I am officially a homeschool mom. I will be honest to say I never thought I would be homeschooling any of my kids.
2020 has sure pushed us in directions many of us did not see coming. My husband and I made the decision of keeping our 5th grader distance learning for the full year and our preschooler homeschooled by yours truly.
Honestly, I had no idea where to even start so I began to look at homeschool mamas online for ideas. The biggest thing for me was time- more like the lack thereof. Safe to say a month in I have learned a few things I’d like to share!
1.Research, Research, Research
The first thing I needed to find was a curriculum to use. There were tons of great suggestions from homeschool mom friends and bloggers.
From researching your states homeschool laws to finding curriculum there is so much to learn!
I had to find what the must haves for me were and that was; lesson plans included, learn through play methods, secular, research-based/ science-based, as comprehensive as possible.
In my research I found there to be different methods of homeschooling which I felt I wanted a sort of mix of a bit of them all. Basically I wanted a unicorn curriculum that I didn’t have to design and piece together myself.
I sound crazy I know! lol! But I found it!
2.Each Child Learns Differently
Lia is a very hands on learner and can only stay engaged with workbooks for minimal time. Finding curriculum that fit her learning styles and engaged her was going to be a bit of a challenge for me.
(We do have the Spectrum workbooks from Carson Dellosa we LOVE and use daily, but limited to a sheet per day)
3.Choosing the right curriculum is important
During one of my Google searches I found Mother Goose Time, a research-based homeschool curriculum that focuses on learning through play! Ta-Da!
Mother Goose Time that included everything I needed shipped to my home monthly. When I say everything- I mean EVERYTHING. From manipulatives, lesson plans, posters, etc. Everything I need is sent and packaged individually per day making it super easy to prep.
Although the pricing of it was a bit more than other curriculum I found, it was the one that seemed to best fit our family life and Lia’s learning style.
I know plenty of homeschool moms who piece their own curriculum tailored to their child using FREE online resources as well as sources like Teachers Pay Teachers. I do like to mix in little activities I find online as well.
4.You Will Learn As You Go
Adapting has never been a strong point of mine. I have the ability to adapt but it is paired with a heap of anxiety.
If the first few days seem tough its okay. The biggest lesson has been to learn that the days are different every single day!
Remember- you are learning to homeschool and your little one is learning to be taught by you too.
5.Break Up Your Day
In the beginning I had this full day of educational activities and I was hurting myself in the process. The stress was so high and we both ended up upset by the end of the day.
After conversations with educator friends I learned kiddos in preschool and Kinder have attention spans of 15 mins more or less. Our new way of schooling is broken up into 20 minute activity blocks followed by 15 minute breaks to play, dance, snack, or just relax.
Breaking up our days has helped Lia, myself, and the twins.
6.Homeschool Looks Different Than Traditional
DO NOT TRY TO MIMIC A TRADITIONAL SCHOOL DAY!
I mean you can, but you know what I learned REAL quick? Homeschooling is awesome because of it’s flexibility to intertwine it into your life.
While a traditional school day is filled with textbooks and workbooks, as a homeschool mom I can mix a math lesson into baking or an outdoor play activitiy.
You can choose to schedule learning into however best fits your family. There are days we skip school and fit in other fun activities and pick up later. We also have days where we mix lessons from two days, etc.
7.Creating a Learning Space is important
Whether you have a whole room to homeschool, a corner in a bedroom, or a small space on your dining- try to find a space to dedicate to learning.
Although learning can take place anywhere in your home, I like having all my materials in one place.
My office/ craft room turned into 1/2 homeschool room and has so far worked out great (you can check it out HERE). Having a place dedicated to learning really helps both Lia and I get into the schooling mindset
8.You can choose how simple or complex it is
Something I have enjoyed seeing across what other homeschool moms do is choosing to homeschool THEIR OWN WAY! Whether you are following your own curriculum, purchase someone else’s curriculum, use online services, you have the power.
Homeschooling doesn’t have to be a day full of workbooks or a day full of play, it can be both. It can be neither. It can be whatever you want & need!
I think everyone finds the supplies that work for them and everyone will have recommendations- but in the end what works for me might not work for you and that is okay.
9.Being a homeschool mom is hard
Being a homeschool mom was never in my vision of life. Truth be told I felt like I had no idea how to teach my kids the academics they needed in the way professional educators do.
But in true 2020 fashion I have been pushed into a new adventure. It is a learn as you go type of life in my opinion. You have to learn how to teach, where to teach, what time to teach, and what works for your family.
My greatest challenge has been teaching Lia while caring for the babies at the same time. I have learned to ask the open ended questions during play to make a simple activity into an educational one.
The appreciation I have for teachers across the board is so much greater than I ever imagined possible.
10.Don’t forget to have fun
The most important lesson I can share is to keep the fun in learning. Now more than ever I think our kids need love, emotional support, and lots of fun.
So much has changed in the world and in their lives that remembering to keep learning fun has stayed at the forefront of my mind. If I notice either one of us begin to get frustrated it is time for a break.
I understand it can be difficult or frustrating to have to juggle homeschooling on top of everything else you were doing before. It is a lot.
But, I think the emotional support we give our kids outweighs anything else.
Lastly, everything will be okay. Teach with love, with grace, and with kindness. The best thing we can do is shower them with all of the goodness we want to see in the world.