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047. Socialization: Will My Homeschooler Be a Weirdo?

047.

The “S” Word
Socialization

Will My Homeschooler Be a Weirdo?

Episode 047:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
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Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

Homeschooling is becoming more and more mainstream, but myths, misinformation, and misconceptions about homeschooling are still all too common. It’s inevitable that all homeschool parents will hear a comment like “Homeschoolers are weird and poorly socialized!” More likely, they will hear it 87,000 times.  Everyone from your partner, to grandparents, to the stranger in their grocery store checkout is going to have an opinion on it.  And you may have concerns and doubts about it, too, especially after hearing this question over and over again.

In today’s episode we are going to talk about the S-word! SOCIALIZATION. Socialization is a valid concern.  But it’s also one of the biggest myths about homeschooling.  The myth of socialization when it comes to homeschooling is a common misconception that suggests homeschooled children miss out on crucial social experiences. Some people are concerned that homeschoolers will never learn common social etiquette and participate in group activities. Or that they won’t learn how to do things like standing in a line, waiting your turn, sharing, and other manners and habits.  There are also concerns that they will miss social cues, not know how to talk to other people, or behave.  And there are concerns that homeschoolers won’t have opportunities they may get in public school- like clubs, sports, and other activities.

Homeschooling can provide a rich and diverse social environment.

Homeschooled children do engage in social activities such as sports, music – like band and orchestra, clubs, and community events. These activities enable them to interact with peers and adults from all kinds of backgrounds. Additionally, homeschoolers have flexible schedules which allow them to explore real-world learning opportunities. People are starting to notice, and studies are proving that these opportunities allow these kids to foster strong interpersonal skills unlike if they were in a classroom all day. They are out in their communities every day, shopping, running errands, going to the post office, talking to neighbors, hanging out with friends, and tons of other opportunities we’re going to get to. 

Everyone likes to talk about socialization like it’s only a positive thing, too, but the truth is, there’s a lot to be concerned with when it comes to socialization.  When people ask if we are concerned about socialization, we respond that of course, we are!  We are totally concerned about bullying, peer pressure, and exposure to age inappropriate content. Homeschooling offers a more personalized and positive socialization experience, as it allows children to avoid a lot of negative peer pressures and bullying that can sometimes occur in traditional school settings. Not that these things don’t happen to homeschoolers – they do, but it’s often easier to nip that behavior in the bud as it happens, because you are right there.  This is something that is so much easier to do in a family group setting than it is when you find out about something that happened at school days later. Also, being present and modeling appropriate social behaviors and teaching your child if they say or do something inappropriate, can be corrected right there on the spot.

Overall, homeschooling’s socialization myth has been debunked many times over by the multitude of opportunities for social growth and development available to homeschooled kids.

What is socialization and why is it important for everyone? (7:04)

One of the things you will notice when you start getting these comments about socialization is that people often throw that word out without actually knowing what it means or what they mean. Is socialization being in a classroom with 30 kids from your neighborhood really replicating what you’ll experience in real life?  Of course not, traditional school and maybe a nursing home are the only places this segregation happens.  In your job, in your neighborhood, in public, you are always going to be surrounded by people of all ages and so many different backgrounds.

And it’s not that we don’t think socialization is important. Socialization is crucial for everyone for several reasons:

  • Social Skills Development: These interactions develop important skills, like communication, cooperation, empathy, and conflict resolution. These skills are crucial for success in both personal and professional life.
  • Emotional Well-being: Socialization provides emotional support and a sense of belonging. It can help children develop a healthy self-esteem and mental well-being. Friendships and social bonds can provide a strong emotional safety net.
  • Cultural Awareness: Socializing with a diverse group of people exposes children to different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives, which fosters more cultural awareness and embracing people of all walks of life. 
  • Learning from Others: Interacting with peers allows children to learn from others’ experiences and perspectives. It can broaden their horizons and encourage intellectual growth.
  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Many aspects of life, including work and sports, require the ability to work effectively in teams. Socialization provides opportunities to learn teamwork and collaboration skills.
  • Conflict Resolution: Socialization involves dealing with conflicts and disagreements, which are valuable life skills. Learning how to navigate conflicts constructively is essential for personal and professional relationships.
  • Preparation for the Real World: children will eventually need to navigate the real world outside of the classroom. Our communities are full of diverse people and social situations. Socialization prepares them for this reality. When you think about it, a classroom is actually an artificially structured system. There are probably a lot of parents of kids in public school who worry about their children making it in the real world. Homeschooled kids get far more opportunities to interact with all different kinds of people.
  • Networking: Building a social network from a young age can be beneficial in various aspects of life, including career opportunities and personal connections.
  • Coping with Peer Pressure: Socialization allows children to learn how to handle peer pressure and make informed decisions, which is especially important during the teen years.
  • Building Friendships: Friendships formed during childhood and adolescence can be some of the most enduring and meaningful relationships in a person’s life. Socialization helps children build and maintain these connections.

It’s important to strike a balance between socialization and academics, ensuring that kids have plenty of time with friends while still receiving a quality education. Homeschooling families are so creative and often find ways to combine socializing with learning to ensure that their children develop both academically and socially. 

What are some ways that homeschoolers find social opportunities? (10:53)

One of the things that we often tell people is that we do have a problem with socialization as homeschoolers.  And that problem is that with so many extra hours in our day, it’s easy to overschedule yourself.  We sometimes struggle to find time to be at home and get our work done! One of my initial reasons to homeschool is because I wanted to give my kids more opportunities Beyond what a school can offer – I wanted to give them the world — but the world is big and it can really fill your calendar quickly!

Scroll down to download our free full list of 100 Ways to Socialize your Homeschooler:

Homeschoolers have so many different avenues for socialization that can help them build meaningful relationships and develop those important social skills:

Local Homeschool Groups: search out local homeschooling support groups and co-ops where families meet regularly for educational and social activities. These groups often organize field trips, classes, and group projects.  

We’ve talked often about our park day groups which is really where we laid that foundation for friendships. And so many of the group activities and clubs we started later, came from these original park day groups.And we did so many parties with these now lifelong friends- not back to school parties, Easter Egg Hunts, Christmas potluck dinners, Halloween Parties, and Valentine exchanges. 

And later- we have been part of groups that put on dances- “what about the prom is a common homeschool question that we have all been asked.  Usually when we have kids so young, prom isn’t even on the horizon!  Well, they can go to the prom!  And there’s also Graduation- some mom friends and I worked so hard and put together a grand event– I think it was about 15 kids, and since my daughter also earned her associates degree in high school, we did the big ceremony at the community college too. And then I also hosted a big bash with all the kids she grew up with.  

Keep in mind that every kid is different, and they may not want a big graduation ceremony or a big party and that’s OK too. At 17 and 18, they probably have a pretty good idea how they want to celebrate. So, make sure you bring them to the table. That can be hard sometimes for parents because this is our celebration too.  Make sure you aren’t projecting your own feelings onto your kids. This is their moment. 

Extracurricular Activities: Homeschooled children can participate in extracurricular activities like sports teams, art classes, music lessons, dance classes, band, or theater groups within their community.

You should check out our FREE Extracurricular Workbook. We’ve listed over 100 ideas and step-by-step ways to help your child find some extracurriculars that they will love. 

Community Classes: Enrolling in classes at local community centers or libraries can help homeschoolers meet and interact with peers who share their interests. We love our libraries!  I started when my kids were toddlers, taking them to library story time. We’ve also done a lot of rec center classes- they are low cost and low commitment.  We’ve used that as a way to try things out without getting sucked into a multi month session if the kids want to quit after two classes.

Volunteer Work: Volunteering is also an excellent way for homeschoolers to give back to their community and make new friends. For years, we volunteered at an Alzheimer’s and dementia center and some of my kid’s friends are 90 years old. I absolutely love that my kids don’t care if you’re 2 years old or 90 years old. Age is irrelevant to them. We’ve often volunteered with other kids who are passionate about similar causes- we put together food bundles at food bank, we did a homeless coat drive, we got together with other families and wrote letters to veterans, we did a book drive for an underprivileged school and all the homeschool kids read the books to these young children. We also did meals on wheels when my kids were very young – Cameron was in his car seat, walking up and ringing the doorbell. Sometimes we would talk for a long time to these people. They were often very lonely.

My kids do a lot of nursing home gigs as Irish dancers especially during St. Patrick’s season- they absolutely love interacting with the seniors in these communities.  

Online Communities: There are also so many opportunities for homeschoolers to connect with others through online forums, social media groups, and virtual clubs or classes. We’ve talked about how online friends can be absolutely real and valuable.

Local Events and Clubs: you can also participate in community events and clubs, like 4-H, or you can participate in youth groups. My kids do Youth and Government through the YMCA.  Both of our kids have done scouting.  

Part-Time Jobs: Older teens can get a part-time job and learn a lot of valuable skills. They learn how to cooperate as a team and make new friends. A job can also provide exposure to a variety of situations as they learn to navigate working with others. And homeschoolers can work during the day. In high school, my daughter was able to earn her associates degree and work a full-time job to buy her first car, and still have plenty of time for friends. 

Family and Friends:  Don’t discount family!  One of the reasons I started homeschooling was because I had 2 kids under 2 and then 3 under 4.  I didn’t have the same social need for a preschooler that a parent of an only child might have.  My kids were a group almost from the beginning.

Time spent with extended family members and close friends are more social opportunities for homeschoolers. These family gatherings and playdates are the best!  And those private play days are such wonderful memories for me. Through the years, my kids’ best friends’ parents have been MY best friends. These are some of my favorite homeschool times. 

Field Trips: Homeschoolers often go on educational field trips to museums, zoos, historical sites, and nature reserves, where they can interact with both their peers and experts in various fields.

We love field trips and have an awesome episode with 100 Top Field Trips. Personally, I’d rather go on a field trip to learn hands on, than do a worksheet! I also created this super cool field trip guide you can download for free.

Online Classes: Some homeschoolers take online courses or virtual classes, where they can collaborate with teachers and students from around the world. We have loved Outschool!

Outschool is an educational platform offering over 100,000 Interactive Online Classes for every age group from 3 to 18 years. You can use it as full academic classes or supplements.
Learn More >>

It’s important to note that homeschooling can be tailored to each child’s needs and preferences, allowing families to create a socialization plan that aligns with their values and educational goals while providing ample opportunities for interaction with others.

Are traditionally schooled children better socialized than homeschooled kids? (26:18)

In those younger years homeschooling takes less than an hour. Even when our kids were earning their associates degree in high school, they never did more than 4 hours of school each day. This allows for more opportunities for positive social interactions. All of the social opportunities that we just talked about that homeschoolers are experiencing during the day when they’re not in a classroom, have given them experiences and more opportunities for socializing and learning these skills. 

It’s important to note that the social development of any child is influenced by a lot of factors, including their individual personality, their family environment, and the specific homeschooling or traditional school experience they receive.  And unfortunately, as homeschooled parents, the pressure is all on us.  Our kids are a reflection of us.  If your school kid grows up to be a troublemaker or outcast, you can blame the school environment. But nobody questions whether or not kids in school are socialized. Let me tell you, being put in a building with peers of your same age and socioeconomic background is not necessarily socializing. But for homeschoolers, it’s all on us.

So let’s talk about some of the differences in socialization between traditional school kids and homeschooled kids.

Here are some considerations:

Homeschooled Kids:

  • Varied Experiences: Homeschooled children have more flexibility to engage in a wide range of social experiences, including interacting with people of different ages, cultural backgrounds and perspectives, promoting diversity and tolerance.
  • Individualism: Homeschoolers feel minimal peer pressure to conform or fit in and are encouraged to express themselves and have a voice without social pressures. Homeschooling can provide more one-on-one time with parents or educators, potentially addressing specific social needs and positive guidance. 
  • Limited Negative Influences: Homeschooling can minimize children from negative peer pressures and bullying and provide guidance when needed.
  • Tailored Learning: Homeschooled children can learn at their own pace, especially those with learning differences, reducing the stress and social anxiety that can occur in a classroom setting. 

Traditionally Schooled Kids:

  • Structured Environment: Traditional schools provide a structured social environment with limited real-world experiences. Students learn to navigate various social situations and hierarchies with a large student teacher ratio affording minimal guidance. 
  • Peer Interaction: From an early age, kids learn how to be like others and conform, at the cost of neglecting or even never discovering what it is that makes them special. In a school environment, peer pressure can dictate things from how to look and sound to how to act in order to be accepted by the peer circle.

In Conclusion

There is a large body of research focused on determining whether homeschooled or traditional schooled kids are better-socialized. The research has found that being homeschooled does not harm socialization skills, and in fact, more and more studies are indicating that homeschooled children score more highly than children who attend school on measurements of socialization.

Ultimately, whether homeschooled or traditionally schooled children are “better” socially depends on the individual child, the quality of their educational environment, and their unique social needs. Some homeschooled children thrive socially, while others may face challenges.  It’s up to you to figure out what best works for your family and child. Similarly, traditionally schooled children can excel socially or encounter difficulties.  When someone asks you if you are worried your kids will be weird.  Ask them if they knew any weird kids from school. We all did! Here’s the thing.  My kids were going to be weirdos whether they went to school or not.  Sorry kids, but that is genetic!

The key is to provide opportunities for socialization and development. Many homeschooling families actively seek out socialization opportunities for their children to ensure they have well-rounded experiences. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether homeschooled kids are better socially than traditionally schooled kids. Social development is a complex and multifaceted process influenced by various factors, and both educational approaches can provide valuable social experiences when done thoughtfully and with the child’s best interests in mind.

It’s easy for those outside the homeschooling community to look at these students as “different” or “socially awkward.” But much of that sentiment results from simply not having any real knowledge of what homeschoolers actually do. Homeschool parents don’t tie their kids to a desk for 8 hours. They’re cuddled on the couch reading books, they’re learning at libraries, at museums, they’re interacting with residents at senior centers, with other families and fellow students. They’re experiencing real-life situations and conversing with many types of people from all walks of life. They play Little League, nerf battles, video games, text their friends, join clubs, and are free to be themselves with opportunities beyond what they could get in a school environment.

This Week’s Freebie:

Download the Complete Socialization List HERE (pdf)

046. 12 Ways to Balance Your Home and Homeschool

046.
12 Ways to Balance Your Home and Homeschool

Balancing home life and homeschooling can be challenging. Many of us already juggle motherhood, relationships, housework, meals, work, and friendships. Adding homeschooling can feel overwhelming. Today, we’re sharing 12 practical strategies to help you balance it all effectively.

Episode 046:

TWO WAYS TO LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE:
1. Click PLAY Button Above ^^ to listen here.
2. OR Listen on your favorite podcast platform:

Brand New to Homeschooling?
GETTING START PAGE >>
Kindergarten Page >>
High School Series >>

Show Notes

Sometimes there just isn’t enough time in the day for us to do everything or do everything well. As a parent taking on the role of educator, it requires careful planning and adaptability. The home becomes a multifaceted space, serving as both a nurturing environment for family life and a classroom for structured learning. Striking the right equilibrium demands flexibility in schedules, creativity in teaching methods, and patience in handling the inevitable ups and downs. 

While homeschooling does present its share of hurdles, the opportunity to be present and fully engage with your child’s education and witness their growth firsthand is an unparalleled privilege. Finding harmony between nurturing a thriving home life and fostering a successful homeschooling experience ultimately hinges on a few things: Your openness to be flexible, initiating open discussions with your family, finding a supportive network, and a commitment to making this happen. 

Finding balance while homeschooling can be challenging and sometimes it might mean lowering your expectations and setting clear priorities and picking your battles. Some people have this idea of some social media picture or Pinterest worthy home all the time and it’s just not realistic and it’s so important to not compare yourself with others. What tends to happen when we start playing the comparison game is that we compare our worst selves with someone else’s best self. Don’t do it! It’s not a battle you’re going to win and you’re going to drive yourself crazy and your family crazy with those kinds of unrealistic expectations.

In this season, you’re educating your children. You’re raising babies. You’re making memories. There are going to be times when you are in pure crisis mode 24/7. The house is going to get messy again and again, but your kids are only going to be at home for a few short years. Let’s keep things in perspective. It WILL get easier, especially as the kids get older. Next month could look very different than today. And don’t underestimate what you DO get done. If possible, write down what you have done so you can look back and visually all you are actually doing each day. It’s probably a lot more than you realize!

Husband walks in, “What did you do all day?”

So, let’s get to some ways to help you maintain and balance your entire household during these years:

1. Establish a Routine (10:12)

Create a daily or weekly schedule that outlines when you’ll focus on homeschooling, house chores, and family time. A routine helps set expectations. We have an entire episode dedicated to this called “Schedules, Routines and Rhythms” because not only is it one of the main things people ask about, but it is also one of the key things to running a smooth household.  

There are a lot of benefits from having an organized routine. It helps you stay on top of everything but, also, kids find comfort in knowing what happens next. If you’ve recently come out of a school environment, you may already be used to having some sort of structure to your day.  The great thing about homeschooling though, is that you have the opportunity to cater this to your unique family.  You don’t need to replicate a strict school schedule to have a gentle routine in place. We like to use the words “routines” or “rhythms” to imply a more laid back, less rigid flow to your day. Finding the right fit is definitely going to be different for every family. Blueprint For a Beautiful Week

2. Use Technology (11:44)

Use technology to your advantage. Technology is a timesaver when you use it to streamline tasks. Online grocery shopping, home management apps, and educational tools can help save time and stay organized.  Keep a family calendar:
Cozi
Google Keep
Trello
Some people like to use Alexa or Google home for grocery lists.  There is also online shopping- grocery store apps, or Shipt/Instacart.  

Since covid, so many stores feature online ordering and free pick up. You can keep a list going all the time and then click on the app when you are ready to buy and pick up. It’s so handy to take the shopping part out of your tasks and they load your groceries right into your car. Often this service is totally free once you hit the minimum pick up, but sometimes there is a slight cost- but still worth it!  This can help you save money, too- no impulse buying.  You can build your list right in front of you and make it fit your budget. 

Subscription services can help you save time and money, too. You can find companies where you can have dairy, produce, and cleaning supplies delivered, even pet food.  Amazon also has a subscription service you can set up for things you order often.

There are also a ton of meal planning services out there that will send you 2-3 meals per week with all of the ingredients and directions to make it.  These are so easy; your kids can do it.  It’s a great way to learn to cook! And it’s one less thing for mom to think about.

Subscriptions we have enjoyed for years:
Universal Yums has been a wonderful way to learn about people and food from all over the world

Misfits Market
Grove Collaborative
Oberweis Dairy

My college student turned me on to Google Keep and its handy for keeping different lists for today’s tasks, long term tasks, gift lists for each member of the family, a list of movies/shows to watch, podcast lists, to do lists- short term/long term, and you can make menu planning lists and grocery lists in there. 

Getting my family to use a digital calendar was the best thing I ever did, too.  Everyone knows to check Cozi before they ask me if they can do things with friends, and they put their own things on there so that we don’t double book.  My kids away from home still use it to plan trips home.

3. Time Management (15:40)

Teach your children about time management, so they understand the importance of balancing responsibilities and free time. In today’s fast-paced world, helping kids grasp the concept of time and learning how to manage it effectively is more crucial than ever. 

Teaching these skills to them isn’t about overloading them with schedules; it’s about empowering them with essential life skills. You can start by introducing age-appropriate tools like colorful timers or visual calendars, making time tangible for them. Lots of kids like magnet or sticker charts, or some kind of checklist. 

I love checklists and so do children! Recently, we posted on Facebook and Instagram pictures of one chart system I made where I used cardboard and clothes pins. We also have our free preschool routine charts, and I created several for the entire household for this week’s freebie. 

As homeschoolers, we often have a lot of social outlets and activities outside the home, but if you’re go-go go, you’re never going to have time to get your house picked up, so when things get really out of hand, you may need to limit outside activities. It’s hard to get a grasp on things in the house when you are never home!  

 The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s- it involves using a kitchen timer to break work into intervals typically 25-minute breaks. Pomodoro is Italian for tomato which is the shape of the timer he used.  

You can also try setting tasks to things like getting the whole house clean in the time it takes to wash/dry your bed linens.  You can also do an entire family pick up time! Even just 10 minutes of everybody picking up at the same time and doing nothing else can be super helpful. 

4. Prioritize Tasks (19:51)

Identify the most crucial household tasks and focus on those. Not everything needs to be perfect; sometimes, good enough is okay. 

The Fly Lady routine of having a weekly blessing of your house was handy- take an hour each and vacuum just heavy traffic areas, quick dust of surfaces, spot clean any floors with mop, polish mirrors or doors, purge magazines, mail, paperwork, change sheets, empty all trash.  Then you could dedicate time on other days to doing other projects and your house is always semi clean. She also recommended things like keeping cleaner and wipes in every bathroom, so you could always do a quick clean in a pinch without grabbing items from somewhere else.

Think about doing a daily reset of your home, or a closing time at the end of the night. Do things like throw a load of laundry in first thing (and then fold the previous days), unload the dishwasher or rack and wash anything that was soaking from the night before. Fill water bottles and prep any food items for lunch or dinner.  These things in the morning keep the rest of the day running smoothly and you never run behind on laundry.  

5. Weekly Planning (23:26)

Dedicate a specific time each week to plan your homeschooling lessons and household tasks. This can help you stay organized and reduce last-minute stress. Look at your calendar, plan clothing and carpools, plan menu and meals, look if there are any supplies or things needed for classes or projects.  

Keep a checklist of cleaning or organizing things that you do every week and divide those tasks into daily chores. Paying bills every Monday, Tuesdays check your grocery order, Wednesdays I will check my Every Plate or Hello Fresh order and select items for delivery (I also like to be working out like 3 weeks, so if I ever forget to do this one week, I don’t just get sent their selections)

6. Meal Planning (24:40)

Plan meals in advance. This will save you a ton of time and money and make your week run so much smoother and reduce your stress. There’s nothing worse than walking in the door and everybody’s hungry and there’s nothing to eat or everything is frozen. Also, it’s easy to get sucked into being a short order cook if you start asking for ideas! Consider batch cooking or using slow cookers for easy, nutritious meals. One year, friends got together and prepped a ton of freezer meals as a group. It took all day, but it completely packed our freezers with easy go-to meals. These are super easy, and you just throw them in the crockpot in the morning. I recently posted 2 free freezer meal plans with grocery lists in the Homeschool freebies Facebook group I created. Scroll down for our FREE Meal Planner!

 I have a chalkboard in my kitchen with each day listed and every Sunday, I go through our calendar, determine which nights might be hectic each week and need a quick meal, a thermos meal, or maybe a crockpot meal that you toss in that morning. On weekends you can prepare easy go-to things for breakfasts and lunches during the week. Breakfast sandwiches, eggs, muffins, or pancakes can be made ahead and frozen and then reheated.  Parfaits in a jar or a huge batch of oatmeal refrigerated in individual glass bowls are easy, too.  This saves money and allows you to control the quality of the ingredients too. Acadiana’s Thrifty Mom Blog and Karissa at Home Instagram.

Both of us use our Instant Pots almost EVERY SINGLE DAY

If you don’t already have an Instant Pot, you have to check them out!
Read Reviews>>

If your kids also like to cook, put them in charge of one family dinner a week. You can also set themes for each evening.  Things for each day like a “Meatless Monday,” “Try it out Thursday,” “Cozy Crockpot Wednesday,” or “Movie night Friday.”  You can list all of your favorite meals for each category and have a ready bunch of recipes to pull from each week. Planning doesn’t have to take long but it definitely will reward you in the long run.

We created this group as a way to share FREE resources all over the world with NO SPAM:

BTDT Homeschool Free Resources
Get all the FREE Resources including the (2) 100-page Freezer Meal with Grocery Lists mentioned in this episode!
Join the Group for Free>>

7. Multitask Mindfully (29:17)

Look for opportunities to combine activities. For example, you can discuss math concepts while cooking together or practice reading during family story time.  Using a literature-based curriculum means always mixing subjects for maximum effort- writing a paper about history reading crosses two subjects out.  There are also so many family style curriculums that allow you to use one thing for all of the kids and then you can focus more one on one later with just things like math or reading instruction.

Use real-life events like cooking meals to help kids learn AND get dinner on the table. When we go to the grocery store, have the kids help write out the list. Then, while shopping, teach them how to compare prices and determine which item is the better value. Both cooking and shopping are sneaky ways to weave in math without having to print out another worksheet or find another practice activity. 

As I’ve gotten older, I put them in charge of an entire meal with a small budget. We head to the store, they choose all the ingredients, they prepare, and they clean up. Just because you close the schoolbooks when things are out of control and you need a tidy, clean house with food on the table, doesn’t mean that you’re abandoning learning.

You can multitask with non-school stuff, too!   When kids were younger, I’d make all the moms walk laps around the playground on park days.  Now that they are older, I try to fit that exercise time in while they are otherwise occupied.  For years, we had evening activities that took hours- instead of sitting in the car waiting, I joined a gym on that side of town near my kids studio and worked out while they were in class.

8. Involve Everyone (30:33)

Have your children and partner help you with household duties. After all, they live in the house too and it should never be solely your responsibility to take care of everything all of the time. Delegate and give up on perfection. The goal is to have it done to at least a passable standard. 

Perfection is overrated. Share the responsibility! Assign age-appropriate chores to children, teaching them valuable life skills in the process. Download our free resource this week- it’s going to help you stay on top of those chores and involve everyone in your family as you divvy out responsibilities. There are also lots of lists out there with age-appropriate chores on it for inspiration.  Over time and with lots of practice and patient instruction, kids can become very good at helping around the house. It is not always easy when they are learning how to complete a new chore but reminding yourself that it will pay off in the long run. Scroll down for our FREE Cleaning and Chore Charts!

9. Ask for Help (35:19)

Don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends and family when you need it.  Delegate some of the schoolwork to them or put them in charge of a certain subject – maybe math! And completely take that off your plate. 

Sometimes you can share responsibilities with other homeschool moms.  We’ve shared carpooling a lot with some of my close mom friends. One year when our oldest kids were in a summer camp, we created a younger sibling kid camp with several families. We would each take all the younger siblings for an entire day and we would do activities and give the other moms the day off.  We loved all day park days as much as our kids did, but every once in a while when the kids were having a great time playing, we would switch off with a mom — where she would leave early to go do some errands and I will drop off her child later in the day and vice versa. Sometimes having more kids at your house is easier than just having yours at home.  

You might also consider hiring occasional help, such as a house cleaner or babysitter.  When my kids were really little, I had a young homeschool tween come in a few hours a day as a mothers helper.  It was a win win- she got supervised babysitting experience, and I got time to get things done.

10. Set Boundaries (37:43)

Clearly communicate your work and homeschooling hours to family members. Let them know when you’re available for non-school-related activities. Don’t be afraid to be firm about not taking calls between 9am and noon if that’s your prime school hours. You are not sitting at home doing nothing eating bonbons watching TV, your job is important and valuable. Turn your phone to silent and be present with your kids. They deserve that.

This is a struggle for all stay-at-home parents- people often think you have all the time in the world to take their phone calls, or book appointments, and meet household contractors, etc., just because you are at home. But you have your own stuff to do!

This goes for homeschooling commitments, too!  It’s easy to get sucked into a lot of volunteer roles or teaching positions or other activity coordinating.  And if you’re a person who is good at leading things, you’ll get asked to do this over and over.  Learn to say no!  Don’t commit to things your kids hate or that don’t benefit your family.

11. Self-Care (40:50)

Prioritize self-care. Taking time for relaxing and your personal interests helps you stay balanced and it’s going to reduce the chance of burnout. A burnt out mom is scary! As much as I used to be a night owl and hate early mornings, I really relish getting up with my quiet and coffee before everyone else so I prioritize that in my life.

It definitely gets a little easier as they get older to be able to leave them to go do things.  I used to feel guilty about meeting other moms out for a moms night, or going to a book club.  But don’t!  Your kids aren’t going to suffer with one night in with dad or an evening of pizza while you are out with friends. 

The point is to take care of yourself. Even a rockstar homeschooling mom needs a break. Don’t be afraid to make that part of the routine.

12. Flexibility (44:10)

Embrace flexibility and be willing to adapt your schedule as needed. Some days may require more focus on homeschooling, while others might prioritize home maintenance or family time. Being a homeschool mom is tough. There are times when it’s the most rewarding thing ever, but there are others when you feel lucky to make it through the day without tears. 

It’s not always easy homeschooling, keeping house, and keeping your sanity, and it definitely takes time trying to figure out how to balance it all. Remember that balance is a dynamic process, and it may require adjustments as your family’s needs change. Balance is a little bit of a myth, because when we tilt activities toward one thing – even if it’s needed – it takes away from things on the other side of the spectrum. There’s no such thing as perfect balance all of the time. That’s life and it’s okay not to be perfect all the time. Be patient with yourself and your family, and don’t be afraid to seek support from friends and family or local resources to help maintain a harmonious home and family life while homeschooling. 

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