You may think that as your kids get older and a little more independent, that homeschool will be easier. You’re both right and wrong.
In many ways, homeschooling becomes more challenging. It uses all your tired mommy brain cells and it is exhausting!
I have learned this the hard way….
Even though my older kids are able to work independently on some subjects, I have been feeling completely overwhelmed and burnt out. Every day I feel pulled in a million directions and I can not keep up.
Say, what? You’ve felt that way too?
I think the overwhelmed and overburdened feeling is common to all homeschool moms.
So, what can you do?
Well, I made a really radical homeschool decision this school year.
It’s something I had never, ever considered doing in the past.
It was actually my husband’s suggestion.
And wow! Was it freeing!
Here’s my secret: My kids start the homeschool day without me.
There’s no happy morning time as we work together. When my kids begin the school day I’m not even in the room!
Ok, let me tell you how this has worked for us.
- First, I start my school day super early. You can read about that craziness on this post about why we love our morning time.
- My 3 older children (5th, 3rd, and 2nd) wake up a few minutes before 6 AM with their own alarms. They head down to our basement, make some hot tea or hot cocoa and start their work.
- The 3rd and 2nd grader have math pages and copywork to complete. Then they take turns walking on the treadmill while listening to audiobooks.
- The 5th grader has some grammar work, math pages, logic books, and Latin worksheets to complete.
- My kids start working and I join them downstairs at 6:30 for the official start to our school day.
Why the staggered start time?
I found that I did not have time to get fully prepared for my day – exercise, shower, calendar review, and devotions. I was waking up at 5 AM and still was not ready to begin school at 6. I did not want to get up before 5 (because that is just way too early), so I needed to find more time for myself in my day.
I realized that the first 30 minutes of our school day was not very productive anyway. So I gave that time back to myself in the morning.
It’s all about using time wisely and sneaking in some moments for yourself. Yes, I’ve been trying to practice some self-care among the chaos of this homeschool year. Here’s the book that encouraged me to make some changes. I’m so thankful that I read this one and implemented some of the ideas!
Anyway, this small shift in our schedule has had a huge impact on our day!
- I feel much more refreshed and ready to face a new day when I’ve had a few minutes to look over my calendar, make a to-do list for the day, and have some devotion time.
- And it also gives my kids some time to wake up a little bit before I join them. They are in a better mood when I join them downstairs because they’ve had 30 minutes to work independently.
- I’ve learned that most of us are not morning people. You read that right! No, I’m not a morning person. I only wake up early out of necessity.
In the early morning, none of us like someone to be talking the moment we’re awake. It’s hilarious how quiet the downstairs is when I arrive at 6:30. I hear an audiobook or two, but it is nearly silent. The kids are curled up in blankets reading or working on schoolwork.
I love the quiet and somewhat slow start to our school day as we ease into our school time. It has positively impacted my kids’ attitudes too!
My kids love feeling productive before I start working on them – they feel like they have a head start on their day. And I love that I’ve had some time for myself before I jump fully into our school day.
So, could you find some extra time for yourself in your day? Can you rearrange your schedule to give your kids some independent time while you focus on other things?
If you have older kids, you might consider having them start the homeschool day without you. It is kind of amazing how it has worked at our house.
My kids start the homeschool day without me. I never thought I would say that. I love having that 30 minutes of hands-off time though. And my kids are thriving with their independent time!
I am a bit of a schedule person, can you tell? If you’d like to read more about how I schedule our homeschool days be sure to check out these posts: