Every mom desires consistency in their homeschool. The problem is how to turn that desire into reality.
A few years ago, I wanted nothing more than to be a consistent homeschool mom. We weren’t making as much progress as we could and I knew I had to change things.
My kids were falling behind in their school work because I lacked discipline and focus.
I didn’t prioritize homeschooling and we didn’t have regular school hours or anything like that. We just went with the flow.
Some days, I woke up feeling energized, ready to take on the world, then out of nowhere, I would have a mood swing. And before you know it, I didn’t feel like working, teaching or doing anything else.
It wasn’t always a mood swing. Sometimes I got distracted by social media, emails, text messages or something else.
At first, the kids were happy to get those days off until I started moaning about us falling behind.
One day, I was going through my moaning routine when one of my kids suggested that maybe it would be better if they went to school. That stopped me dead in my tracks!
I asked them if they wanted to go school. They replied that they didn’t, but since I was complaining about them being behind in their school work, they thought maybe going to school was the best option because they didn’t want to fall behind their peers.
That was our “Out of the mouth of babes” moment.
In case you haven’t guessed, that was my wake up call. I felt guilty, embarrassed and like a failure for letting my kids down.
That was the moment, I decided enough was enough. I made a commitment to myself that either I do homeschooling right or not at all.
Years later, I am still on that journey. While I don’t have all the answers yet, I have done a few things and made a few changes that’s helped me to become a more consistent homeschooler.
I am going to share some of those things with you.
Before I share some of the things that have been working for me, let’s talk about some of the reasons you may be struggling with consistency.
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Reasons Homeschool Moms Struggle With Consistency
- Lack of self-discipline. This one is pretty self-explanatory. You need to be disciplined to make homeschooling work. If you can’t get yourself to do what you’re supposed to, it’s going to be hard to succeed.
- Too many distractions. Another one that’s very obvious and common. If you have too many things going on at the same time, it’s easy for homeschooling to take a back seat since you can always justify why lessons have to wait.
- Perfectionism. Are you one of those moms who wait until everything is perfect before you get started? If that’s you, then you’re going to spend more time waiting than actually doing. Remember done is better than perfect.
- Overwhelm. You’re juggling too many things. You’re stressed and overwhelmed and homeschooling is just one extra thing you have to fit in.
- Not asking for help. Are you one of those moms who think you can do it all? It’s hard to do it all or be good at everything. When you try to do everything including things you aren’t very good at, the result is inconsistency.
- Lack of planning. Leaving everything to chance. Homeschooling doesn’t work unless you do. And you need a plan to make things work. You don’t need anything elaborate, but at the very least you should have an idea of what you’re doing, and what you’re trying to achieve.
As you can see, none of the reasons is earth shattering or something out of reach. They are all things we can do if we set our minds to it.
With that said, here are a few things you can do so you can be consistent in homeschooling and achieve your goals.
HOW TO BECOME A CONSISTENT HOMESCHOOL MOM
1. Focus on your why
Why do you homeschool? What are your expectations for homeschooling?
The reason this is important is because it helps you get back on track.
Anytime I find myself drifting away or struggling to get things done, I always ask myself “Why am I doing this thing?” “Why is it important?”
Whenever I do this, I am reminded that the only way I’m going to accomplish my desired outcome is through hard work and sacrifice over a long period of time.
When I focus on my why, I wake up every morning with a sense of purpose. I know why I am homeschooling, and I know what I need to do to be successful.
If educating your children is truly important to you, you must accept and embrace the hard work and sacrifice that goes along with it. There’re no shortcuts or magic bullets I am afraid.
When something is important, you’ll make time for it and you will be motivated to make it work.
If you’re struggling with consistency, start by going back to the basics and work your way back up.
2. Stop making excuses and procrastinating
Deep down most of us know when we are just making excuses or putting things off for no legitimate reason (aka procrastination).
The truth is if you keep postponing things, it’s never going to get done. Sure, maybe you can justify not doing lessons or teaching your kids for a day or two, but after a while it becomes harder to justify.
Yes, sometimes, stuff happens which makes it hard. You get sick, kids get sick, family members can get sick. Those are legitimate reasons for skipping school (but you can also have a plan for those unexpected events).
But what about things like: I’m not in the mood. I’m upset. Things are not working the way I want them to. I hate our curriculum. My daughter hates math and so on.
Are these valid reasons for your inconsistency or are they excuses?That’s a question only you can answer.
One of (if not the biggest) hurdle to consistency is procrastination. We all procrastinate, but when it becomes a bad habit or an integral part of your life,it’s time to do something about it.
3. Don’t be afraid to Pivot
Are you struggling with consistency because you feel pressured to keep using the same curriculum, textbook or whatever even when it isn’t working for you?
Here is your cue to let it go. Much of homeschooling is trial and error, so there’s no need to stay stuck.
When homeschooling becomes a battle or too much of a grind, ask yourself whether it’s time to pivot or change something. This is one of the ways to stay sane and consistent while homeschooling.
Is that language arts curriculum no longer working for you? Time to say good bye. Is Abeka no longer a good fit? Well, hello there Sonlight!
Please note that I’m not advocating wastefulness since I believe we ought to be good stewards of our resources. However, there are times when you can’t make something work no matter how hard you try.
When that happens, the only solution is to pivot. At least you know you tried.
Some things just aren’t a good fit for you,so instead of shirking your responsibility, it’s better to let that thing go.
I don’t like wasting a good book or curriculum, but there have been a few times when I had to just throw my hands up and try something else.
Here’s a tip for you before you pivot. Start small. Don’t try to change everything all at once. Once you master or have a grip on one thing, move on to the next. Start with the thing that will give you an instant win or make the biggest difference.
What’s important is for you to make changes so you can be more consistent.
4. Streamline your activities
Another reason many homeschool moms struggle to be consistent is a lack of time.
That’s why you need to streamline your activities. Take a close hard look at how and what you spend your time on. Get rid of anything you don’t need.
Keep only the things that are essential for your success. You can’t do all the things and your kids can’t do all the things.
Sometimes, less is more. Trim the number of lessons and subjects you do each day so lessons don’t drag on for too long.
Pare down the number of activities you and your kids are involved in. Your kids don’t need different curriculum or programs for each subject.
Many of us are over achievers.That’s our way of compensating for homeschooling. We are trying to get our kids ahead so we can brag to the naysayers. Instead we end up burned out and stressed!
It’s tough to stay consistent as a homeschool mom when you have too much on your plate. Learn to keep things as simple as possible.
5. Make a plan
Trying to be consistent when you don’t have a plan is a tough ask.
When you’re under-prepared, it means you have to make things up on the fly. That isn’t sustainable when you homeschool.
At the end of every homeschool year, I try to make a plan for the next year.My plan includes short and long-term educational goals for my kids and the steps we have to take to accomplish those goals.
I find it easier to create routines, schedules and lesson plans when I have a BIG plan in place.
There are lots of free homeschool planners flying around so there’s really no excuse not to have a plan.
You don’t have to plan out the whole year if you don’t want to. Plan out a term or a week, or you can do it daily if you prefer.
Having a plan makes it easier to be more consistent because you know what you need to do every day.
6. Start your day the night before
Spending a few minutes every night to prepare for the next day has made a big difference in our homeschool.
Before going to bed each night, I take the time to look through the kids lessons to make sure we have everything we need to start the next day.
I also make sure everything we need for circle time (all the things we do together) are in one place. Its easy to get distracted if you have to search for stuff every morning).
I make a list of the things we need to do and what I’d like to accomplish (goals, priorities etc).
Finally, I tidy up the home to ensure we are ready to go when we wake up in the morning.
If we need to make an early start to the day because we have a few appointments or field trips, I would put some things out the night before.
For instance, I may get a head start on breakfast or put some stuff out for lunch, get the kids clothes out, pack our bags etc.
Taking a few minutes every night to prepare for the next day means you can hit the ground running since everything is in place.
So even when you wake up feeling blah, you can still carry on with homeschooling because you took the time to prepare, and you know exactly what to do.
7. Have a morning routine
You’re probably tired of hearing about routines and schedules so I am going to keep this short. I just want to say there’s a reason you keep hearing about routines.
It’s because they work!
Your morning routine is basically the actions you do every morning before getting into the thick of things.
This is what my morning routine looks like (before the rest of the family wakes up)
- I wake up between 6 am and 6.30 am every morning (varies depending on what I have going on)
- Change my clothes and brush my teeth
- Pray, read my Bible and devotional.
- Write in my gratitude journal
- Drink a cup of hot chocolate
- Check to make sure I didn’t forget anything from last night
- Maybe do a quiet chore or spend time reading a few pages from a book
- Between 7.45 am to 8 am, I wake the kids up to start their morning routines and prepare for the day
This is my general routine. Of course things don’t always follow this pattern or go as planned. There’s some grace and margin built into the routine as well.
I shared my routine to give you an idea of how you can get your day moving along without too much distraction.
Once you have done this a few times, it becomes second nature and you don’t have to look at a list to know what to do next.
I have two kids so my routine is fairly simple. If you have more kids including babies and toddlers, your routine is going to look way different than mine.
What’s important is that you find a way to get your day started and moving along peacefully.
YOU CAN BECOME A CONSISTENT HOMESCHOOL MOM
It’s possible to stay on track and achieve your homeschooling goals. Mastering consistency will make a big difference in your homeschool and life.
If you are struggling with consistency in your homeschool, there’s no need to beat yourself up. Just pick one or two of these tips and start implementing them. It’s as easy as that.
How do you stay consistent as a homeschool mom? Share some of your best tips below.