20+ Thoughts For the Busy Homeschool Family… Remember…

Sometimes I need some homeschooling encouragement. Here are some things I need to remember as we race through our day…

  1. Think about dinner in the morning — That tops my list because having dinner planned (or better yet, waiting in a crockpot!) makes the end of my day SO much better! The education is important, but keeping the family healthy, happy and on track really has to top my list about what to keep in mind.
  2. Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel (Socrates). — I love that quote… it reminds me that I don’t “teach” my kids, I help facilitate their learning.
  3. Relax and have fun – There are so many things we *could* do — math, writing, spelling… but it’s not supposed to be a race to finish. We need to enjoy the learning process!
  4. Play and Creativity Are Important Too! – Schoolwork is not the do-all end-all. I need to make sure the kids have their own quiet time and solitude, that they have plenty of time outside and that they have plenty of unstructured playtime with friends.  (So yes, J, let’s have a playdate this Friday!!!)
  5. Don’t Compare — I have absolutely amazing network homeschooling friends, family, and role models, not to mention the top blogs and great pin-boards I read. I need to remember to take words of wisdom and ideas from others, but not to assume that their ways are better. We each have our own homeschool style.  I need to remember not to berate myself for things not done or worry that we’re doing things differently (than schools or other homeschooling families).  
  6. Don’t Spend All Day and Night Thinking about Homeschooling! — My homeschooling friend, K, and I have had huge laughs about this! And, since I also blog about homeschooling it’s not easy turning off.  For my own sanity and for the sake of my family, I need to leave the curriculum worries/thoughts/ideas/inspirations at the (homeschool room) door!! I need to take the time to explore and follow my own passions, interests and needs.
  7. Encourage the kids – J.W. Goethe said it best back in 1768… “Instruction does much, but encouragement everything.” By the end of this homeschooling journey, I want the kids to have a unshakable belief in themselves. My job is to encourage the kids build their strength and skills so in the end they are strong, self-reliant adults. 
  8. If it’s not working, change it up – When a curriculum isn’t working (and encouragement just isn’t working!)… it’s important not to be rigid about it.  Find a new approach, shelf it, read a book instead, but don’t force the kids through it just because it’s there.
  9. It’s Not Always Easy — There are days when the house is a disaster, the dishes are undone, the kids are arguing, the attitudes aren’t positive.  That’s normal and okay.  (Now I’m going to say this to myself again… It’s not always easy–and that’s normal and that’s okay!)
  10. Kids Learn Best by Experience and Involvement — Ben Franklin said it best, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
  11. If they’re grumpy – Remember, so am I sometimes, and they need hugs and patience not a mirror (ie. a grumpy attitude from me for not loving every suggestion I make!)  
  12. Enjoy the Freedom — When field trip opportunities come up — let’s seize the day. When family comes to town — let’s make the most of those visits and not begrudge the math left undone.   
  13. Live in the Moment — Remember to smile and appreciate these wonderful kids by my side!
  14. I make mistakes sometimes — But I always try to remember to say I’m sorry.
  15. Everyone has self-doubt — That’s why I have friends, mentors, books to reach for, groups to chat with, a spouse to run things by… When I need that encouragement, I need to remember to reach out. And, when I’m worrying too much… refer back to #6 above (Don’t spend all day and night thinking about homeschooling!)
  16. Sometimes We Need Help — Confession time — my house looks lovely right now because Grandma and Grandpa stopped by for a visit. BUT, a) Hubby and I killed ourselves to put the house in order last weekend and b) I can’t keep it this way (hardly ever).  I need to let go of my ego (or whatever it is that’s holding myself back) and get help to make it all happen. It’s okay to bring someone in to do those things that aren’t getting done (So… we have a handyman coming to change out some rotting boards on the porch… we have a carpet cleaning company to do the carpets… And –hardest of all to admit — we bought a groupon type thing to have someone come to help clean the house before our big, huge family reunion. It’s okay to get help.)
  17. Keep the Marriage Strong – The kids may be around all the time… but Hubby and I need to remember our relationship in all this… we definitely need to work on having more dates. We need to make sure we’re not just talking shop (kids/house/schedule/trips), but fostering our love, our partnership and our relationship.
  18. The kids are capable — They can help the family with chores… They can be self-starters… We need to all ensure this happens!
  19. Keep on Exercising – (Even when it seems like there’s “no time.”) The kids want me to live to be 1,000. Even if I’ll only live to be a small fraction of that, I need to take care of myself so I’m always as strong and healthy as possible! The best option… chase them around the yard, play tag, jump on the trampoline (even if my body flops in places it shouldn’t!).
  20. Life happens – Things come up that prevent school from happening — doctor’s appointments, illness, house repairs… you name it.  At that time, well I just have to remember not to stress out.
  21. Get everyone to bed as early as possible — A well rested family is a cheerful family!
  22. Homeschooling is a journey — This is the path we’ve chosen and homeschooling is not just about the subjects covered today… it’s about the entire experience as a whole.  
You might also enjoy these related posts:
To Homeschool You Need… (Love, To Believe in Ourselves…)
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