The 7 Secrets to Peaceful and Productive Homeschooling
WITHOUT Yelling, Bribery, or Sweets
You CAN Do This. And I’m Here to Help
Who Am I?
Hey there! I’m Jasmyn, a homeschooling wife and mom of three kiddos ages 2, 4, and 7. We’ve been homeschooling since 2020 and have been learning and growing together ever since. I also work full-time as an engineer and Scrum Master in good ‘ole corporate America. I have a great passion for teaching my children and I want to help empower other families by sharing ways to make homeschooling a priority, even while both parents work full-time.
How I got here
In 2020, our family, like many others, was thrust into the world of homeschooling. While we’d been doing “homeschool after school” with our oldest, it was nothing like trying to navigate managing our careers while educating our little ones. We’ve taken on the challenge and hope to share our trials and triumphs with you as we continue on our journey.
My Best 7 Tips
“Okay, now with that out of the way, I’m super excited to share the top 7 secrets I discovered on my OWN path to achieving homeschooling success. Let’s start with #1
Secret #1: Create a Flexible Homeschool Routine
When we first started officially homeschooling, I created a beautiful schedule with blocks of time set aside for focused lessons. I mounted it on the wall in our homeschool room and it was a COMPLETE failure.
I found that I was trying to fit our life into that of the “ideal” homeschooling family where the mom has hours at a time to dedicate to homeschooling. Our days look nothing like that.
With my work schedule, I try to pack in as much learning as I can in 30-45 minute chunks in-between my meetings. We do 3-4 of those sessions throughout the day, and if everything is not done by noon, it’s OK. We get it done within an hour of me finishing my workday.
Is it ideal? Absolutely not! But in a home where we both work full-time, we do the best we can, and I’m happy to say, our children are able to stay challenged, engaged, and excelling without the rigid schedule.
Secret #2 Open-and-Go Curriculum Choices
The overwhelming number of curriculum choices for each grade and subject area is dizzying! When prepping for our first full homeschooling year, I was overwhelmed when selecting the perfect curricula for my children.
When homeschooling while working from home, I recommend that you select either a complete curriculum set or choose as many open-and-go curricula as you can, especially when you are just starting out.
We’ve chosen to pick a variety of resources per subject and per grade, but a few things I ALWAYS look out for are how much prep work is required, the length of the lessons, and how involved the teacher must be throughout the lessons.
Keeping these things in mind will help you make the right choices for your homeschool!
Check out these Complete Homeschool Curriculum Kits to get you started!
Secret #3: Clearly Communicate the Plan for the Day
While we got rid of our strict homeschool schedule, we do have a plan of action for each day. Since the kiddies are still very young, this is as simple as writing the list of lessons for the day on our whiteboard. As they complete them, they are happy to cross them out, add a check mark, or whatever helps them feel accomplished for the day.
Along with our daily list, my husband and I communicate our work schedules with each other and the children at the start of the day. In doing this, they know when I have meetings for which I need to be completely focused or facilitating and when Hubby needs to get back into his office.
When I’m in meetings, I switch off with Hubby or have the kids do independent work or quiet activities while I take a moment to focus on work.
It can still feel a bit chaotic, but taking a moment to communicate our schedules at the start and throughout the day keeps us prepared for what needs to happen next.
Check out our favorite peel-and-stick whiteboard for writing our simple daily checklist!
Secret #4: Plan for Interruptions
Even with our relaxed schedule, interruptions can still throw us off a bit. Not long ago, we had a huge tree removed from our backyard. This caused massive distractions for the kids (and us) for two days. To prepare, I planned to do more bookwork for those days and allowed the kids to spend time watching the tree guys do their work and watch our tree slowly disappear.
Like this experience, inevitably someone gets sick, work deadlines move up, impromptu meetings will be scheduled, and two-year-old will have tantrums; sometimes all in one day.
To be proactive, have lessons and activities that you can pull out at a moment’s notice to keep the kiddies learning. For my oldest, I have fun writing prompts, logic workbooks/games, etc. that will help her practice skills and keep her entertained.
For my younger sons, I have their favorite coloring books, fun handwriting lessons, sensory bins, and learning binders, to help them develop skills and stay engaged.
Being even slightly prepared allows you to take a breath when the unexpected happens and pivot quickly.
Here are some STEM Activities that can keep your kiddos entertained and learning for hours!
Secret #5: Help to Grow Your Child’s Independence
One piece of advice I heard when researching homeschooling is to help your child gain independence early on. At first, I wasn’t sure about the concept. I thought I needed to be 100% hands-on for each lesson, each day.
While that is partially true, particularly in the early years, there is a fair amount of independence your child can develop even in the preschool stage.
Having our daily list of lessons, allows my older children to know what lesson is next or to skip around depending on what’s happening. If I’m in a meeting they can continue on to an independent lesson, saving questions for later and we can review together when I have a break.
They are also empowered to do other things for themselves; like grab an approved healthy snack, get water to drink, get dressed, take their dishes to the sink, clear the table, etc. Having them learn to do these things limits the interruptions to Hubby and me when we are in the middle of work and allows the kids to gain more and more independence.
Check out “I Can Do It!: Kids Talk About Courage” to help your kids gain confidence in themselves.
Secret #6: Find a Great Co-op Group or Lean on Others
If there is one thing I know, is that I DO NOT know all. Homeschooling constantly reminds me of this fact.
Aside from finding curricula that will help teach concepts quickly and simply, I have also sought out a co-op that can teach or reinforce when I am lacking in skill or time.
Our co-op has great classes for hands-on experiments and physical activity, and art projects that tend to take a backseat when my work schedule comes into play.
Another great thing about finding a co-op is that the kids will have more interactions with kids their age.
Take a step back and think about areas that could be “outsourced” and take advantage of co-ops or family members that can help fill in those gaps.
Remember, it takes a village to raise a child. You don’t have to do it all alone!
Secret #7: Remember Why You’re Doing This
I’m sure you and your family have a million reasons why you have chosen to homeschool while working full-time.
In the moments when you are overwhelmed and ask yourself why you would do this to yourself and your family (and I do, at least once a week), remind yourself of those reasons.
Write your reasons down in a journal or post them on a wall in your home. Keep them easily accessible, so you can quickly be reminded of your “why’s”.
This will help you stay centered and motivated to keep going!
See our reasons for homeschooling while working full-time at home!
YOU CAN DO THIS!
No matter what your homeschool days look like, there are ways to make it all more manageable. Focus on customizing your routine to fit your needs and putting in place systems to make your life easier. Let’s continue this work-from-home homeschooling journey together!