I got it easy right now. All I have left in my little homeschool is one kid and she already loves to read and do math, although she doesn’t really like the latter. Ten years ago was a different story, because I had four. Two of them had Special Needs, but we were only aware that one of them probably did. The one I have left at home now was a baby then.
Darn-right, it was hard! Check out the book above, my very favorite babycare book.
So, what’d we do? Well, first off, we sent the eldest to a private school. The two middles were already doing well on their skill set, reading and math. The youngest was a newborn, but really easygoing and a happy girl. I swear, she was trying to chase her siblings playing while still in the womb! I’d lay there on the sofa, pregnant, like a beached whale. The two middles would race by laughing and my unborn baby would flip over inside my womb, responding to their noise. No one can tell me the unborn are not really human beings, alive and unique. I know the truth first-hand.
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Anyway, the key to getting through your homeschool day is to set Priorities, establish Routines, and Schedule.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to get a grip on the reality that if you’re going to homeschool it must take priority over a clean house, your social life, and basically everything.
You may or may not have time to pee. In all likeliness, you will never again pee alone, if you have dogs, cats, or little humans under the age of three.
But, I digress.
Nevertheless, the family’s gotta eat and have clean clothes to wear. You’ll develop a Survival Mode when it comes to housekeeping. Ordering take-out is expensive, so you’ll need to hit YouTube and learn how to make really cheap and easy meals. Also, take the time to train children to do chores.
Make a list of priorities for Homeschool, chores, et cetera.
If you can, start when they’re babies. Most are born with an inner rhythm, which are messed up by well-meaning parents rushing in to take over. I get that. I used to hover over my sleeping babies’ bassinet too. The fact is babies are born with certain instincts and abilities to self-soothe and settle into life outside the womb. We can coax them into a routine with the rest of the family with the right foreknowledge. It’s going to take a few weeks, but it can be done. To begin with, trim their newborn nails and don’t cover their hands. Their first inborn skill is to suck. My babies only needed pacifiers for the first few weeks. Once they gained control over their hands, they were all set for self-soothing.
Sleep Eat Activity
This is the basic routine for six month olds and six year olds alike. If your six month old always falls asleep eating, there’s still work to do.
During chore training is a great time to make sure everyone is settled on the basic routing. Wake the darlings at the same time every morning, feed them breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner at the same time every day. Naptimes should be at the same time every afternoon.
Big Tip: Insist on Quiet Time even after your children grow out of the need for naps!!!!!!!! They may not need to rest, BUT YOU DO!!!!!!!!!
Okay, so once the chore training and daily routine is set, it’s time to move onto the final phase.
You’ve carefully chosen the best curriculum you can afford for your children, now you need to break it down into usable chunks. If you bought an already structured curriculum, like Alpha Omega or Beautiful Feet, this is relatively straightforward.
First of all, make sure your little ones have something to do too. Don’t leave them out or they will protest. Loudly. And likely throw everyone off for the day. My son, as a toddler, used to bring me his coloring book to check because he saw his older sisters bringing me their workbooks to check. You’ll be amazed at how much your little ones will pick up from their siblings!
The hours may differ, but here was our basic schedule from back then:
Circle Time (Pledge of Allegience, Prayer, Bible Reading, Memory Work like States & Capitals)
Recess or Outing to the Library, Park, or Thrift Store
History or Science (alternated, one day for reading and writing, the other for projects and experiments)
Lunch & Big Recess
Nap or Quiet Time
Bible (as a subject)
And there were outings too, library, thrift stores, and Field Trips, just us and with other families. Shopping is great for math!
Another Big Tip: Organize the daily schedule around YOUR strengths and weaknesses. For example, I’m a Morning Person and I hate math, so we do math first and get it out of the way, while the more independent subjects are in the afternoon when I’m tired.
I got started on my path to homeschool scheduling by an ultra-conservative family with eight children. You might find their resources helpful too. Just remember to be respectful, if your beliefs are different.
Last Big Tip: Pad the Schedule. By that, I mean add an extra fifteen minutes every other hour or so. This is to provide time for disasters, which will happen regularly. Without padding, you’d find yourself in a big hole and your children way behind their grade level, because disasters ate up all your time pretty much every day. If you don’t end up with a disaster, the reward is an extra fifteen minutes of recess for them to burn energy and you to drink more coffee.
So there you have it, Blog Buds. Remember, don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes. This is really hard work during a really difficult time. You can only do your personal best.
Be Brave, Be Kind.
P.S. Bonus Big Tip: You’re going to get sick, exhausted, and wiped out. Plan for that. Nap on the sofa while your little darlings watch educational TV. And don’t you feel guilty about it! Not one little bit!
P.S. Second Bonus Big Tip: If your spouse underestimates the extraordinary strain and hard work you do, write down every little thing you do for an entire 24 hours. I mean everything, like trying to pee with a toddler screaming and climbing on you. Everything. Take lots of pictures. Show these things to him or her. If he or she still doesn’t get it, announce that on the next day off you’re going to have fun while he or she stays home with the kids. And then go, and don’t look back. I’ve found this isn’t such a big problem now as it used to be, since so many non-homeschoolers are suddenly having to do it. Oh. Wow. Yeah.