The new school year is here and homeschool prep is at the forefront of our minds. This may be your first homeschool year and you’re wondering how to get started. How can you homeschool if you’ve never done it before? These 5 essential steps will show you how to homeschool easily throughout the year!
We often start the year with good intentions, meticulous plans and well-prepared resources. However, after a few weeks, we risk the ‘homeschool slump’ when the enthusiasm dips and the good intentions we started out with are difficult to maintain. With these 5 key steps, you’ll be in control of your homeschool life!
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1. Work out your daily rhythm
To discover how to homeschool in the best way possible you must realise that everyone is different. There is no one correct way to do things, so spend some time figuring out what works best for you and your family.
During the day, structure your homeschool subjects in a way that makes the most sense for your child. If your children are more focused in the morning, get the difficult topics (like maths) out of the way first. If your children start to get a little tired around early afternoon, use that time for gentle and relaxing Poetry Time.
Figuring out what works best will go a long way in keeping your days as stress-free as possible. Your rhythm may change throughout the year – you might enjoy Poetry Time over breakfast! And that’s fine. If you pay attention to how your children respond to their subjects, you’ll know instinctively when and how you need to change things up.
Related: Homeschool Poetry – Why bother?
2. Establish morning and evening routines
Even before you start homeschooling, it’s a good idea to get your whole family into a routine for each day. Routines are very different from schedules! Schedules can be restrictive by dictating what gets done and for how long, and if you have a bad day (and let’s be honest, the reality of homeschooling is things rarely go according to plan!) then the whole schedule can fly out of the window leaving you more stressed and unorganised than before!
Routines are different. Routines tell you what order to do things. This gentle structure is very helpful for children in keeping them grounded and focused. They are able to relax by anticipating what comes next in their day – whatever time that may be!
Incorporate a routine in the morning before you start school. For example, your children have to make their bed, eat breakfast, help clear the table and then get their school things out.
When it comes to the evening, nothing helps kids wind down for a good night’s sleep like a stable evening routine. As mothers, we are used to using a bedtime routine to help babies sleep through the night, but older children benefit from a bedtime routine just as much. For example: Once they finish their work for the day, they can put away their school things, eat dinner, clear the table, tidy up their toys, have a bath, read in bed, and then lights out.
A routine is the perfect way to add structure to your day without the restrictions of a tight schedule that can easily go off track.
If you’d like to know more about using routines in your day, I talk about it more here!
Related: Productivity and Time Management for Homeschool Mums
3. How to Homeschool and get the chores done too
Chores are something we all hope and pray we can implement with our children, but day after day we find ourselves overwhelmed with housework and it seems like no one is helping! When trying to homeschool, it can be extremely difficult to focus on enjoying the time educating your kids when a long list of chores is distracting you.
By distributing manageable chores across your children, you achieve a number of things:
⭐It’s less stressful for you when you know certain things are taken care of.
⭐It instils a sense of responsibility amongst your kids.
⭐They develop a meticulous love and care of their home and bedroom.
⭐Home economics is an extremely valuable homeschool subject. Giving your children chores will teach them life skills which will prove to be priceless in their older years.
Consider adding ‘Chore Time’ to your daily routine so you can better relax and focus on quality time with your children.
4. Plan your meals
Staying with the theme of organisation, meal planning goes a long way in keeping you in control. I talk about how to implement meal planning into your homeschool in my podcast: Raising Mums – Run Your Home Like A Boss
By knowing the week’s menu, you can plan your shopping ahead of time and only buy the items you need each week. This way, you save money and reduce the amount of food that goes to waste!
Get your children involved by asking them which meals they would like to have. Your older children could even help prepare a meal each week. This is a great opportunity for them to learn those all-important life skills!
I use a fantastic online meal planning tool called PLAN TO EAT. If you would like to try it out, they are currently running a 30-day FREE TRIAL!
CLICK HERE to sign up!
Related: Podcast- Run Your Home Like a Boss
5. How to plan your homeschool year
Planning is essential when homeschooling. You need to have an idea what you will use each day, otherwise you find yourself constantly frazzled trying to get resources ready on time.
It can be very easy to fall down the ‘homeschool rabbit hole’ when looking online. The longer you search the more excited are to try every curriculum and every downloadable resource you can find. Whilst this is thrilling at first, after a while you quickly become burnt out by the amount of activities, eBooks, and videos you have at your disposal.
It’s impossible to predict what your entire year has in store for you, but you can find the balance between structured organisation and having freedom to change things when you need to:
⭐Yearly: Each year, have a loose plan for how you will homeschool. This plan includes books you will read, Maths and Phonics programmes, Science and History topics, etc.
⭐Every 6 weeks: This is where you can be more detailed. Using the topics and programmes you’ve already chosen, plan 6 weeks in detail. Which subtopics will you cover? Which pages of those books do you need? Which activities and worksheets need to be prepared? Gather everything together and note down your plan so each day your mind is clear, and you know exactly how to homeschool that day.
Remember, you can’t possibly do everything! So, pick the topics you want and prepare the activities you can realistically get done.
Want to know more about planning? Check out Homeschool Planning 101.
Related: Podcast-Homeschool Planning 101
What advice would you give?
When it comes to homeschooling, countless people have plenty of advice! We all need help from other homeschool mums, so please share your advice in the comments below.
What steps do you find essential when starting your homeschooling year? How do you homeschool successfully?
Share with us in the comments below!