Are you interested in what it takes to have a really good homeschool day?
After 16 years of homeschooling, I’ve figured out a thing or two that you can do.
For me, a really good homeschool day means you:
It also means that my kids are engaged in meaningful, productive, learning activities. (Over the years, that often meant cool games instead of just workbooks. You can check out my reviews to see some of my favorites.)
So how do you do it? How do you have a day where you settle into bed at the end of the day and think “Today I was a good homeschool mom!”?
I have a few tricks that I’ve developed over the years. And that’s what I’m talking about today.
Hello ToriAnn Perkey here and from my homeschool to your homeschool, today I want to talk about how to have a really, really, really good homeschool day.
Do you know what it takes to have a really, really, really good homeschool day? Well stick around because that's what we're talking about. Now I know that not every day can be amazing. But you can actually significantly shift how many good homeschool days you have if you adjust one thing. And that is expectations and you don't have to adjust it one way or the other. You just have to get clear on the expectations that you have about your homeschool day.
Let's talk for a minute about expectations. Expectations are what you hope to have happen, and then what actually happens during the day is either going to be less or more or right in alignment with those expectations. And it actually isn't how much gets accomplished during the day that determines whether or not you have a good day. It's where how much gets accomplished lines up with your expectations. So, for example, if your expectations are here and you and your kids only get this much done, then you're not going to feel like it was a very good day. If your expectations are here and you actually do this much, you're going to feel like it was an amazing day.
So let's talk about how do you get your expectations to be in a place where you can consistently have really good days. Now, before I go any further, if you're new or struggling, I actually have information about this along with a lot of other topics in my free homeschool help center. So be sure to check out the resources down below this video if that's something that you would be interested in. They're all free and they help you do your homeschool in different ways.
Okay, so let's talk about expectations. There's two kinds of expectations that you really do need to get clear on in order to have a good day. The first one is you need to get clear on your expectations for your kids. If you guys, your expectations are there, whether or not you stated them. What you hope will happen, what you want them to be doing. And if you aren't clearly letting your kids know what it is you want them to do and how you hope the day will run, there is no way for them to meet you in the middle and even begin to remotely do it. It'll be very hit or miss, so you want to be really, really clear.
What do you want them to do? How do you want them to show up? What kinds of activities do you want them to do? What kind of attitude do you want? Have you had those conversations? Now, don't get me wrong, I do not believe that just if you have those conversations, suddenly everybody's going to fall in line and you're going to have an amazing day. Don't get me, I'm not going there because believe me, that is not how it worked in my home it's not how it does work in my home. However, when we get clear expectations you have a better chance of then having a conversation if something doesn't line up.
So what were some of the expectations I had or I have in my homeschool? Well, when my kids were little, and now my kids are all teenagers, but when my kids were little, the expectation was you'll come sit on the couch and you'll read with us and you'll have a good attitude. You won't whine and complain. When we play a game, you will show up and be kind to your siblings. You will be respectful about the time that I've put into preparing this, even if you don't love it. And again, they didn't always meet it, but we had systems in place for when they didn't meet it, it was called discipline.
So once we set up the expectation, I knew what to do if it wasn't being met. And it wasn't like we were being drill sergeants. It wasn't like I was making them do lots and lots of things. I was setting up fun and engaging and exciting things to do, but sometimes they just didn't want to do it. So the expectation was, please show up, have a good attitude, we're going to do it for this amount of time and then you're free to go do things the rest of the day, and that worked really, really well.
Now, I didn't always have something planned and so if I were to describe my baseline for any type of good homeschool day, I would say it was engaging in productive, meaningful learning activities. [NOTE: See my reviews page for lots of awesome activities for your homeschool.] That's the expectation I have for my children. So now that they're even older and I'm not as involved in the little itty bitty days of their lives, they're much more self sufficient. They're doing a lot of the learning on their own or they have outside classes that they're engaging with that give them the education. Now that we're more engaged that way, my expectation is the same even though the activities have changed and that is, are they engaged in productive, meaningful learning experiences?
Now your expectations for your kids might be completely different. It might be a certain amount of time. It might be completing certain types of activities. It might be did everyone just get along today? Depending on where the baseline is is in your family right now. But regardless, it's that expectations piece that lets me know whether or not I'm having a good day based on whether that sort of thing can happen.
Now this is the trick. You have your expectations that you have for your kids. The other expectations that you have to work on are your own expectations. How do you perceive what is happening and how do you feel when it doesn't line up? This one is a little bit trickier because it has to, you know, all sorts of things play into expectations, guilt, fear, desire, hope, and those are really, really deep, powerful emotions that can impact how you feel about your day. But setting realistic expectations. Yes, I want everything to run perfectly. Yes, I want everyone to get along. Yes, I would love it if everyone were leaping for joy. Every time I put something in front of them.
I would love that, but it's not realistic. So the second piece is getting realistic with my expectations. And that means I have to do two things that are not easy, but super important.
The first one is I have to allow agency. Whether your kid is four or whether your kid is 17 they want agency. They want to be able to make their own choices. And even if they don't like what they're being asked to do and maybe they don't want to do it, I have to allow them the space to make the choice whether or not they're going to engage. Now some behavior's not okay. There are consequences. There's discipline. Absolutely. And that's a subject for another video.
But agency means the kid actually gets to choose. And when I'm being realistic, I'm allowing them the freedom to make the choice. Not easy because in my like, non-agency world, I want to force them to do all the good things because I think I know best. But the reality is it doesn't work that way.
And now the second thing about adjusting realistic to realistic expectations is remembering not every day is going to be an amazing day. Not every day can be. And every kid in your family is going to have their own mix of good, not so good and terrible days. Every single kid. And unfortunately not every kid has the same mix.
I've got one kid who has a great day, probably seven out of 10 there's a couple of rough patches there and that's always been true. Seven out of 10 most of the time I know that kid is going to show up. I got another kid who hits good days about every three and 10 which means there is a lot of days where they're struggling for some reason, whether it's emotional, whether it's academic, whether it's whatever. They just came with a different package. Days are harder for them and we're working with that. Right?
It's not like I get to pick and choose how they show up. I get to pick and choose how I react to what they show up with, so knowing that some are going to be more likely to have good days than others, helps me adjust my expectations and be more realistic. Now once in a blue moon, once in a blue moon, everybody has a fantastic day and those are the red letter days that you write down and you remember and you journal about. But I'd like to say that usually you can hit a good day about one in 10. About one in 10 is when everybody shows up fairly high on the show up happy level. Everybody's kind of humming along, things are moving well. One in 10 so if you're having one really good day in 10 mama, you are a successful homeschool mom.
And your expectations, adjusting those to that level. Maybe that will help just a little bit. Now if you are struggling, there are lots of ways to try to get the expectations and everything else in a better place. Make sure you check out my free homeschool help center. Lots and lots of free resources there to help you. So many different opportunities to learn different things. In the end, homeschooling is a journey and setting your expectations so you can have good days is one piece of being a successful homeschooler.
I'm ToriAnn Perkey and I make these videos every week so that you can be a successful and confident homeschool mom.