I woke up Friday morning to my girls sitting at the dining room table. Laptops open, absorbed in classwork. I gave my youngest a quick refresher on converting mixed numbers to improper fractions before getting ready for the day. As I dressed, I heard the occasional giggles of two happy young ladies. I smiled, deeply satisfied that, six years ago, we decided to homeschool.
Homeschool hasn’t always been this picturesque. Our first year was so stressful I almost threw in the towel. There were many tears and meltdowns that year – a lot of them from me.
Luckily, we were able to turn it all around by finding little ways to take the stress out of homeschool.
How We Take The Stress out of homeschool
Set Up a Daily Routine
At my house, we have a daily routine rather than a schedule. What’s that mean? It means no alarm clocks, no time constraints, and no pressure. We do everything at our leisure. And guess what? Everything gets done!
Embrace Independent Study
Once my children had the basics down (6th-7th grade), we moved to an independent study format for their core classes. I’m still there to help when they need me, but they work primarily on their own. This gives them the ability to work at their own pace and focus on mastery while freeing me up for other tasks.
I’m amazed by those moms who can do it all and look good while doing it. I’m not one of those. This is why everyone does their fair share of the chores in our house.
Hang around Cozy in Carolina long enough, and you’ll discover I’m a huge supporter of ecotherapy. Spending time in green spaces lowers our cortisol levels and soothes our psyches. So when my kids seem tense, we take homeschool outdoors.
I not only practice self-care during the school day, but I expect my kids to do the same. I encourage them to practice yoga, do breathing exercises, and use other relaxation techniques when they feel overwhelmed.
Clutter triggers stress, which is why I’m a minimalist when it comes to homeschool. We have a total of six school supplies for class. That’s right! Six. Those supplies include laptops, Kindles, planners, notebooks, pencils, and a chalkboard. That’s all we need. It’s cheaper on us and much less of a mess!
Pace Yourself (And Your Kids)
When I take on too much, nothing gets done. That’s why I make sure we take our time with homeschool. We do 3-4 courses per semester and work at a reasonable pace. Setting these limits prevents us from experiencing homeschool burnout.
Ignore the Naysayers
Just like with everything else in life, homeschool has its opponents. I deal with those by not dealing with them. My children have permission to do the same.
Comparing is stressful and useless. It serves no other purpose than to make us feel bad. The truth is, no two successful homeschools look alike, and none of them are perfect. The same is true of students – and teachers.
Mental Health Days
We operate on the same schedule as local public schools, minus the teacher workdays. We save those up and use them as mental health days. So when the kids need a break, I give them one. Guilt-free.
That’s pretty much it! This is how I take the stress out of homeschool. Throw in a glass of wine at the end of a rough day, and you’ll nail it!