In case you missed the earlier editions – this is the THRID installment in my “So, You’re Thinking About Homeschooling…” series. Basically, this is a few things (in no particular order) that I recently shared with a mom friend thinking of homeschooling. I was guessing there were lots of people searching online for help with the decision to homeschool for the first time, so I hope this helps!
Again… In no particular order… Things that you might need to know or will on if you homeschool….
1. QUIET TIME. This is the great hidden secret of “how do homeschool moms deal with their kids all day long?”. One, we love this life and enjoy their company… And, quiet time. This is a sanity saver for mom and a good things for the kids. In our house, from the time the kids were tiny and nap takers, we’ve have an afternoon quiet time. Babies would nap from 1-3. Then, when they were old enough for sometimes naps – we had quiet time. Quiet time in our house was “book or bed” time. You could nap or read. Period. No toys, games, etc. Books or bed. On the bed. YES, there was some training. YES, it was hard. But it was SO WORTH IT!!!
From 4-6 years old there were lots of nap days (even if the kids SWORE they didn’t need one, LOL!!). As the kids got older they could finish up piano, schoolwork, or read. I would occasionally let them play a quiet game like Legos. Rarely, though. I think this time of quiet was HUGE for me to be able to regroup, straighten the house, take a nap, call a friend, etc. AND the kids learned to fill their own idle time. They don’t need to be entertained every minute of every day. They’re fine being alone. AND, I am convinced this is part of the reason why my kids are such voracious readers. Quiet time. Every day. Seriously a life saver. Even if your kids are middle school or older. (IF they’re older – YOU get a QT in your room. 🙂 )
2. CHORES. This is another tough training one. Basically, with your and your kids home every day your house will be in a state of Saturday. Every day…. All day. Sorry. It’s true. You’ll make and eat three meals a day – so you’ll have lots of dishes. You’ll spread stuff everywhere (or the kids will). You’ll just make messes all day long. If you recognize that beforehand, it might make it less irritating. It might. But – the good part is that you didn’t make the mess alone, so you don’t have to clean it up alone. Train (and it will take training) your kids to do chores. Regular chores – like gathering laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and feeding the dog are so helpful.
This will be a lifesaver for you – and it’s a life skill that every kid needs. You can google “chores for kids” and find a million different ideas and methods. Whatever it takes – involve your kids in the cleaning up process from Day One.
3. SCREENS. This is a very personal family thing – but before you start homeschooling – set hard and fast guidelines for your kids screen time. This is a monster than can take over the hearts and attitudes of your kids. Quickly. In our house, we have VERY limited screen use. This year we, for the first time ever, allowed one 22 minute tv show for the kids before school. They’re middle schoolers and it was done as a motivation to manage their own wake up time, piano practice, and morning chore time. It’s been a HUGE success, BUT I would not allow it before this age. I would not allow younger siblings any tv access during the school day either. Or TV at lunch. It’s a time sucking vacuum and it will quickly derail your day. Computers, video games, etc. all fall in the same category for me. Define it before you start and stick with it.
4. OFFICE HOURS. I talked about this in my other post here, but again, the faster you set a time where school is a must, the easier your life will be. You can always call it a day early – but it’s really hard to break the habit of starting at 10. Set your times. “8-3 is the school day” or whatever works for you.
5. BED TIMES / WAKE UP TIMES. Again, this is a personal thing, but one to consider. We have bed times and get up times. The kids regulate get up times now, but bedtime is around 9-9:30ish. Some days we’ll stay up and read aloud longer – but when we say BED, we mean it. Kids need their rest. They also need a schedule. Stay up until whenever, and wake whenever is neither realistic for life or good health. Get them to bed. Yes, again, it’s a training thing.
6. FOOD. A high protein breakfast with some fruit is a great thing for most moms and kids. A sugary high carb treat – plan for a meltdown. Just saying. 😉
7. EXERCISE. This is a must for you and the kids. Do it alone. Do it together. Indoor, outdoor, gym, whatever. Get some fresh air and exercise on a regular basis. You and the kids. I don’t mean 2 hours of running. Go for a walk. Scooter. Ride a bike. Play catch. Anything. Get some air and Vitamin D. Your days will be so much better for it.
8. MEAL PLANNING. Seriously. This is HUGE for me now. I didn’t do it this past week and I honestly felt a little adrift. Nothing fancy here, but making a list of three meals a day for the week and making sure I have the stuff for it removes so much thinking later that it amazes me. I’m back on the bandwagon for this next week!!
I hope this list, along with the others is helpful. If you have any specific questions – please leave me a comment!!