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how to be a rockstar homeschool mom

Seven Ways to be a Rock Star Homeschool Mom

  |   Charlotte Mason Mondays, Encouragement, Personal Growth, Teaching - all grades, Time Mangagement   |   15 Comments

This is one of our most popular back to school messages and has been recently updated.  

You’re chasing the toddler, trying not to slip in the puddle of milk on the floor and the phone’s ringing.

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon. You have other things you need to do other than school. Your 5th grader is still staring into space instead of working on his math, and your first and third graders are getting into it. And you’re kicking yourself for forgetting to get the meat out of the freezer for dinner.

How in the world am I going to make all this work?

If you are in over your head, and you CRAVE having a peaceful home, I’m going to share a secret with you.  There is a way to make it work, and this is what you do.

You focus on priorities.  

If you keep your priorities in mind, you can weather the storm. I’m not saying your house is going to stay clean or you won’t forget to get the meat out of the freezer.

But you’ll have a peaceful home because you are in charge and you are preserving, protecting, and nurturing young hearts and minds.

Keep reading to see the priorities. Follow these seven priorities and you’ll be a rockstar homeschool mom.

 

1. Academics are important – but relationships are more important.

Always remember that the child is more important than the schoolwork.  I know you agree, in theory. But sometimes when one is correcting a wiggly, uncooperative kid – for the fourth time in an hour – it’s hard to remember.  Put away the math book.  Stop and talk with your child and determine what is going on in his head instead of just lowering the boom. Is he hungry? Is he still hurt from a harsh word from you this morning that you need to apologize for?

This is point #1 for a reason – to be a rock star homeschool mom you need to remember that relationships are more important than schoolwork — no matter what.

In the same vein, relationships with siblings are more important than schoolwork.  In our house, it’s not permissible for siblings to fight and tear each other down physically or verbally.  Stop and referee, require apologies and make things right before trying to get back to work.

Your goal is that your children will not just be siblings… they’ll be friends. Good friends. Maybe even the best of friends. 

One more relationship to talk about – the one between you and your husband.

Don’t put that on the back burner for 15 years while you teach school. Believe it or not, that time goes by pretty fast.

It is SO easy for us to put the kids before our marriage, and when we do so we are not doing ourselves or our children any favors.  

If you want them to have successful marriages, you have to show them what one looks like. 

Make your husband a priority. Spend some time ALONE with him, even if you have to trade babysitting with a friend to get out and get coffee or just take a walk.

 

 

7 secrets to be a rockstar homeschool mom

2. Don’t stress over things you can’t control.

First, allow a little margin in your life.

I say this from experience!  I’m the Queen of Overcommitment.  As soon as you squeeze too many responsibilities on your plate, the most inconsequential thing can put you into a tailspin – and everyone in your path suffers.

I see you nodding your head.

When you homeschool there are things to which you need to say “no.”  Beneficial things.  Fun things.

Learn to say no.

If you have trouble with this, learn not to commit without talking with your husband about it first. (Then you can blame it on him when you say no.)

Just kidding. (Not really.)

 

The other stuff that we let get in the way

You might not have a house with the dedicated homeschool room that you salivate over on Pinterest. You may not have the money for the latest-and-greatest homeschool curriculum your friend adores.

Your husband may not be as involved in or supportive of you homeschooling as you wish he was.

There is no end to the comparison. Determine not to go there.  

Sit down with your husband and plan what you want your homeschool to look like.  Then work your plan.

 

 

3.  Worry about the big things and let the little things take care of themselves.

I’m going to tell you right now:

You’re not going to teach them everything they need to know and they’re certainly not going to remember everything you teach them.

The important things are:

    • Where are your children in terms of their spiritual life?  This is critical in our home. If it is in yours, too, is it reflected in your daily conversation and how you spend your time? You might even want to create a homeschooling plan that reflects this priority.
    • Train them to own their own work, manage their own belongings (including school supplies) and their own spaces.
  • Give your children opportunities to serve others and rub shoulders with people of all ages and backgrounds. Serving in soup kitchens are fantastic for this.
  • Teach your kids to communicate with all others politely, tactfully and kindly. We were all made in the image of God, y’ know.  Even if we don’t agree with everything someone believes or have problems with the way they live. Everyone deserves respect.

These are all life lessons that will take your kids far.  There is SO much more to life than just finishing a math lesson.

Let me ask you — what do you remember about what you learned in school (the academic part, I mean)? 

If you are like most of us, you don’t remember much! But your kids will remember what you thought was important.

As far as academics go, what your kids will remember is what engaged their interest. The projects you worked on, the research you did, some of the papers you wrote. The books they loved. The time you spent together as a family learning, playing games, reading together, and having fun.

 

 

4.  Study your children; identify their passions and how they learn best.

What do they enjoy the most?

  • Is there something, in particular, they run to do as soon as you let them loose for a break?
  • What always grabs their attention?
  • Do they talk about a certain subject?
  • What do they like to read or learn about in their free time?
  • What do they learn quickly and easily?
  • Do they automatically grab a book or search the Internet to learn something?
  • Are they listening to music most of their waking hours?
  • Do they like to talk about what they are learning?
  • Are they ALWAYS moving?
  • Do they like drama?  Art?  Music?  Playing with Lego blocks?

Educate yourself about learning styles and try to identify yours and theirs. Give them a chance to use the things they like (art, music, cooking, organizing) in their assignments. It will help them engage in and enjoy school more.

 

5.  Cultivate a love for learning.

The best way to do this is to be an enthusiastic learner yourself. 

Generate some excitement about learning new things.

READ.

Let them see you read.  Provide lots of stimulating reading material – at or below your children’s reading level.

This is important: Let them choose whatever they want to read for daily fun-reading time outside of school.  

(Shh- this will also improve their reading comprehension and fluency, even if it’s beneath their reading level, but don’t tell them.)

This is not a school thing, it is a fun thing. (It’s all in the marketing.)

Go to the library frequently.  Buy magazine subscriptions in the areas of your child’s interests for Christmas and birthdays.

Talk about what you are learning.  Regularly go around the table at dinner telling each other about the most interesting or surprising thing you learned that day.

 

6.  You’re the teacher. Take the time to be prepared.

You don’t always have to be perfectly organized and prepared to homeschool.  BUT, it makes school much easier if you make an effort to be ready.  If you are prepared, you are more confident.

If you have confidence in yourself, your children will have more confidence in you as their teacher.

This is especially important if you have recently taken your child out of public or private school.  Strategies that help:

  • Put your things away and teach your kids to do the same. (See #3)
  • Avoid clutter like the plague.
  • Take time to prepare lessons in advance.  Ask yourself — do I understand this?  Do I need to look anything up first?  Do I have the supplies I need?  Have I allowed enough time for this lesson? (If you need help with this, take a look at our Daily Lesson Plans – daily plans in history, science, language arts, and fine arts. With weekly supply lists and more.)
  • Think ahead: What are the younger ones going to do while I teach this?
  • Take an occasional “teacher workday” and spend some concentrated time during holiday/summer breaks to get ready for homeschooling
  • Ask your husband or a friend to take the kids for a few hours a week so you can plan and prepare for the next week.

 

7.  Don’t try to be a friend to your kids.  They need you to be a parent first.

I can’t stress this enough. Your kids need the security in knowing that you are in charge of their homeschooling. You’re the teacher. If you’re married, your husband is the principal.

I’m not suggesting that you be an authoritarian or dictator, or that you shouldn’t try to get along with your children.

I’m just recommending that you be a parent first – set clear expectations of what is acceptable behavior in your home and how children are going to behave when school is in session.

When you assign school work, make sure your children understand exactly what you expect. Train your kids to have good habits. And as they get older, add intellectual habits to their training.

And be consistent with your discipline

I know you’re tired, and you don’t want to deal with one.more.thing. But you are investing in their futures. They need this from you.

If you’re a rockstar homeschool mom, you are helping lay a foundation for your kids to be secure. And not only that, for them to be successful in college, be able to hold down a job, or work for themselves. Not to mention being good parents themselves someday.

 

Happy homeschooling,

dana -- be a rockstar homeschool mom

 

 

P.S. Do any of these particularly resonate with you? Would you add anything else to my list? Tell me in the comments!

 

 

15 Comments
  • Lisa Tabachnick | Sep 8, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    Great that you have so many comments on your post, Dana. You deserve all the positive attention – your blog is not only well-written and fun to read but offers so many good tips and advice. And, as I’ve said in the past, I’m not a homeschool mom though I am very involved in parenting and volunteering in my kids’ schools. Thank you for the important reminders and I agree with you so much about relationships – with your children, siblings, spouse/partner, etc. That is one key to a happy life!

    • Dana | Sep 10, 2019 at 9:03 am

      Thank you for your kind comments, Lisa! I agree that there are universal truths when it comes to what’s truly important in life, whether you homeschool or not. 🙂 As people, our tendency can be to focus on the todos instead of on our loved ones — especially when we are responsible for their education. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Heidi Miller-Ford | Aug 31, 2019 at 10:10 pm

    Excellent article! It took me way too many years to realize that relationships were more important than academics. Habit training is also crucial. It takes time and patience but defintely pays off. All seven points are so important and a great reminder I needed as we start another school year.

    • Dana | Sep 14, 2019 at 4:00 pm

      Thank you, Heidi! I know what you mean about it taking a while for us to realize that the relationships were more important. As a new homeschooling mom, I sometimes forgot that critical truth. I can’t tell you how much I had to apologize, but that’s okay. There’s a lesson in that, too. 🙂

  • Sue Scott | Aug 31, 2017 at 9:34 am

    This is good stuff! It is so important to remember learning is about so much more than academics. Kids will follow your example. If you model a love of learning, of stretching and growing yourself, your kids will do the same. When they see that all of life is an opportunity to learn and to improve, they will cultivate a lifestyle of learning that lasts a lifetime.
    I love your tip about letting them choose free time reading material – they are doing “school” but don’t realize it. “its all in the marketing” LOL I love the way you think.

    • Dana | Aug 31, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thanks, Sue. Developing that lifestyle of learning is critical, I agree. And as you say, we do have to model that for our students. Great point! Glad you liked the post and appreciate your helpful comments! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  • Aliece | May 17, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Many great reminders of what is most important! I am learning that leaving a small amount of margin does leave a really big difference. Thank you for passing along the wisdom gained from your experience!

    • Dana | May 17, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      You’re very welcome, Aliece. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Margin is a tough thing to successfully manage, but pays great dividends when we can do it successfully.

  • nancy timbrook | May 16, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    We need to hear this over and over. so very true!!!

    • Dana | May 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      I agree, Nancy! It’s so tough to keep some of those things in mind when you are so crazy busy. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. =D

  • Dana | Sep 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Adrienne – I am thrilled to hear Train up a Child Publishing (formerly Epi Kardia) curricula is working so well for you and your family! Yay! Thanks SO much for taking the time to tell us!

    Christine – Good to hear from you. I know what you mean – we have to constantly remind ourselves what is truly important – at least, I do. 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  • Christine | Sep 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Dana,
    This is the best “back to school” message I’ve read in a long time! It’s one of those convicting-yet-gentle inspirations that you need to pull back out after Christmas break when “curriculum” or “schedule” remorse sets in–you know, that time of year when you doubt everything you’re doing, get on the interet to research where the greener pastures are! Thank you so much for the virtual coming-alongside..it is so appreciated!
    Blessings,
    Christine

  • Adrienne | Sep 13, 2010 at 5:32 am

    HI! I just wanted to let you all know…. I AM SO HAPPY!!! I have been wanting to use Train up a Child Publishing/Epi Kardia since we started homeschooling. This year my husband gave me the go ahead and WE LOVE IT!!! I knew we would!!!

    thanks
    Adrienne Kleeman

  • Dana | Sep 9, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Hi Cheryl, It is nice to ‘meet’ you! Welcome back to homeschooling! I remember meeting Dwight and Bethany Huthwaite a while back when they were members of our local homeschooling support group – haven’t seen them for a while though – are they still homeschooling or have I just missed them? Yes, I am familiar with St. Andrews and have several friends that attend there. It is a small world, as they say!

    Yes, with our curriculum you study the same thing at the same time with all of the kids. Much easier! 🙂 I would be happy to talk with you further and answer your curriculum questions – please email me at dana@trainupachildpub.com.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m looking forward to talking with you soon.

  • Cheryl | Sep 9, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Hi Dana ~

    Starting HSing again after 4 years. Was a huge CM fan. Used Sonlight…but became bored with it. I heard from a friend that My Father’s House was GREAT, but the cost is WAY more than this Missionary Family can afford! I then tried Heart of Dakota, but there were too many words to even take in as I researched their website. Then I came across your website.

    I REALLY like it! I have 5 children…4 in school…K, 3rd, 5th, and 7th. How can I purchase what I need for these ages? and does your curriculum work like MFW where all the kids can do it together as a family?

    I see that you are from Mt. Pleasant, SC…our best friend is Dwight Huthwaite who is the worship leader at St. Andrew’s church. We also are newly missionaries in New Bern, NC with Pastor Mark Cooke who used to attend St. Andrew’s. Just curious if you are familiar with that church or not?

    Was excited to see that you were from our neck of the woods! = )

    Would love to hear from you!!!

    Peace of the Lord,
    Cheryl

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