It’s January. That means you are probably doing a little reset in your homeschool. Maybe you are making some small changes, maybe you are making BIG ones.
Or maybe they all just feel big. I know my homeschool changes always do. I get a plan in my head and then come out roaring like a drill sergeant to get things done.
It always works. It never works.
The biggest mistake homeschoolers make when trying to start new habits is not getting everyone on board with the process.
Getting your spouse on board
This is a big one right now since so many spouses are still working from home. Maybe they need the school room to use as an office? Or maybe they are working from the bedroom so you have to get up and get moving earlier (which sometimes means everyone else does too)? Or maybe their presence throws off the schedule for the day.
How do you deal with the disruption of having a spouse home in a positive way that sets a good example, keeps the marriage happy, and still meets your needs?
First, tell your spouse exactly what you need! If I have learned anything in 26 years it is that my husband is not a mind reader. He is often willing to go out of his way to help me out, if I would simply tell him my needs.
Second, ask them to honor your schedule. Post your daily routine so they can see the (loose) times you are not available to chat or do something for them. Explain how disruptions can cause chaos in your homeschool day and ask for help in keeping the day on track.
And finally be aware of their rhythms. Do they come out for coffee and a chat every morning at [10:00] AM? Wonderful, they love spending time with you. Can you try to arrange your day so everyone can take a break then?
How to get the kids on board with new habits
One of my favorite memes is “Nothing is more full of hope than a mom with a new chore chart.”
Oh yeah, been there.
So if you are trying to build new habits that affect the kids’ schedules (ahem – we WILL start school by 9AM) then you might want to do a little extra work to get some buy-in before you start.
First, I like to point out the benefits everyone gets from starting early (or from getting chores done or whatever it is you are trying to do). Don’t just assume that your kids can see the value in your new habits. Tell them what might be in it for them.
I like to say that homeschoolers are not really in education but more in sales and marketing instead. 😉
Kids really do love knowing what’s happening next. They love a routine and calmness and sameness. And so once you get them into that new routine, they are probably going to thrive in it. It’s just getting them through that hard part of change, that’s the tough part.
Let them know that if they get done earlier then they’re going to get so much more time to play. They don’t realize this intuitively, you have to point it out to them.
Secondly, make it a game, have a little bit of fun with it. One of the tips that I’ve given before is to use a song to bring all of your kids to the table and get them started with the school day. Bring a little bit of lightheartedness into the changes that you’re trying to make and it will definitely make them more palatable for your kids.
Finally, since these goals you’re setting for yourself are probably really goals for the entire family, making sure that you’re celebrating these goals as a family. Put the little sticker chart up there and say, “Hey, if we can start school by [10:00] AM every day, this month then we’re going to go get donuts for breakfast one day or have a family movie night or camp out under the stars.” Choose whatever your family finds the most fun.
The goals we make for ourselves as homeschool moms, all of them become goals for the entire family, so we want to make sure that we kind of throw the reward to the entire family as well. You don’t have to reward them forever, but it is helpful while you are building the habits.
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