We’ve all read about the keys to a successful homeschool – things like prayer and attitude – the big things we all need to make homeschooling work. But what about the little day-to-day things that help keep us going and help us homeschool moms finish strong?
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As a homeschool mom, its so easy to wear down, wear out and give out before we reach our goal. I remember those first few years with just two and three kids with great fondness. I had so much energy! But three more kids and now a few years older and I get tired way faster. Physically, mentally and emotionally!
I’ve found a few small changes – small wins if you will — to our homeschool day-to-day are helping me stay the course and finish strong.
Switch from a Teacher mindset to a Coach mindset.
One small win that has really impacted our homeschool happened when I switched from a teaching mindset to a coaching mindset. Do coaches teach? Yes. There are definitely times when I am still in teaching mode.
But coaches also inspire and hold their players accountable to work on their own — coaches spend more time on the sidelines letting the players make decisions and “make it happen”.
These days I spend more time encouraging my kids to “make it happen” and less time “making it happen” myself. They are more invested in their own learning this way and have more responsibility. I’m over here holding them accountable, giving pep talks, and helping only as needed.
We are talking about independent learning here, from the youngest to the oldest. A nine-year-old does not need nearly as much hand holding as you might think.
Put the kids in charge of lunch.
Lunch time used to be a huge drain on our homeschool day because I stopped everything and spent at least an hour in the kitchen, making sandwiches or soup or some other hot dish.
When a child is old enough to make a sandwich – that child can be made responsible to get his own lunch.
Now, I still remind my children its time to eat. I still coach them on making wise choices.
Everybody has to have a protein and no, you cannot eat that entire bag of cheese puffs and call it lunch. I still oversee the younger two when they are ready to pull lunch together. I still count heads and make sure every single child does actually stop and take the time to eat.
But for the most part, when my children get hungry they disappear into the kitchen to reheat leftovers, make themselves a sandwich, throw a salad together, or sometimes even actually cook. Turns out this is a really simple way to teach your children about nutrition and life skills in the kitchen. And its one more thing off my plate.
Delegate Housework and rotate chores
So – I could clean up lunch every day myself. do all the laundry.pick up all the toys, sweep the floor. and take out the trash —OR I could distribute the chores that need doing between all seven people who are home all day.
So at our house, children share the responsibility for the housework. Someone is responsible for taking out the trash and recycling every single day. Someone else is responsible for switching laundry over several times throughout the day.
One of us, namely me, is responsible for folding all the laundry each day. Each child ends up having to either empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher, or clean off the table at least once per day. I wash the dishes that need hand washed.
Chores rotate either daily or quarterly or maybe yearly so that everyone has a chance to eventually learn the necessary skills of keeping a house.
Notice I’m not suggesting that I sit around eating bonbons while my kids slave away. That’s not the case. What I am saying is that I’m not doing everything that needs doing around the house all by myself.
The end result is that I’m not overwhelmed and burnt out from endless housework on top of homeschooling — AND my children are learning the life skills and responsibility necessary for adulthood. Its a win-win.
Hire out or Barter or Trade for Instruction or Learning Opportunities
One of the biggest changes I made as our family grew was in finding other people who could teach my child in my own areas of weakness or to save me time.
Whether that meant switching to a video-based math teacher (we did), attending a homeschool co-op faithfully (we do) or trading voice lessons for a mother’s helper (I did!) — we have been able to find a variety of ways to provide my kid with outside instruction and social opportunities.
I even paid a finder’s fee for several years to a woman who organizes field trips on a mass scale in our area. She set it all up, charged a basic yearly fee in addition to any on-site fees for the field trip and we went all kinds of places that I would never have found or organized on my own.
Finding someone else who can teach your child a certain subject does not necessarily mean spending money. You can barter, trade, or co-op your way to outside lessons without spending money. You can make it work.
Small Wins that Help Homeschool Moms Finish Strong
Each of these small changes are really small wins that can help you stay the course and keep you from facing burnout before your homeschool journey comes to a natural end.
I sent my first child to college last year. I still have about nine more years of homeschooling-aged children in the home. I’ve got a ways to go.
I can tell you though, that my own stress level has decreased dramatically since implementing these small changes. You can do it Mom!
Amy Blevins lives with her husband and six beautiful children in the state of Virginia. As the owner of Encouraging Moms at Home, Amy loves to help moms with the tips, tricks, ideas and tools they need to win at this mom thing! Besides writing, Amy enjoys homeschooling, hiking, reading, singing, teaching, and serving Jesus above all.