Every homeschool mom wants to be successful in homeschooling. But how do you know if you’re successful—especially if you feel like a failure? Many moms spend countless hours researching curriculum, reading articles and blogs, and asking other homeschoolers for advice. After all, educating your child at home is a tremendous undertaking and should be taken seriously. How can you be a successful homeschool mom? How do you measure success in homeschooling?
What makes a homeschool mom successful?
If you look up the word ‘success’ in a dictionary, you’ll find it defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” What is your purpose in homeschooling? Is your goal to prepare your child for college, develop life skills, establish good character qualities, or experience different ways of learning? An even better question is, what is God’s purpose for us in homeschooling? How does God define success? We find the answer in Joshua 1:8, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”
God promises that when we meditate on His Word, obey it, and apply it to our lives, He will make us successful. He will help us accomplish our goals as they align with His will. So if our primary goal in homeschooling is to glorify God, He can enable us to successfully accomplish our secondary goals of excellent education, time management, organization, and others. Simply put, success is knowing God’s will and doing it. So how does this translate into everyday life? How can you practically pursue success in homeschooling? To guide you in achieving your goals for homeschooling, we’ve compiled 10 tips that can help you succeed.
What doesn’t make you a homeschooling success?
- Being super organized. Organization is important and necessary for homeschooling, but you don’t have to be an organization queen. Some basic methods of organizing your homeschool curriculum and materials are sufficient to help you keep things neat, tidy, and easy to locate.
- Having four-hour long (or more) school days. Nothing wrong with these, but not every child needs that many hours of school a day. In fact, this approach can backfire because your children may not be learning like they should be.
- Adding more curriculum. More isn’t necessarily better when it comes to curriculum. All you really need are the core subjects: math, science, social studies, and language arts. Other subjects can certainly bolster your child’s education, but too many can be overwhelming and frustrating for you and your child. Try adding a little at a time to your curriculum so it will be easier to manage.
- Joining a homeschool co-op. Co-ops provide many benefits such as social opportunities, extra classes, moral support, and a variety of activities. But you don’t have to be part of a co-op to run a successful homeschool. You have to determine whether the time and financial commitments are worth it for your family.
- Making school your top priority. This may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t. If homeschooling dominates your time, dictates your calendar, and prevents you from pursuing other family activities, it will drain the life out of you and your family.
Characteristics of a Successful Homeschool Mom
- Maintaining a proper balance of school and free time. Families need to devote a reasonable amount of time to school. Since you know your child better than anyone else, you will be able to determine how much time is necessary for them to learn and retain information. Families also need to devote a reasonable amount of time to recreation as well. Playing, reading, going on walks, visiting the library, making crafts, etc. are crucial to your child’s overall social, mental, and emotional development. Remember that learning takes place all the time, not just in school.
- Keeping a positive attitude toward homeschooling. If you tend to be negative toward and complain about school, guess what? Your kids will follow suit. Attitude affects outcome. Our attitude towards something will significantly impact our thoughts and actions.
- Being willing to be flexible. Homeschooling isn’t always going to go according to plan. Sickness, household problems (i.e. a water leak), unexpected visitors, and other things will inevitably upend your homeschool routine some days. On those days, be ready to adjust your schedule, do what you can, and catch up later.
10 Tips for Homeschooling Moms for Success
Tip 1: Establish a routine.
Kids find stability and comfort in routines. They also help you stay on track with your homeschool goals and keep you motivated during the school year. Starting school around the same time each day, taking scheduled breaks, and following a daily lesson plan are key to a successful homeschool and being a successful homeschool mom. Of course, be flexible and willing to change your routine when need be.
Tip 2: Be reasonably organized.
Even the most unorganized mom can attain a degree of organization in homeschooling. Without it, you’ll find yourself incredibly stressed, frustrated, and confused. Find a way that works best for you to keep track of your child’s attendance, grades, daily work and other important records. There are all kinds of homeschool planners that can give you the help you need.
Tip 3: Take holidays.
Your children—and you—need to take time off during the school year. It will help you recharge, make special family memories, and catch up on rest.
Tip 4: Plan a homeschool budget.
This will save you a lot of financial anxiety. Make a budget for not only curriculum but also for school supplies, co-op fees, and any other homeschooling extras.
Tip 5: Find a curriculum that fits your family’s needs.
Homeschool curriculum is not a one-size-fits-all deal! Every child has different learning styles and personalities, and you can craft your homeschool curriculum to accommodate your child’s needs.
Tip 6: Set up a designated school space.
This is a must for successful learning in any homeschool. Dedicate a room or area in your house that is for school purposes only. This will emphasize the importance of school in your family. It will also keep out distractions so you and your child can properly focus on school. Store as many books and supplies in your homeschool space as possible so you can find everything quickly.
Tip 7: Don’t take on too many extras.
As homeschool moms, we often feel pressured to add a bunch of extra activities and programs to ensure our children are receiving a well-rounded education. But piling on additional busyness can lead to stress and exhaustion and can actually be more harmful than good for your homeschooling goals. You can always add one extra activity at a time if you feel it’s helpful to your child’s development, but it’s much harder to eliminate them.
Tip 8: Get dressed for school.
When I was growing up, my mom never allowed us to shlepp around in our pajamas for school at home. And now I know why. The way we dress directly affects our thinking. Wearing comfy pjs encourages a relaxed mindset and makes it hard to focus on mental work. But changing into regular clothes for the day helps prepare our minds and attitudes for learning. Have your children dress, make their beds, and tidy their rooms before school so they’ll be alert and ready for the day.
Tip 9: Don’t compare your homeschool to others.
We’re all guilty of doing this at some point! But comparing our homeschooling methods to others’ is just not helpful. Comparing our child’s academic struggles and capabilities to others will only distract us from our goals. Every child is unique and learns at a different pace in a different way. Every child has their own learning style, and it can take time to figure out what method works best for teaching your child. Some kids enjoy school more than others and therefore excel more than others. The way one mom chooses to homeschool may work great for her family but not for another. You have the freedom and flexibility to explore all kinds of ways to organize, schedule, plan, and implement teaching in your homeschool. As your child grows and changes, so will your approach. And, since you know your child better than anyone else, you can determine the best way to pursue your homeschooling goals. Ultimately, we will give an account to the Lord, not anyone else, for the way we choose to educate our children.
Tip 10: Enjoy your homeschooling journey!
We get only so many years with our children at home, so let’s make the most of them. We get to teach our kids in our own homes and we get to learn with them. As we watch our children grow mentally, physically, and socially, we can also celebrate their academic victories as they occur. We get to share experiences with them we never would if they were attending public or private school. Homeschooling definitely has its challenges, but the rewards far outweigh them. As much as possible, enjoy this special time you have with your child at home.
Keep in mind that these tips are merely a guide, not a formula, for success in homeschooling. Only God can make us truly successful as we strive to meditate on and live out His Word on a daily basis. He wants to make us successful, and He has given us everything we need to succeed, not just in homeschooling but in every other area of life. If you need advice about curriculum, testing, or planning your homeschool schedule, BJU Press can provide the help you’re looking for. They want you to succeed in homeschooling, too, and they have the experience and tools for achieving your homeschool goals.
• • • • •Jennifer is a pastor’s wife and mom of two young girls and loves homeschooling them. During her own twelve years of being homeschooled, Jennifer developed a passion for reading and writing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and relishes writing during her free time.