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How to Homeschool Like a Pro

Homeroom has a whole new meaning this year, doesn’t it?  While I remember hearing a school bell and rushing to my class, in 2020 many kids are finding school starts right at their kitchen table, at the desk in their room, or for some, right in their bed!  Yikes!

Has the space you planned worked out or are you finding the need to make a shift in some things, maybe some furniture?  

Whether you’ve obsessed about the perfect setup for schooling at home, or you’ve set your kid up at the kitchen counter, many of us are schooling at home for the first time.   

Along the way there have been some critical operating systems I’ve had to put in place in our home.  Things that just had to be!  At the same time, there are the fun things and extras that have made our school room what it is today.  Hint, it’s not done yet!

Here’s my encouragement to you, think about your setup in the same way.  What’s critical and what’s for fun?

Whether you’re entering into this full or part time because of a virtual setup in a lot of ways all parents are now educating their kids at home.  I always remember hearing that for some parents homeschooling was a calling.  To many there’s been no calling nor choice, but at home learning has quickly become a necessity in light of the pandemic.  Let’s make the best of it! 

One thing that became clear from the beginning for us was that a kitchen table classroom wasn’t going to work.  With kids in three different grades there was far too much distraction to make this Instagram-worthy picture in my head a reality!  Separate school locations for each child became a requirement while recreating a central school room hub.

Our room in the basement has now become the school room and for our family it’s the best this room has ever felt.  I think it’s what this room was meant to be.  Not all kids are in here though, just the most distracted one gets to sit in here during lessons!  

If you don’t have a spare room I’d recommend dedicating a closet or a few shelves to all things schooling.  Better yet, is there a place where you can close the door at the end of the day?  Can you keep the items out of reach of little hands?  A high priority for me is that the space is closed when friends are over so that no curriculum walks off and so manipulatives for Math aren’t seen as play toys!  I also don’t want other kids sizing up what my children are doing during the day. Surely some aspects of schooling at home will be public, but not all have to be.

Another critical thing for us has been giving the kids a routine that will grow into a rhythm.  I love these visual schedule cards from Fiddle i Fee which shares an image for my early reader.  Schedules provide security for kids and reduce stress and anxiety.  That’s something I think we can all get behind!

Once you’ve got a designated spot for your kid, what more do they need?  I find adding too much distraction can be overwhelming so be okay with white space until you know a chart or artwork will serve your space well.  A clock that is visible for all — now that’s a must.

Let’s add in the fun!  There are so many great tools out there and you’ll learn which of your kids needs more hands-on learning than the next.  I love these counting bears for my toddler and then we have a ton of fun and educational books from Usborne.  From coding, computers, and numbers  to learning about survival skills, remember books are your friend, especially when they’re sturdy and hold up so well like these do!

A little white board space and chalkboard are available on each wall with lots of chalk and dry erase markers easily accessible for my kids to doodle when a brain break is required!  

We have the essentials down and then we have room to grow.  We have moments of embracing a more Wild and Free mentality but we’re also thankful for our organized space. Pro tip: clean up your space each day when school ends and be okay with shutting that door!

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