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  • Writer's pictureMegan Estes

8 Things I DON'T Do As a Homeschool Mom

Updated: Feb 2


no breakfast made as a homeschool mom

1. I don't make breakfast

I know. I'm horrible. But on homeschool days it's rare that I'm making anyone but myself breakfast. When we are in routine I'm usually getting ready, finishing quiet time, (before baby I'd be on a run and then showering), doing some light exercise, caring for baby, etc. So my kids know to get up and make eggs, oatmeal, cereal, or a waffle for breakfast. The older kids help the younger ones. When my oldest son was not quite three we taught him how to use the microwave to warm up his frozen muffin. It was life changing! Wahooo! I LOVE breakfast! So why don't I make it for my family every day?! To be honest, it's something I've had to let go of. I make most snacks, lunches, and healthy dinners every day, but breakfast is "every man for himself." Now to be fair, on weekends and holidays I sometimes make a fun breakfast, but I've decided to give myself grace on school days as well as encourage independence for my kids in this area. It's helped things run smoother actually. We are all doing what we need to do to come to school time with full bellies ready to learn and my kids have learned to be more responsible with their time because of it.


no tests or grades as a homeschool mom

2. I don't give grades and/or tests as a homeschool mom

What is the purpose of grades? You either know the material or you don't. It's that simple. Young children need to focus on cultivating a love of learning and not be worried about grades. (Obviously this is different for high schoolers in our current school system). If I'm working with my kids one on one and in small group settings every single day--I know, and they know, where they are at. They know what struggles they have and what they need to work on. I know what struggles they have and what they need to work on. For our homeschool, we do everything hands on and read aloud oriented, except language arts, spelling, and math. Our current curriculum is great at cyclical review so we are constantly reviewing what we've learned, and each quarter also has a review which helps us further evaluate what we are excelling at, and what needs more focus. Grades are meant to put you in standing with others. Currently, I just want my kids to be focused on where they themselves are at, and the steps they need to take to reach their academic goals.


get off my phone as a homeschool mom

3. I don't have my phone on me at all times

Does this even need an explanation? If you're working outside the home as a teacher you cannot be looking at your phone every five seconds. Guess what? It's the same with homeschool. On the days that I'm not focused or I'm feeling impatient while teaching sometimes it's because I broke that phone boundary and I'm texting someone that can wait, sending an email that could also wait, or often checking social media. Yikes! I don't want my kids to remember that every time they looked at me for help during school, or glanced my way to telI me a story that my head was buried in my phone. Do I have days where I choose to break this rule? Yes. Sometimes there are days when you're waiting for that doctor to call back or another call that's truly important. But I can honestly say that the days that I leave my phone in the bedroom during school or in the kitchen out of reach are some of the best homeschool days. This helps my mom brain release whatever else is happening in the world and focus on what's happening in mine. I can check it real quick when I'm passing by, but it's not my human pacifier. I don't NEED to have it. I just want it. Cause I'm addicted to the dopamine release in my brain (like everyone else I know) that happens when I get a message from any avenue of relationships--but the relationships I need to be focused on are right in front of me. Those little people deserve my ALL.


i don't use lots of worksheets as a homeschool mom

4. I don't require worksheets for each subject as a homeschool mom

Handwriting is a tedious task for kids. It involves getting your original thoughts down to your fingers and then focusing on punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Yes, it's important to be strong at this skill, but it doesn't mean that they need to be working on it for EVERY single subject. I want my kids focused on the science or history we are learning about and talking about it with me versus stressing about being able to write every answer down correctly. If you're like myself and have any learning challenges within your students, then you really want to limit handwriting! Being able to discuss what you've learned is paramount. Organizing your thoughts on paper doesn't have to be done for every subject every day. This will often stress young children out. Instead we focus on discussion, narration, and creative ways to show what they've learned instead of making them sit down and fill out a billion worksheets each day.


don't follow national school calendar as a homeschool mom

5. I don't follow the national holiday schedule for school breaks

You're in charge mama. Need I say more? As my kids have gotten over I've lost the summer battle the last two years lol! Their friends are all out and so they want to be done, so we no longer school year round. BUT, we take breaks when we need to, vacation when we want to, and use the gift of homeschooling to our advantage. Stop trying to "do school at home" and embrace the freedom to school however your family needs!


tech time

6. I don't allow tech time during the week

When we allowed this every day (even for a short limited time) it was all that one of my kids lived for. They couldn't enjoy school because they were obsessed with their tech time and missed out on the joys of the day. There was so much whining and complaining that it needed to be taken away--and our kids do so much better without it! When a child starts to "live" for something or not be satisfied unless they have "that thing," then it's time to go without. Just like us adults need to detox from things in our lives when they become addictive, our children need help learning self-control and that life has so many beautiful things to enjoy and participate in when our heads aren't stuck in front of a screen. Do I still use screens as a babysitter when needed? You bet. Does my preschooler get to watch a show while I teach the older kids harder subjects? Yep. In general, I've seen my kids explore more, create more, and play more joyfully with limited screen time, so we've decided to unleash screen time for primarily the weekends.


priorities as a homeschool mom

7. I don't jump every time someone wants to hang

This is a hard thing I don't do as a homeschool mom. My FULL-TIME job is being the teacher/disciplemaker of my kids. I take that seriously. I get up and get ready for the day like I'm going to work--cause I am. Sometimes I show up to work in pjs though cause I can! Just because we homeschool doesn't mean that I can jump into the car for a playdate every five seconds. Do we do that sometimes? Of course! We LOVE impromptu outings and time with family and friends. However, every "yes" comes with a "no." It's my job to help teach and keep our priorities straight. Since we took about a month off during the holidays (we said, "yes" to extended family time and travel) that means I'm saying, "no" to taking a day off this week even though our public school friends are on break. This is hard for some people to understand because they don't know what other events and things we've said, "yes" to recently. I have to show grace to others that truly can't comprehend the work it takes to get into a routine and stay the path with homeschooling, and I have to ask for grace from them and simply say, "sorry, we have school that morning" because Lord knows how long it takes us to build a routine after just coming back from vacation!


I'm the boss not my kids as a homeschool mom

8. I don't let young children decide their school path

It seems obvious that our kids are not the boss, but sometimes we as parents might be tempted to take "an out" and just put the weight of the schooling decision on our kids without realizing it. Kids feel safe and secure knowing boundaries and what the plan is. We as their caretakers are responsible for creating and teaching both--boundaries and the plan. Children are flippant and emotional and deserve to act and feel like kids! They DO NOT need to carry the pressure of deciding their schooling. We've gone before God and He has confirmed over and over again that our family is to homeschool. Do we reevaluate sometimes? Of course! Each year looks different and each child has unique needs. However, if there is to be a change in how our family does school it will be coming from us parents. I refuse to be the newbie mom again that is constantly worrying about each decision and changing them often. If you know you're supposed to homeschool then step forward into it! Keep reminding yourself and your kids that, "this is where God has our family." If you dangle phrases like, "maybe next year we will do_____," your kids may feel anxious because of the constant change. Be the steady. Share doubts, concerns, and process your schooling decisions behind closed doors so that it's off of your children's radar. Growing up is hard work. They don't need to hear all of the discussion. They need a strong and loving front from mom and dad to lead them down the path God has carved out.


Conclusion

God has you in your role as a homeschool mama for more reasons than you can even fathom. He's called you to this. It's okay to create a schedule, routine, habits, and disciplines that help your family succeed in the homeschool journey! Maybe it's time to ask Him if there's some things you need to let go of, change, or implement and trust that His grace is sufficient in it all!




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