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More than being a successful homeschool mom, I want to be a happy homeschool mom with happy homeschooled children! In four years of homeschool, I’ve read so many books about it, listened to tons of audiobooks and podcasts, and watched tons of scopes. I’ve learned a lot from so many other veteran homeschool moms out there but I also learned from my own mistakes.
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As I said, I don’t want to be just a successful homeschool mom, whatever success would mean to you, I want to be a happy, joyful, and successful homeschool mom. To educate my children at home is my calling and I want it to be a fulfilling one. I spent three years overscheduling and overworking my children. The result produced was terrible: I was a completely overwhelmed and frustrated homeschool mom.
The Ultimate Guide To A HAPPY
And Successful Homeschool Mom
(or everything I wish I had known when I first started)
To educate my children at home is my calling and I want it to be a fulfilling one. I spent three years over-scheduling and overworking my children. The result produced was terrible: I was completely overwhelmed and frustrated homeschool mom and my poor little kids were exhausted!
Finally, this year things began to change and the changes have been huge!
First of all, I am letting go of all the excess so I can create margins to allow us to breathe and to enjoy homeschooling. This alone had made my children so much more productive in their studies! And to me, what a relief! That black cloud and heaviness always present before are now gone! Woohoo!!
Two specific homeschool books have changed my perspective on how to approach my children’s education and what should my focuses and priorities be: The Unhurried Homeschooler and Teaching from Rest. I read tons more books and they were all good but these two continue to resonate in me day after day.
30 Dos and Don’ts of a Happy and Successful Homeschool Mom
1 – Put the oxygen mask on you first.
Self-care is essential, mama! A rested mom, who takes good care of herself, is a much happier mom.
2 – Find your tribe.
Every mom needs community, encouragement, and support. I found my best support here. These ladies became my cheerleaders, advisers, and some of them became my best friends!
3 – Keep it simple.
What you do is enough! You don’t need to complicate things. Simplicity has become my best friend this year. Keep your homeschool routine simple, keep your meals simple, keep your life simple as much as you can! The simpler, the better.
4 – Stop adding more curriculum.
We homeschool moms, are addicted to adding more to our curriculum! We need to get rid of this addiction. The reality is: all these extras are making our homeschool overwhelming and unproductive.
5 – Don’t overwork your kids.
Charlotte Mason recommended that we keep our lesson shorts, about 20 minutes each for the youngest ones.
6 – Don’t overwhelm yourself.
Teach your kids to be independent! This is your goal, mama! Our homeschool is getting done in half of the time than we used to since I created these checklists for them.
7 – Don’t over schedule.
Homeschool already takes a big chunk of our days, plus we have all the housework to do and for some of us, work to do from home as well. So keep your family’s schedule light! This year we cut out on extracurricular lessons for our kids. Yep, we did! No ballet, no swimming, no ice skating, etc… Why? Because we were all running in an exhaustion mode and we having no family time to just chill and talk together. The difference was HUGE!! We were all happier and none of my kids ever complained about not going to extra classes.
8 – Create margins and make room to breathe!
My biggest accomplishment this past year was to have an empty agenda where I could fit anything I wanted to, anytime! That means having a playdate when my friends called or taking my kids’ swimming just for fun after finishing our homeschool work done. Creating margins also allowed my husband and me to start having date nights again!
9 – LESS IS BETTER, do less but do it well.
Cut the extras! You can’t do 12 subjects in a day. Maybe I’m exaggerating but it surely feels like sometimes. At our home, I keep Language Arts and Math as daily subjects then we alternate between science and History/Geography from Monday to Thursday leaving Fridays for fun extra subjects using a loop schedule like nature studies, picture studies, composers, hymn study, etc.
10 – Focus on the relationships not just on the to-do list!
Homeschooling is a great opportunity to develop a strong bond with your children, to get to know them better, to become their best friend, their counselor… I have a frame on my wall with a very simple and powerful prayer that reminds me constantly to pay attention to my kids’ needs. It simply says: “May I be all they need me to be. Amen.” That’s it. So simple, right? Sometimes a long day of stressful homeschool can hurt the relationships. You can lose your patience, yell, be rude because after all you have been teaching them all day long and things are not going as you plan. Well, clearly when things go this direction, is time to close the books and focus on the relationships.
11 – Be a student of your child.
You have the opportunity to know your child better than any other person in this world! Observe, ask questions and tweak your teaching styles to your child’s learning style. I have a very task-oriented child and a very distracted child. One will follow the checklist daily and get it all done super quick and really well done
12 – Value what they value so they can value what you value.
This is an important principle I just learned and it works in our marriage too. If you pay careful attention to what matters to them (even when you are not really interested), they will also pay careful attention to what you share with them. What is important to them matters! Don’t say: “That’s not important.” or “I don’t care.” Remember you are modeling to your child 24/7. Everything about your child is important to you.
13 – Celebrate all accomplishments big or small.
Focus on what they do right much more than what they do wrong and they will keep doing better! No accomplishment is too small you should not celebrate. Let your children know what a great job they are doing with the letter p, for example. Or what an awesome story they wrote. Say “Well done!” more frequently. I love receiving compliments, don’t you? So do they. It builds their self-esteem. It feels them with enthusiasm to keep improving.
14 – Write each other notes.
I love getting notes from my kids! And I know they love getting little notes from me too. Create a “mailbox” for your special notes to each other. This is a fun way to also help them with their writing skills, spelling, etc.
15 – Have a tea party once a week.
Our highlight of the week is often our Poetry Teatime, either we do it on our own or invite some friends to participate, Poetry Teatime brings fun and celebration to our learning time. We bake cookies together, read aloud our favorite poetry books while making big gestures expressions, sometimes we even put an accent to it – just for fun!
16 – Read Aloud.
I can go and on with all the benefits of reading aloud to your children… but here is my favorite one: Cuddling to read stories with them and watching their little eyes sparkle or watching them laughing while I read is precious!
17 – Hug more.
Homeschooling is a great opportunity to connect with your children even physically. This means a lot especially to the child whose love language is physical touch.
18 – Praise them often!
Kids respond to positive reinforcement! We are so quick to criticize or to point the wrongdoings and slow to appreciate their good efforts. Point their progress, not their failure.
19 – When everything gets stressful, close the books!
To persist and try to continue to homeschool when everyone is stressed out and distracted is pointless. Shake it off! Find something fun to do that is also educational. Play a board game, listen to an audiobook, or watch a documentary. You can always pick up things where you left the next day!
20 – Allow some fun in your homeschool.
Talking about games. Did you know there are tons of games that are extremely educational? Why not add some game time to your homeschool schedule. This is a great way to take a break from books while your kids keep learning. Here is a great list of math games that we enjoy in our homeschool.
21 – Your calendar is yours!
You don’t need to follow the public school’s calendar or anybody’s else’s calendar. Make sure you create a weekly routine that fits your family best and feel free to take breaks whenever is necessary.
22 – You are not behind!
Did you hear that? Behind what or who? You have the beautiful freedom to homeschool your children at their own pace, thus, there is no such thing as falling behind. This revelation has taken a ton off my shoulders and I pray it will take the heavy burden off of yours too!
Friend, life happens and sometimes all we need to focus on to keep our head above the water is Language Arts and Math for a while. That’s all we could do when I had my first miscarriage followed by a lot of medical complications.
The kids sat around me on my bed, we read our Bibles, I helped them with their Language Arts and they did their Math online, and we listened to audiobooks. I still call it my paper plates and audiobooks season. We also had fun doing a science week or a history week later to “catch up”.
And guess what? They are doing fabulous!
23 – Don’t fall into the comparison trap.
Never compare your children and never compare yourself with other homeschool moms. You are unique, your kids are unique. Your homeschool journey is completely and uniquely yours.
24 – Take a homeschool break every once in a while just because… you need it!!!
25 – Enjoy every minute.
Be fully present! Put the phone away or turn off the notifications. Turn off the TV. Eliminate all distractions and
26 – Make memories.
Don’t snap the shots just to share on Instagram, capturing the special moments to your own memory. Write about those special moments in a journal.
27 – Laugh with your children.
A good laugh is good medicine!! We need to be silly, laugh often and so do them!
28 – Add fun unexpected surprises to your homeschool!
Plan an expected field trip, add poetry teatime, put a play together, how about a midweek picnic by the lake? Homeschool doesn’t have to be boring. be creative and surprise your kids with some fun ideas when they least expect them. Remember, homeschool should be fun too!
29 – Go for walks.
Explore places without a teaching agenda behind, just walk around the block, walk to the park… Awesome conversations can happen when you are outdoors walking with your children.
30 – Create a home they will always want to come back to!
Dear homeschool mom,
Follow this recipe for a happy and successful homeschool mom!
All the hard work you do will pay off! 😉
Need a daily reminder? Download The Happy and Successful Homeschool Mom Manifesto!
YOUR TURN: From the 30 dos and don’ts of a happy and successful homeschool mom, which ones do you need to start working on?
Ana is the unhurried homeschool mom of 3, wife, and homeschool blogger.
She loves to encourage, inspire and empower moms to go from stressed to blessed by providing them with the tips, strategies, and resources they need to succeed. Ana is the founder of They Call Me Blessed and the creator of:
She leads a vibrant free community for homeschool moms on Facebook and you can connect with her at www.facebook.com/theycallmeblessedblog.