Hey, Freebs Nation! Woo, schooling can be a doozy, huh? Today we're talking about how to start homeschooling, as well as how we homeschool and learn at home. And, more importantly, how to make homeschooling fun!
This year, most of our kids are learning at home. With that comes the challenges of homeschooling. And let me just say that I have so much respect for teachers, both in and out of the classroom. Y'all are heroes!
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This year, it's been a pretty steep learning curve to figure out how to start homeschooling! But legit? It gets better, so stick with it! I'm sharing my best tips and tricks for home learning that have been helping us. So, whether you're homeschooling, supplementing your education outside of the classroom, or wherever you are, here's how to get your learn on!
You can watch my how to homeschool and make it fun video online or click and watch below. I have ALL the details from the video (and many more!) beneath the video, so be sure to read on for full details! Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for new videos every Thursday!
SET ASIDE A SPECIFIC TIME FOR SCHOOL & LEARNING
This is important! You must honor a daily, specific schooling time as if you're Actually. Going. To. School. One way to look at it? In high school, you naturally lived your life in blocks. There was a set schedule. You HAD to be consistent. How to start homeschooling successfully begins with that consistency:
- Use a Block Scheduling System – My block schedule system has been hugely successful in helping families manage their day with blocks. Don't get hung up on micromanaging your time. Just honor those blocks throughout your day as though you were in high school.
- Pick a Time That Works for You – We have chosen to not school first thing in the morning because we like having family time in the morning. We get ready for the day, do our family clipboards, exercise, read scriptures, and pray as a family. Then we school after a quick lunch.
- Keep it Consistent – However you do it, set aside a specific time for school. I have an alarm on my phone that goes off at 11:45 in the morning, and another that sounds at noon. By the second timer alarm, the kids know they have 15 minutes to get ready for school.
Seriously, if we don't follow these steps, the next thing we know it's 4 pm and the whole day has already gone by with nothing getting done! Womp womp.
SET ASIDE A SPACE FOR LEARNING
Truth bomb: We did this the wrong way when we started out. We did not know how to start homeschooling, so we were just doing school wherever. On the couch, at the kitchen table, just anywhere. It was hard to find the materials we needed, the space we needed, the outlets that we needed…. we were losing plugs, chargers, my mind…
So, we took some unused space in our basement and, with the help of some incredibly talented friends, we turned it into a really fun homeschooling space that's set aside for learning. That alone has made all the difference for us. Now our computers stay down there. Our chargers, all of our school books, and curriculums are in one place. We're not running around, frantically trying to find everything. #GameChanger
- Find a Space. Any Space. Does it need to be a whole room in your basement? No, it does not. But it should be a special place meant for learning only.
- Don't Have One? Create a Space. Even if it's a little table in the corner of a room, that is the school table. Or maybe it's a special tablecloth, and once the tablecloth comes out over the table, this table is now dedicated to school.
- Respect the Space. Remove distractions that will detract from the learning process. Turn off the TV, the radio, and make sure the kids' favorite toys (and mobile phones) aren't nearby.
No matter where your learning space is, the benefit of a dedicated learning space is that the kids know they're there to learn and to do work…not to play. Check Out Our Homeschool Room Ideas & Remodel!
KEEP LEARNING FUN
Learning can (and should) be exciting, very visual, and hands-on. Here are some easy and creative ways for how to start homeschooling and make learning so much fun for you and for the kids:
- Create Object Lessons – One way we do this is to use the teacher's curriculum to create object lessons that make learning more exciting for the kids.
- Get Hands-On – We're obsessed with KiwiCo because my kids are empowered to take a fun STEAM learning project, do it themselves, and make something pretty incredible. Then they play with it for hours afterward. Plus, the monthly box is delivered with everything you need. You can even get 50% off the first month when you use this link!
- Go Outside – Make getting out of the house a fun learning exercise. How many different kinds of bugs can you find? Does a shoe drop to the ground faster than a feather? Why is the sun warm?
- Celebrate – It seems like every day is a national holiday of some kind! What a great way to incorporate learning opportunities! Whether it's Dr. Seuss's birthday or National Pizza Day, find ways to celebrate!
- Play Games – No, not video games. Games like Uno and Bananagrams help with math and spelling. Trivia Games make history lessons fun. Jenga is a great way to teach scientific principles (at least gravity!).
Looking for other sweet ways to make learning fun? There are so many free homeschooling learning resources you need to know about — stat! And speaking of free resources…
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE RESOURCES
One thing I learned? Curriculum can be really expensive. So, we found some programs that actually give homeschoolers grants and support to help offset some of those costs and materials.
So, what's available in your area? Find the programs, grants, and resources you have available and take advantage of them. After all, if you pay your taxes to the public schools, chances are you qualify for some kind of help, depending on your location and local/state laws.
Check out these legit free things for teachers that homeschool educators may also qualify for! And if your student is old enough, they will qualify for some pretty exciting student freebies as well!
ENLIST HOMESCHOOLING HELP
Listen to me. You do not have to do this on your own. Learning from home and homeschooling can be oh so overwhelming. Most of us haven't studied teaching and how to start homeschooling. I admit I'm not the most patient teacher. And let's be real here; sometimes I just really want to be their mom and not their teacher. And let's face it: more sets of hands helps.
- Your Partner – My husband Bubba has been super helpful. He's a tech guru and he has helped us find programs, resources, and grants for homeschooling.
- Babysitter – A babysitter can come and help take care of the babies so you can focus on the bigger kids and focus on their learning.
- Tutor – Are you bad at math? Awful at art? Miserable at music? Having a tutor who can help makes all the difference.
Yes, all of these sets of hands can start to sound expensive, but work it into your budget and swap with other people! Maybe you babysit for someone who can tutor your kids in fifth-grade common core math. Or maybe you can flex your art skills for someone else's kids in exchange for science help for yours.
No matter what, you're NOT on your own! Hopefully, I gave you a few ideas, so if you are also at home (or supplementing your kids' learning outside of the traditional classroom) you're ready for schooling success. You can do this!
So let's chat a minute: What are ways you're keeping learning real…but also really fun? Come tell us about it on our FCF Facebook page, or leave a comment below!
Want more awesome school hacks?
- Check out these morning survival hacks that'll help you jump start your day!
- These nighttime routine hacks will help you to conquer your day!
- These lunch and snack ideas for kids helps to fill those little bellies without emptying your wallet!
Now, go getcha learn on!