I had so many questions when I first started homeschooling.
How could one mom replace all those teachers in school? And teach multiple kiddos everything they needed to know, including reading and ALGEBRA, without messing them up? Who did these homeschool mamas think they were? Wonder Woman?
And as I continued my journey of homeschooling two children all the way from Kindergarten through high school, I learned some secrets that helped me really understand homeschooling and how to make it work for me.
I’m not Wonder Woman, but if you lasso these truths about homeschooling, you too can make your homeschool journey so much easier and successful for everyone!
Homeschool Secret #1 There’s no one perfect way to homeschool.
You would think that since people have homeschooled from the beginning of history in most cultures, there would be a simple manual or guide on Amazon to show you the one perfect way to homeschool your kids.
But the truth is that there really is no ONE perfect curriculum, homeschool style, or way to homeschool that works for every single family or even every single year.
I homeschooled for fifteen years, and made major changes and minor tweaks all along the way, finally ending my journey as a Savage Mom. And I believe homeschooling really should look unique for your family because…
Your family is unique!
So, don’t get too caught up in searching for the one perfect curriculum to make all your homeschooling problems magically disappear. Instead, focus on the goals you have for your children this year, and then look for the best homeschool style, rhythm, and resources that will help you reach those goals.
Homeschool Secret #2 You can shelf or chuck what isn’t working in your homeschool.
When I first started started homeschooling, I spent hours researching and finding the best resources and curriculum to use with my little learners. I had everything covered for the entire year, all lined up neatly on bookshelves or stacked in crates. All we needed to do is check off each day’s assignments to complete the perfect homeschool year.
Then we actually started doing those daily assignments.
And the writing prompt that should have taken 5 minutes to finish caused a major meltdown. The assigned book was so boring that no one (including me) wanted to read it. And the math problems from one lesson remained a complete mystery for days. Sound familiar?
Here’s the thing. You aren’t going to always choose the perfect resources for each kiddo the first time. Nobody does. And if that curriculum isn’t working, you don’t have to keep doing it.
Your curriculum is not the boss of you when you homeschool.
Unless you are using a virtual school or other option that makes the student finish every given lesson, you have the freedom in your homeschool to decide how to use your resources.
What does that look like?
- skipping problems or assignments your child has already mastered
- trading out a boring book for one your child actually wants to read
- replacing worksheets (that aren’t working) with a fun game or activity
And sometimes, ditching the whole thing if it is just not working.
Which is really tough when it cost a bunch of moola or seemed so perfect in the reviews. Or worked just fine for the last kiddo.
But the most important thing is that the resources you use are actually working for the child using them. And for you. If not, it may be time to set them aside for a bit, and try something different.
Bottom line is that when you homeschool, you have the freedom to shelf or chuck what isn’t working in your homeschool.
Homeschool Secret #3 When the going gets tough, try something new.
No matter how great your curriculum or plan is, there will be tough times in homeschooling.
Days when you or your child or someone you need to take care of gets sick. Times when everyone feels tired or overwhelmed or just stuck in a rut. When doing those daily assignments goes from dancing through a field of daisies to hacking your way through a dense jungle.
And often, during those tough times, the best thing to do is switch things up and try something new.
What does that look like?
- using videos and audiobooks to learn about history and science
- tweaking your homeschool schedule to add in some more art or life skills
- tossing all the day’s assignments to spend some family time exploring nature, reading books, or doing whatever helps to fill everyone’s love tanks
Other times you just need to take the day off, hit the snooze button, and restart things on a new day.
Simplify. Switch things up. Surprise everyone with something new.
It really helps during the tough times of homeschooling.
Homeschool Secret #4 Always remember why you are homeschooling.
Ok, so here’s another secret that can help you figure out the best resources and options for homeschooling and also get you through those tough times.
Figure out why you are homeschooling and write it in your planner, paint it on a pretty canvas, or post it on your social media feed.
Are you homeschooling to…
- help your child overcome difficulties, pursue passions, or accelerate learning?
- allow the family to travel?
- strengthen the relationships with your kiddos?
Or just because 2020 gave you no better option?
No matter what your reason is for homeschooling, you can use it to sift through all the possible curriculum options and resources to find the best ones for your goals that year.
And then remember it during the tough days when you are ready to hail down the next school bus and bring this crazy homeschool life to an end. Hold tight to why you are choosing to homeschool, and also remember this next secret.
Homeschool Secret #5 Homeschooling can (and should) be fun for everyone.
This goes for your kiddos and for you. Homeschooling is not always a day at Disney (or whatever your family considers big fun), but it also shouldn’t feel like scrubbing floors in the orphanage with Miss Hannigan all the time.
Does homeschooling include hard work? Yes. Just like most good things.
Will there be some not-so-fun times or subjects? Yup. We’re looking at you, Algebra, or —— (insert your kiddo’s tricky subject).
But there are enough games, hands-on activities, and options to help keep this whole homeschool thing from becoming a “hard knocks life” for anyone.
What does that look like?
- working together to create a play with sets and costumes to reenact a historical event
- having a weekly reading or movie time complete with snacks and snuggles
- using games to learn and practice new math and reading skills
- finding fun hands-on activities for science and art
It also helps to include as many real-life applications to what your kiddos are learning, and give them opportunities to explore, find, and pursue their own passions.
Do everything you can to make homeschooling fun for your kiddos and for you!
Homeschool Secret #6 You don’t have to finish every book to homeschool well.
It’s true! Homeschooling is about progress, instead of just completion. And your kiddo doesn’t have to finish every last page in that workbook or textbook to make great progress. Or always keep reading every chapter book that they “just can’t get into”.
Should they finish some? Yup.
Should they learn how to persevere through difficult things? Definitely.
It just doesn’t always have to be that boring book or final few pages of the math curriculum, which will most likely be covered again in the beginning of the next year.
Here’s a fun fact: Most teachers don’t cover every single part of each curriculum. So, you don’t have to either! Most subjects have a built in review each year. History and science programs often repeat each topic every year, or at least a couple of times before high school.
Just focus on helping your children make progress in each subject, learn how to learn new things, and start to find enjoyment in what they are learning! And don’t worry if some of the pages go unread or unfinished.
You really don’t have to finish every single book to homeschool well.
Homeschool Secret #7 Finding like-minded moms for support is a game changer.
Here’s my final homeschooling secret. Homeschooling is SO much better with friends! This goes for your kiddos and it goes for you too, mama.
I seriously don’t think I would have been able to homeschool all the way through high school without my core group of homeschool mom friends. Being able to ask questions, trade-off teaching, celebrate with, cry with, and go on some fun field trips and crazy moms’ nights out with these ladies made homeschooling so much easier and better!
Do everything you can to link up with other homeschool moms who have similar goals and values. Not a carbon-copy of you, but moms you trust and enjoy being around. With children who are good friends with your kiddos.
My mom friends and I used our talents and strengths to teach different subjects in small weekly co-op classes each year, which made homeschooling easier for us and more fun for all of our children.
It can take a while to find these friends, and may involve joining online groups or stalking out moms during park days or other known homeschool hang outs in your area. But once you find them, these friends will often turn out to be a lifelong support system and complete game changer for homeschooling.
So, there you have it. Seven secrets to help you homeschool like the Wonder Woman you are! Here’s a quick recap:
- There’s no one perfect way to homeschool.
- You can shelf or chuck what isn’t working in your homeschool.
- When the going gets tough, try something new.
- Always remember why you are homeschooling.
- Homeschooling can (and should) be fun for everyone.
- You don’t have to finish every book to homeschool well.
- Finding like-minded moms for support is a game changer.
If you want some more homeschooling ideas and encouragement, here are a few other blogs to check out:
- Discover Your Homeschool Style with a little help from Parks and Rec
- How to start homeschooling: your complete roadmap
- How to homeschool like a Savage Mom