Monday, March 4, 2013

Top Ten Habits of a Happy Homeschool Mom

I got the idea for this post from THIS blog:

What would I say are the best habits that I have? 
written before I could fully read the one listed I can't use her list!

My Top Ten List

10.  Connect with other adults as often as you need to. 
Some weeks I can get through the entire week without feeling that I MUST speak to someone who does not whine, throw ninja kicks and punches as we talk, or stomp out of the room in a tiff. Other weeks, it's minute to minute. The main topics of conversation that I need from an adult range from gardening to reading to hobbies. We almost NEVER talk about the kids! But there are those days when our most basic need to remind ourselves that we are capable adults...with brains and that we are not ruining our offspring!

9.  Have hobbies. 
I have several activities that I enjoy on my own, around the kids, but not involving the kids. I have some crafty things I do, reading, computers, yard sales, and blogging. I also enjoy beach walks, writing, and photography. These activities I COULD share with them but I seldom do. Honestly, it encourages them to follow their own bliss as well. Mostly, I admit, it's time in my own mind. Oh, and I've started embroidery since we've been in Australia (HEY, it's rainy!)

8.  Spend LESS! 
I have the urge to shop for more and better materials often. But, I realize and remind myself, I have enough.  Plenty. It's never a good idea to get into a habit of shopping when bored. And, down here in Australia, we find we do better when we use our imaginations rather than buy things.

7.  Share the mundane. 
The kids and I often talk about current events, family history, our schedule, upcoming purchases, people watching. It is amazing what can become a teachable moment. Just being alert to their questions, curiosity, interest, or confusion can be the start of a wonderful conversation!

Photo of Seth by Rayven
6.  Free time! 
I make it a point to make sure the kids are unscheduled, finished with lessons, and facing unplanned time. These afternoons are the perfect opportunity for them to create something out of nothing. Let them be BORED! These are the afternoons that they remember the most fondly. And, at the moment, they are working on one of those projects that they create when they have the time to follow their bliss:  A video blog of our time here in Australia!

5.  I sit down in the evenings after they are in bed and plan their lessons for the next day. 
I check out websites, create work or practice sheets, unit packets, etc. I have their work prepared for when they wake up. That way, they know, in general, what work and which chores they will be faced with in that day...before they get onto the computer and become comatose. But the best part...I can sleep later and I have time to plan in solitude.

4.  My daughter is awake late and my son is awake early. 
So, although this means that I have my sleep cut at both ends, I wouldn't miss these times with each child separately for anything in the world! My son enjoys the extra cuddle, read, talk time every morning. We might get over an hour each morning before my daughter wakes up. Sometimes these mornings are quiet and contemplative. Other times they are fun and full of laughter. In the evening, my daughter and I snuggle up and talk, play games (usually Scrabble!), simply be together, beside each other on the couch as we read. It's some of the best times of my day.

3.  Taking time OFF LESSONS is a wonderful time to regroup. 
We sometimes put all lessons aside for the week and get out of the house. Last January we took some time where we were tourists in our own home town. We had a great time and felt renewed and ready to get back to work after a few days off. Now that we are in a new country we simply get in the car and drive to someplace completely new, or to no destination at all! I'm not exaggerating when I say that these drives are some of our favorite times. And sometimes we look for the local community theater groups around us and to go show after show of amateur plays!

2.  I ask my daughter, who is 15, to sit with me as I create her lessons for the next day. 
John John enjoys this sometimes too, but he prefers to have me handle the planning. Elizabeth will tell me WHAT she wants to do for lessons and HOW she wants to learn it.  It's amazing how much more cooperative she is...and she almost always gives herself WAY more work than I would have..!

1.  Avoid thinking of work by the grade level. 
My son often wants to know the level of work he is doing in math...because he understands math so well! His work often comes from books intended for kids three or four grade levels above where he would be if he was in school. Knowing that makes him feel pretty proud...but how would he feel if he knew which grade's work he is doing in spelling??? I don't think he would like that. So, I keep the level out of it and talk about "HIS level". It is one of those things that a person could miss about homeschool that is just WONDERFUL - having your kids work at exactly THEIR LEVEL at all times.

Besides, don't ALL kids work at their own levels anyway, actually.

Do lessons with other homeschool families. Contact a friend or two...or three... and prepare a day of lessons to share with all kids. One day four of us got our kids together for a day of simple machines. Besides just playing Mousetrap, our day was supremely excellent with so many hands-on activities for learning and so many different types of learning modes offered. It was WAY more fun than if we had done it on our own and all of the moms has their own unique way of teaching and their own activities to include in the day. You can do this with poetry reading, cooking, hands-on history, field trips, biology, gardening, microscopes, math name it.
Who knows, you might even start your own learning co op this way.

So, there you go, those are my top ten for tonight!
What are yours?

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:

Having a Bad Homeschool Day: 14 Ways to Turn Your Day Around
Thirteen Things I Wish I Would have Known About Homeschooling when I Started
Homeschooling and Socialization
Turning the Tables: Ten Things Homeschoolers Think about School


  1. I LOVE that cartoon! Ho Woman of the Manor...

    We just finished reading aloud the Sherwood Ring (leading up to the American Revolution. My Brother Sam is Dead is a bit heavy for a 4th grader, and Johny Tremain hasn't come in from the library yet. It may be too old too (and it has love in it.))

    1. I've never read "My Brother Sam is Dead". I guess I avoid the heavy ones unless I'm reading closely with them.

      I love knowing what you are reading!
      I should have a place where we talk about nothing except for books!

  2. Hello! I just found your blog recently, and thought I'd leave a comment. I am also a homeschooling mom, and an atheist (as of a couple of years ago). I love your top ten list! Finding other adults to spend time with can be really difficult. I find that a lot of stay at home moms aren't interested in talking about anything BUT their kids (or complaining about their husbands). Where are all the readers, the thinkers, the artists? On our next break, we are totally going to be tourists in our own town. Take care, Kelli

    1. Kelli, NO! On your next break come and visit Australia!


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