Family & Education

4 Disciplines for the Homeschool Parent

Homeschooling isn't easy, but a disciplined approach allows rest and freedom
BY Barbara Danza TIMESeptember 6, 2022 PRINT

Homeschooling your children is one of the most rewarding and beneficial things you can do for your entire family. But no one ever said it was easy. Homeschooling is a great responsibility and calls upon parents to summon all of their talents, wisdom, and discipline in seeing it through. Discipline can be a challenge to homeschoolers given the vast amounts of freedom that this choice affords, but when put to good use, it provides fruits beyond measure.

Here are four aspects of discipline that can make homeschooling easier and more prosperous.

Preparation

Taking the time to prepare for the upcoming year, week, day, lesson, or field trip is worth the effort. If you find that you have no time to prepare, you might be overscheduled—or just unorganized. Slow down, reduce the load, and give yourself time to prepare.

Valuing preparation and setting aside time for this activity is key. Mark your calendar with stopping points throughout the year to stop and assess your homeschool and prepare for, say, the next quarter. Set aside a few minutes each evening to prepare your home for the school day ahead, tidying and readying resources you plan to use. Perhaps an hour set aside during the weekend could be used to think through the coming week and what you will need to have ready for your homeschool to thrive.

A lack of preparation leads to wasted time looking for things, decreased focus during transitions, less nutritious meals, and lost opportunities to bring out the best in what you’re learning—not to mention unnecessary frustration and anxiety. Be prepared.

Meal Planning

Planning and cooking meals for the family calls for many tiny decisions and enough time to buy ingredients, prepare and serve the meal, and clean up afterward. Develop an efficient system for your family to make this as easy and nourishing as possible.

Jot out the six to seven dinners you’ll make the following week. Assign chores to the children, such as putting the groceries away or cleaning up after meals. Batch cook whenever possible. Take advantage of online grocery shopping. Have healthy snacks on hand.

When treated less as a chore and more as a joy and tradition, meals can enrich your homeschool in many ways. Cooking lessons can double as the act of making dinner. You can enrich your lessons with meals from a particular culture that you’re studying. The conversation around the dinner table can tighten family bonds.

It can be tempting to see food as an aside from homeschooling, but it’s a central part of family life. Taking the time to organize and manage this well can serve your homeschool in countless ways.

Screen Management

While devices can be useful in homeschooling, they often act as distractions and energy vampires for both the children and the parents. Put solid limits on screen use for both you and your kids.

Some ways to improve discipline in this area include setting aside limited hours for checking your phone, preferably after the focused work of schooling is done for the day. Keep your digital devices in rooms away from your immediate grasp. Foster the sentiment that screens are tools to utilize rather than toys for consumption.

Rest

Homeschooling will call for your all-out effort, and you will need to maximize your energy and focus to do it well. There are endless possibilities when it comes to things to learn, make, and do in your homeschool; you may be tempted to run yourself ragged. That isn’t a good long-term strategy.

To be at your best, incorporate rest into your daily discipline. Find healthy ways to recharge your batteries and calm your mind on a daily basis, without one ounce of guilt. You’re strengthening yourself to be able to serve your family and your homeschool.

Continuous Improvement

As you walk your homeschooling journey, continue to educate and cultivate yourself. Learn about the different homeschooling methods that have been successfully employed by parents who’ve come before you. Learn about skills and topics that interest you. Study productivity and self-improvement for the benefit of your homeschool. Dive into your personal interests and talents. Develop yourself spiritually and seek higher wisdom in your effort to do well as a homeschooling parent.

In disciplining yourself to continuously improve, you’ll set a wonderful example for your children about what lifelong learning looks like.

Barbara Danza
Barbara Danza is a mom of two, an MBA, a beach lover, and a kid at heart. Here, diving into the challenges and opportunities of parenting in the modern age. Particularly interested in the many educational options available to families today, the renewed appreciation of simplicity in kids’ lives, the benefits of family travel, and the importance of family life in today’s society.
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