You can enjoy homeschool success, even if you feel like you can’t get it all together.
If you feel like you’re spinning in circles or frustrated with how things are going, I hope that my 5 simple secrets can help you make life and learning fun at home 🙂
It’s Not Just You
Even if you didn’t choose this lifestyle, you know the responsibility of teaching your kids at home.
And you want to do your very best.
Totally natural! You love your kids and want them to enjoy a happy life.
So, you start researching. You spend hours looking for the best curriculum, schedules, and supplies.
So much time and energy devoted to making sure you’re set up for homeschool success!
Then, your homeschool adventures begin.
And you start to wonder if you can even do this thing. It feels like you can never do enough and what you actually do isn’t ever right.
How can this be?!? You spent so much time and money on the perfect homeschool materials. Why can’t you make this work?!?
Girl, I got you. #beentheredonethat
I know how easy it is to get sucked up into worrying about all the details of homeschooling that you forget just what you’re trying to do in the first place.
Personally, I overplanned and overprepared when I started homeschooling my boys. I thought that if I had everything just so that things would just magically turn out well.
Until they didn’t.
Fortunately, I kept at it and learned a few lessons along the way.
What Does Homeschool Success Even Mean?
Do you have a picture in your head of what a successful homeschool looks like?
I’m guessing you’ve mostly pieced together images from social media 😉
I’m guilty of the same thing. I had this picture-perfect idea of what homeschooling was supposed to look like.
I read a bunch of books and blog posts. I scoured homeschool curriculum catalogs.
Even though I knew that our home and family didn’t look like 99.9% of the pictures that I saw, those pictures stuck in my head.
When we started our homeschool adventures, I quickly realized that there was no way that I was going to be able to replicate that type of perfection in our all-boy home.
I started to feel bad about myself and our homeschool. Oh, and I really started questioning what we were doing!
Did I pick the wrong curriculum? Are we not using the right schedule? Did I not put enough work into planning all of this out?
I felt like a failure.
And it was enough to almost make me throw in the homeschool towel.
Fortunately, my eyes were opened and I saw that homeschool success is possible.
Because here’s the thing: Homeschool success is going to be different for different families.
Your unique family is made up of these amazing people with individual needs and situations. Your homeschool does NOT have to look or be like other homeschools. You CAN totally find what works for you and go for it!
Sure, you can get great ideas and inspiration from others. But, ultimately, you’re the one that gets to work towards and enjoy that success.
Once I realized all of this, I knew that I had to change how I approached our homeschool. Instead of trying to copy exactly how others were doing it (and worrying along the way that we weren’t getting it “right”), I needed to decide what we needed and wanted – and then how to make that happen.
How do you do that? The important thing to do is to create your own definition of homeschool success. You can use these questions to help you figure out what homeschool success means to you:
- How will your homeschool feel?
- What types of thoughts will you be thinking about your homeschool?
- What will your homeschool look like?
- Who will be doing what when your homeschool is succeeding?
- When will you know that your homeschool is a success?
- How will your day flow? Week? Month?
Once you have your homeschool success definition, you can use these tips and my secrets to feel good about homeschooling 🙂
Tips to Guide Your Homeschool Success
Before I get to my secrets for homeschool success, I wanted to share a few tips and tricks.
There’s nothing magical about these tips. Just tuck them away and bring them out when you’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or scared.
1. Stop overcomplicating it
Where are you making it harder for yourself to achieve the homeschool success you desire?
In your head?
With materials or curriculum?
Making decisions for your homeschool?
Do yourself a favor and keep it simple.
If your thoughts are getting out of control, put up a big red stop sign and don’t go down those paths. Break the issue down. Get to the heart of the matter. Ask yourself, “What’s REALLY going on?”.
2. Slow down
Homeschooling can feel like a whirlwind.
When you’re trying to wrangle everyone to the table (and keep them there) or multitask feeding your baby as you teach a reading lesson, it can feel like so much is happening all at once.
When you feel like you’re spinning in a circle, hit the pause button. Put your morning time on hold. Pump the brakes on your history project.
It’s easy to feel like you’re losing it and keep everything together when it’s all moving so fast. Taking a moment or two to collect yourself will go far in helping you achieve your homeschool success.
If things start to spin out of control for me, I stand up in the middle of the room, clap my hands, and take a few cleansing breaths. It helps me slow down and warns my boys that mama needs time to calm down and get centered. What’s super cool is when they join me!
3. Pan out
It’s very easy to get wrapped in the details of the day. Worry over a few math problems that got missed. Or frustration at not getting started “on time”.
If you find yourself freaking out over the details, pretend you have a video camera and pan out. Remember the bigger picture.
Maybe those math problems were missed because everyone dissolved into a giggle-fest over a silly joke? (And can’t those math problems be revisited tomorrow?)
Is your homeschool really going to fail because you got started 6 minutes late because your youngest just had to tell everyone about his dream last night? (And didn’t that lead to an incredible conversation about what happens when we sleep?)
Revisit your definition of homeschool success (and think about setting homeschool intentions). It’s not a sprint, a marathon 😉
4. Zoom In
Then again, maybe it would be helpful to look for those hidden treasures of your homeschool day?
If you start to panic about the future (like standardized tests, high school, or college acceptance), take a few cleansing breaths. Then, think back on your day.
What was one golden nugget? No matter how big or small! What was ONE thing that happened today that helped you know your homeschool is a success?
Did your oldest child help a younger sibling understand how to do a math problem?
Or did all of your kids quietly sit and pay attention during read-aloud time?
It’s often easy to dwell on what went wrong. Zooming in on these treasures can help you focus on what went well.
My 5 Simple Secrets to Homeschool Success
We’ve been homeschooling for over 9 years. I’ve learned so much from our homeschool adventures and I’m super happy to share these secrets with you.
If you’ve been homeschooling only a few days or, like me, for years, I truly hope that these suggestions serve as helpful reminders. These ideas will help you meet your homeschool goals and intentions.
Oh, and these ideas will not spark overnight change or be quick fixes. You’ll need time to determine what works best for you and your family. But, I know that you can achieve homeschool success, whatever that looks like for you 🙂
1. Smart Prep
If I could only do one thing to make sure for homeschool success, it would be my homeschool prep.
Every week, I set aside time to plan and prepare for the upcoming days.
This practice helps me look back on what we’ve actually done and realistically plan for the week ahead.
Instead of worrying if I have all the materials that we’ll need for a science experiment or will we have time for that enrichment educational video, I map it all out on Sunday evenings. I even add in extra time (like a buffer), in case an emergency pops up or we need to stick with an activity a bit longer.
Once this weekly planning is done (which usually only takes about 30 minutes or so), I can confidently move forward into our week.
2. Simple Systems
I’m a firm believer in K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, sweetie). Simplicity doesn’t come naturally to me so I work hard to break things down to save time, energy, and money.
The simple systems that I think are important for homeschool success include:
Finding a system that works for you is often trial and error. (I know that’s probably not what you want to hear – you’d love a specific recommendation. There are some amazing resources out there but I caution you to really think about your family situation and needs before purchasing. If it all possible, give the system a test ride to see if it’s a good fit. I wouldn’t feel right telling you to try or buy one thing just because it works for us. If you have any questions about a system that you find, please email me at [email protected] and I’ll be happy to chat with you about it!)
Unless you want to feel like a robot (that malfunctions when something doesn’t go according to your programming), I highly suggest you work on being more flexible in your homeschool.
Life happens. Schedules can change in an instant. Emergencies occur.
You don’t have to plow through your homeschool schedule. It’s okay to take time to go down a few rabbit trails or revisit a concept that’s difficult.
I truly know that feeling that you just want to get it done and check it off so you can feel better and move on.
Do you really need to do math first or would it be okay to start with spelling? I find that it helps to begin our day with a subject to build confidence then tackle a more challenging one.
Also, I found it extremely helpful to invite my boys into chatting about and planning our homeschool. I mistakenly thought that I had to have all the ideas. Take some of the weight off your shoulders and give your kids some ownership, too!
So much of your homeschool success depends on how you approach it!
Your mindset – how YOU think and feel about your homeschool – plays a key role in your energy level, attitude, and resilience. And, of course, affects your kids, too.
It’s like waking up on the wrong side of the bed. If you’re feeling cranky, thinking that you’d rather be doing anything but homeschooling, and scared you’re going to fail, that’s what’s going to happen.
When you shift your mindset to more healthy, positive thinking, both your outlook and well-being improve.
Having supportive and encouraging people in your homeschool corner is essential.
Hopefully, you have a significant other, family, and friends who cheer you on as you embark on your homeschool adventures.
Finding other homeschoolers who just get it is awesome, too. If you’re looking for more support for homeschool success, please come join our Rock Your Homeschool! Facebook group 🙂
BONUS: Don’t forget the FUN!
I threw in a bonus secret because our homeschool truly wouldn’t be successful without it.
Finding (or adding) fun to our daily homeschool life makes it so much more interesting and enjoyable.
Plus, it’s an awesome way to connect, collaborate, and let off some steam!
I use a variety of ways to make homeschool fun with my boys, like:
- Celebrating Fun Days
- Homeschool Fun Activities
- Brain Breaks
- Conversation Starters
- Holiday & Seasonal Fun
- Interest-Led Activities (especially Dr. Seuss, Harry Potter, and Star Wars)
You have what it takes for homeschool success. You may need to dig down deep and try a few things before you find what works for you. But, I KNOW you can do it.
I encourage you to use these tips and secrets to cultivate your own homeschool success. And, please let me know if you have any questions AND update me on what you find that works!
Cheering you on!!