From a mom trying to run three online businesses from home… let’s chat about how I homeschool my kids! I want to cover why in the world I decided to homeschool, how I’m able to do it with four kids ranging from ages 14-6, and the resources that have helped our family thrive.
If you’re exploring homeschooling as an option, I just hope to offer you encouragement and support. Before I share some tips on how to homeschool your kids, let me first share my personal story on how our family got started with homeschooling.
WATCH THIS POST
For a more personal experience, watch my video on homeschool!
Why did I decide to homeschool?
Well, to sum up a long story the seeds were planted, and other options made me really uncomfortable. God definitely planted the desire in me (unbeknownst to me), and the seed started to grow.
A defining moment was when I was with some blog friends this Summer at our own little blogger retreat. Lisa from Farmhouse on Boone and Sarah from She Holds Dearly talk intimately about their experiences and viewpoints with homeschooling kids.
It really widened my perspective and piqued my curiosity. It sounded so in sync with my ideals for raising my children. And most of all it sounded do-able for the first time ever!
I tried other options before homeschooling
Being the stubborn soul I am, I still sent my kids to school. At the time, I was still so hesitant about homeschooling kids. I have always told myself, “I could NEVER be a homeschool mom!” and “homeschool just isn’t for me” and “my kids don’t learn from me, we would kill each other!”.
“Limiting beliefs” comes to mind.
First I tried a Charter school—thinking their plan for managing education in a pandemic sounded better than the public school my kids had always attended.
I only lasted two days there, realizing quickly that I was very uncomfortable with the amount of online education and screen time my kids would have there.
The Spring shutdown had already shown me online learning was not effective for my kiddos—or for me—who already needed to spend a lot of time online running my business. It was just too much screen time.
So, they went to public school. They loved seeing their friends and having a familiar environment. I stuck it out for three weeks but felt really uncomfortable with the learning environment.
Don’t mistake me here, I so admire all the teachers and staff doing everything they can to keep kids learning and at school.
But multiple times, my kids were coming home so lethargic and with huge headaches. Knowing how I feel in masks for long periods of time, I knew it had to be due to a lack of oxygen and other side effects of wearing masks for long periods of time.
I know a lot of kids are doing well, and that is great. But my mommy heart could bear it no more.
I was terrified but driven with purpose and conviction. I knew I had too much on my plate, I knew I was prone to crippling anxiety. That’s when I felt very inspired by my loving Father in Heaven that it was time to get a lot of help, and He would provide.
How to Homeschool Your Kids with these tips
These tips may not work for everyone but they’ve been very helpful for our family!
Use a planner to manage your time
Well, the number one thing I have to do is be very disciplined with my time. You might know I am a planning junkie.
I am able to keep a clear head on all my tasks, and schedule them out in my day in a realistic manner, and I’ve truly been able to avoid overwhelm!
You can also shop my planners and planning products on Etsy.
I’ve hired help to give me more time
I have hired cleaners twice a month, which has been huge for my anxiety. When mess looms—as it does with four kids—I can look at it and know it will be taken care of, and I won’t need to find 4-5 hours for it myself.
Having this in my life has drastically improved my patience with my kids and the ability to cope in the chaos. I just don’t function well when the house is messy, as I’m sure many of you can relate.
As far as my businesses are concerned, there are several ways that I’ve hired help:
- A tech expert that fixes glitches on my website and improves the user experience when needed
- A graphic designer because I need graphics for social media and the planners
- A video editor
- A content writer who takes my video scripts and photos and puts them on this blog for you to read
- I’ve also thrown a lot more at my sweet friend who handles all my planner customer service and fulfillment
This all saves me hours! All these talented gals keep my business going and growing, and I’d collapse without them!
I’ve hired a tutor to help teach my kids
Perhaps the best decision I made was to hire a tutor for the kids. I found the sweetest, wonderful young woman who is going to college for her Elementary Education degree.
She comes in two hours a day to help my kids all through math and language arts. I then have those dedicated hours to work hard, but best of all is how much my kids adore her!
The one-on-one attention has caused them all to make leaps and bounds in their education. The outside pressure from someone besides mom is really motivating.
I hear so much laughter and joy, it makes me feel like my heart could burst. I don’t remember my kids ever being so happy. We adore her and her presence has been such a blessing to us.
She has also mentioned what a blessing this job is to her, and I find a whole other level of fulfillment knowing I am able to financially support others, and view this as a wonderful gift from God.
Keep a consistent schedule
My kids spend 2 to 2 and a half hours per day with the tutor covering their core curriculum needs.
Then we have lunch together—healthy food that I get to pick, mind you—and then my absolute favorite part of the day is when I get to be their teacher.
We spend about an hour to an hour and half learning history and/or science. The curriculum I’ve chosen for this is group style with more challenging prompts for the older kids. It’s open and go, so there is little to no prep work on my part.
After that, the kids know I work hard from 3-5, and they are on their own to learn or play.
In the evenings we have dinner, then they might have a leisurely activity before bed: dance, soccer, gymnastics, piano, horse riding lessons, or go for walks.
If you’d like to learn more about how to homeschool kids, you can look at these resources too: How to Start Homeschooling.
How do I feel about homeschooling?
I just really enjoy seeing my kids feel free to explore and learn, and just be kids. There are these moments that just feel magical.
The other beautiful part is how much closer they have come together. I’ve got two early teen girls and two younger kids that always seemed to fight like cats and dogs.
That still happens on occasion, but I feel like we are all connecting at a much deeper level than ever before, and there is so much more peace and a feeling of community at home.
What’s it like homeschooling for a busy mom?
We all used to hate mornings, but now we own our schedule. It used to be a rush to get my oldest to school before dawn, then another rush to get the younger kids to school.
By the time I got home, I was exhausted and it was only 9am! But at the time, I knew it was my only time of day to rush and get my work done.
Now, I wake up early, get in some work, get ready and do some morning routines that refresh me. The kids wake up when they’re ready to. We cook breakfast and eat together (lately we’ve been in love with these Whole Wheat Pumpkin Crepes!). Then we get ready for the tutor.
It’s rare that I feel anxious in the mornings anymore when before, the rushed morning routine usually set me down a slippery slope of exhaustion and anxiety. My kids often comment on how much better our schedule is.
I also love the freedom to tailor their education based on their interests and level, without the comparison and standards set by the government. I get to teach my kids values and concepts that coincide with my beliefs and values.
Perhaps best of all, we get to include God and Christianity into our learning about the world, which has been especially enlightening in our study of history.
What are the challenges with homeschooling?
There are challenges we have faced in this transition. As you might imagine, social connection with friends has been harder to find and we all find it very valuable.
My kids are very social and love their friends that they have made through their years of school. The oldest girls especially feel saddened that their friends are all attending school and connecting without them.
Admittedly, I am not very good at scheduling playdates and parties, as it takes a great deal of effort for me.
The other challenge for me is finding enough me time. Peace and quiet is almost non-existent, and there are days I feel quite starved for that, if I am being honest. But I’m adapting and those days are getting fewer and farther between.
There are a few things I MUST do to stay sane, and that is early bed, weekly date nights with the hubs, and 5-10 minutes of daily prayer/meditation. If I don’t do those, it all begins to feel like too much.
How to homeschool your kids with these resources
We keep our books organized in these dividers in this cupboard, and the kids grab what they need each day.
I am using The Good and the Beautiful homeschool curriculum. It’s a Christian based curriculum, not tailored to any specific religion or church, and it is so good. The lessons are thorough and very stretching. We love their literature and enjoy reading them together.
Here is the real beauty of homeschool; rather than not understanding a concept at school and having to move on anyway with the class, we are able to make sure they really understand it and move at their pace.
The language arts curriculum combines reading, writing, art and geography all in one, and includes such beautiful images and writings for them to study.
The history curriculum with good and beautiful is my favorite part. It’s phenomenal, and I am learning so much with my kids that I didn’t seem to learn from my high school history teachers who were also sports coaches and preferred to show us sports movies instead of history movies.
There are many science packets to choose from and my kids really wanted to learn about mammals first, and then we are excited to do the human body next.
I am also trying to find educational toys, magazines and books to fill our home with. One I recently discovered was this Honest History magazine subscription, which has so many fun issues covering time periods or history topics.
If you feel like your family would like Honest History magazines as well, they have given me a code for you to use and save. Enter the promo code “TIDBITS” for 10% off your purchase.
For myself, when I feel like I need some extra motivation and perspective, I’ve really enjoyed reading this book “Awaking Wonder” by Sally Clarkson. It will change the way you think about homeschooling!
Other than that, our curriculum and resources are pretty minimal. I try to keep craft supplies, paper, and drawing supplies handy and they run with it.
So, nothing too complicated or space intrusive, and it is working great!
I can confidently say, this was the best decision we ever made and homeschooling kids is so incredibly awesome. If you have any questions about how to homeschool your kids, feel free to leave a comment below!