Homeschooling is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be unbelievably challenging at times. What can you do when you feel overwhelmed? How can you get unstuck when what you’re doing doesn’t seem to be working? Help is here!
Help for Hard Homeschool Days: 20 Strategies for When You’re Feeling Stuck or Overwhelmed
Today I’m sharing 20 strategies for surviving seriously stressful homeschool days. These are simple ideas to help you get unstuck on those tough days.
They’re also great tools to weave strategically into your homeschool as a preventative measure so you don’t feel overwhelmed on your homeschool journey.
MIX IT UP
- Oftentimes, a simple change can bring a lot of relief when what you’re doing hasn’t been working. Consider changing locations (couch instead of table or outside instead of inside)
- Change up your routine. Sometimes the time of day needs adjusted. Or maybe the order of subjects/activities needs mixed up. Consider letting your kids choose the order for the day.
- We all have an innate need for control over our own lives. Oftentimes, if we’ll give some control back to our kids, it can relieve a lot of the tension in our homeschools.
- Consider letting your kids decide the subject order, where they want to do their schoolwork, how they’re going to complete a task, the daily routine (my kids prefer to play in the morning and do their schoolwork in the afternoons), etc.
- Just be sure you’re only offering your kids choices YOU CAN LIVE WITH! If it’s not an option for you, don’t present it to them.
OFFER AN INCENTIVE
- We could all use a little extra motivation sometimes. Consider offering a small incentive if the kids finish in a timely manner or complete their work without further complaint.
- I don’t recommend using this frequently, but sometimes a playdate, screen time, skipping a chore, doing a fun art or science activity, or having family game/movie night can be the difference between a successful or stressful homeschool day.
HEAD TO THE LIBRARY
- The library is filled with resources to enhance whatever you’re learning about. It’s also a great place to do your schoolwork when what you’ve been doing isn’t working.
- There are also tons of lessons to be learned at the library (Dewey Decimal System, categories of books, how to search on a computer, how to utilize librarians, etc.).
- Have fun and learn something new! Explore resources and enjoy time together.
MAKE IT A FIELD TRIP DAY
- Regardless of where you live, there are endless ideas for fun field trips near you!
- I recommend creating a field trip bucket list for such a time as this! You’ll be better prepared on stressful days if you’re not having to research field trips in the midst of chaos. Be sure to note days/times of operation, location, cost, and any other pertinent details so you’re ready to go anytime.
- Remember, a field trip doesn’t necessarily have to cost anything. There are tons of parks, monuments, farms, libraries, and other attractions to explore throughout your city
ASK THE KIDS…
- If your kids are struggling, ask them what they think would make learning easier or more fun.
- What do they like? Dislike?
- Ask: “If you were the teacher, what would you do differently?”
- Implement any realistic strategies that can help make learning more fun and enjoyable for everyone.
- This is one of my family’s favorite strategies! We each grab a stack of books and pile onto my bed. Then we take turns reading aloud (my littles use those books with the readers to “read” to us).
- You can spend an hour or grab some snacks and make a day of it!
- Reading together demonstrates how fun learning can be. Discover new things together and dive into deep discussions about all sorts of things.
A DAY AT THE MOVIES
- There are so many incredible options for learning virtually now. You can find tons of shows and movies to help you learn about science, history, art, faith, and more!
- Be spontaneous or take a few minutes now to curate your “homeschool approved” list of educational shows and movies. Then, take turns choosing something to watch together from your list.
TEAM UP OR TAG TEAM
- Sometimes we need a little extra support. Ask your spouse, family member, or friend to help out for the day–or consider gathering a couple mamas together for a group activity or lesson.
- Talk to the other homeschool mamas you know (or reach out on social media) about possibly getting together once a quarter, month, or week for lessons.
- You can even use this group time as an incentive to get things done before they can go, or dangle some fun with friends after they get all their work done. Life is better together, and so is homeschool!
- Occasionally, we need to go back to the basics. Hold a family meeting and remind everyone of the expectations.
- Work together to brainstorm solutions (changing up the schedule, chunking your days instead of planning hour by hour, taking more breaks, ways to keep littles busy so they’re not interrupting as much, how to minimize distractions, etc.).
- Sometimes we simply need to go back to the drawing board or reevaluate how we’re doing things.
PAUSE TO PRAY & PRAISE
- When we’re feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, it’s ALWAYS a good idea to pause to pray and praise God!
- I like to gather the family and pray together. Thank God for the blessing of homeschooling. Repent for negative attitudes and behaviors. Ask for help and guidance. And end by taking turns counting our blessings and expressing gratitude to God.
- Crank up the worship music and praise Jesus. Taking time to worship together refocuses our priorities and refreshes our souls.
LOOK AT LIFE SKILLS
- We tend to think of life skills as secondary to academics, but they are truly the foundation of our homeschool (and life!).
- When we’re struggling with academics, it’s a great opportunity to shift our focus to life skills. Teach cleaning, organizing, study skills, conflict resolution & communication skills, home management, finances, etc.
EXPLORE A NEW INTEREST
- One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling is the opportunity we have to tailor our teaching to our children’s unique skills, talents, and interests.
- Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try new things. Research resources and activities to tap into their creativity. Do they want to be a YouTuber? Look into videography, graphic design, video editing, typing, oral presentation skills, etc. Or maybe they want to bake. Teach them the basics. Perhaps they love video games so you explore coding courses. There’s also bloggin, STEM, art, science, etc.
- No matter your kids’ ages, you can find fun (and free or inexpensive) resources to tap into their strengths.
TEACHER FOR A DAY
- Let your student be the teacher for a day. Have them explain to you how to do things. While you’re being the student, ask questions, seek help, read aloud, etc.
- Your child gets to show off what they know, and the best way to learn anything is to see one, do one, teach one! So have fun and don’t worry if you’re the one doing the writing, reading, etc. for a day.
- Your kids will gain confidence and have fun getting to teach you something!
GO ON A NATURE WALK
- Grab a notebook and a pencil, and head out for a nature walk.
- Go around your neighborhood or venture elsewhere.
- Delight in the wonder of God’s creation and focus on your five senses. Stop along the way and sketch/make notes, or bring some baggies and collect a few samples to explore and sketch later.
- When we tap into our God-given creativity, it’s amazing what happens. Whether you pull out some crafts or simply grab some art supplies, invite your kids to creatively express whatever they’re learning about.
- Draw a picture, write a book, illustrate a comic strip, or build something out of popsicle sticks.
- You can also encourage your kids to write a song or poem, or create a skit/play. Have fun researching about your topic (you can explore the geography, history, social practices, food, etc. of a time period and write out dialog), then act it out.
TAKE A BREAK
- Sometimes, we just need a mental health day. Call in “sick.” Give yourself (and your kids) the day off.
- Occasionally, we need a reset. Do something fun, put the kids to work, or do nothing at all. You’re the boss!
- Give yourself the grace and space to breathe and try again tomorrow (or next week). Relax and do something you enjoy. I promise, your kids won’t “fall behind,” and you’ll all be happier if you take breaks when needed.
- Physical activity has incredible health benefits. It improves focus, memory, and overall health. It also alleviates stress and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins.
- Go for a a walk, dance, play active games/sports, or put on a YouTube video with fun exercises for kids. Whatever you do, get moving and make it part of your daily routine.
- Oftentimes the struggles in our homeschool stem from character issues. Never underestimate the power of building strong character!
- I recommend incorporating character training into your weekly homeschool routine and making it a priority! It’s impossible to teach our kids everything, but if we cultivate biblical character traits, our kids will have so many of the tools they need to be successful in all areas of life.
Homeschooling Just Got Easier, and Deliciously Fun!
Looking for a great resource to help you make character-building fun, meaningful, and delicious? Look no further! Dishing Up Devotions: 36 Faith-Building Activities for Homeschooling Families has 36 weekly lessons centered around biblical character traits.
Each week includes:
- An encouraging devotion for moms
- Fun family activity to build that week’s character trait
- Full-color baking recipe with conversation connection to reinforce the weekly character theme
This book is perfect for tough days! Simply flip to the character trait your child’s struggling with and turn the trial into a meaningful and memorable teachable moment!
Feed your family’s faith in just minutes a week! Learn more & order your copy today at DishingUpDevotions.com
REEVALUATE YOUR CURRICULUM
- Sometimes, what you’re using just isn’t working. If you’ve tried the other tips and still find yourself stressed out and miserable, it may be time to take a good hard look at your curriculum and explore alternatives.
- Try free samples before you buy, or mix it up with a unit study, lapbook, or notebooking. You can find tons of free and inexpensive resources online to test them out.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Give Up!
YOU CAN DO THIS!
Sweet friend, please don’t ever quit. I promise, it will be worth it in the end.
You truly are the BEST person to teach your children. Give your best each day and trust God to take care of the rest.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9 NLT
“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
What would you add to the list? Leave a comment and share your strategies for stressful days!
And be sure to grab my FAITH-FILLED HOMESCHOOL MOM'S SURVIVAL KIT with almost 200 pages of resources to help you not just survive, but truly thrive in your homeschool!