True or false: Homeschooling always fits into neat, day-size compartments and schedules?
Um, that would be false.
False for me, anyway.
Homeschooling is not always routine, neat, or predictable! However, when my days reach over the line and cross into consistent chaos territory, I stop and evaluate a few things.
Usually, the solution lies somewhere-between-the-lines in my honest responses to these three questions:
1. Am I too distracted?
As a homeschooling mom of five young children, a blogger, and a pastor’s wife, I would say there is always some degree of “distraction” in my life on any given day!
But when homeschooling begins to feel like total confusion on a regular basis, I push back and ask myself: What am I really focusing on?
Am I making morning school time a high priority in my day?
Or am I trying to multi-task too many other responsibilities/projects alongside homeschooling?
It doesn’t take much to derail my children’s focus if my own focus is bouncing all over the place.
Making “school time” an intentional priority creates boundaries in my time and my children’s time. I consistently find that this one, single habit eliminates a lot of needless confusion in our homeschool days.
2. Am I sufficiently planning ahead?
I’m a big-picture girl, so “planning ahead” for me is pretty basic stuff:
A calendar outlining how many weeks of school we’re going to do in a year.
A monthly calendar denoting any days off for field trips, family days, etc.
A weekly lesson plan outlining how much school work we need to wrap up by Friday.
If I fail to plan for my year, month, and week, chaos ensues.
How do I know I’m on track if I don’t even have a plan?
How many pages is my second grader supposed to do in math on Tuesday?
How does my sixth grader know she’s done for the day if there is no lesson plan?
I’m not one to get bogged down in the nitty gritty details of homeschooling, but I do need a basic plan. Without a simple structure, our days quickly derail!
Most weeks, I spend about 45 minutes writing out a lesson plan for each of my four school-age children. Blocking out this time slot on a Friday evening or Saturday afternoon pays off huge dividends in the next week!
I generally use a basic calendar-style page for my lesson plans, but here’s a beautiful Ultimate Homeschool Planner from Rainbow Resource.
3. Do I have a quiet heart or a contentious spirit?
Let’s face it, folks: most of the bad attitudes in our kids are a reflection of our own dispositions.
It’s not easy to admit sometimes, but very often our homes feel chaotic because we are failing to discipline our own thoughts, habits, and attitudes as parents.
Think about it:
Do you frequently raise your voice in anger at your kids?
Do you complain, gripe and argue a lot?
Do you manage your time wisely when it comes to social media, staring at the screen on your smart phone, or getting to bed at a descent hour so you’re refreshed for the next day?
I realize that we all probably struggle in one or all of these areas from time to time, and that’s okay. We’re humans.
But, during those times when my home has consistently felt like chaos… I had to be brave enough to get painfully honest with myself.
A chaotic family life sets a very difficult atmosphere for homeschooling. I might say, it can be impossible! Let’s do ourselves and our children the favor of setting some practical priorities and guidelines for how we manage our homes.
Chaos is sometimes an unavoidable part of life, but it doesn’t have to be the norm!