By Kaleena Amuchastegui
Once a self declared “anti-homeschool” mom, I would think: Those parents are certifiably insane to have their kids home all day…what in the world are they going to learn?! More importantly what would I even teach them?
Fast-forward and look at me now! I am homeschooling our four little humans and honestly, living a life that involves much more education and happiness than all the prior years combined! However that does not mean this journey is always a walk in the park, because let’s be honest, it’s not! Just like anything worth doing, this journey comes with ups and downs, constant change and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. But like many other things, I think we tend to make it more complicated and stressful than it needs to be. I want to share what changed. What made us go from “anti” to on board with homeschooling.
I didn’t pull my kids out of school to be a discontent, miserable mama who felt like she was sacrificing her life and happiness to educate her kids. I actually chose a homeschooling life because the school was getting the best of my kids, and I was getting the leftovers. I knew we could spend more time on the things that would bring actual value and spark passion in our lives. I wanted to create awesome memories and raise confident, independent and capable adults. I was eager to foster passionate learners instead of learning for the sake of passing a test.
I’m definitely not an expert, but along the way I’m figuring out how to “hack” this process to make it more enjoyable, and I know you can do the same! Take a deep breath, and relax…it’s time to enjoy your homeschooling adventure.
You do not need to sit your kids at the kitchen table for six hours a day and “teach” them.
I’ve realized that in a fraction of the time that kids spend in a traditional school class they will learn the equivalent to the traditional material, and far more of the life lessons you are hoping for. Even better they may actually retain the information!
Define what is important to you? Why did you start this journey? What were you hoping to accomplish? What about your kids? What is important to them? What are they hoping to gain from a homeschool experience?
Building a relationship with my kids was MOST important when we started this. So when I got my mornings back with them, I went from being a chaotic mom packing lunches and yelling to get shoes on, to a mama who enjoys morning conversations and having well rested kiddos!
Maybe it sounds crazy, but I love to ask our kids at least once a month: what do you want to learn? Then really focus on that. Letting my kids lead the way is showing me what passionate learners actually look like. If you have come from a traditional classroom setting, be prepared to deschool a bit before they readily jump in. It can be difficult to self direct after having someone control your every movement. The first few months we spent strictly detoxing from our previous years in a desk.
A few times a month we sit around a big white board and I ask the question? What do YOU want to learn? Or I pull from a list of questions or conversations we have had over the last few weeks that I felt they were expressing interest in. For example; Charlotte asked how gasoline worked in cars as I was filling up one day, what a fun lesson that turned into!
You don’t have to be an overly organized person.
My home doesn’t look like the most recent episode of Hoarders, but organization is not my superpower! So I keep it simple. I wake at least an hour before my kids, to properly caffeinate and prepare the “buffet of learning”. Which is our fancy name for the way I set the kitchen table. This is where our kids find all the things they will need for the day.
Stop focusing on what you didn’t get done. Start focusing on all you accomplished, the memories you made and the impromptu learning moments that happened. Because let’s be honest: the way we learn best will rarely be written down in a curriculum or on a to-do list. It will happen in the moment, when a question is asked and you actively search the answer. Or when an event occurs that sparks a new curiosity. Sure having a plan is great, but be okay if it changes.
Get comfortable saying YES!
Yes you can only study only language arts today and save math for tomorrow
Yes you can study on the couch
Yes you can save reading until later and go play outside
Yes you can find the answer by yourself (because YES you are capable)
Yes you can start that experiment
Yes you can listen to music while you work
Yes you can stand while working on your math
Say Yes as much as possible and be intentional with the no’s! I feel like the word NO is a trap we fall into as parents. When I started doing this I realized I often said “no” for no legitimate reason. With every no I could be missing a learning opportunity for my kids so I say yes, unless of course it could cause harm.
It’s going to be a beautiful mess!
Not everyday will look the same. You will not cross everything off your list on the days you really want to. You may have to mix it up several times before you find the rhythm that works for you. The rhythm my change. Remain flexible…stay strong in the knowledge that no one knows your kids the way you do….and that every opportunity is a learning opportunity.
A recovering workaholic turned author Kaleena walked away from her busy real estate business to step into a role she had never imagined…becoming a homeschool mama of four and creating the 5 Hour School Week! Her book, “The 5 Hour School Week An Inspirational Guide to Leaving the Classroom to Embrace Learning in a Way you Never Imagined” has become an Amazon Best Seller and is inspiring parents around the world to live their very best life, with their children! With a passion for travel and adventure she turns everyday lessons into exciting and impactful family memories. Kaleena is always seeking personal self growth and loves the life long journey of learning, cultivating meaningful relationships and seeking to inspire. Halfway across the world or at home snuggled with kids on the couch, this mom loves living a big life and creating magical memories with her family. You can follow The 5 Hour School Week at and become part of the community at www.fivehourschoolweek.com, on Facebook and Instagram (5 Hour School Week).