8 Tips from a Homeschooling Mom

Parent and child reading books together for homeschooling.

8 Tips from a Homeschooling Mom

If you’re like many parents and caregivers right now whose children are suddenly home all day instead of at school, and you are now facing the prospect of a crash course in homeschooling, you may have said once (or a hundred times) I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING!?!? You are not alone, I promise!

I have been homeschooling for years, and yet this pandemic has my family’s entire world turned upside down. We’ve been missing our library dates, ballet classes, afternoons at the playground, chess club, but most of all: our friends. My usually-somewhat-agreeable child has been downright combative and emotionally on-edge these past few days, poor thing. This quarantine is so hard on everyone, but especially our most vulnerable . . . which includes our children.

The Whys and Hows of Homeschooling

Everyone I’ve met along this homeschooling journey has a different reason for doing it. Some want to travel full-time, some want to focus on their religion or culture, some want to allow their kids to be wild and free while they’re young, some want to teach their kids a family trade, some were unhappy with their own public school education, some want to avoid bullying/cliques/social media . . . the list is endless.

Families around the world partake in dozens of different styles of homeschooling as well. There’s traditional secular, traditional religious, eclectic, unschooling, wildschooling, worldschooling, roadschooling, classical, Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, etc. Each has its own pros and cons and it’s just a matter of finding the right fit for your family.

In our home, we take bits and pieces from whichever styles suit us best at the time, so: eclectic. My primary focus is on opening as many doors as possible for my child to explore and to contextualize the information she discovers along the way.

You Will Feel Overwhelmed. It’s Okay.

I would be shocked if you didn’t.

You know the title of that very popular song sung by a Disney ice princess? Just let it go! Whatever is frustrating you, whatever seems too daunting, whatever is stressing you out, whatever is triggering you to be short with or yell at your kids: we have to remind ourselves to let it go and that it won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

If your kids do nothing but play video games until September, they will be fine. If they eat too many sweets and not enough veggies for the next six months, they’re not gonna die. We will all eventually find a new normal, and we will pick ourselves back up and forge ahead. Eventually. And eventually does not have to be this week. Or this month. Or even the rest of the year, if that’s what it takes.

A Lazy Summer Never Hurt Anyone

When I was 10 and my sister was 6, for the first time, our parents were both working full-time during the summer. Left to our own devices, we woke up every morning and ate sugary cereal in recliners while watching The Smurfs. After hours of cartoons, we would go swim in the backyard pool (it was a different era, y’all). We’d come back in and prepare a bologna and cheese sandwich with Cheetos (in the sandwich) and fruit punch. We’d then watch Animaniacs and play Nintendo until dinnertime. And you know what? Those memories are some of the best from my entire childhood: being free, existing, no expectations, simply enjoying life and time with my family.

It is important to note that my “summer of sloth” had no negative life-long impact on my future. I graduated high school with honors in the top 10% of my class, was accepted to college on Priority Admission, had a varied career including being the Director of Operations for a multi-million dollar brokering company, and also started several of my own businesses both prior to and since becoming a mom.

So give yourself and your children a break for as long as makes sense for your family and your situation. Take the pressure off of them . . . and off of you.

Ready to Give Homeschooling a Real Shot?

Once you’re all feeling emotionally and mentally prepared to forge ahead, you might find that you and your children actually prefer homeschooling! Or you may find that, once the schools reopen, you and they will be overjoyed to get back to public schooling. Whatever the case may be, you have time to figure out what works best for your family. Use this time to help your kids discover new ways of learning while you decide what’s best for everyone in the long run.

If you ultimately decide to continue homeschooling after the schools reopen, first research your state’s homeschool laws (HSLDA.org is a good starting place). Some states, like Texas, are very homeschool-friendly and make the process extremely simple. In other states, there may be more paperwork. If you can, go ahead and withdraw your kids now and then take your time figuring out which homeschool style best suits your family. We cycled through several before crafting our own. Focus on discovering your philosophy rather than fretting about a curriculum.

If you decide that public/private/charter schooling is best for your family after all of this is said and done, here are some ways you can maximize the time you and your kids have at home while school is out:

1. Finish the school year as best you can at home.

Follow the guidelines and curriculum sent home from your child’s school. If that feels like too much, email their teachers or the principal to see if the workload can be scaled way back. I have to imagine that they’ll be very understanding and willing to work with you. Be your child’s parent first and their teacher second. And remember, at home, there are no bells or shuffling between classes or going to lockers. School at home should only take 1-4 hours per day (max), depending on age. Less is more. If you didn’t receive any curriculum or assignments, call it an early summer!

2. Feed their minds with books.

Find your kids the coolest (according to them) books/graphic novels you can to fill their days. Most local libraries have ebooks available online and Audible has just opened up thousands of free titles (as of this writing).

3. Ask your kids for their insight.

How do they want to spend the next 5-6 months? Maybe they want to do tons of art, maybe they want to build a robot, maybe they want to mow lawns to save for a car, maybe they have an idea for a product they’d like to develop, maybe they want to learn a new skill, maybe they want a pen pal to send letters to. The sky’s the limit!

4. Prioritize relationships above all else.

Keep your focus on what’s most important: your relationships. If you feel your blood starting to boil, leave the room and cool down so you can approach the issue rationally and calmly. If your kids are fighting, get everybody outside (blow bubbles, sidewalk chalk, kick a soccer ball, find a creek to wade in).

5. Utilize your resources.

If they are bored, work together to list everything fun/interesting they can do at home. Then let them be responsible for their own entertainment. Or if you enjoy crafting, there are a million activity ideas for every age and interest imaginable on sites like Pinterest. You can also find an exhaustive list of FREE online resources & virtual classes on my Facebook page as well as many others.

6. Implement chores.

One of my favorite Peaceful Parenting gurus is Janet Lansbury, and she advocates referring to chores as “family contributions.” Encourage your children to participate in the business of taking care of the home you communally share. It can foster self-reliance, self-esteem, self-confidence, gratitude, community spirit, work-ethic, and so much more.

7. Don’t forget about “me time.”

Find a way to refill your cup every day. Can you get up 20 minutes before everyone else and journal with a hot cup of coffee, or sit on the porch and listen to the birds, or do yoga or kickboxing? Every little bit helps.

8. Stay calm and compassionate.

And finally, remember that all behavior is communication. So when your kids inevitably have meltdowns, tantrums, are uncooperative, overly hyper, whiny, or moody, they’re doing the best they can to communicate a need to you. Just do your best to respond to that need with empathy and love. Be the calm in their storm.

This virus-imposed test of patience and compassion has the potential to bring us all closer and make us stronger in the end. And you never know . . . you may discover you prefer homeschooling more than you expected! For now, just do what you need to do to get through these next few months. So, buckle in and prepare to enjoy the challenge. Let’s do this!

About the Author /

Bree von Lopez is a homeschooling mom who loves learning from other moms and devouring parenting books. After almost two decades of climbing the corporate ladder, she switched lanes and became an entrepreneur, starting a professional organizing business and, later, an outdoor-immersion school called Forest Kinderland. She now runs several pages such as The Helpful Homeschooler and devotes any spare time to mentoring, counseling, building up, and giving back to women in need.

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📷: @emfillerup
You may think that you are helping them by doing e You may think that you are helping them by doing everything for them. But there comes a time when they need to learn how to do things for themselves. ⁠
"Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime." The same rule applies.⁠
We want our kids to be strong, independent, self-reliant, and successful. They learn quickly what they can get away with. Teaching them kindness and a good work ethic from the beginning goes a long way. ❤️⁠ Put the hard work in now and watch them bloom into a strong and independent adult later. 💪
(Quote via @relaxingmommy)
However you choose to feed your baby, your baby an However you choose to feed your baby, your baby and your opinion are all that matter. If you choose and are able to breastfeed, feed your baby anywhere and everywhere HOWEVER you want to . . . with or without a cover. You have rights, mama. No need to explain or cover yourself for anybody if you don't want to. 💕⁠
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5 Things I Wish I Had Known About Potty Training⁠ 🚽⁠
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Let’s talk about potty training! It’s one of those monumental milestones we mamas walk through with our toddlers that make them suddenly seem like they went from babies to tiny little humans overnight. And, while it can be an exciting time (and a time to save some serious cash by ditching diapers), it can also come with lots of stress. 🙃 From cleaning up potty accidents for what may seem like days (or even weeks) to wondering if you’ll ever be able to drive further than down the block without having to stop for a potty break 🤦‍♀️, potty training can be daunting.⁠
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But, what many moms agree on is that once it’s done, you kinda forget about all the stress that came along with it. Kinda like pregnancy and giving birth —you just sort of forget about it all until you do it all over again.⁠ 🤪⁠
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Here are five things I wish I had known about potty training before I jumped into it with my then two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Because, if I had known these things, I think I would have been a bit more laid back about the whole thing! {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷: @lizbrownfitness
She isn't as cheerful as usual? She is being a bit She isn't as cheerful as usual? She is being a bit short with her replies back? Don't be hard on her. It more than likely has nothing to do with you. You never how many times her kids got her up last night. 😴 #bekindalways
🖌: @growupbrite
You're the reason that I breathe but also the reas You're the reason that I breathe but also the reason that I am out of breath. 😉🤪😂 #momlife
You're My Baby Forever, But My Newborn for Now⁠ You're My Baby Forever, But My Newborn for Now⁠ 💕⁠
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When I had my first baby, everyone told me to enjoy the newborn stage because it goes fast, and I would miss it. But I was so exhausted and overwhelmed I didn’t believe them. 😴 While I was living through it, it felt like it took forever!⁠
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If you are there now or about to enter this stage, it’s a yummy, delicious, snuggly stage. But for me, it has always been one of the harder ones, every time I go through it. So I see and feel you, mama! It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Hold tight, though, because it doesn’t last forever.⁠
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So, while you are struggling to keep your eyes open, and your mental state together, here are a few things to try to savor while your baby is still a newborn. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
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Daddy Chronicles: Breastfeeding 💙⁠ by @chroni Daddy Chronicles: Breastfeeding 💙⁠
by @chroniclesofdaddy⁠
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I've been asked so many questions by men about fatherhood. So I figured I'd drop some knowledge on my fellow Dads and soon-to-be-Dads. Here's what it looks like for the first few weeks or months after your child is born. Yup. If mom breastfeeds they pretty much are tucked like this and at times you'll wonder "what is there for me to do?" Here are my top 5 tips for any Dad after your child is born.⁠
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1️⃣ For night feedings. When mom wakes up in the middle of the night, you get up and ask if she needs any help or water. The truth is most of the time she will say no but just the fact that you offered will go far.⁠
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2️⃣ Ask mom if she can pump and then pick 1 feeding that you will always do. Mom will take on almost everything and will burn herself out if you let her. At times you may have to force her to rest without worrying about the baby. This is an easy way to do that without a fight.⁠
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3️⃣ Don't put a time limit on how long mom breastfeeds the baby. It's not just about feeding your child it's about them bonding as well. I know everyone has a different length of time they will breastfeed and as a Dad, it's hard to fully understand. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try and rush this process. It's not our place and it's not safe. You will open yourself up to a fight you can't win.⁠
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4️⃣ Be patient. I know as a Dad the first few weeks we are equally excited and yet not as important. Your time will come faster than you know. Babies grow fast and the stronger and bigger they get the more Daddy Time will be coming your way.⁠
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5️⃣ Paternity leave! If you have it TAKE IT. The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby it's hard, but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child. ⁠
If someone needs this info tag them ❤️⁠
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Absolutely love these tips from @chroniclesofdaddy. 🙌
7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body 7 Postpartum Yoga Poses That Strengthen Your Body After Baby 🧘‍♀️⁠
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Potty Training Tips! A step-by-step guide 🚽⁠ Potty Training Tips! A step-by-step guide 🚽⁠
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1️⃣ Look for signs of readiness:⁠
- Diaper dry for at least 1-2 hours.⁠
- Pulling at their diaper when its wet or soiled.⁠
- Hiding or fidgeting when going pee or poo in diaper.⁠
- Interest in others using the potty.⁠
- Waking up with a dry diaper after naps.⁠
- Telling you when they have gone pee or poo.⁠
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Potty training is much quicker if your child is showing the above signs, but you can start before this.⁠
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2️⃣ What you will need to buy:⁠
- Toilet seat insert to place on your toilet⁠
- Steps⁠
- Underwear (at least 10 pairs)⁠
- Foldable toilet seat (for when you are out of the house)⁠
- Piddle pad (for car journeys)⁠
- Waterproof shoes such as crocs, sliders, etc. (they can be rinsed and dried)⁠
- Not necessary but helpful: flushable wipes⁠
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3️⃣ Getting yourself and your child prepared:⁠
- Talk to your child about using the potty, maybe take them into the bathroom when you go and talk them through the process (e.g. wiping, flushing, and washing hands, etc.)⁠
- Practice pulling pants or shorts up and down.⁠
- Look on YouTube with your child at some potty training stories (e.g. 'I Want My Potty' and 'Pirate Pete's Potty')⁠
- Involve your child in choosing and buying everything you need - choosing character-themed underwear is usually very exciting!⁠
- Sit your child on the potty at every diaper change, first thing in the morning and just before bed to get them used to sitting on the toilet.⁠
- Teach your child the correct vocabulary or signs needed to communicate when they need to go potty.⁠
- Make sure you have plenty of spare clothes.⁠
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4️⃣ Let's get toilet trained:⁠
- Get your child to choose a pair of underwear and put them on.⁠
- Talk to them about using the toilet and communicating when they need to pee or poo. You can sit them on the toilet at this point if you wish.⁠
- Take your child to the toilet every 15/20 minutes. Say "let's go to the potty" rather than asking "do you want to go to the toilet" - if you ask, they are likely to say no! Also, look for signs like moving from side-to-side or hiding. These are normal signs that they might need to go potty.⁠
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(Continue reading in the comments!)
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“You are my reason.⁠ ⁠ You are the reason I “You are my reason.⁠
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You are the reason I get up each morning.⁠
Even though my eyelids are as heavy as a five-ton truck.⁠
Even though all I want is to sleep in, a coffee and breakfast in bed.⁠
You are more important.⁠
You need me.⁠
For you, I would do anything.⁠
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You are the reason I am finally comfortable in my own skin.⁠
Even though I am a size bigger than I used to be.⁠
Even though my boobs cannot be described as 'perky'⁠
You relied on my body.⁠
You gave it purpose.⁠
For you, I will always love it.⁠
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You are the reason I now know the importance of patience.⁠
Even though I sometimes miss the fast-paced life.⁠
Even though I still get frustrated when I feel inefficient.⁠
You need me to go at your pace.⁠
You are the priority right now.⁠
For you, I slow down.⁠
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You are the reason I worry more than ever.⁠
Even though I know it won't change anything.⁠
Even though it's not your fault.⁠
You are precious.⁠
You are vulnerable.⁠
For you, I will worry forever.⁠
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You are the reason I am now filled with gratitude.⁠
Even though I get sad when things do not go my way.⁠
Even though I sometimes lose sight of what I have.⁠
You are my constant reminder that I am blessed.⁠
You are the light at the end of every tunnel.⁠
For you, everything is worth it.⁠
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You are the reason that my heart is full.⁠
Even though I am grateful for our life before you.⁠
You have shown me a love like no other.⁠
You are remarkable.⁠
For you, my heart explodes.⁠
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You are my reason." ❤️ Words by @hangingwiththeheaphys 💕⁠
We love birth stories and hearing all the details We love birth stories and hearing all the details about how each baby was born. What’s your baby’s birth story? 👶❤️
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Have you noticed that your child is complaining of stomach pain and headaches? Or perhaps they seem tired and irritable despite getting the correct amount of sleep? Perhaps these things are simply coincidental, but maybe they’re not. Did you know that even children suffer from anxiety disorder? In fact, the most common mental health condition in children is anxiety disorder. If you are sensing that there may be something else going on, keep reading. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading this mom's personal journey with child anxiety disorder.⁠}⁠
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📷: @lisa.boettcher