How to Set Effective Rules & Expectations for Homeschool Fun
Does the thought of homeschool fun make you scared?
Do you have concerns over how you can maintain some type of control if you allow a bit of learning fun into your homeschool day?
Totally understandable! Homeschool days are full of lessons, work, chores, errands, and extracurricular activities? The idea of introducing fun games, crafts, and projects can be quite daunting.
As a mom, the thought of losing control can be scary. Downright frightening.
You might feel like you have no time for messes. Or sibling competitions. Or smoothly transitioning your kids and yourself from fun to work.
You know that you want to add homeschool fun to your day. This significance of spending special moments with your kids outside of academic work hasn’t been lost to you.
But, you feel like you just can’t do one more thing. Not one more thing to manage and fret over and make sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to do and not destroying the house.
Homeschool mama, I get it. I have 5 boys, preschool to high school. There is always so much to do as I try to make sure that everyone is clothed, fed, watered, and keeping hands to self. Where is homeschool fun supposed to fit in? And why bother?
I’m here to tell you that we do have homeschool fun-every day. And it is worth it. So very worth it 🙂
Why You Need Rules & Expectations for Homeschool Fun to Happen
Learning fun in your homeschool doesn’t have to be scary. I promise.
It doesn’t have to be utter chaos, with kids running around and splashing paint on the walls and crushing playdough into the carpet.
Learning fun doesn’t have to include glitter or sequins. You don’t need a ton of craft supplies or even like games to be a fun homeschool mom.
But, there are a few things that you do need to make yourself more comfortable, as you teach your kids valuable life lessons.
And those things are rules and expectations.
Kids need rules to know what is allowed and what is forbidden, what is safe and what is dangerous. No one comes into this world automatically knowing that running with scissors is not a smart idea or eating paste is a no-no. We are taught these helpful tidbits.
Effective rules and expectations provide structure and guidance. They create a more relaxed atmosphere because participating members are not internally wondering if smearing paint on the wall is permissible or going to earn them a time out.
There’s nothing wrong with having rules! Homeschool fun doesn’t have to be wild and untamed. You can still have great learning fun-and I venture to say even more fun!- with appropriate rules and expectations for your homeschool fun.
As a homeschooler, you can feel more relaxed during your homeschool fun time. With effective rules and expectations, you will have reference points to review with your kids. You will have set up natural rewards and consequences to refer to and use.
And you will be teaching your kids good habits, like self-control, self-confidence, cooperation, listening and communication skills, and proper care and use of resources.
How to Set Effective Rules & Expectations for Homeschool Fun
You CAN have homeschool fun without stress or mess. You can create a structured yet relaxed atmosphere where learning fun can happen.
Here are a few tips to get started in creating your own DIY Effective Rules and Expectations for Your Homeschool Fun (see free instant download at end of post to get started!). What works for one homeschool family may not work for another. It’s important to create your own rules and expectations that will work with the unique personalities and dynamics of your homeschool. Use what works for your family and tweak, if necessary.
1. Make a List of Absolutes
Take out paper and pencil. Jot down behaviors and reactions that are absolutely not okay. For example, all homeschool fun participants must keep hands to self. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Create a separate list of behaviors and responses that are required. For example, using manners. Use the free printable checklist to guide you in crafting Effective Rules & Expectations for Your Homeschool Fun.
2. Brainstorm with Your Kids
After creating your own list of rules and expectations, sit down with your kids to get their input. Ask them what types of rules and expectations do they think need to be included for awesome homeschool fun times.
3. Set Limits
Determine ahead of time how long your homeschool fun activities will last. Make it crystal clear that your brainstorming sessions for desserts that start with “D” will only last five minutes (or however long you decide to make it!). Also, deciding on how long your kids need to have a countdown or warning until end of homeschool fun can be helpful. I have found that a two-minute warning with an alarm works well for our homeschool. You may need to play around with different times to see what works best for your family.
Consider setting limits on use of homeschool fun resources. Some kids get super excited about a project or craft and want to use all the things. If you are cool with that, let it roll. If you’d rather stick within a budget or not need to restock homeschool fun supplies all the time, set realistic limits on use of resources. Five stickers will probably work just as well as the entire pack of 100 😉
4. Use Clear & Specific Language
Be as specific as possible. You really can’t be too specific when it comes to telling kids about rules and expectations. Use words that your kids can understand. No need for flowery or complicated descriptions. Short and sweet will be your friend when it comes to homeschool fun rules and expectations.
Ask your kids to repeat your homeschool fun rules and expectations back to you in their own words. Consider using some of their language in your final draft. Mutual understanding of what is allowed and not allowed will help everyone better enjoy your homeschool fun times.
5. Determine Natural Rewards & Consequences
Boost your homeschool fun time with natural rewards and consequences. When rules and expectations are followed and met, provide positive praise and reinforcement. Talk about a way to celebrate everyone’s job well done. Perhaps your homeschool could create a special display area for homeschool fun projects? Or your kids could share their creations with neighbors or loved ones? A sticker chart can be a great way to record and track positive behaviors. Other awesome rewards would be extra read-aloud time, game night, or special snacks.
When homeschool fun rules and expectations are not met, natural consequences need to be enforced. In our homeschool, the offender is given a warning and another chance. If the offense occurs again, they are out and must go to their room or sit on the steps until homeschool fun is done. I suggest figuring out a system that will work for your homeschool.
Free Printable Worksheet for DIY Effective Rules & Expectations Homeschool Fun
To help you get started in crafting effective rules and expectations for your homeschool fun, grab this free printable worksheet. Simply click on the image below for instant access!
Don’t be discouraged if your homeschool fun rules and expectations don’t perfectly work the first (or second) time. As with any change, it takes time for new ideas and behaviors to form. Be patient and persistent. Your time and effort will be rewarded when you make homeschool fun happen.
What fears do you have about homeschool fun? How could effective rules & expectations help?