Homeschooling presents a unique set of challenges that parents who have never tried it can only begin to imagine. “Home” schooling when you can’t just be at home with your kids presents an entirely different one.
Maybe you’re traveling for work (or your spouse’s job) and only home part of the time. Maybe you have a job that allows you to take your kids with you—but you still have to work. Maybe your kids spend part of their “school” day at a relative’s house. Or maybe you simply need to pack up for a day or two to sit with a sick relative, babysit for a friend, or visit family. Whatever the case, sometimes, homeschooling doesn’t just occur at home—and it’s not always easy to combine your other responsibilities with the kids’ school. However, there are some things that you can do to make it a little bit easier.
Stick to a schedule. It doesn’t have to be a schedule the way anyone but you thinks of one. It doesn’t even have to make sense to an outsider. But your kids need routine as much as possible.
Have all of your materials gathered together in one central location. This could be a box, a bag, or a crate out in the car, but you need to be able to access everything you might need.
Know when to throw in the towel. The great thing about homeschooling is that you have the ability to say, “No, I’m not going to do this today. I’m just not.” Sometimes, your kids aren’t cooperating, you can’t seem to get it all together, and it’s all you can do to get through the day, much less teach them anything. And you know what? That’s okay, too.
Have extra activities on hand. If you’re relying on schoolwork to keep your kids busy while you’re doing something else (working, caring for a younger child, talking to a friend), that will inevitably be the time when they finish their work in a quarter of the time that you expected it to take them. Having extra activities on hand will buy you a few extra minutes when you need them most.
Use bribery if necessary. If this is a temporary arrangement, or if something throws a monkey wrench into your regularly scheduled activities, you may have to go at things from a different angle. If you desperately need your kids busy and quiet for a certain period of time when things aren’t going as they should, offer them a special book, TV time, computer time…whatever it takes.
Never underestimate the value of educational games. Computer games, board games that incorporate education…any kind of “treat” that makes learning seem fun will keep kids entertained (and learning) longer than just setting a stack of books in front of them.