Educational Thoughts

Homeschool- Are You Doing Enough?

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So you have decided to begin your homeschool journey… Yay for you! What an exciting journey you are embarking on. It is always exciting getting to plan your homeschool day and what subjects you will teach. There are so many options for what you can choose to do and study. With so many options though, how do you know if you are doing enough; or even too much?

It can become quite overwhelming and time-consuming as you rack your brain to develop the perfect homeschool schedule. I can personally say that it has taken me over two years of homeschooling to finally come up with a basic schedule. However, it is constantly being updated! I constantly feel like my scheduling and plan are not perfect.

Have you felt this way? Are you feeling like you are not doing enough? Don’t worry, it is absolutely normal to feel lost and unsatisfied with your schedule. Here are 5 things that will guide you to overcome this and develop a schedule you can be fully satisfied with!

Plan A Few Days At A Time

(Keeping a daily plan that can be altered is easiest)

It is very tempting to want to plan out your entire year. Not only does this cause a lot of stress for new homeschool moms but things change. What you may plan to accomplish in a month may not happen due to many factors. This does not mean that you are failing, maybe you just planned too much too soon. Plus, sometimes things just don’t go as we plan. Because of this, it is easiest to have a fully planned schedule a little at a time and to update as you go. My ideal detailed plan is a week at a time. Of course, I do keep a yearly outline with what subjects we want to cover each month, but I never try to detail more than I want to dedicate time to make adjustments.

Make It Customizable

(My laminating machine is my best friend)

Remember- things change. So you want to be able to easily adjust your schedule without having to keep reprinting. Ink is one of a homeschool mom’s best friends- and it gets pricey. Once you have your basic weekly plan it is great to be able to plug things in and try them out. For this reason I choose to laminate our basic plan and add where we need. This way, I can simply erase the dry erase markers when I need to and fill in somewhere else. 

This is also why I encourage new homeschool moms not to create some elaborate planner or print off and fill out a whole year worth of daily schedule pages. Take it from me, I created a beautiful planner, printed a few hundred pages thinking I had our subjects by day set in stone as well as a detailed plan for each day that year. I threw that out within a month because I hated the scheduling and my children became overwhelmed (as did I)! What a waste of ink and paper. So until you have your plan perfect, tried and true (or you are a mom that is an excellent planner) I encourage you to keep your weekly schedule customizable.

You can snag my basic homeschool schedule here. Just click “download PDF” and then print!

Keep Notes On Each Child

(Kids aren’t the only ones who use lined paper)

While I wish that it was easy to be the ideal mom and remember exactly what each kid needs extra work on- I simply can’t. I even stopped trying. What I have learned to do is keep notes for each subject and on each child. This way I can see what I need to work with each of my 4 children on individually. I can also ensure that I am not skipping or rushing anything valuable that my kids need to learn. I keep a list and tackle each one slowly every week until my child understands, then I move on to the next area of improvement. I keep these on lined paper in a binder because they are CONSTANTLY changing. Sometimes, I even make notes for my notes so I can ensure I am educating on the exact thing that they need.

Keep Loose Expectations

Setting goals for each child is important. It gives you something to aim for. Sit down with your child and talk about what goals you both want them to reach, especially with older children. It is, however, important to keep your expectations loose. There is nothing wrong if a child does not meet those goals when desired- make sure to reassure your child of this as well. As I have said before, every child is different and learns differently. What one child may have excelled at may take another twice as long to understand and that is perfectly ok. By keeping your expectations loose, you will help reduce pressure and anxieties that a child might feel to complete or grasp something. Keep homeschool enjoyable!

Never Overschedule

It is no secret that we want out beauties to learn it all! Since us parents often worry that we need to teach it all, it can become common to schedule too much at once. Especially with younger kids or children new to homeschool. I know I was a victim of this myself. When you are preparing your schedule, try to map out a time frame of how long you want to remain on each subject. Then try it out. If you feel like there is too much variety in subjects at once or you are witnessing your children not retaining anything or not enjoying it at all, remove something and come back to it at another time. Slow and steady is best for both you and your children to fully gain all that homeschool can bring to your family and their education.

I would love to hear…. what has worked for you with developing a successful schedule?

Update: Catch me on the Real Happy Mom’s Podcast talking about my favorite tips & tricks for homeschooling your kids! After 4 years of homeschooling, I share what you need to know to have a successful beginning.

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6 thoughts on “Homeschool- Are You Doing Enough?

  1. Nikkie, I too get depressed when I think I’ve failed my kids in homeschooling. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can forget that God brought us on this journey and that we don’t have to go it alone? It is so nice to hear that other moms are going through the same things. Heidi

    1. You are definitely not alone Heidi! I love that there is a big online support for homeschool moms, it has definitely helped me discover what works for us.

  2. Excellent tips and tricks, especially for those of us who are not natural planners. Through the years I have found that I cannot plan too far in advance because it just doesn’t work for me. But doing manageable chunks does really work. Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded. Pinned!

    1. I am right there with you, I cannot plan more than a month in advance maximum. It just takes too much energy from me and things never go as planned!

  3. Hi Nikki, I was that new homeschool mom who printed obscene amounts of paper and filed everything away by day and month planning the whole school year out. Boy, was that ever a waste of time! I was so stressed out when life got in the way and we weren’t able to do what I had planned and the kids were stressed by my stress. So, now I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish for the year, areas to work on, time periods to study for history etc. and I plan about one week in advance. I really like your idea of keeping notes on each child for each subject. I think that would help me be more targeted when working on certain subjects. Thanks for the great advice, Heidi

    1. Heidi I can completely relate! My first year mostly, that was exactly me! I am big on scheduling everything for myself (there’s always so much going on). Having my schedule fail with my children’s education sent me into a bout of depression. It took a year of me doing the bare minimum with my kids, more for me than for them. I have built our way up and there is so much less stress for everyone and so much more enjoyment this year. I believe homeschool is a learning experience for everyone in the household. It just takes time to find our rhythm! Best of luck to your family and their journey!

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