I'm sharing a few of my secrets on how my boys and I make smooth homeschool transitions.
These tips and tricks work for both your kids and yourself. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can optimize your homeschool day!
Why You Need Smoother Homeschool Transitions
If you're tired of wasting time and energy trying to wrangle your kids to complete their homeschool work in a timely fashion, keep reading for ideas and inspiration on making smooth homeschool transitions.
Your homeschool day can flow and be a more relaxing experience for all.
You can feel like you just got settled into an activity or project, only to have to clean it all up and switch to something new. That type of change can feel uncomfortable, frustrating, and tiring.
Think about the last time you were doing something you like.
Maybe, it was watching a new series on Netflix. Dang, it's a great show! You just want to binge watch and find out what happens.
And then you get interrupted with the buzzer on the dryer. Your freshly cleaned and dried clothes are waiting for you to come along and put them away. Blah! But, you know you don't want to iron said clothes so you better get up off your duff and turn off the show.
Yet, you can't seem to pick up the remote and hit the power button. You just really don't want to get up and deal with laundry. You can probably think of about 353 other things that you'd rather do.
After a few minutes, you reluctantly pluck the remote from between the couch cushions and turn off Netflix. You drag your feet to the dryer and mutter under your breath about the 353 other things you'd rather be doing. Those mutterings turn into daydreams and you forget what it is you are even supposed to be completing.
Does this scenario sound familiar? And you are an adult!
Imagine what it must be like for your kids. No wonder it can be such struggle to make smooth homeschool transitions!
Common Struggles with Homeschool Transitions
Do you have a child that resists starting homeschool on time? Maybe he or she doesn't want to stop playing? Or maybe you could insert any activity besides starting homeschool?
Got a kid who has a hard time shifting between homeschool subjects? Instead of wrapping up writing and moving on to math, he or she wants to keep jotting down ideas and outlining paragraphs?
Maybe you have a kiddo that benefits from homeschool brain breaks but just can't seem to get back to work?
Or do you have kids who have trouble moving from homeschool mode to chores and errands? Kids who tend to work slow or procrastinate might fall into this category.
I completely understand these types of struggles with homeschool transitions because I have dealt with all of them with my boys.
It can make you feel like you want to bang your head against a concrete wall. Don't do that. Preserve your pretty forehead and check out these ideas for making positive transitions in your homeschool.
You CAN Make Smooth Homeschool Transitions!
Pause for a moment and think about your typical homeschool day.
- Does it flow the way that you would like it to?
- Are you and your kids wisely managing your time and energy?
- What areas would you like to see improve?
There's no judgment or comparison here.
Every homeschool is unique, with its different ages, stages, personalities, budget, schedules, and more. Therefore, smooth homeschool transitions will look different for every homeschool.
For example,our homeschool is composed of five boys (3, 6, 8, 12, 14) and myself. High school, middle school, elementary level, and preschool.
Our erratic schedule is packed with soccer practices and games for the older two boys. Bedtimes vary accordingly, therefore, homeschool start times vary.
Despite our variable schedule, my boys and I make smooth homeschool transitions. We have found our homeschool groove that helps us communicate, cooperate, and efficiently work.
Through a combination of an organized morning time, rational planning, clear rules and expectations, and willingness to help each other (a.k.a. teamwork), our homeschool days typically flow.
I share this example not to boast, but to show you that it can be done.
My boys all have different personalities and interests. Some boys are relaxed, while others prefer more serious studies. Our homeschool consists of a continuum of deadline-driven boys to procrastinators who would rather put forth their best effort at the last minute.
You can enjoy the benefits of smooth homeschool transitions. Let's look at these tips and tricks to get you started.
How to Make Smooth Homeschool Transitions
The key to determining how to make smooth homeschool transitions is to make an honest assessment of current homeschool transitions.
When you have an awareness and acceptance of your current homeschool transitions, you'll be able to ascertain where your strengths lie and what areas need work. The Inspired Treehouse shares ten wonderful ways to help your kids make positive transitions.
Important considerations for smooth homeschool traditions include:
- your family schedule
- personality types in your homeschool
- your expectations
- your why
What ages and stages make up your homeschool? Your approach to homeschool transitions will look different for preschoolers vs. high schoolers. Preschoolers may require more time and reminders. High schoolers might like the use of an app or other tech devices as a reminder.
Take a realistic look at how much time your homeschool actually has in one day. Remember to include activities like eating, hygiene, and chores. Would your homeschool benefit more from a routine than a schedule?
Personality types can play a huge role in how well your homeschool makes transitions. Discover your personality type by taking this free online assessment at 16personalities. You can find out more about your kids' personality types at Personality Page. Greater insight into your own personality and your kids can help you as you determine the best approach to making smooth homeschool transitions.
Consider your expectations for homeschool transitions. Do you have rational thoughts and feelings about changing subjects and starting or ending your homeschool day? Or do you need to tweak your expectations to better match your kids' personalities, schedules, or other significant characteristics?
Finally, think about your reasons for wanting smooth homeschool transitions. Do you need time to get chores and errands done? Maybe you work from home and need all the extra time you can get? Whatever your reasons, make sure to be crystal clear-for yourself and your kids. When you have goals in mind, it can be so much easier to do what is necessary to achieve them!
Homeschool Transition Tips & Tricks
Once you have thought about the above considerations, you are going to need a game plan for smooth homeschool transitions. Change does not always come easy, nor will you have a magic wand to wave. But, with a bit of work, you can definitely help your kids and yourself wisely use your time and energy.
My boys and I benefit the most from these tips:
- Open communication and shared language about transitions
It is vital to talk about the transition process prior to trying to enact it.
Chat with your kids about what transition means and establish a definition that works for your homeschool.
Discuss clear expectations for attitudes and behaviors in language that all ages and stages can understand.
Have your kids repeat the homeschool transition expectations back to you to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Use a timer
Choose a specific timing system to help all keep track of your homeschool activities and breaks.
Digital options include your smartphone, microwave, oven, or stopwatch. Kids also love using sand timers (hourglasses) to prepare for transitions.
- Easily recognized visual
Some kids benefit from having a visual reminder of when they need to start the transition process. A stoplight is an excellent example.
Green light = work, activity, or break
Yellow light = time to slow down and prepare for change
Red light = stop work, activity, or break
Our homeschool uses a morning time board that has evolved into a visual reference to guide our day.
- Use a code word
Kids may also like to have a special code word to indicate transition time. Select a simple word like, "Shift" or even "Transition".
- Kinesthetic reminders
Your kids might like to have reminders that let them touch or move.
You could have a special piece of paper, stuffed animal, or other designated object that your child gets to touch prior to transition time.
Or you could provide your child with a reminder to take a deep breath as they gently press their hand to their heart or belly.
Encourage your kids to use an affirmation designed especially for homeschoolers to solidify the benefit.
This system works for our homeschool. I decide how long a specific subject will last and communicate that information to my boys. A timer is set for that amount of time. I give 1- to 3- minute warnings (depending on how long the subject is to last). When the alarm goes off, there are no excuses. It is time to wrap up work and clean up that area.
Homeschool transitions are kept as simple as possible in our homeschool. With five boys of different ages, I find that it's best to keep it easy to understand and do.
My most effective reminder to my boys: Smooth Homeschool Transitions = More Time for Fun! This single reminder gets my boys to cooperate in a flash!
How could your homeschool benefit from making smooth transitions?
What else do you need to know about making smooth homeschool transitions?
Leave your answers in the comments below!