Who doesn’t like things that help make life easier, right? There are so many resources for homeschooling, it can easily feel a little overwhelming, rather than simpler to get it done.
Here’s a list of 21 things that make homeschooling easier – keep it handy for those days where you’re running around between chores, meal prep, activities and doing something educational.
Remember, the secret is to keep it simple.
Rome was not built in a day, neither was the wall of China. The lightbulb was not invented overnight either. All the best discoveries and learning moments take time and require presence of mind, attention, patience and care. So here’s the first thing that will make homeschooling easier:
1. Take the pressure off.
Everyone will tell you this, and you’ll tell yourself this every once in a while – take the pressure off. Your child cannot learn when he/she feels anxious and pressured. You will not adjust well to homeschooling any easier if you’re all stressed out, either. Take a breath. Stop comparing your homeschool journey with what everyone else is doing.
A little bit of pressure can be good, but too much of it can wreck your creativity to something that should be fun and enjoyable.
2. Prioritise what’s really important.
You cannot do it all. I know most of us try, but after a while, it burns you out. Take a look at where your child is at, and then decide what is the most important. For youngsters, usually working on language studies and math are the main priorities. There are various practical approaches to do this while including other subjects – for instance, unit studies.
For older children, priorities will be determined by their goals and examination dates (depending on how they want to graduate.
3. Set goals
Priorities are about deciding what to do now, and what not to do. Goal setting is about the bigger picture – it incorporates study priorities but also so much more. Think of your relationship with your child and the fun things you want to plan to help develop him/her as a person along the journey of homeschooling.
4. Create a routine.
Some parents lean towards a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach, which is fine if you get done what you set out to do. But if you’re a parent with children under the age of 6, a routine will serve you (and your sanity, I might add) much better.
A routine helps you and your children know what to expect when, and when you are able to get certain things done. It also decreases a lot of anxiety all around. For some tips on setting a routine, check out this post.
Your routine will change from time to time, and that’s fine. Change it until you find something that works. Teenagers should be encouraged to figure out their own time management for their studies (with guidance as appropriate), as this will prepare them for adult life.
5. Look for materials that suit your child’s learning style.
If your child is an auditory learner, book work is going to be difficult. If your child is a hands-on learner, give them something to make and do about whatever they are studying.
Ask other parents whose children are similar to yours what they use and go from there. Don’t spend a fortune on something that looks like the solution to ALL your study frustrations, only to discover the approach doesn’t suit your child’s learning style!
6. Use the time flexibility of homeschooling to your advantage.
Since you’re not stuck in the morning commute to school, you have extra time to use as you see fit. If that means doing a lesson or two in bed while cuddling your children, why not?
When you are driving somewhere, use the time to talk and ask constructive questions. The main point here is that you can use your time so differently from families whose children attend public school. You don’t have to cram studies into all of it (unless your child is all fired up to do so in pursuing something). You can take breaks. You can build relationship.
7. Ask for discounts!
In many countries, you can get certain discounts as a homeschooling parent/family for things like going to the ice-rink during off-peak times, going to nature parks and other excursions. You won’t know if you don’t ask, so be sure to ask!
As much as many of us would like to keep our children off of digital technology for the most part, the internet and the resources it brings are here to stay. So why not use it to your advantage? This may take a bit of work on your side to make sure your child is using the internet safely and using apps that are appropriate, but it can definitely be worth it.
Your child can be motivated to work through their lessons with a little screen-time, so make the screen-time fun and educational by choosing apps that stimulate their brains to think. Read this post for more helpful info on helpful homeschooling apps.
9. Other online resources
Aside from apps, you can of course make use of a huge amount of other resources online – curriculum providers, YouTube channels, Facebook groups, Instagram, groups where parents share activities, subject expertise and collaborate to arrange events, etc.
Let the internet help you. Be intentional about the information you look up and/or follow on different platforms. Connect with people who understand where you’re at and what you’re trying to do.
10. Teach your child life skills
Part of homeschooling (and all the time your child is not spending in public school) is learning about life skills. This can include things like learning about car maintenance, household repairs, how to make doctor’s appointments, how to do laundry, how to groom and take care of pets, learning about mom and dad’s work, etc.
Give your child some responsibilities around the house. Make the effort to give them instructions and training on certain chores, how they need to be done and why they need to be done in a certain way. Explain, show them, supervise them and then monitor and thank them.
Don’t do all the work on your own! Children are part of the family and should have a part in the household upkeep as well.
11. Remember to have fun and make memories
Homeschooling is also a personal journey. It’s about learning how to have fun and get the most out of life while learning about life. As adults, we can take life a little too seriously, too often. Take your cue from your children and remember to have fun.
Break the routine now and then and just take the children out for a day. Plan spontaneous little trips and surprises. Make memories. Give them a childhood that they will remember because they learned how to laugh, love, live, cry and carry on again, with you by their side. There’s nothing more wholesome than that sort of foundation.
Set a bucket list of experiences with your child and give yourselves something to look forward to!
12. Include your children in your business (where possible) or start a new one!
This is a topic that deserves a whole post on its own, because the benefits to introducing youngsters to entrepreneurship and the world of business at an early age are HUGE.
It also introduces your child to more of your world, strengthening the bond between you. It’s one thing to tell your child about your work, it’s something else for them to see it, to meet your colleagues, to get an idea of what goes into it all. It will also help encourage respect from your child for what you do to provide for them.
If this type of scenario is not possible for whatever reason, consider helping your child start a side-hustle, or having your child help you with a side-hustle. If you blog, show your child how to create pin images or how to schedule them on Tailwind. Show them how to create quotes and invoices. This type of introduction is invaluable!
Yes, yes, this topic along with minimalism is all the rage these days, but I think it may well make the most sense for moms of little ones. There are always things lying around. Why not tackle a decluttering project in your home and get your children in on it? You can make it fun if you set your mind to it. Teach them what it’s all about, and learn how to simplify, organise and automate the way things are done, cleaned and put away in your home. It can really lighten the mental load!
14. Meal plan
If life is a little hectic – whose isn’t? – get into meal planning. If your kids are too young, the planning and execution will be in your hands, but they’ll be able to help soon enough. Meal planning makes it possible to:
- eat healthier
- spend less money on takeout
- start a new diet plan
- try new recipes
- stop thinking about what’s for dinner after a long day!
Again, this is a topic that can be a post on its own, but the simplest approach to this is to simply make a list of your family’s favourite meals, and then simply drop them into a schedule for one week, two weeks or a month and then create a grocery list from there. Voila!
Communication makes everything easier – homeschooling, business, and relationships. Teach your child to communicate and be a role model.
Clarity is your friend when it comes to expressing your needs, expectations, reasoning, schedule, thoughts, and feelings. If you learn how to master clear communication and teach it to your child, you’ll have set in place a life skill that helps prevent misunderstanding, explosive outbursts, frustration, tantrums and many of the disastrous consequences of poor communication or even no communication at all.
There are many ways to approach this:
- organisation tools and apps for scheduling, grocery shopping and lesson planning
- communication books and courses (you could even do one with your child)
- parenting courses (communication begins with us!)
- family meetings to check in with everyone, share ideas, needs, etc.
If something’s not working for you, talk about it and try to come up with new solutions together.
If a lesson is not working out, don’t force it. Take a break, talk about why it’s not working and either try it again at a later stage or figure out a new approach.
16. Libraries, thrift stores, swaps
These are some of the best tools to homeschool on a tight budget. Libraries are full of ideas.
Thrift stores can supply you with good quality used toys, furniture, organisation tools, clothing and more. Enjoy the hunt!
If there are no thrift stores in your area, why not start one? Or set up a group-swap with some friends – declutter together and then swap out the items you’ve decluttered.
Remember, part of homeschooling is also about being resourceful – it’s like making a simple stew: use what you have!
17. Coffee / tea / smoothies
No list of homeschooling hacks would be complete without mentioning coffee or tea. If you’re not the caffeine-type, you’re probably drinking healthy smoothies or green tea! Whatever boosts your battery, cheers! I’m right there with you! (My personal favourites are Chai tea and chamomile tea.)
18. Implement rewards
Nope, I’m not talking about bribes. I’m talking about positive reinforcement – the universal principle of getting a pay-off out of doing/not doing something.
Children and adults alike are wired for positive reinforcement – you work for a paycheck, your child will do whatever necessary to get that toy, snack or sweet. Why not use it to your advant1age? Obviously, common sense is your guide here, don’t overdo it. I don’t believe in spoiling a child for every single thing.
But hey, praise and affirm your child for what they do right, and for every attempt they make, even when they fail. If they need to work on material that’s required but less enjoyable, give them an incentive (within reason).
When you need to do a job or a chore you don’t like, you probably use some sort of reward to get yourself through it – a nice cup of tea, a small treat, a break with a good book, working on a project, something. Your child will happily comply with something similar and it’s well worth it for less nagging, fighting and cajoling over lessons! For a good common sense approach to this subject, check out Dr. James Dobson’s work here.
19. Set quiet times
This little tip right here is solid gold. If you choose to implement just this one, you’ll already have helped yourself and your children learn and do something very valuable. Just like babies need nap time, young children can also benefit from an hour of napping or quiet time with books and puzzles. No talking. No banging. No noisy toys or movies. And you – mom or dad – get a solid hour of peace and quiet. Bliss.
You can also create quiet boxes for your kids, specially for this part of the day.
For more tips on how to train your children to quietly entertain themselves at some point in the day, I can highly recommend Sarah Therese’s video. She’s a young homeschooling mama of three young kids and doing a fantastic job with the content on her channel.
20. Set good self-care boundaries
If you’re homeschooling and working, this applies even more. Self-care is not just about having a bath and a cup of tea every now and then. It’s about a healthy sense of self-respect, balance and realising that you are not a machine.
The chores will always be there. There will always be work to be done, a project to finish, an errand to run and an endless to-do list. But the same way children need to play in order to learn, YOU need to take care of yourself in order to parent, educate and work.
If you get seriously ill, or if you burn out, then everything grinds to a halt anyway, so why not try taking things a little slower, with less pressure (and maybe a little less social media, mm?) and intentional opportunities to just BE?
21. Believe that it’s worth it – remember your why.
There are some days where you need to remember the purpose behind your decision to homeschool. It’s what gives the whole effort meaning. It’s going to be worth it in the end.
Feeling doubtful? Talk to some veteran homeschoolers. Look up homeschooling success stories and visualise similar positive outcomes for your own family, rather than focusing on your doubts, worries, and fears. Focus on the things that build you up, edify you and keep you on course.
You can do it!
What tips help make homeschooling easier for you? Share in the comments and let’s help each other out!