When you make the switch to homeschooling, it’s so important to establish boundaries between school time and your home life, especially when it comes to your new shared roles of ‘parent’ and ‘teacher.’
There will always be bumps in the road as you and your family find a routine that works best for you, but there are steps you can take to make the process a little easier for everyone involved. Here are our tips for balancing these roles:
Trust your instincts
For your children to trust you, you have to trust yourself to be able to balance teaching and parenting. Don’t fear that you aren’t qualified to teach your children, you’ve been successfully teaching them for their entire lives as their parent. With hard work and dedication, becoming their actual teacher can be a natural transition that brings your family together.
It can be easy to doubt yourself in this process, especially if you’re working mostly on your own. Get feedback from other homeschool parents in the area, or seek out a homeschooling association if you’d like outside guidance and access to resources. Without confidence, how will your children trust you to teach them?
Communicate every step of the way
The best thing to do as you switch to a homeschool environment is to include your children in the process as much as possible. Tell them how things are changing, explain your new roles and the responsibilities you both have in each environment. What is expected of them during school hours, and how does that change during regular home time? Being clear and honest will help you both understand your new situation.
Create a schedule to follow
Developing a consistent routine can be a great way to help you and your children differentiate between school life and home life. A big, visible family schedule in a major part of the house will let everyone know when it’s school time, and when they have time for themselves or to spend with the family. Not only will it help your child differentiate your two roles, but it can help you better separate your responsibilities as well.
Don’t be afraid to discipline
Your children are still learning, and there are bound to be times in the classroom where they act out. As your child’s teacher, you can’t be afraid that disciplining your child will affect your relationship as their parent. They won’t learn from their mistakes and they will continue to push their boundaries if you aren’t able to firmly show them that there are consequences for bad behavior.
Set aside time for yourself
You’re juggling multiple responsibilities all within your own home, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed or frustrated. You’re a parent and a teacher, but you’re also a person with your own life and needs. If you’re able to, setting aside a little time for yourself each day to take a break from your roles can be a great way to fight off fatigue and burnout. Take a moment to read a book, catch up on a loose errand, and give your brain a little break from the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges.
Seek out the professionals
Homeschooling doesn’t need to be a solitary process. If you’re struggling to find the right balance between your responsibilities at home and teaching your children, there are so many outlets to find additional help, resources, and guidance.
At the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools, we have been offering expert advice and academic planning for homeschool families for the last 30 years. We see firsthand the impact a quality, well-rounded education can have on a child, and we can help you discover the best path for your student. Reach out today!