ParentingBack To School15 Must-Know Tips and Tools for Homeschooling Moms

15 Must-Know Tips and Tools for Homeschooling Moms

Homeschooling can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s also challenging. Whether you’re new to homeschooling or you’re an old pro, being resourceful can make the job easier and increase your chances of success. Take a look at these 15 tips and tools for homeschooling moms… and then share them with your friends!

1. Ditch your schedule and create checklists.

In some homes, it’s nearly impossible to stick to a strict schedule, but when you don’t, you feel like you’ve failed. If you’re a homeschooling mom who is also taking care of a newborn, it can be extremely hard to balance study lessons with caregiving. Consider replacing a strict schedule with checklists, or try using student clipboards instead.

2. Keep toddlers engaged.

Nothing will wreck a lesson like a screaming toddler. Keep plenty of fresh learning activities on hand to keep your youngster content. Trading sitting services with another homeschool parent is also a great way to keep your little one from disturbing the learning environment.

3. Get the best internet you can.

Just like in a traditional school, technology is a critical part of the homeschool classroom. To make use of
online learning tools like games and videos, you need a reliable connection and the highest speed you can get to enable uninterrupted streaming. Plus, studies have found a positive correlation between faster Internet connection speeds and higher ACT scores.

4. Set up parental controls.

Being homeschooled, your kids will likely have more access to technology, like television and Internet. If you haven’t done so already, set up parental controls to keep them safe and focused. Take a look at this helpful Kids’ Internet Safety Center for guidance on easy things you can do to keep your children safe while they’re online.

5. Attend book fairs.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of a curriculum, attending a book fair is a great way to do so. If you can’t make it to a book fair, periodically scan a site like Rainbowresrouce.com for a wealth of bargain curriculum books on nearly every topic. This will also give your kids an opportunity to meet other homeschoolers and maybe even make a new playmate.

6. Learn alongside your children.

You aren’t expected to be an expert in every subject. Make learning challenging subjects a family endeavor and you’ll not only expand your knowledge, you’ll also send the message that learning is a lifelong process. For instance, try learning a language or a musical instrument in the home.

7. Teach science to multiple ages simultaneously.

Science is a notoriously time consuming subject. Instead of teaching your children independently, use a tool like Elemental Science to instruct them all at once.

8. Consider year-round school.

Year-round school can help lighten your schooling schedule, which may help your kids have an easier time learning, plus give you extra time to run errands. If year-round school won’t work for your family, a four day school week is another option. Your days are a bit longer, but you’re rewarded with one day to catch up on chores or enjoy an impromptu trip to the park.

9. Get creative with daily writing.

Journaling is a great way to encourage school aged kids to express themselves, but journaling everyday can get monotonous. From writing their own folktale to laughing through online Mad Libs, let them chose an alternative to journaling once or twice per week.

10. Use a snack system.

A school day snack system like this one is a lifesaver for a homeschool mom because it lets kids decide what they want to eat (among pre-approved choices) so you don’t have to deal with arguments at snack time. ChooseMyFood app is another way to help your kids choose smart snacks without snack time drama.

11. Learn about alternative education philosophies.

When it comes to choosing the right education philosophy, it’s not one size fits all. Get familiar with some of the most time-tested approaches to learning so you’ll be prepared if your current approach stops being effective.

12. Get active.

It’s important that your homeschool routine includes time to be active. Not only does daily physical activity helps kids burn off energy, it also helps them form a healthy habit. Consider buying every family member an activity tracker, and use it as a learning tool to help teach lessons about nutrition and exercise.

13. Enjoy a road trip to a National Park.

One of the advantages of homeschooling is having the flexibility to do things, like go on a road trip to a National Park. So, have your kids help plan one a few times per year. They can set a budget, plan food and drink, and teach each other about the place you’ll visit. To cut costs, consider buying a National Park Pass. For $80 you’ll enjoy access to nearly 400 of America’s most interesting (and educational) places.

14. Improve safety and security in and outside of your home.

As a homeschooling family, you’re spending a significant part of your day in and around your home. That means it’s especially important to beef up your home’s safety and security. You should also consider investing in a GPS safety device to keep kids safe and sound on homeschool field trips, play dates and outings to the playground.

15. Assign rotating duties.

Homeschooling gives you a lot of opportunity to teach your kids life skills, like loading the dishwasher and folding the laundry. But doing the same chore week after week is boring, so rotate duties and you’ll hear less complaining. Plus, your kids conquer even more skills this way.

Homeschooling is a huge undertaking, even for the most organized parent. Try some of these tips and tools that help make the learning process more efficient, comprehensive, and most of all, more fun!

Clair Jones is an urban homesteader with a passion for DIY home decor, gourmet cooking, gardening and sustainable living. To see more of her work follow her on Twitter or Google+

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