Teaching School At Home & Staying Sane [From a Homeschool Mom of 9]
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School at home. If you’re finding this is your new reality, you’re likely feeling just a little overwhelmed. As a homeschooling mom of 9 with my oldest having graduated from homeschooling, I have to say I much prefer homeschooling over school at home. To me, they are vastly different. And, I think you’d agree. While I’ve got some simple school at home at tips for you, two things are important first.
Make sure you grab our school at home daily planning worksheets. There’s one for mom and one for students. Just tell us where to send them!
Second, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of this, it’s for good reason.
School at home (what you’re doing) is way different from homeschooling…and much harder.
Mama, if you’re doing school at home you deserve some major credit and to understand that it’s totally normal that you’re feeling stressed beyond anything you’ve probably experienced before.
This was not your choice
School at home probably wasn’t your choice. Homeschooling, on the other hand, is most often a choice that is made over much time spent thinking and preparing for it.
You’ve had no time to prepare for doing school at home
You’ve had no time to prepare. One day your kids were in school. The next day it was, “Surprise, you’re the teacher!”
You couldn’t ease into it
If you have more than one kid to school at home, this isn’t want happens with homeschooling. Unless you have twins. As a homeschool mom, I started with my oldest. And then the next one two years later. I had two years to adjust to being a homeschool mom before I had more than one student. If you are doing school at home with more than one, there was no easing into it.
And, let’s think about what preschool and kindergarten are – more fun than structured learning.
This is much different than trying to figure out how to teach your kid “new math.” I don’t know about you, but my brain just doesn’t work that way.
You have to play by someone else’s rules
You aren’t making your own rules. As a homeschool mom, I only have to answer to myself for the most part. Of course I have to prove my kids are learning. But, if you’re suddenly doing school at home due to social distancing, the pressure you feel to keep up with all the assignments given to you by your child’s teacher(s) is understandably overwhelming. You’re playing by someone else’s rules and schedule, this is not the reality of a homeschool mom.
Your kids miss school
Whether they want to admit it or not, your kids are likely struggling with this whole school at home thing, too. They are not used to this. And, if they’re giving you a hard time because of it your life is only made even more complicated.
Isolation is hard
This social distancing thing is hard. It’s hard for you, and it’s hard for your kids. But, this is not normally a part of homeschooling or doing school at home. We just aren’t made to be limited in this way, so, it’s just plain hard.
Homeschoolers have activities
Again, with this quarantine thing, it’s hard to manage life. As a homeschool mom I would go crazy if my kids had to stay at home all the time. Well, I am going crazy with this now just like you are. But, this is another added challenge you’re having to deal with.
You’ve been thrown into this during a super stressful time
Stress only makes a stressful time more stressful. You might be dealing with loss of income, vacations and activities being canceled, and other things that are just part of these times. And, these things are stressful.
It’s hard to manage life, and especially doing school at home, with all this added stress. Know this. What you’re being asked to do is hard. And if you’re feeling like it’s hard, you’re totally justified.
But, I’m too much of a realist to just leave it here.
This is where you’re at. These are the cards you’ve been dealt (& to some extent the cards we’ve all been dealt).
We can’t change this, we can only come up with how we’re going to manage this.
Prefer to watch this in video format? Watch all of my tips below!
So, I’ve got 10 things you can do to manage school at home and stay sane.
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Know your limits
We all have limits. If you can’t do all the things, then you can’t do all the things. It’s not worth jeopardizing your relationships and your sanity – if what’s being thrown at you is beyond your limits then start with something smaller.
Do what you can do, even if it’s less than what’s expected of you. At the end of the day, you’ll all be fine if you don’t get every assignment, every class, and every group discussion done.
To some extent, you are you, which means you have to do you.
Get the right perspective
I think a healthy perspective during this time is essential. This will pass, you will make it through (& so will your kids) and whatever gets done gets done. Likewise, whatever doesn’t get done doesn’t get done.
It will all be fine in the overall scheme of things.
Have a daily schedule & post it
If you missed downloading my daily schedule and listening to my daily tips, make sure you sign up for that HERE (it’s a free resource for moms, especially moms with kids).
In school they follow a schedule. It’s because it helps to do things at the same time and to have everyone on the same page.
Come up with a daily schedule that you’ll stick to as much as possible and post it where everyone can see it so they know what to expect. It’s totally worth it.
Use the weekends
Don’t forget that school can happen on the weekends, too. I know, I know, it’s not ideal. But if it’s possible to get some of the school done on the weekend so the stress you feel during the week is less, it has always been a win/win for me.
Schedule meals & snacks
This brings the schedule to light again. But if your home is like mine and you’re all trapped at home all day long, your kitchen likely feels like it has a revolving door. If left to their own devices, the people in my house would eat at all different times of the day, all day long.
To some extent this still happens at times, but for the most part with scheduled meal times and snack times there are a few hours of the day when the kitchen is not being used.
Take regular breaks, more than in school
It might seem like if you just plowed through and got it done, it would be nice to just get done with school faster. But as a mom who has been homeschooling for 17 years, I can say it just doesn’t work out this way.
Recess and lunch hours are very important in schools and they are very important at home, too.
I find at least a 15 minute break every two hours to be a necessity. This is really nice if it can be a break where people can kind of just separate for a while. Adjusting to life as a teacher/student is hard.
Taking a break from each other every couple of hours will make the time you spend together all the better.
Burn off energy (you too) & fresh air is best
If you can take some breaks with fresh air and energy burning activities, you’ll come to appreciate your breaks all the more. If you can’t get the kids outdoors, give them some old fashioned calisthenics like jumping jacks, sit ups, and pushups.
Pay attention to when you work best
If you don’t work well first thing in the morning, don’t try to teach challenging school subjects then. If you notice that either you or your kids start to fade before lunch, don’t choose difficult subjects then either.
Pay attention to when you’re at your best and when you have the most patience. Then, schedule your school activities appropriately.
Have entertainment & activities for younger kids
One of the biggest challenging to homeschooling and doing school at home Is if you’re trying to teach school with younger kids around. It’s not really anyone’s fault, especially if your younger kids aren’t used to having their older siblings at home during the day.
It’s helpful to have special things for your younger kids to do to keep them entertained while you’re doing school at home with your older student(s).
We love having a container like these HERE for all their things.
These gears right HERE are hands down the best thing we own for keeping kids busy.
A close second would be this marble game HERE.
Fill these containers with different activities, crafts, books, coloring paper etc for each of our younger kids to keep them busy.
You can get some really cheap things to fill these with, and you can even use things you already have around the house.
But, these bins should be used only when you need your younger kids to be entertained during school time.
Know when to call it a day
Some days it just pays to wave the white flag and call it a day. Some days are just bad days. Straining your relationship or spending the day yelling back and forth isn’t going to allow for much school to get done anyway.
Just know that some days it’s ok to throw in the towel and just be done.
This is also a great time for some educational videos.
Are favorites in our home.
School at home is anything but easy, and you deserve all the credit in the world. While it might not be your choice right now, there are things you can do to make it a bit easier for both you and your kids.
Teaching school at home is possible, you got this!