Feeling Overwhelmed, Homeschool Mom?

How to empower your kids for self-propelled success!

Dear homeschooling mom,

I want you to grab your bottle of peace and calming and take a deep breath.  If you don’t have any yet, pretend to share mine.

I want to share something with you that has been revolutionary for us.

What is one of our biggest challenges as homeschooling moms?

Getting it all done, right?

What if our kids could take responsibility for their own schoolwork?

What if they could finish it every day, without us nagging them or having to sit with them every second?

And what if they did it to the best of their abilities?

Does that sound like a dream?

It IS a dream – but it is an achievable dream!! I remember the first time I came downstairs, about 8am, and was greeted by my then 8 year old son, known to you all as Super D.  He enthusiastically told me that he was almost finished with his school work for the day! I was SHOCKED to say the least! He had decided to start his work first thing, so he could have more free time that afternoon to spend with a friend.

It was simpler than I realized to set him up for what I’m calling self-propelled success and I’m excited to share what’s working for us!

1. Choose curriculum that your children can use independently.   This is huge. For our kids to be self-propelled, and take responsibility for their schoolwork, they need to be able to complete the bulk of it on their own. I’ll go more in depth on the curriculum we use in another post.  My kids do a lot of their work on the computer.

2. Create a homework chart so they know what is expected of them.   This sounds obvious, but how many of us actually do it?   Previously, Super D had been waiting on me to tell him what was next every day!   That really bogged things down for him.   I like this free chart from The Crafty Classroom but there are lots of other ones online.   I laminated mine to fill it in with a dry erase marker each week.  I may go back to printing a new one so we have a comprehensive record of his work.

homework chart

Now that he’s in 4th grade, I picked up a planner for him.  I write his assignments in the planner, and he checks them off as he completes them.   When he gets off task, it’s easy for me to get him rolling again.

3.  Organize the materials so they are easy to find.   How many of our kids can’t find something, even when it’s under their noses?   That’s definitely true at my house!

I got a text from Super D:
“Mom, my math ran away.”

To help him keep track of his work, I put together one binder with tabs.  His homework chart is in the front pocket, and his other work is easy to find and all in one place.

4. Develop a reward system.   As people, we love to work for extrinsic rewards.   How many of us are motivated by earning money or recognition?  Kids are the same way!    When he was younger, I used a sticker chart reward system.   Super D earned a sticker for finishing a chapter book, doing school on his own, having a good attitude, serving, doing his chores, etc.   When he filled up a chart (about 13 stickers), he could turn it in for either a toy prize or $5.   Now, his reward is that he gets to go to martial arts, have a friend over, or play on the Nintendo Switch for a little while.

The Self-Propelled Advantage: The Parent’s Guide to Raising Independent, Motivated Kids Who Learn with Excellence is a book I LOVE on this very topic.  It was the jumping off point for me in implementing some of these ideas!

Comment below with your favorite way to motivate your child!

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  • Heather Nacey

    Our prizes change but right now he gets to pick a page out of a Pokemon sticker book! Then he makes scenes with them in a binder with blank paper. It’s motivating and creative, and fills a little time during the day!

  • Kimberly

    I enjoy our curriculum. ..my feeling overwhelmed is not caused by homeschooling as much as being a Pastor’s wife and having people not hear your NO and making you feel guilty when you say it. I was suppose to stop babysitting in June, then the mom made me feel bad so I went to September, then January. Now we are moving and she asked when I had to stop babysitting, I said asap, we leave out October 5…she’s telling me she will be able to find another sitter by the 1st!! Are you kidding, I have to pack, paint and clean with a 2 year old who isn’t mine, because I feel like my NO is not being heard…I’m going to talk with her tonight, hopefully I can find my voice and she will hear me…delete if this is not ok…

    • Sarah

      It’s sad when people don’t respect you and try to take advantage of your sweet, giving heart! I pray that your conversation with her went well tonight!

  • Kelley

    Aaah it’s a sign, I definitely need Peace & Calming! I love this and I’m going to have to add that book on my to read list.

    I am working on this myself, I don’t like having to nag my kids. I find consistency and a routine work well with my kids. We also have daily notebooks with a Mon – Thurs folder in and each week I refill their independent work.

    I made chore packs today so they no longer have to ask me what they need to do!