Right now, we are smack in the middle of our 2nd year of homeschooling. And while there are still plenty of days where I have to go hide in the closet with some chocolate and collect myself for a minute (anyone else??), I am finally feeling like we are getting in the groove in several areas. (yay us!)
So, 2 years in, I’ve asked myself… “What are my homeschool tips to save your sanity?”
Because, if you are homeschool mom, you understand that every single shred of sanity that you can save is well worth it.
Maybe there are those families where homeschool can happen with peace and grace for each other…
I have no experience in this type of family. Mine is much more… *ahem*…. “spicy.” You absolutely never know what a day will bring. And many days we are all along for the wild ride that it is!
Now, we have come a LONG way in the last 2 years. We’ve figured out some routines that seem to work well for our family. And I’ve also figured out some practical tips and tricks.
Since I know many of you are homeschooling while you are also building your businesses, I thought I’d share!
Here are some Top Homeschool Tools and Resources that have saved my sanity…
#1 Daily Assignment Notebooks
I’m not sure why it took me so long to implement this in our daily life, but this has changed SO MUCH in making our day go more smoothly.
Each morning I…
- Write the day and their name at the top of the page.
- Create a “WITH MOM” section
- Underneath, put checkboxes and then write the subjects and tasks that they will need to do that day with me.
- Create an “ON YOUR OWN” section
- Underneath, put checkboxes and then write the assignments and tasks that they will need to do on their own.
They can now dive into their list, even if I’m still cleaning up breakfast, or spending time with my littlest kid. (Or even if I’m hiding in the closet with chocolate… You know, basic stuff.)
Also, I have one kiddo in particular that needs to know EXACTLY what’s expected of him up front each day. This notebook accomplishes that as far as school is concerned.
They also have to show me their completed assignment book before they can do anything else, such as screen time, etc.
And, to go along with this idea – I use a daily planner for myself too. This was I know exactly what I need to accomplish! Here’s my favorite one here.
#2 Sonlight Curriculum
I originally started using Sonlight, mostly because my sister had and she was kind of holding my hand through the beginning homeschool process.
But I have absolutely grown to love Sonlight curriculum!
It’s completely laid out for you, so there’s no creating lesson plans. You simply open the binder each morning and do the assignments and questions that are ready to go.
I love that it is based on great books and literature. I also love that the questions are thought provoking! We have ended up having the best discussions as a part of what we are reading.
If you are interested in giving Sonlight a try, here’s a link for $5 off your first order!
#3 Using Actual, real-life teaching Tools
In an era of everything being online or digital, we have done the opposite with our school days, and become pretty old-school! I finally got some real-life tools that we needed, and it has made SUCH a difference!
- Globe – one of my kids looked at this and said, “Oh, NOW this makes sense!” Some map skills, you just need a globe in order for it to make sense.
- Dictionary – this is one tool that is getting lost in the dust of just “Asking Siri” for definitions. Well, not in my classroom, hah. Making my kids look up words has been really good for them.
- Analog clocks – this is probably another, “Well, duh.” item. But truly, kids aren’t generally made to read time on analog clocks anymore!
- Library research – We are fortunate to have moved to a small town. When both of my kids have had some research to do, I have sent them on their bikes to the library. They’ve had to navigate finding books on their topics, check them out, and bring them home. It has been SO GOOD for them. So many independence skills are honed, rather than simply looking things up online all of the time.
Tips to Manage Homeschool While Starting a Business
#4 The Book Basket Idea
I have seen this idea on a few homeschool blogs that I follow. Everyone has a little different take, but it’s simply the idea of keeping a basket of books that you read aloud together in the living room. And at a set time, you pull some out and read.
For my older kids, this hasn’t really been the routine we’ve needed. But then this year, I dove into doing pre-school with my youngest, and I realized the value of this idea.
Earlier this year, I was trying to cram in her reading books somewhere in the middle of schooling with the other 2 kids. We’d find a few minutes here, and a few there. It was always rushed and hasty feeling.
Well, then I realized that she’s up at the crack of dawn anyway. We always have about an hour before the other kids are even up. What a great time to make reading her books fun!
We keep a basket of her pre-school books by the couch. When she gets up, we get something to eat (and my coffee, of course!) and snuggle up on the couch. I just let her pick whatever she wants out of the basket and we read together.
It’s become a really sweet little bonding time for us, before any of the big kids are up and it’s just us. This is my new favorite routine at the house!
#5 Adding a Character Trait to the Assignment Book
I’ve realized that whatever is written in the daily assignment notebook has become solid gold to the kids. They will thoroughly do everything there – likely because that’s their ticket to the things they want to do next!
I’ve started adding one character-thing onto their list each day, and it’s really worked well.
One of the HUGE benefits of homeschooling is that you get to work on your kids’ character and help them grow up WELL. So, we tie this right in to their notebook.
If they need to be working on selflessness, I might put “Share a toy with your sister.”
If they need to work on reaching out and talking to people, I might put “Call Grandma today.”
You get the idea. It has made a big difference in our days, and even in our family life.
Simplifying Your Life (so you can get more done!)
#6 Reading Rules at Bedtime
This is just a simple routine that we stumbled into with out oldest, and it has proven to be HUGE in my kids’ love of reading.
The rules are this – you can either go to sleep at your bedtime, or you can stay up (in your room) for 30 minutes and read a chapter book before you go to sleep.
Of course, we have to navigate the whining for a while – No, it cannot be an audio book. No, it cannot be a comic book. No, you cannot play LEGOs for 30 minutes.
You can pick: Sleep or Chapter Book.
It’s not rocket science that they all pick the chapter book! And it has really helped to create a good routine, and upped the enjoyment of reading for the kids.
If you are a homeschool mom at home, I would LOVE to hear what tips you’d add to this list!
After all, we could all use some more sanity, huh?