5 Helpful Homeschool Hacks For an Easier Week

Helpful Homeschool Hacks

Our homeschool is gradually returning to a lifestyle of more focused learning and we are finding our way into a homeschool rhythm that works.  We’ve made some dramatic changes to our homeschool this year that I haven’t written about yet.  The main jist of these changes is that we are majorly simplifying our schedule.

I’ve written before about how we use less of a schedule and more of a routine that flows as much as possible from the natural rhythm of our home.  That rhythm is a combination of what we need to get done, what we want to get done, learning styles, teaching styles, life style etc.

When I refer to a schedule, I am talking more about activities written on a calendar;  activities that we MUST do.  This year, one of our family’s major goals was to keep significantly more white space on our calendar.

That meant two rather shocking changes right up front.  One, I got certified as an Orton-Gillingham dyslexia tutor so that now I tutor my kids at home rather than leaving the house twice a week for 3 1/2 hours at a time.  The other thing was letting our cleaning lady go.  Her bi-monthly services were a generous gift from my mom when child #7 was born.  He is seven now and we felt that it was time for our family to take stewardship of the house –  to find a way to take responsibility of our own messes as a family.

Here are a few things that we are implementing in our homeschool this year that are making a difference:

Staying home more.  Now I am not saying that homeschool families should not go out nor is it my intention to place any guilt or condemnation on families who do spend a lot of time outside the house.  There have been wonderful seasons of our own homeschool where we were out a lot and it worked, especially when our kids were younger.  With 2 high schoolers, 3 elementary aged kids and a preschooler, we have a lot more to cover academically.  The more that we are home, the more that we can get done.  Not only that but we can get it done and maintain our relaxed homeschool environment.  I know you all know what I’m talking about.

Outings on school days require an hour of prep time to find everybody’s shoes and socks, wipe faces, provide food and other planning and another hour on the back side for decompressing and getting back on track.  Knowing that I have the entire day to finish school (if I want to) means I can relax and sit down to read an extra chapter or three and relax.  I’m not pushing and stressing and watching the clock like a looney.

exercise

I added exercise into our routine this week.  I probably don’t need to preach to a bunch of homeschool moms on the benefits of exercise.  When I exercise, I feel more energy and am more relaxed and happy.  I have gone back and forth with being disciplined about exercise and this week finds me coming out of a long period with no exercise.

At the recommendation of Lisa from The Pennington Point (whose blog I LOVE!) I bought an exercise DVD called T-Tapp that is a 15 minute core workout.  I don’t know about you but as I near 50, and after bearing 8 children, my core is more than a bit squishy.  After going through the T-Tapp workout (which was hard for this old mama) I rode the stationary bike for 20 minutes.  All while my kids were finishing their morning routines.  A homeschool home run for sure!

Essential Oils  If you have never experienced the health benefits of Essential Oils, you are missing out!  I have been using Essential Oils for years.  I am always discovering new ways to use my oils and this week was a memorable one.  We are in a trial and error process of figuring out natural remedies for newly diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder in our home.  This week, during our 2-hour writing class at Classical Conversations (another big change for our homeschool) my daughters and I applied liberal amounts of Brain Power essential oil blend from Young Living Essential Oils.  The difference it made was remarkable.

brain power essential oil for add

Instead of fighting the urge to fall asleep during class, my daughter was upright and occupied herself with writing.  She was clearly way more focused than in previous weeks.  If you are interested in learning more about essential oils, click here.

Delegate.  I am a busy mom.  I have a lot to accomplish in a day to simply feed, clothe and educate my brood. This week, I grabbed a clip board and walked around the house listing each room and everything that needed to be done in each room.  From folding laundry to cleaning bathrooms, to vacuuming to dusting – I wrote it all down.  Then I wrote each child’s name along the bottom of the clip board and delegated chores to every one.  I’m pretty sure that my kids are horrified that I have become so organized.  No computer or play time until the work is done.  Yes, there were tears but they weren’t mine!  {grin}

Lists. Okay so lists may not be classified as an official hack per se but they keep me organized and they help me keep my kids organized.  I have grocery lists, assignment lists, work lists for my husband’s businesses and my business.  I use 3 x 5 cards and dry erase boards and have created an elaborate spread sheet of school work for my 9 & 11 year olds to follow so I don’t have to constantly remember.  My brain needs all the help it can get.

How about you?  Share your top homeschooling hacks in the comments below!

Marianne Sunderland

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