Within reason, of course.
But do yourself a favor and get rid of your expectations for what homeschooling should, would, could, might, or must be. A lot of these ideas we get from blogs and Facebook posts (which, needless to say, aren’t exactly real life).
Stop trying to recreate the perfect classroom scene.
And realize there is nothing magical about your curriculum’s schedule, or a school desk, or a certain time of day.
Of course your curriculum’s schedule is a fantastic resource and helps you stay on track—but don’t feel discouraged if certain times of the day work great for others, but not for you.
Some days just won’t look like Instagram—so go with it. Enjoy what makes your home the unique, nurturing environment it is specifically for YOUR kids.
Don’t compare yourself to that perfect mom at church with 13 kids and a photography business.
(She’d tell you anyways, she’s not perfect either!)
Don’t try to be your friend’s family. Don’t try to be your sister.
And actually, don’t wonder how someone else does it at all!
You’ve heard it before: comparison robs you of your joy—and also of your homeschooling day.
Whoever you’re comparing yourself to, the world only needs one of them.
So get creative and make each homeschooling day your own!
Make a homeschooling haven for the kids (and for you).
Working in a clean, orderly environment will help everyone focus when the day seems to be dragging.
Take 20 minutes and give each child an empty box, bucket, or paper bag. Let them run around the house and fill it with clutter, then put all the items they found back in the right place.
Open all the blinds. Light a scented candle. Make a fresh cup of coffee. Play background music. Then settle back down and give that math lesson another try.
Little things can make a huge difference in making your day more productive.
Take a break.
According to Why Students Need Brain Breaks And How You Can Help,” movement between schoolwork can “turn on” your child’s brain activity.
So put the books down for a while and try going outside! Or stay inside on a rainy day and build a bed tent.
Read a story. Watch a documentary. Go to the library. Or get out and visit a landmark!
Take another break.
Do you see a common theme here?
Flexibility is one of the biggest advantages you have as a homeschooling parent. This is what you won’t get in any public, private, or Christian school system.
You create the structure. You plan the schedule. You set your goals to complete each day.
On the other hand, you can go get groceries and pick up doughnuts at 9:30 a.m. on a school day if you need to!
And in the middle of a hard day, you can stop everything and say, “You know, we’re going to change it up this time.”
Remember you aren’t the only one with tough days.
Talk to other homeschooling moms, and what they’ll tell you is that they have hard days too.
Don’t isolate yourself—build your own homeschool community!
Find other homeschooling families in your area through Facebook, or seek them out at church, homeschool conferences, and activities around town.
Try finding a support group in your area through Homeschool Legal Defense’s search tool.
Suggest picnics, days out, and field trips together!
Knowing other people on the homeschooling journey will remind you that you’re part of something big when the tough days come.
Don’t be afraid to slow down.
Breeeeathe. When the day isn’t going fast, let it be slow. Go for quality, not quantity.
Take longer on a lesson if you need to.
And stop for a conversation about the leaves falling outside, the plane that just flew overhead, or the way oatmeal looks while it’s cooking in the pot.
Every moment is teachable, even when it feels like a mistake. Slow down. Enjoy your kids, and treasure the small moments you have throughout the day.
Katrina Kenison says it best in The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother’s Memoir,
“Life finds its balance. Children grow up. Second chances come along. In the meantime, I could choose to savor this moment. What good would it do to allow annoyance to interfere with gratitude?”