I know what you are thinking. Can I really have a stress free homeschool or is it unrealistic?
Are you doomed to a life of stress and overwhelm because you’re a homeschool mom?
Nope! Homeschooling doesn’t mean you should be stressed out all the time.
I’d be lying if I said all your homescholing days are going to be stress free. They won’t, because there are days were nothing seems to work despite your best effort.
Some days, your kids are just unwilling and uncooperative and nothing goes according to plan.
Yes, you’ll certainly have those days, but the goal here is to make sure those days are few and far between.
If you’re a new homeschool mom, this post is for you. If you’re a veteran homeschooling mom who’s feeling stressed out, this post is also for you.
So listen up while I share some of my best tips to help you enjoy stress free homeschooling.
Before I dive in, let’s look at some of the reasons while homeschooling can become stressful.
This post may contain affiliate links.If you buy anything using my links, I may receive a small commission.
Causes of Stress in Homeschooling
- Not taking the time to prepare and plan.
- Not listening to your kids or taking their needs into consideration.
- Being inflexible.
- Not taking care of yourself.
- Too much chaos and disorganization.
- Trying to do too much and getting overwhelmed.
I am sure there are lots more things that can cause stress in your homeschool, but the ones above are pretty common.
Now let’s look at some of the things you can do to minimize stress in your homeschool.
12 EASY STEPS TO STRESS FREE HOMESCHOOLING
1. IDENTIFY YOUR HOMESCHOOLING GOALS AND PRIORITIES
Homeschooling without setting goals or identifying your priorities is kinda like stumbling in the dark.
If you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s going to be pretty hard to achieve it and you may end up spending more time and energy than is necessary.
This is why I think the first step to a stress free homeschool is to set goals and know what is important to you.
When you do this, you can leave out the unimportant stuff and focus your time and resources on the things that are important to you.
This is going to be different for everyone. Some families prioritize hands on learning, some don’t. Some families like to do a lot of extras and add a lot of riches (nature study, composer study, art study etc), while others prefer more academic stuff.
Whichever group you fall into, taking the time to list them out will save you a lot of time and headache in the future.
2. ASSESS THE NEEDS OF YOUR CHILDREN
I have two children and they couldn’t be more different if I tried.
One child likes math and science while the other prefers music, poetry, drawing and the arts.
Our kids are unique with individual needs. Homeschooling gives us the opportunity to tailor their education to meet their needs, but some of us don’t take advantage of it.
Before planning your homeschool year or choosing a curriculum, take the time to assess your children’s needs and how to best meet them.
This will save you a lot of stress, push backs and frustrations down the road.
There are times when a one size fit all curriculum or plan just doesn’t work. I know when you’re living on one income, it’s very helpful if you can use the same books or resources for all your kids.
Alas! It doesn’t always work out that way.
So let me encourage you (if you’re not already doing so), to consider what each child needs and the best resources for them, so everyone can be happy.
3. ESTIMATE HOW MUCH TIME YOU NEED FOR SCHOOL WORK
If you gather a hundred homeschooling moms and ask them what some of their biggest struggles are, I am pretty sure a good number of them will include ” Finding the time to get things done.”
Trying to do all the things with a limited amount of time is one of the reasons many homechool moms are stressed.
Unfortunately, as a homeschooling mom, you can’t ignore other aspects of your family life. Meals still have to be cooked, the laundry still has to be done and the house isn’t going to clean itself.
When you’re juggling so many responsibilities, time management becomes crucial.
When you know how much time you need to do school every day, it is easier to plan and adjust your schedule.
How much time you need depends on how many kids you have, their ages, how much independent work they can do and of course your other responsibilities.
If you’re a work from home mom like me, you have to take that into consideration as well especially if your family depends on your income.
Knowing how much time you can devote to homeschooling will also help you to make good curriculum choices and other decisions.
For example, if you have very limited time, you know a less-teacher-intensive curriculum is the way to go or a curriculum which doesn’t require a lot of preparation beforehand.
Personally, I get stressed when I am rushing or trying to do too much in a short period of time. I prefer to do things well (even if I can’t get much done), than to do a lot of things haphazardly.
Since I know I can only devote a set number of hours to homeschooling, I am more organized and focused. I try to not fritter away time and to use my time wisely.
This doesn’t mean that our homeschool runs like clock work each day. It doesn’t. That’s why I build some margin into our days so I don’t get stressed when I spend more time teaching my kids.
Knowing how much time I have helps me to stay focused and be more prepared. I think you should try it too if you’re stressed because of scheduling issues.
4. RESEARCH CURRICULUM OPTIONS AND CHOOSE THE BEST ONE
There are so many curriculums to choose from that it can be overwhelming.
But, it’s also a blessing because it’s easy to find something to fit your needs and budget.
As a new homeschooler, you probably bought your first curriculum because everyone recommended it or it was the cheapest option.
However, the more time you spend homeschooling, you realize there are way more options out there and your first curriculum isn’t a good fit (or not a good fit for all your kids).
One of the ways to enjoy stress free homeschooling is to take the time to research curriculums so you can choose the best one(s) for your family.
There’s nothing as stressful as trying to use a curriculum your child hates. The stress really isn’t worth it.
I use the Ambleside Online Curriculum and I am lucky that my kids enjoy it. But I have to use different math curriculum for them because my younger child doesn’t like math.
Making the change wasn’t easy for me because I was on a tight budget and I really didn’t want to spend more money buying new things.
But after weeks of crying, screaming and anger, I had to give in. She still doesn’t like math but at least she’s more willing to try.
Don’t feel like you’re married to your curriculum. If it isn’t working for you, do some research and get something more suitable.
Homeschooling is more enjoyable when your kids actually enjoy their curriculum and other homeschool resources and you have the time required to follow through.
This goes back to the step above about estimating how much time you have for school work.
Some programs are more hands on than others, so pick the one that is in line with your needs.
5. PREPARE AND ORGANIZE YOUR HOMESCHOOL YEAR
I don’t know about you but I am more stressed when I am disorganized.
I know you don’t have to be super organized to homeschool, but disorganized homeschool moms need to work a little bit harder to get things done. That can make homeschooling more stressful.
I strongly believe that taking the time to prepare and plan your homeschool year will alleviate some of the stress of homeschooling.
Take the time to plan out your year. Set up and organize your homeschool area. Gather all your homeschool supplies, books and materials in one place.
Create a schedule or routines to help you stay on track. Devote a chunk of time before the start of a new school year to planning.
Since we homeschool year round and our new school year starts in January, December is when I do most of my planning and shopping.
For a lot of homeschoolers, a new school year starts in August or September so they do their planning in June or July.
Can I be honest with you? Planning is a lot of work and takes a lot of time but it’s worth it.
One advice is for you to give yourself enough time to do everything. How much time you need depends on how many kids you have.
I have two children and I feel like I need a whole month to plan and organize our school year.
Even if you don’t have a lot of time, just do the best you can and keep working on things whenever you have a chunk of time.
Taking the time to plan and organize your homeschool year in advance will pay dividends in the long run because you can just focus on teaching when you begin a new school year.
6. INCLUDE FUN AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
I wrote a whole post on how to make homeschooling fun so I am going to keep this short and sweet.
Homeschooling can get boring and monotonous fast if you keep doing the same things every single day.
What happens when kids are bored? They become whiny, unmotivated and start dawdling.
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
You want stress free homeschooling? Throw in a bit of fun. Give kids a way to use up their energy, make friends and enjoy some activities outside the home.
7. DON’T FORGET YOUR KIDS INTERESTS
This step is similar to the one above but not quite.
One of our most important jobs as homeschoolers is to help our kids love learning.
If we have done a good job, over time our kids will develop their own interests.
We should encourage them and provide an avenue for them to pursue their interests if they choose to do so.
This can be hard to do especially when you’re just trying to stay on track or finish a lesson.
My younger child is more curious than my older one and she’s more “health” conscious (except when it comes to eating snacks!).
She reads labels on various products including foods, soaps, shampoos and medicine bottles. And guess what? She’s always asking questions about them even during lessons.
She wants to know what a particular ingredient is, what it does, why it’s written in BOLD on the pack,it’s never ending!
A few weeks ago, she needed to wash her hair. Her scalp has been very itchy, so I asked her to use my dandruff shampoo. She told me she couldn’t because she had read the label and it was for children 12 years and over.
I was at a loss for words because I didn’t even know that. Needless to say her scalp is still itchy because I haven’t found a dandruff shampoo she can use!
For you, maybe your child is interested in sail boats, frogs, fishes, how baby gets in mommy’s belly (ahem) or whatever.
When it comes to your child’s interests, you really only have two choices. Keep ignoring them or give them an opportunity to pursue their interests.
One road leads to a peaceful homeschool while the other may lead to whining and stress. I know which one I prefer.
On a more serious note, it’s a good idea to focus a bit more (or a lot more depending on how serious they are) on your kids interests.
Yes, you will need to spend more time and possibly money but it’s worth it if it helps you build a stronger relationship with your child. That should be all the motivation you need.
8. KEEP THINGS AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE
The more things you have on your plate, the more stressful homeschooling becomes.
More doesn’t always mean better. Keep things as simple as possible. Don’t try to do all the things. Limit your activities.
Pick only a few things that you and the kids really enjoy. Don’t sign them up for too many classes or activities even if they ask for it.
Find different ways to simplify homeschooling including embracing simple meals, getting rid of excess stuff and other things that eat into your time.
Simplifying your life and homeschool is a great way to reduce stress.
9. HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Are you stressed because you put too much pressure on yourself to accomplish certain things?
Homeschooling is a marathon and not sprint, but it’s also a one-man race. Which means you’re not competing with anyone else.
I know comparing yourself to others isn’t the only thing that causes stress, sometimes it’s fear.
The fear that you’re not doing enough for your kids or the fear that they will have gaps in their learning.
I have experienced these fears and they still creep up on me sometimes especially after reading about what other people are doing in their homeschool.
It’s a catch-22. You read all these posts and articles for ideas and inspiration, but they can also make you feel inadequate.
But at the end of the day we must remind ourselves to stay in our lanes. Do the best that you can do but know that you can’t replicate another person’s homeschool.
Instead of stressing out about what other people are doing, focus on being the best homeschool mom that you can be.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations or set goals that you can’t achieve. That’s just setting yourself up for failure.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t aim high or settle for mediocrity, I don’t. It just means you should be reasonable and realistic about what you can and can’t do.
10. MEAL PREP/PLAN YOUR MENU
Planning meals in advance can save you from a lot of stress. A stressful homeschool day can become worse when you have hungry kids clamoring for food.
Take the time to plan or prep your meals especially if you have younger children. This will help you cut down on distractions during lessons.
If possible, make lunch before you start your lessons so the kids can grab and go when it’s lunch time. Keep your lunch menu as simple as possible.
If you have older kids, let them make their own lunch instead of interrupting you when you’re in the middle of something.
In my home, we stick to sandwiches, salads,fruits or leftovers for lunch. Nothing elaborate.
It’s minimized distractions, saved me a lot of time and stopped me from hurting my child’s feelings (because I kept telling her she had bad timing).
11. HAVE A SUPPORT NETWORK
Homeschooling can be isolating if you are not intentional about reaching out and meeting other people.
Having a support network is very crucial to your well being. It could be a friend, family member or a group of other homeschool moms.
Just someone you can share your ideas with, vent or seek encouragement from.
It’s really hard to homechool alone with no support. Yes, your husband may be supportive, but you still need someone else to listen to all your fears or concerns.
Someone you can call when you’re having a bad homeschool day or week. Someone non-judgmental who understand what you’re trying to do.
If you don’t have a support network, create one. Reach out to local homeschool moms, or moms in your church and support each other.
While that won’t ease all the stress, it would take some of the stress off you.
12. BUILD IN BREAKS
I used to have the super-mom syndrome until a few years ago.
If you don’t take breaks, you’re going to burn yourself (and your kids out).
Everyone needs time off. Even if that means not finishing a book or curriculum, so be it.
Make time for yourself. Overwhelm and tiredness can lead to stress. Guess what happens when you’re stressed?
Everyone becomes stressed! Ain’t nobody happy if momma ain’t happy!
Self-care is a necessity when you’re a homeschool mom.
In the past I tried homeschooling during holiday weeks because I was behind, but I was tired and the kids were inattentive. They needed a break too!
Now, I don’t even bother. School can wait.
CAN YOU HAVE STRESS FREE HOMESCHOOLING?
Homeschooling is challenging. You go from being a mom to becoming mom and teacher and that comes with a slew of challenges.
You don’t have to be a stressed or unhappy homeschool mom. Just implement some of the steps above and you can start enjoying homeschooling again.
HERE ARE THE STEPS AGAIN:
- Identify your homeschooling goals and priority
- Assess the needs of your children
- Estimate how much time you need for school work
- Research curriculum options and choose the best one
- Prepare and organize your homeschool year
- Include fun and extracurricular activities
- Don’t forget your kids interests
- Keep things as simple as possible
- Have realistic expectations
- Meal prep/plan your menu
- Have a support network
- Build in breaks
How do you deal with stress in your homeschool?