Do lists and charts really work?
Lists, charts, tick sheets. Sounds really boring right? Do they work? Can you actually use them consistently, even after the initial novelty of homeschooling fades? Well, for me, the answer is a big YES, but, each family is different and each mum, dad and child in that house is unique. So the simple advice would be, work out what’s best for your family first. Try different methods until one fits. Just don’t go crazy putting pressure on yourself, or your kids whilst you do it. Keep things simple.
I homeschooled my children a couple of years ago for various reasons, so have tried different methods and routines. They are now registered in a state school, so I have some direction in timetable format during lockdown. This doesn’t mean I have to throw a load of pressure on. My kids go to a Welsh language school, and guess what, even though I’m trying to learn, I don’t speak Welsh! Seriously! I find a way to manage.
Believe it or not there is beauty in homeschooling. You say WHAT? Beauty in homeschooling???
When you get to the bottom of this post, you’ll find the essential list you need if your homeschooling day isn’t going according to plan. Or just jump straight to it now if you need to!
In our house, there is not a strict time schedule. I started with high expectations, and it soon dwindled! Please say I’m not on my own with this. I soon realised that preparation was key, but it doesn’t have to be preparing a month, 2 weeks or even 1 week ahead. It’s very likely something will change and suddenly your wonderfully planned schedule will have a big dent in it and you’ll find you are trying to play catch up.
What’s my ‘method’?
I get to the end of the day, stick 2 A4 pieces of paper together with all the energy I have left. You could use large sheets so you don’t have to stick them together but A4 is what we have in the house right now! The top half is a tick sheet with jobs I expect the children to do in the morning. I said expect……
It really helps them as well as me. It prompts them to get themselves ready before the learning begins and helps me to know they are getting on with it, already teaching independence. There’s a lot of teaching going on under the surface that we don’t even realise we are doing.
The bottom half of the A4 sheet is the school work tick list. I generally stick to a pattern of reading, writing, maths, walking, devotional time, computer work and a few more. I then list the activity that needs to be completed for those things underneath, put a big box next to it, make the chart look colourful and fun and stick it on the board. The children love to tick it off throughout the day.
Do we always get through the list? No. Does my daughter decided that actually mum I’m going to do it my way today, play with my Barbies and do some of my own craft, yes! This is the way things work in our house. The moment I try to force through a resistance, is the moment I open an entry for stress. When mum’s not happy, the rest of the household isn’t happy, SO true!
Each house functions differently, I have a 6 and a 7 year old. Both strong characters, but both totally different in the way they learn. I love having them home, but homeschooling can be REALLY hard, especially if you’re not looking after yourself properly. It is both mentally and physically draining. Sometimes it’s as if life is slowly being sucked out of you bit by bit throughout the day!
Ok, so it sounds dramatic, but seriously, there is truth in that. It’s easy to become overwhelmed. Trying to give both children the desired attention they need can prove difficult at times.
As with many parents at this time, we are all trying to juggle work, homeschooling, looking after the home and all the other demands on us.
What can we do to help ourselves and our children from going crazy in the process?
👉🏻 Each day is going to be different.
👉🏻 We never know how functional we, or the children are going to be until the morning!
👉🏻 Without sounding negative, we are not perfect, so the sooner we realise that we won’t get everything right the sooner the pressure will be lifted.
👉🏻 Have a plan, and work out what is best for YOUR family.
👉🏻 DON’T feel guilty!!! Get your armour on to protect yourself from those negative thoughts!
👉🏻 Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day.
So what’s this ‘beauty about homeschooling’ thing I talk about?
The beauty about homeschooling is that you can make it what you want! You know your children, their personalities, what makes them tick, their look that says, ‘mum, I just can’t do anymore’. I’ve got one of those looks too! You have pretty much all the influence in encouraging them in their learning and inspiring your children to have a love for learning. You might have a timetable from the school, a curriculum to follow, but you CAN do it your way.
Now for that ESSENTIAL LIST I promised you!
If one day you think I just can’t do this today, it really is OK. Make a decision right then to try and have a more relaxed day with the kids. Just make sure you make that decision and be firm with yourself about it. If you’re not firm about your decision, your mind will keep wandering off to what you think you should be doing with the children and the flood gates of guilt will open. Be kind to yourself.
Here is a list for you to hold on to for those days you simply can’t do it.
Print it off, share it with friends, stick it in your note pad or on your fridge, whatever. It will remind you about the important things.