Homeschooling Tools Every Family Can Use



Freshly sharpened pencils, zippers that don't snag, and velcro that hasn't fluffed itself into uselessness-- can't you feel the potential?!

For parents, this month may be the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. But, for a growing number of families, it is just another change in seasons as they've chosen home-based education.  

Regardless of your parenting style or where your children get their education, there are some wonderful parts of homeschooling that can be used right now, with both your toddlers and older children!

Here are 4 homeschooling tools every family can use!

1. Take learning out of the box.

Sitting is hard. Really, really, hard.  Part of the joy of homeschooling is letting children learn in areas that allow them to shift, wiggle, and flop. So instead of sitting at a table, consider heading outside to the lawn, park or beach and this lap desk could be used in a comfy chair, on the ground, or outside!

The other box that gets busted is where the learning happens! Because it happens everywhere!

Math is present in the recipe you make for dinner, and grocery shopping becomes an opportunity to budget, make lists, and meal plan!

Life skills are used as learning opportunities and children are able to process and help!

2. Give age-appropriate tasks.

Researchers have known for some time that participation in family responsibilities offers connection, community, and builds self-worth and self-esteem. Confident children are supported through encouragement and know they are valued. Letting a toddler unload the silverware from the dishwasher, teaching a child to sweep the floor, or giving your adolescent the task to bring their laundry basket to the washroom are all ways they see their contribution to their family through participation. Participation helps foster belonging-- and can't we all benefit from more of that?!

3. Get your child their own library card.

An incredible public resource that most homeschooling parents use is their public library! It's a free place, brimming with wonderful events, activities, books (of course), and...teaches responsibility.  Getting your own library card is part of a larger learning conversation on respect, sharing, and trust.  Let's be real, the library is one of the only places you get to take (pretty much) anything you want and bring it home for weeks for free!  

4. Monkey See, Monkey Do

One of the most basic tools homeschooling families know and use everyday is modeling.  When you want your child to learn a behavior or habit, most often it means emulating the behavior yourself.

Want your child to grab a book instead of the iPad?  You should show them reading is an enjoyable activity.  

Want your child to wake up, make their bed, and get dressed?  Invite them to help you lay out your clothes the night before and then help them lay out theirs. Ask for their help to make your bed in the morning, and offer to help them make their bed too.  

And one of the hardest areas to model is how to act when feelings have been hurt.  It is hard to decompress after a packed day, for adults and kids both. But kids are at a disadvantage - their brains have not fully developed all of the tools necessary to regulate feelings, and connect cues to appropriate responses.  Be open to your own struggles and use a time out - but not for your kids.  Don’t be afraid to model a cooling off period by saying, “I need a few minutes to calm down and think about this.  When I’ve taken a few breaths and am not so (angry/frustrated/hurt/sad) I’ll come back and we can talk.”

You are your child’s first and best teacher.  Even if you are sending them to public school.