Are you homeschooling this year? I have always questioned why anyone would want to homeschool their kids. I even told one of my clients that I was amazed at how she homeschooled her kids. Curious how she does it, right before we entered this virus lockdown!
And then quarantine hit the very next week. Our kids were home for 6 months after spring break, trying to work from home. We all melted. Working alongside each other made for extra distractions and irritability. We were stuck in the living room with the TV on in the background while processing all the daily changes and lockdowns. It was soooo hard!
But as schools were starting to open up, I found myself not being ready for the usual busy school schedule. I had gotten used to not setting my alarm for the 7am wake up and rush out the door routine. This had been my school schedule since our oldest started kindergarten 15 years ago! (And yes, I do realize many people work with this schedule for years as well.)
A last-minute decision to homeschool
So, without the promise of things not being shut down again, we decided last min to try homeschooling. It turns out it was the best decision for us as a family! I do understand this is not for everyone, as many of my mom friends have been so thankful to get their busy littles back in school and are loving the routine again. Especially those that rely on sending their kids to school to be able to go to work. Homeschool
No matter what your family decides to do for this uncertain season, I thought I would share the homeschooling tips we have discovered work well for us. There are many of us thrown into this new routine, so it helps to share what works and what doesn’t. I would love to hear if you have any ideas too! Please drop your thoughts in the comments below. Or message me with your tips and tricks for homeschooling your kiddos.
This is how we are homeschooling our teenagers this year
- Create a separate homeschool space
Last spring trying to work in the living room together didn’t work too well for us. So, my middle daughter suggested we make a separate schoolroom. She got so excited to make it fun, inspirational, and cozy. This was a great idea! By tucking ourselves away, we were able to focus much better. This also helps to keep things a little more organized and gives a quiet workspace for our kids to do their assignments. We can close the door at the end of the day and not think about school anymore for the rest of the day. Check out this post for more ideas on how to set up your schoolroom.
- Google docs
Wow! Suggested by my son in grade 9, as this was the platform they used to do all of their assignments in their previous school. So we made a Homeschool file on google docs. I included a file for each subject. This way everything stays organized. I can post their assignment to that subject file and make adjustments immediately that can be seen by all if something doesn’t make sense. It makes it easy for marking and making notes. It also offers flexibility to always have the assignment handy if one of us is not home. Everything is saved in one easy-to-find location.
- Get connected with an online school
Our online school offers many different options as far as distance learning. We can choose to do online classes with teachers teaching them, or on our own time with our own curriculum. They offer a huge collection of support tools and staff, online books, and resources. They helped us get started and keep us accountable.
- Incorporate multiple classes together
We love this option! Instead of having assignments for each class, why not narrow down the time spent on homework and incorporate a few subjects together? Scripture can be included into whatever they are learning. We can even bring Socials, Art, Bible and English together into one assignment!
- Life skills made fun!
With less homework and pressure, our kids are able to have other jobs. This way they learn valuable life and money skills. They can also learn just by doing everyday things such as baking or cooking while incorporating the science of it together. Younger kids learn through play, so getting creative is very important. Making family trips such as nature walks, games, and family trips can be invaluable as well to incorporate into your learning fun.
We are not tied to a regular school schedule giving us more flexibility to do more things such as see friends and family, travel (when we are allowed to again), play outside, work… I also find our time is not all tied up to learning as we get through school quickly. So we have more time for all the fun together too.
- Adjust based on how your kid learns
So much of the way kids learn in school is taught to reach a whole classroom of students. Unfortunately, not all kids learn the same way. Homeschooling gives the flexibility to be able to adjust and speak to our kids in a way they understand and personally learn. They have less chance of getting lost in the crowd and you get the time to pour into them until they understand it. Our older kids can help pour into the younger ones, as teaching can be one of the best ways to learn! Teaching is a great way to help solidify what you have learned and understand it better. Homeschooling also gives the opportunity to choose what they are learning to fit within your family’s personal beliefs. As I have dived into what my kids are actually learning, I am realizing there is a lot of information the government wants to teach our kids. This doesn’t always fit with what the Lord says in His word. We adjust how and what they learn to fit within the word of God and give them the opportunity to really learn history and how it lines up with what we see today.
- Order curriculum books
We found this to be a great site for good curriculum: Christian book.com One of my favorites is this English book series Writing Strands which incorporates scripture into how it teaches English. It’s been such a simple and fun way for me to learn better writing skills too (hopefully, lol).This is also a great site with some lovely resources for your younger students: Online resources to help kids learn from home
- Take breaks
I cannot stress this enough. We have a bit of a routine, but we make sure we take an hour off for lunch and then back at it for another hour or two. There is typically no homework (the fun of homeschool) keeping the afternoon open to go play outside and get creative. If something fun comes up, or we need to go to work, we have the flexibility to do this. Our kids could be melting one day, and we are able to keep it simple, fun, and adjust as needed. Or we take a break and come back to it in a little while. Stay flexible and adjust as needed so it remains fun. We also love to sleep in a bit and start after a leisurely breakfast and coffee;)
We start at 10am roughly every morning. Having a weekly schedule of each class with time blocking helps us stay organized. We have enough flexibility to change it as needed. We take holidays, weekends and evenings off. A schedule helps keep us accountable, focused, and helps everyone know what to expect. We also see fewer meltdowns as everyone knows what is expected of them. We also require outside/exercise time as well.
A few additional thoughts about homeschooling your kids…
If you are teaching multiple kids, I have heard https://gatherroundhomeschool.com/ is really good for teaching all age levels at one time. The idea is you gather around the table all together as you teach all ages the same thing. You would just adjust expectations depending on the age group and learning levels, keeping it simpler for you if you have multiple kids to teach at once. And everyone can help teach each other.
Older kids can work longer on one subject typically. It can be difficult to jump from one thing to the next, so we keep to 2 subjects per day in grade nine and only once a week for each subject.
Younger kids may need more variety as their attention span isn’t quite there… so keep it quick, lot’s of variety with only a small amount of time per subject per day, and interesting with lots of play. Make it fun and enjoyable for all. Take off the pressure. You are all learning together!
Our school room
Because our daughter suggested a separate schoolroom, which was a great idea! We decided to make one of our spare bedrooms into our schoolroom. We decorated it with twinkle lights, homemade artwork on the walls and found a second desk on a local buy and sell site so everyone had their own workspace. The bed ended up staying in there to be able to curl up and get comfy as we worked. Equipped with good tunes and we are good to get our work done together!
We start our day with devotionals and then move on to our couple of subjects for the day. At the end of the day, we close the door so we can separate our work from our play and rest time.Homeschool, Homeschool, Homeschool
An update on our first homeschooling year
I am not a professional at this… it is our first year after all. But as I did a lot of research to get started and have much enjoyed our year. I have valued my time teaching my son. It is hard to find time to do much else though and some things just have to stay on the back burner as I focus on teaching this year. It has been worth every min even if some days are harder than others. Our kids are valuable. Time is short with our littles so every min counts. Make time to take breaks from them so you can enjoy the time with them when you have them
It’s a challenge some days and I find I need to tuck away in the evenings just to be able to catch up on my own work uninterrupted. I am terrible at marking my son’s work. And I find I do need to carve out some quiet time just to reset from the busy.
But I love this time with my son and it’s been totally worth it! My daughter is pretty self-sufficient being in grade 12 this year which helps. I’m finding the flexibility of homeschooling really lovely. I am still able to leave my son to work independently if I need to be on the road for work. My older daughters also help teach him in the subjects I am not so great at.
Some options to consider if you are going to homeschool
Registered homeschooling: This includes you being their teacher. You don’t hand in anything to any teachers and you have little guides so it’s important to be a part of other homeschool co-ops to share experiences and resources, ask any questions and get the kids together to play. You still do need to register with a homeschool program so you are registered with the government. Find a school that supplies good resources to help you along the way.
Enrolled homeschooling or DL: This includes having an online teacher that teaches, provides assignments, and you hand in to be marked. This can be through zoom or email.
Anyways, hopefully, that helps inspire you as you homeschool or consider homeschooling your kiddos. And again, please drop your suggestions below so we can all learn together so as to all come alongside each other in raising our beautiful babies.
Like what you are reading? Sign up below for more inspiration right to your inbox friend!