Updated: Mar 21
Implementing simplicity and autonomy in older children can help minimize the homeschool stressors and lead you to living intentionally each day. Read on for more detailed tips on how to enjoy this time with your children.
Is it just me or does it feel like we were just watching the ball drop and celebrating the New Year?! Seriously you guys, I can’t believe we are halfway through March already.
It just dawned on me the other day that we only have a little over 2 months of school left! In May, I will have completed my 6th year homeschooling! Whew! I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. My daughter attended public school for kindergarten and 1st grade and now she will be starting her last year of middle school next year. The old cliche is true—time really does fly when you’re having fun!
We have had soooo many fun moments homeschooling over the past 6 years and even though many days weren’t without their struggles, I can still look back fondly on the GOOD memories we made.
Over those years, I have changed curriculum more times than I would like to admit (does anyone else feel like you shortchange your kids when you change curriculum? Like, it's supposed to be a good thing to find something that is a better fit going forward, but I can’t help but feel like the time using the old curriculum was a waste then. Maybe it’s just me though.
However, despite all the curriculum changes and what I viewed as setbacks at the time, I feel we have hit our stride and our days are not only easier, but my kids are happier too. So why the difference this year?
Because I stepped back. Yep, I stepped back and let my oldest child gain more independence and take the lead in her learning. You guys, she has been thriving so much this year with the newfound independence! Also, simplify, simplify, simplify. I stripped back all the things and there were a whole lot of ALL. THE. THINGS., that I had been trying to do and implement into our daily schedules. However, for us, I found that as is true in a lot of other areas of life, less is more.
This has been the game changer for us this year and has made my days as a homeschooling mama so much less stressful (I have a big age gap in kiddos-7th grade and 1 st grade-so it was a huge challenge before trying to transition between such different levels of knowledge).
But I would like to leave you with 5 ways you can minimize your homeschool so that not only your children, but yourself as well, can thrive.
1. See your kids for who they really are. Seriously, look at them individually and see what type of learning they really want to do- what will work best for them? Sometimes as mom’s, we want to give our children the world and that includes the latest and greatest curriculum that we think will be great for them. However, what we think is best and what they really need to thrive are 2 different things.
2. Change your perspective. Don’t go into the school day thinking everything needs to flow perfectly or the day is ruined. Don’t think that your kids aren’t learning just because you have struggled today. Look at the good that was accomplished in a day and go with it. Stop fighting the urge to add in more…… and more and more
3. Get yourself a 10 drawer cart for the curriculum and a file box for your day to day necessities to teach and only keep out what is actively being used in your school day right now. This will streamline things so much for you. We have a school room, but I found this year, by implementing this change, we have been able to school at our dining room table with only the necessities right near us and things go a lot smoother. In fact, stay tuned for the story on our school room transformation coming soon. Sneak peak: I realized we didn't need and never used all the extra stuff that I was holding onto for someday.
4. Open and go curriculum. For those of you like me who loved the thought of lesson planning and doing unit studies, and all the art projects, but who at the same time, could never successfully implement these things, choose a simple, yet highly effective curriculum, that is open and go. I have always wanted to lesson plan, in a strange way, but after years of buying the planners and trying to make it work, I found out that it just doesn’t work for me. I much prefer curriculum that is open and go and takes that part of stress away from me.
5. Implement read alouds. No matter your children’s ages, they can benefit from you reading aloud. We have found great peace in our mornings when we can all just come together on the couch, get cozy, have a snack and listen to a great story. I am an avid reader if you can’t tell, so most of the time, I have a book I read to them. But sometimes, I have been known to put an audiobook on for the 3 of us to listen to as a break from the computer and book work. My children’ thrive with this break in the day and their attitudes toward the rest of their school is much better on days when we can get some reading in.
This is just a small list of things you can implement in your homeschool today to help streamline and make the days a little more intentionally peaceful. I encourage you to give them a try and see how it goes for you. Some things may work out wonderfully and others might not be a good fit, but you never know until you try. I have a hunch that they will bless your homeschool life as much as they have mine.
Let me know in the comments which one you are most eager to try and as always, feel free to ask questions if you need any clarification on any of the tips mentioned above.
Take care and enjoy your day!