Does your homeschool have any type of structure or a behavior management plan in place for your children to follow? Do you feel like your homeschool is a little chaotic and you just do whatever you feel like doing and there’s not really a certain plan? I’m sure you love that you can spend five days doing science if you want to. That is probably one reason you chose to homeschool in the first place. Kids need flexibility, but they also need structure too. As a homeschool parent, this can be challenging to balance them both. Here are 5 ways to structure your homeschool while still being flexible.
Our homeschool life is a bit unique at the moment… I am homeschooling two preschoolers in the evenings after I teach public school all day. I know what you are thinking…”Are you crazy?” Well, maybe a little. I just LOVE teaching them at home and I plan to homeschool them full time starting this summer. My oldest is learning so much so quickly and has just turned 5. She is picking up things so quickly and it excites me so much!
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you…..we also have a 1 year old moving all over the place at the same time. The room can get a little crazy if I’m not careful. We MUST HAVE STRUCTURE in our homeschool room, or none of us can focus on the tasks at hand. As a public school educator for the past seven years, I have learned a few things about the classroom. One of which is this: The classroom must have excellent classroom management for everyone to learn and do their very best. I am not perfect at it at all. Somedays it is SO very hard to stay consistent and follow through on my classroom management plan with 16 to 24 kids in my class. I failed over and over, but I also succeeded when I set my mind to it. I believe this applies for homeschool as well. Your children need to learn how to be quiet, be respectful of others’ learning and activities, and follow directions and procedures just like at a regular school. They will need to learn these things for the workplace, so they need to learn them now as well. It’s important to have structure, yet still be FLEXIBLE in the classroom too. That’s one main reason why we decided to homeschool. We wanted the flexibility to spend the day in school (if needed) to go on a field trip to a nearby museum or spend extra time snuggled on the couch reading together. Finding the balance between structure and flexibility in your homeschool is so important.
5 WAYS TO Structure YOUR HOMESCHOOL WHILE STILL BEING Flexible:
1. Devote a room in your home for the “school” room.
First, find a room in your home for the “school” room. It could be the dining room if you already have an eat-in-kitchen. Do you have an extra bedroom or a playroom you could change to the “school” room? Or possibly an extra family room that could be converted to the new “school” room? Maybe you could make your children share a bedroom so you can use the other bedroom for the school room. I highly recommend doing this if at all possible. We use our office now as the homeschool room. Having a designated room will teach the children that this is where all the school work takes place and where they should be at during school hours. It will also keep all of your homeschool materials better organized.
While having a room for homeschool will help you be more structured, don’t forget to make time to be flexible too! After all, one of the perks of homeschooling is the flexibility! Take the kids to the park and have reading class there and then play for a bit. Take a field trip to an IMAX theater to watch a video about space when you are learning about the solar system. The whole concept of homeschooling is you are ALWAYS learning, rather it be school time or not.
2. Make them be on time for school.
Next, every morning school should start at the same time. You need to set some expectations for the children. Make them have an alarm clock and get themselves ready in the morning, and tell them you expect them to be doing “this and this” at their seat in the school room at 8:30 every morning or whatever time you want to start. That’s what’s so great about homeschool. You can set your own hours. You can even choose to wear your pajamas to school for the day. Isn’t that awesome?
3. Use must do/may do station buckets when you have multiple children and multiple grade levels to teach.
Set up a must do/may do bucket for each child to work on individually at their seat while you teach the other child. Make sure you set expectations of how quiet they should be and show them exactly how to do each part of the bucket, so that when you are teaching the other child, they are all still on task and not bothering you for help. SHOW, PRACTICE, REPEAT. Until they are doing it how you want them to do it. We use these baskets and give each child a different color.
4. Be organized!
Being organized and staying organized will help your stress level so very much. Teach your children where everything is in the classroom and make sure they put it back in the same place. We have a color coded system in our school room. The kids know which bin is theirs based on color and of course name. They turn in their papers there each time they are finished with an activity. I grade it and put it in their folder. On Fridays, we show Daddy all of our papers and decide which ones we want to keep. The rule is only 5 papers a week to keep in our school year file. The rest gets trashed.
5. Use a specific classroom management plan and be consistent with it.
Next, start the school day off with your expectations for their behavior. How do you want them to act during school? Put a positive behavioral system in place to be used in your homeschool and believe in it. Follow through with everything you say! This is the most important part for any type of discipline. If you say you are going to do it, then you better make sure you do it!!!!
I believe children need to have consequences for their actions. There are situations when my children will act out during homeschool that I will have to sit them in our time out chair or another consequence I feel is best to correct their behavior. However, I want to do my best to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Everyday, before I begin teaching, we go over our school room rules. Our school room rules go along with specific scriptures in the bible. This teaches them about how God wants us to behave like. We are learning at home with Christ as our anchor. As a homeschool family, our number one goal is to teach our children about God. Why not make the rules from God’s rules, HIS WORD, the Holy Bible?!
Next, we talk about our DIY Homeschool Behavior Chart I created. This helps the girls SO much with their behavior. This has goals for them to work on daily. These are things they are having a bit of trouble with. I only do three cards for each child a day. They are different for each child. When I see they are doing well with it during the day, they are told to turn their card over. At the end of the day, if their card is still turned over, they will receive money. Yes! Money. They worked very hard getting better at this skill so they definitely earned it. With my little preschoolers we just do pennies for each card turned over. They add them to their mason jar. Finally, on Friday evening, we add up our money and put it with our money we earned from our behavior/chore chart in our home to go shopping at our Family Store. We also give some and save some as well. This plan teaches them about their behavior and attitude, as well as teaching them life lessons like money and hard work.
Well, there you have it: five ways to improve your homeschool. Try your best to find a place specifically for your homeschool and stay organized. Make sure your child is on time for school each day and remind them of the rules and expectations each day. Don’t forget to read about the must do/may do buckets if you have multiple children, as well as the DIY Homeschool Behavior Chart we use in our classroom. And remember, homeschool can be structured, but you still need those non-structured moments too… like having class outside in the backyard, or having a baking lesson in the kitchen. Homeschooling is all about flexibility too. Try to find a balance of flexibility and structure to make it a fun time learning together at home.
Don’t forget to pin the image below to save for later!
I would love to hear what you are doing in your homeschool to keep it structured! Please share some of your ideas below!