How to Keep Sane While Homeschooling Your Kidsby Jenny Taylor
Some parents choose to homeschool their children which is amazing and now that I have experienced it in full for the past few months I see the attraction. I also see the hardships of doing it too.
Since most parents all over the world have had to start homeschooling their kids in some form or another, it’s safe to say we all can relate. We have had those days of frustrations and hair pulling arguments with a toddler or an older child that doesn’t want to be in lockdown. It’s a huge change for children and adults alike as nothing like this has ever happened before.
Do you feel like your going insane yet?
With still eight weeks to go of homeschooling for most in the UK, I thought I would share what is working for us and keeping me sane.
Here are some top tips to stay sane while homeschooling your kids whether you have always done it or found yourself in a new teaching at home role!
My first and biggest advice to you is don’t try to be Mommy/Daddy and teacher at the same time. Day 3 of homeschooling, I quickly realized my kids were bickering and treating school time at home like after school time before lockdown. They wanted snacks every five minutes. They were bickering who was looking at whom too much. They were whining how long do we have to do this?
So I sat them down and told them they were going to make up a name for me as their new teacher. I wanted the same respect as their current school teachers and they were to treat each other like students while we sat and did work.
I am Miss Jenifer during homeschool hours now and Mommy thereafter. It sounds silly but I can’t believe the change they made on Day 4 and still months later. It improved so many things. After I said, “would you ask your teacher for a snack mid-lesson?” They never ask for a snack or said I am hungry in lessons again, just to get out of work.
They had a different attitude toward Miss Jenifer than they did Mommy. And if I am honest it made me treat them more like students than my kids. I felt more patience and accepting things like when they started to get hungry around lunchtime or tired in the afternoon. It helped me better prepare the lessons and schedule the day out better to suit their needs too. I promise you the moment school ends at 3 pm in our house it’s right back to messing the house up, snacks, and bickering with each other. But it gave them boundaries to follow which helped them just get on with their work like they would at school.
The second thing I would share is to make a daily routine. It’s impossible to all homeschool the same as we all are in different situations. I am working full time whilst trying to homeschool two older children and take care of a baby. I get it. But the kids knowing what will happen each day and how their new normal will be, will not only help you on time management but help them with anxiety and keep stress levels down.
Third and most importantly, do what’s right for your family. Don’t put added pressures on yourself. Some families are doing full school schedules Monday - Friday 9-3 and others have a bit of reading and craft time to learn and that’s it. There is NO right way to homeschool. It’s what you feel your child and family need right now in a chaotic situation we have found ourselves in.
As long as their brains and bodies are getting stimulated they are learning and staying healthy. You can learn through baking! You can learn on bike rides. We like to shout out multiplication problems while we ride. It doesn’t have to be the same schedule as the school had with them whilst this works best for us with having a baby and the way my work works, it might not for you.
Try doing Math and English right after breakfast if you can, as it’s proven their attention span and focus is strongest in the morning and crafts, baking or exercise in late afternoons or before bed, if you need to work during the day. This gives you work freedom and knowing that you aren’t trying to do it all in one sitting helps the kids. Don’t forget to hang up your Mommy/Daddy hat while doing subjects like Math and English and let the kids name you! They will love it.
Not that we wouldn’t all look for signs of stress and anxiety in our children but make sure to talk about isolation and what’s happening in the world, appropriate for their age. It’s not just that they are homeschooling now, so much has changed around them. They are seeing people in masks. Not able to play at friends and family’s houses. People aren’t visiting. So much is unknown to us and they might have loads of questions, if you prompt them. We have a little happy Friday quiz on how we are feeling. They tell me more in that little quiz then any other time.
Staying sane is about not piling too much on yourself at a time when we are expected to wear more hats than ever before. Yes, lots of wine helps after all these long days we have been having. But make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy and drinking enough of water in between the 100th BBQ and Houseparty drinking session.
Self-care is more important than ever right now. We have to take care of ourselves so we can take care of those in our household. Take time for you. We don’t get much during lockdown with everyone at home. It helps when you need that extra patience for homeschooling when you are calm and not rushed.
Don’t think it’s possible, if you need to wake up 30 minutes earlier or go to bed 30 minutes later and take time to relax, read, listen to music, take a bath, or even just lie on the floor and do deep breathing. It helps me so much.
I also notice with lockdown and homeschooling we are on electronics more than ever before. Make sure you are giving yourself 40 minutes to an hour before bed without screen time.
That goes for you and the kids. Yes, tv counts as screen time. All that harmful glare and flashing is so bad for our eyes and stimulates you, making it harder to get good deep sleep when you need it most.
If you don’t want to miss your favorite Netflix series, watch it while you eat your lunch or do the ironing. I try to always multitask so I can have that calm me time before bed. I noticed when I stopped watching tv right before bed and stopped scrolling Instagram so late I had way more patience with the kids the next day.
Successful homeschooling is when your child is learning something (no matter if it’s life lessons or academic lessons) happily, in a calm and safe environment.
If you take anything from reading our homeschooling experience, remember this: you are doing your best, you got this, if one day doesn’t go as plan there is always tomorrow, and don’t put pressure on yourself that isn’t needed! The kids will get caught up and be taken care of when school resumes. So take self-care and one day at a time, to prevent going insane.
If none of my advice and tips work, drinking wine, watching Netflix to escape or skipping homeschool all together works too! As long as your child is safe, happy and loved!