Homeschooling can be super fun but it’s also a big job! You’re spending your days juggling a lot of other people’s needs. And when you do this day after day for years, you can run out of steam.
For your family to homeschool successfully for the long haul, you need to set yourself up to thrive! How can you do that? Here are ten ideas for you….
1/ Start with your vision for your child and your family
Homeschooling is about learning together as a family. And that works really well because you are the expert on your family. The more you get clear on what you want your days to look like together, the more you’ll be a confident and happy homeschool parent.
Start with your vision for your family, and don’t let any curriculum or method boss you around!
2/ Build self-care into your plan
Before you make your outrageous list of all the parenting + home + homeschooling things you need to do each day (c’mon, you do this too, right?).
In order for your family to thrive, mama needs some time to take care of herself. And if you try to squeeze this in after you create your homeschool plan, you might decide there just isn’t the time in the day. But lack of self-care for weeks (and years) on end leads to exhaustion, stress, burn-out, and wondering why you don’t have energy and you’re not having fun with your kids.
Self-care basics are sleep, nourishing food, moving your body every day, plus whatever that thing is that makes you feel like a rockstar. And whether self-care is happening with your kids, in front of your kids, or while they’re sleeping, planning to make this happen will set you up to thrive and show your children how that’s done.
3/ Go outside
This is another self-care basic for people of all ages! Your children need time outside every day, but don’t forget to go outside yourself.
If thriving feels like a reach for you right now, start by just going outside more. See what adding a walk to your day, time in the garden, and taking parts of your homeschool routine outdoors does to lift your spirits.
4/ Don’t go for perfect
Whether it’s self-care or homeschooling, mamas can put a lot of pressure on themselves to do it perfectly – and of course no one can thrive under that kind of pressure.
One of my daughters tends to be a perfectionist with an all-or-nothing approach to life (I can relate, can you?). So one of our most important school rules is, “We do our best, but we don’t go for perfect.” That goes for mama, too! It’s been immensely helpful all around.
5/ Do things you all love to do
I’ve noticed that sometimes homeschool planning skips an important question: What do you love to do? As individuals and as a family, what lights you up? Chances are you’re learning a lot when you engage with activities you love, so don’t crowd them out of your homeschool day!
6/ Focus on the positive
Thriving as a homeschooling mama often starts with just choosing to enjoy all the positives in your life right now! If you find yourself tending towards worry, guilt, or stress, remind yourself to focus on the positive. What’s going well right now? What are you looking forward to? What are you grateful for? What kind of day will you choose to have? You do have the power to focus your thoughts, and this in turn will change your feelings.
This might take a lot of effort and practice! If it isn’t a habit for you, try giving yourself a mantra to work with. It might be something simple like, “I choose to focus on the positive,” or it might address a source of stress for you, such as “We homeschool for us, not to impress the neighbors.”
7/ Have a crash plan
Oh, we all have those days! When it feels like a slog and cheerful industry is a distant memory, see it for what it is – you all need a break!
Your crash plan is your backpocket list of all the ways you can shift the energy in your home. What will help you re-connect and re-engage when nothing seems to be working? What will refresh everyone’s spirits so you can get back into rhythm?
You might go outside for a walk or a run through the sprinklers, get out the lavender oil and snuggle on the couch for read aloud, head to a special spot or park for a picnic, go get ice cream, put on sparkle stories while mama takes a nap….plan ahead with a crash plan so you can get back on track when needed (and no feelings of failure required).
8/ Find great resources
Look for curriculum or resources that help you feel supported and confident, not more overwhelmed or confused. If you find yourself burning the midnight oil to prepare for lessons, think about how you can simplify and get more support. The right resources will save you a huge amount of time and energy, and this frees you up to focus on your family.
If you’re interested in the Lavender’s Blue curriculum, I’m hosting a Q&A call tomorrow Saturday June 24th at 3pm ET. I would love to connect with you and answer any questions you have about Lavender’s Blue!
9/ Find a supportive community
People need community to thrive! I’ve homeschooled in three different places now so I know how much local homeschool support can vary. Your community doesn’t have to be big, or even local. But it sure does help to have people to connect with.
We’re putting together more options to connect with your Lavender’s Blue community this summer, and we’ll keep you posted! Right now we’re enrolling for our Third Grade Co-op, and open to creating more co-ops for this school year if there’s enough interest (so do let us know what age/grade level you’re looking for).
10/ Pull it all together with Rhythm
Rhythm helps you thrive in so many ways. When you have a rhythm for your days and weeks, you don’t have to be constantly making decisions or figuring out when it will all get done. Your children know what to expect and this helps them settle into their learning and play. There’s less negotiating, arguing, and issuing orders when the rhythm is guiding your day.
Your rhythm is unique to your family and built on your priorities. Remember our number one way to thrive? Start with your vision for your family, and create your rhythm from there. Remember our number two way to thrive? Build self-care into your plan first. And so on. Rhythm pulls it all together.
Need help getting started with rhythm? I’m working on a Rhythm Quick Start Guide for you…coming soon!
So that was ten ideas for you on how to thrive as a homeschooler. And I can’t help it, just one more….give yourself grace, mama. You’ve got this! xo, Kelly