HEY FRIENDS!!! I know many of you are in the same boat as me – thrown into homeschooling… not planned, not at all prepared… and all the while we are supposed to continue raising toddlers and preschoolers… and potentially keep working! holy smokes! i reached out to a friend who said she would LOVE to offer some tips to those of us who are new to this whole homeschooling gig.. so here they are.. .and thank you Alicia for giving us some of your wisdom!!!!
Hello! My name is Alicia and I a mom of three boys! I have known Lauren for quite a few years, working together as nurses at Albany Medical Center. I have also been homeschooling for quite a few years and Lauren asked me to write a little blog post for all you new-to-homeschooling moms with some tips and helpful hints. First of all, I want to say, you CAN do this! I know your life is probably turned a little upside down, but I think it’s all about perspective. Really, at the end of the day, we all wish we could spend more time with our kids… okay, well maybe not this much time! But enjoy the days you have. My boys are 12, 10 and 7. I can’t believe how fast time goes. Enjoy the little things. Enjoy the silly jokes. Enjoy being asked the same question over and over again. At the end of the day, it is going to be what you make it. If you spend the day complaining, your children will pick up on it! But if you try to find the good, even in hard situations, your children will learn to do the same. They really do learn so much from us as parents. For us, homeschooling is a lifestyle.
I do have an advantage because I’ve been doing it for a while. Just like having a newborn and growing as a mother as your child grows, so is the same with homeschooling. I wasn’t just thrown into seventh, fifth and first grade all at once. I have been homeschooling since my oldest started kindergarten. All my boys did two years at a traditional preschool. If your child is preschool age, really just have fun! Make crafts, read to them, sing songs, read to them, play games, read to them!! For elementary ages, I think the process of learning is just as important as what they are learning. There are frustrating days, and its okay. But if a math problem, or that sentence in a reader, or that topic for an assignment is causing tears, know it’s okay to take a break.
Encourage learning, but also encourage character! Some days the best lessons aren’t even learned in books. One tip I recommend is to develop a routine, not necessarily a schedule. Schedules are great, but routines help the day have order even if you spend an extra 15 minutes on something and get “off schedule.” Routines bring order and consistency for your child. If your day starts at 6am or 9am, the routine can be the same. My routine may not work for the age(s) of your children but you will find one that does. It really is like having a newborn. The first couple weeks are rough, but you will fall into a pattern. Hopefully your children will be back to their regular schools soon, but if not, finding a routine will help! We always start our day with brushing teeth and making beds. Sometimes the boys get dressed, some days they stay in PJ’s. But they don’t start playing, or breakfast, or schooling, until teeth are brushed and bed is made. We also limit screen time. All school must be done, as well as a daily chore, before they are allowed on screens. That is what works for us. My 7th grader currently uses a computer based program, so other than checking up on him, grading and helping with “homework”, he is pretty independent. For my 5th grader I fill out a planner to keep track of his daily work. I do allow him the freedom to work ahead or save stuff for another day (within reason) as long as every thing is complete at the end of the week. I spend the most hands on with my first grader. He is an emerging reader, loves math manipulates and we spend a good portion of our time with me reading to him.
Homeschooling really is like a part time job, so you should plan on a couple hours a day with elementary grades. If you are working full time from home too, you might need to plan a homeschool routine around your work hours. I will say from experience, the mornings are when children seem to focus best. For some free resources you can check out your local library’s website, and/or see kidsoutandabout.com for virtual field trip ideas. If you are on facebook there is a homeschool group called “Capital District NY Homeschoolers” you may want to join. It’s a great place for questions and to get ideas! I wanted to go back to making beds… because now may also be a good time to develop your own cleaning routine.
Being home all day with children definitely causes more messes! I personally follow The Clean Mama routine. She can be found on Instagram @cleanmama or her blog cleanmama.com I have been following her daily habits and cleaning routine for almost 2 years and have found it very helpful. A little bit every day keeps you from spending hours on the weekend, or feeling overwhelmed, cleaning. Another helpful hint is to remember to take care of YOU. I am a firm believer that we can’t give out of empty. You can’t homeschool, let alone parent, if you aren’t taking care of yourself. A little “me” time everyday is not selfish. It is so helpful to have balance. Even if you children are younger they don’t need to occupy all of your time. Set them up with an activity or have them spend room time playing while you take 30-45 minutes on you. Workout, read, any activity you enjoy that helps you feel good about yourself! I hope if you are reading this, you stay safe, take care of yourself and enjoy the benefits of homeschooling during these crazy times! Make the days a time for you children to look back and remember in a positive way!
Thank you Alicia for your guidance!! Anyone looking to connect with Alicia further – check her out on IG @snowdens_at_school. And if you’re looking for a fun activity to complete with your kids sign up here to get the LKP Kids Photo Scavenger Hunt!!
Do you or someone you know want to be featured on the LKP blog?? We are looking for lifestyle tips – home decor, parenting… and all things in between for a few upcoming features… get in touch with me!