Sunday, September 30, 2012

10 Practical Things Every Homeschooler Should Know

This an old post but as we are a couple months of school and I have talked to several Moms who are struggling, I thought I would post this again...

I have been talking to and seeing on message boards homeschool Moms discouraged about their first weeks of school. The kids are whiny and complaining, no one likes their curriculum and all the Mom is doing is putting out fires, not teaching. This is especially true of new homeschoolers. Where are the idyllic days spent reading with their child or making amazing lapbooks or crafting an amazing project based on what they are reading in history? They have heard about other homeschoolers getting all of this done and more. Why does it seem like it is a constant battle just to get math and Language Arts done? Why don't the kids seem to be enjoying the great projects that Mom has loving prepared? What has happened to the beautiful lessons plans that Mom has slaved over? Homeschooling is hard.
Don't worry and take heart. The first weeks of school are always the worst - sometimes even the first two months are bad. It takes everyone awhile to get used to this new regime. For a regime change has occurred especially if the child has previously been in a traditional school setting. Life has changed and there are new rules in place.
Don't change curriculum in the first two months for it may be less about curriculum and more about character training. It is more likely to be more about testing Mom than in a bad test score. It may be about seeing if Mom is really serious about this schedule than about whether the new schedule works. It may be about expectations, both Moms and the kids. So don't jump ship until the seas stop rocking and then you can take a serious look at what's working and what's not.
Here are some practical things that I have found to be helpful:
1. There is absolutely no whining or complaining in school. period. Teach your child Phil. 2:14-16. God doesn't like it ( and neither does Mom) so don't do it.
2. Have consequences pre-planned for whining and a lack of diligence. If you whine in our house or are not diligent in your work - you get more work but if you are, you get a marble in your jar which at a certain level will reward you with a special treat of some kind. This method works great with older kids, try a treasure box with pre-K - 2nd, filled with cheap little toys. Make sure and find something to reward your child with daily.
3. Have realistic expectations. A child will not sit quietly and let you read to them for hours. I learned this hard way. Let them play quietly with legos or color or draw while you read, it will go better.
4. Start school slowly. Add in the basics the first week, then slowly add in everything else. You will all be happier - trust me.
5. Plan fun things if the kids have been diligent. If the kids work diligently then take them out for an ice cream or better yet wait until Dad is home and give him the good report and then Dad can take them out while you have a bath.
6. Don't compare your homeschool with someone else's. Your friend, who homeschools, does not always have her act together either. Her house is not always clean and her husband does not always come home to a well-prepared dinner and her children do not sing like the VonTrapp's.
7. School time is sacred. Don't take phone calls, don't plan Bible studies, don't answer the door. It's your number one job for that time period. Limit outside activities during school hours. I don't do anything in school time, not co-op, not piano not anything. That's what the afternoon is for.
8. Have an ending time. School ends at this time - no matter what. Pick up where you left off the next day. Do your most important subjects first. I have a four day schedule so that I can use Fridays for pick up subjects.
9. Schedule time for cleaning and laundry and dinner prep. Most of my housework happens on Friday. Look at for help in scheduling housework. Check out for great slow cooker recipes. Dinner is done and you don't have to worry about it.
10. Make time for yourself and your husband. Schedule dates and keep them. Go out with your girlfriends or even just call them (after school of course). Have a mandated quiet time each afternoon, everybody goes to their room for atleast and hour - including you.
Homeschooling is hard but so is every good thing. Parenting is hard, marriage is hard, being a Christ-follower is hard but they are worth all the pain, sweat and tears I put into them. Homeschooling is the same way. More than worth it. There is nothing that I would rather do then to train and teach my children so that they will be ready for whatever amazing plan God has for them.
Have some other ideas that help you? Please let me know, my homeschool isn't perfect either and I could use all the help I can get.


  1. I just found your blog and can I tell you how much I LOVE this post?! We're starting school in a week and I may re-visit it to re-read this post when I'm pulling my hair out ;o)

  2. Thank you so much for posting this message. I stumbled upon your blog tonight and can't tell you the blessing I received from it. We are starting school next week you totally encouraged me!

    Your blog was linked on a MFW forum where I read your post about looping (at least I think that was you). Although the term is new to me, we practiced the concept of it all last year. The only difference was that I was constantly feeling like we were behind. Now, I don't have to feel that way.

    I pray that this school year brings you many blessings. :)


  3. I love this post! I was just at a friend's house today who is feeling exactly the way you described. I'm going to email her a link to this post so she can glean from your wisdom! Thanks, Dawn!
    -Jennifer (

  4. loved hearing you at ENOCH this past weekend. Thank you for all the great advice and encouragement!

  5. Thank you for this post! I followed the link you posted on the FB MFW group. Your ideas are so full of wisdom!

  6. Katherine Holmes5:57 PM

    Thanks for this post. Tried and true wisdom, good to read each and every new school year.


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