The learning curve can be steep as we try to embrace so many new concepts about learning and parenting. But fear not! We have 10 PRACTICAL solutions that can really help your days go more smoothly. And remember, everyone doesn't always do this perfectly! We have our "off days." But you dust yourself off, make your apologies, and try to do better. In the meantime, these ten ideas may really help you!
- Plan to take 1 year "off." Spend the time connecting with your children on a new level. If they've been in school, they probably need some decompression time. They really need to see that you're on their side. Pushing a lot of educational material, because you haven't figured out unschooling yet will probably not be retained anyway. So skip that part and focus on their interests this first year. You'll be surprised at how much they learn!
- Use this time to read more:
How Unschooling Really Works
Grown Unschoolers' Success Stories
What's Wrong with Schools Anyway?
- Reframe what's stressing you out. Sometimes we get all caught up in expectations that we don't really even care about any more. Reevaluate what matters to you.
(Hint: Unschoolers value connection over housework)
- Pay attention to each child a little bit every day. What do they ENJOY? Do that with them. Think about how you LOVE them... how fortunate you all are to be together. Choose to focus on the love instead of the fear.
- Make meals as easy as possible. Use the crock pot. Or the Instant Pot - did you know there's a Facebook for unschoolers who are using the Instant Pot? Here's the link.
If you're someone who loves cooking, go ahead and plan for it. That's a fun thing to include the kids on (some simple aspect) or maybe just the smell of something wonderful baking will trigger all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings. So many good things from that!
- Cut up healthy snacks to sit out or in the fridge. Sometimes kids get crabby when they need more nutrition. (so do we!)
- Along the lines of making things easier...paper plates! Ask everyone to wash the food off their silverware so it won't be so hard to clean. Some will do it, others will forget. If they do it a little, it's a little help. Get plastic cups and use sharpies so they can write their name on them. They can use it all day.
- Because I'm imagining (remembering) the house can get messy, put small-ish trash cans in every room. That makes cleaning and tossing those paper plates easy to do. When kids are home exploring and learning, projects can get messy. Instead of dreading them, plan for convenient clean-up.
Get Rubbermaids tubs for each kid. As you find shoes or stuff that have been left out, you can easily drop it into their rubbermaid so you're not all tripping over boots or toys. Then they can take them to whatever place has been designated for them - or at least it will be easier to find them when everyone is rushing to get out the door!
Breathe. You can do this.