I want to do homeschooling well. Really well. So when that is not my reality, I can get really down on myself. Because… you know… my children’s entire education is resting on my shoulders. No pressure.
But reality is this… I have 5 young children and hopefully more to come. There is a ton of cleaning, laundry and cooking to be done. There are babies who need snuggled or nursed. There are toddlers who need to be potty-trained. There are husbands who need to talk after a tough night at work. There are meals to be made for a sick friend. There are all-day headaches. Did I mention the laundry?
So is it possible to homeschool with excellence amongst the chaos? After 6 years I’ve discovered that yes… yes it is. And here’s the key… planning ahead. And Starbucks.
I’ll tell you how that works for me. Over the summer I do a TON of planning. Then throughout the year I take several days here and there to plan. I put these times on the calendar and get a sitter if needed (usually it works out for my husband to watch the kids). I go to Starbucks with my laptop and all my curriculum and I plan like a crazy woman. If it’s the summer, I plan out everything for the fall semester, such as:
- Make a curriculum list. Order what I need new, bid on used ones on Ebay, make a list for curriculum fairs (yes, right there at Starbucks)
- Plan which days we’ll do school and when we’ll take off. Put it on my Google calendar (I need that accountability and it helps the hubs plan vacations and such)
- Plan each week’s activities for each subject (see example below)
- Find projects, crafts, worksheets, printables, lapbooks, videos, whatever I need. Go crazy on Pinterest and annoy all my followers with a gazillion history/science/geography pins.
- Download what needs to be printed and save in a separate file on my computer to print at home.
- Plan our read-alouds and buy those books.
- Plan field trips and put them on the calendar
- Make a supply list of every teeny tiny thing I’ll need for each project. Leave Starbucks and go buy those things!
This past summer I needed two 3-hour sessions at Starbucks, plus about four 3-hour sessions at home to make this all happen. (The time at home was mostly hole-punching, printing and making binders.) But the entire semester is planned. I can roll out of bed on a random Tuesday morning, pour myself some coffee, sit down at the school table and be totally prepared for the day’s work. The worksheets are printed, the links to the videos are ready to go, I have the supplies that I need for our science project.
That, my friends, is an amazing feeling. Because when you are prepared, you can better handle the interruptions of daily life.
You may be reading this and thinking… why don’t you just prepare the night before? God bless you. If you are a prepare-the-night-before kind of person, will you please rub off on me? That just isn’t me. Once I put those precious cherubs to bed, I collapse like a cheap tent and my brain completely disengages. And that’s okay. I’ve found what works for me and you need to find your own style.
But be encouraged… you can homeschool with excellence amid the chaos of life. If I can do it, anyone can!