You just heard on the news school is closed for 2 weeks or longer due to the coronavirus. Suddenly and unexpectedly, you will be homeschooling. Are you asking yourself, how to start homeschooling? Or how do I work full-time and homeschool, too?
Getting started homeschooling is not as difficult as you think.
Don’t forget mama, even if you are worried and anxious, take a deep breath. You are your children’s mom. You are the best-equipped person to teach and educate your children. You know what is best for them.
What if on top of unexpectedly homeschooling your children these last few weeks of school, you might also be working from home. Working while homeschooling has its challenges, it can be done.
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How to Start Homeschooling – 5 Stress-Free Tips
Stay on a schedule
To be successful with homeschooling, you must have a schedule especially if you are also working and homeschooling. You must know when your child will be doing school work. If you don’t have a set time for school and learning, it will become very easy to say we’ll do it later today. Then “later” will become, we’ll do it tomorrow and bad habits start to develop.
When the kids are home from school and you are working, it can be easy to let the kids sleep in and you get to work. But I work and homeschool, my approach has been to get the kids up and dressed and start their lessons then I start my work.
Our homeschool schedule includes morning teaching of Bible and history lessons, then the kids start working on language arts assignments, math books, copying spelling words, science, and other electives.
The first step in preparing to homeschool is to create a schedule and set a time for homeschool.
While we do have a set time for school, I don’t have a set schedule for which subject we do at 8:00 am, then at 8:30 am, etc… I let the kids choose what they would like to work on.
Remember, homeschooling means learning at home. You may structure home learning differently than when your child is sitting in a school classroom.
Use your time well
Homeschooling and working also means my day doesn’t always look like other homeschools. I homeschool before work, I teach lessons on my lunch break, and more.
I start the day getting the kids working on independent lessons, later in the day my mom comes over to assist the youngest (in 4th grade, although she does many assignments on her own). When I take a lunch break from my work, I teach Bible, history and/or science to my high schooler.
Throughout the day, I take short breaks to check on progress, answer questions, help explain new concepts for all the kids. Even in a school, your child doesn’t have a teacher sitting next to them all day watching every assignment. Help your child learn to understand the instructions and work independently.
After dinner, I review school work, verify it’s done (and done correctly), and maybe study a foreign language or any other subject we missed earlier in the day.
Because I work full-time during the day, we use evening hours and even some weekends if needed to complete schoolwork (weekend work is usually because the kids didn’t stay focused and complete assignments each day).
Remember, just because your child spends 7 hours a day at school, they are not receiving 7 hours a day of instruction each day. They are going to lunch, they have recess, they have bathroom breaks, they go to assembly, they have fire drills, and many other distractions during the day. Focused learning time is probably only 2-3 hours per day (think about it). In my experience, you will find most learning and subjects can be completed in 2-3 hours per day except high school grades which need more time.
Once your children have finished their assignments for the day, give them the freedom to learn things that interest them. My kids will share all types of interesting facts with me. Or if they ask me a question like, “Mom, how do you …..?” I usually suggest, why don’t you research that (on the Internet or in a book) and tell me more about it. It’s always interesting what they learn on their own.
Be clear about weekly assignments
While I do not tell my kids Language Arts time is at 8:00 am and Math is at 9:00 am, I do give them clearly defined weekly assignments on their weekly agenda.
Weekly assignments are broken down into daily assignments so the overall work is manageable for them. If your school is providing the assignments, you could create a weekly agenda from the school assignments.
Have a set area for school work
Having a clearly defined place for school work helps your child know it’s time to focus on school work. It will also help you keep papers and assignments more organized because books and papers will not be all over your house.
Nothing is more frustrating than when you cannot find a schoolbook or assignment and you know it’s in your house. I notice when the kids start taking their books out of the “school areas” in our house that is when the books get misplaced and lost even in our house.
Once, my girls were doing an assignment on my bed. Somehow, one of the books slipped off and fell under the bed. I couldn’t find that book for days. Then finally when I was cleaning about a week later saw the book on the floor under the bed.
If you lose a homeschool book or assignment, try to retrace the last place it was used. Most likely that’s where you will find it.
When schoolwork is done, neatly stack up all books, organize paper assignments and submit online work. Keeping school work and books organized will reduce your stress.
Get dressed every day
It sounds simple, but the discipline of getting dressed is important. I have worked from home for almost 20 years. I still get up, shower, get dressed every day even if I am not leaving the house for the day.
Getting dressed is a mental signal to start the day. It tells your mind, I’m prepared. It puts you in a different mindset.
If you are just starting homeschooling today, take a deep breath, make a plan and take it day by day.
Your kids will learn so much from you and you will learn more than you ever imagined, too. Enjoy homeschool learning together.
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