because of user error. Have you tried it for at least a month or two? Have you read through the teacher manual to make sure you’re using it correctly?

Whatever you decide, don’t let your curriculum boss you around.

homeschool encouragement

Set the Expectations

Once, after we were having a particularly difficult time getting our kids to remember to do their chores, my husband asked me this, “Do the kids even know exactly what their expectations are?”

Ummmm, duh. And, no.

Make sure your children know exactly what you expect of them. This goes for house chores, school work, extracurricular activities, manners, and more. If they don’t know what you want from them, they probably won’t be doing it.

Be Able to Conduct a Great Meeting

Every good manager knows when his team needs a huddle. As my friend calls it, “circle the wagons.” Be able to sit down with your kids and discuss things – all things.

We use our morning meetings for this. We discuss everything from what’s on the schedule that week, what current event we need to read about, Halloween costumes, school goals for the day, who did or didn’t do their chore very well, and whatever else comes up in discussion.

Homeschooling parents need to know how to have regular meetings like this, how to get a conversation going, and how to know when to reel it in and get moving on with the day.

Know How to Delegate

Delegating in a house full of kids that never leave is so very important. The boss of a business doesn’t do everything.

The boss is good at overseeing everything. Because she’s trained their people on what their expectations are and she has a good dialogue with them, the boss can leave a lot in the hands of her employees. She’s trained them to be great at their jobs, and she knows that if she tries to do everything, she will fail because it’s not possible to do so.

We need to know when it’s time to delegate. Our kids will be better for it and so will we.

Make Sure Your Employees Are Happy

When your husband is unhappy in his job, it hurts the whole family. Sometimes people are unhappy in their jobs because of the actual work, but I’ve found that more times than not it’s because their boss isn’t a good leader.

Maybe they micromanage too much and won’t let people do what they are good at doing.

Perhaps it’s because they don’t give clear instruction and then are upset when the task isn’t done according to what they expected.

Maybe the goals are unattainable, and it’s not even motivating to work towards because the employees know they can never make the boss happy.

Maybe the employees do reach the goals, and the hoopla of achieving it is so short-lived because the boss is already focused on the next goal.

To be a good boss, your employees must be happy.  They need regular praise and encouragement. They need to know you’re rooting for them to succeed. A good boss needs to show respect in order to gain it in return.

Running a homeschool isn’t exactly like running a business, but some of the managerial skills do overlap. I have lots to work on when it comes to being a good manager, but I do know what I’m working for every day. Brave on, boss-ladies!

Have you ever worked in the business world? What skills have you learned that could be applied to your homeschool?

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7 Comments

  1. I love every single thing about this post. I managed the payroll department at my company before I had kids, but I never thought about using management skills in my homeschool. Recognizing that we are the “bosses” of our homeschools can definitely release a lot of the stress and pressure we might feel to keep up with others or eliminate the tendency to let the day get away from us.

    Pinning, tweeting, and sharing this everywhere!

  2. Kris, you have hit the nail on the head! I especially love that you started with the subject of having a vision. I’ve saved so much money in curriculum alone, just because I know the aims for my children’s education. I re-visit these aims frequently, to make sure we’re on track. Equally, in the online courses I teach to teens worldwide, it’s easy to go “off-piste” so to speak, and get bogged down in, say, the mechanics of writing, when my intention is to create a relationship with books a la Charlotte Mason. Probably not a popular attitude with everyone, but I don’t understand how unschooling can reach the same levels of achievement as someone with a plan, goals, and at least some structure, but then, I guess the vision is just different, so I should celebrate the chance that we all have options!

  3. Great points! I could stand to work on a few of these. I need to make sure the expectations are as clearly communicated as I *think* they are-
    And then hold the line there and work on teaching the kids to work to meet expectations. For starters.

  4. Wow, this is such a helpful and encouraging post! I love the perspective of remembering that I am the boss, especially compared to the curriculum. I can get so stuck on doing exactly what the curriculum says rather than stepping back and determining what’s best for my kids…thanks for such great insights!

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