So I got to thinking {which, in my life as a homeschooling mom of eleven kids, is a good, rare, and dangerous opportunity}, and it’s not lost on me that I don’t exactly fit certain molds. I know. Get your jaw off that floor. It’s true. Now, this doesn’t ruffle my feathers—I rather enjoy it, as I refuse to be pigeonholed. {Ooh. Weird. Unintended bird motif there.} And if I didn’t have blue hair streaks, a nose ring, tattoos, and a big ole’ white passenger van full of a slew of children in many colors, I might wonder why I don’t totally fit in (with exception to the white van, of course). BUT I AM NOT OBLIVIOUS, y’all.

All that being said, and with all due respect to stereotypists (-typers?), after three-plus years into this, I get that I’m not exactly the most stereotypical homeschooling mom. So, that got me thinking (like I said), that I might have just a few non-cliché homeschooling “tips,” if you will, to offer. I mean, the laminated calendars, decorated pencil holders, and story-time with Mommy in the park gazebo are precious and all, but I’m not exactly always (or ever?) that kind of precious. (Surprise!)

So whether you’re just now considering the denim jumpers, are a total follow-every-rule homeschooling newbie, or have already clocked a marathon’s worth of miles at the World’s Biggest Homeschooling Conventions, maybe you’ll find a handy and/or humorous bit of help below. After all, I’ve learned a whole lot from YOU people.

I now present to you…

The Out of She Mind Non-Cliché Guide to Proper (and Improper) Homeschooling

1. Paint. The washable kind. Own it. Lots of it. And let your kids use it. Because LOOK at that masterpiece. And that FACE. Presh.alwayspainthomeschool


2. Poop is funny. Always. Duh. So grow up and live a little and laugh when your kid properly describes it. A+!poopisfunny


3. Space is cool. It’s a no-fail. You need a little extra something for a bored kid? Space. Want your kid to do a research report? Space. Need your kid to sit down with some quiet time and learn a little something? Space. Because the universe is ginormous and the possibilities are limitless. Like literally.spaceiscool


4. And magic. Also cool. Endless opportunities for innocent shenanigans. {And I promise your homeschoolers will NEVER stick out when they—without your knowledge or their warning—set up an outdoor magic show outside your daughters’ gymnastics building and charge admission to innocent bystanders. I promise that’s not embarrassing AT ALL. Abracadabra. How ’bout some invisibility next time, kids?}magicshowhomeschoolers


5. Red circles for wrong answers are nice. Gentle. Non-threatening. Inviting a revisit.usearedcircle


6. Red X’s for wrong answers are mean. Harsh. Sharp-edged. Inviting tears. (Apparently.)dontusearedx


7. When on field trips, volunteer your kids at live exhibits. Because lemurs are cool, and you only live once. YOLO, baby! (They’ll thank you later.)lemurgirl


8. Get the tot a desk. {But maybe not a haircut.}threeyearoldatdesk


9. Piano lessons. Mandatory until high school graduation. Of course, it helps when their Grammie is their teacher and lessons don’t cost a dime, but the sound of accomplished pianists practicing their songs throughout the homeschool day is actually quite delightful (mostly). And, studies show that music is muy bueno for the developing brain and super calming to the hyper one, so there you have it. It’s a win all around.playthepianoalldaylong


10. Acquire a tramp. Oline. Ask the grandparents for one for Christmas. Look on Craigslist. Find a deal on Amazon. Because when you’re trapped inside your house all day with your sweet minions and they really need to unleash it, opening the back door and ordering them to bounce it out is going to save your sanity. It’s like a jail cell with bouncy floors and netted walls. See, don’t they look so HAPPY?! Gotcha, kids!getatramp
And P.S. Bonus! Trampolines are the perfect place for moms to acceptably and safely FLIP OUT.


11. Pipe cleaners. Cheap. Versatile. And a rainbow of creative time-killing. “Hey, quit bugging your sister. Go make something with these…Oooooh, fabulous! What else can you make?”pipecleanergenius


12. Periodic Table of Elements. Anywhere and everywhere. Placemats. Wall-hangings. Shower curtains. Learn how many protons are in uranium and lead while, well, you know. Kids learn science and time-efficiency all at once. BINGO!periodicshower


13. ANYTHING can be a science lesson. Dead birds. Gigantor trees. “Look, kids! SCIENTIFIC WONDERS!”deadbirdie BigAtree

14. Math blocks. Great for math. Even more awesome for creative car tracks by the three-year-old homeschool tagalong.



15. Homeschool choir. Because matching long skirts and happy sisters. See? Duggar Girls come in all shades.duggargirlschoir


16. When a rare moment happens, take a picture. Because it doesn’t usually.idyllichomeschool


17. Don’t be naïve. Even homeschool can foster gang activity.homeschoolergangsigns


18. Don’t ask why. Just laugh instead. Because there aren’t always logical explanations for your children’s choices.darthvaderhomeschools


19. Have lots of caffeine at the ready, but don’t share any of it. Because Diet Dr. Pepper is your key to survival. All the livelong day. And contrary to popular Homeschooling belief, it is TOTALLY about survival of the fittest. Totally. So you MUST survive.



20. Ditto for chocolate. See #19. {Bonus points for friends that drop this off at your front door.}mommymusthavechocolate


21. Let them stay up late on Thursday nights to do the next day’s schoolwork. {At the Weimer house, because we are dorks, we call this Owl Academy.} Because sleeping in on Fridays is the STUFF OF HEAVEN, you guys.

22. But don’t take Lazy Days like all the other homeschool moms, because before you know it a Lazy Day here and a Lazy Day there add up to A LOT OF SLACKING and you’re doing schoolwork well into June. And doing schoolwork in the summer is the STUFF OF HELL. So don’t be that lazy demon mom. Just don’t be.

23. A trucker hat worn backwards gives the illusion of cool and demands no maintenance. Yo. Kids. Word to your homeschooling motha of all mothas.truckerhatbackwards


24. Accept that some days will feel like this. Don’t fight it. Because after all, kids.runraggedreality


25. And in the end, when all is said and done, though your mind be numb and body beyond tired, though your kids remain unsocialized hooligans and the neighbors still think you’re weird, when the cubbies are empty and the dining room table no longer littered with books, your kids will have done been educated rather successfully by Yourself Truly and you can say to yourself IT WAS MAYBE QUITE POSSIBLY WORTH IT. Sigh.


When your kids show up ready for Easter Church services and without any direction or instructions whatsoever, are all color-coordinated without planning to be, you know you have arrived in the Kingdom of Homeschooling.


So, my fellow homeschooling mothas (and papas), let me hear it. What are YOUR ingenius, borderline smart-aleck, and/or non-cliché ideas to surviving homeschooling and making it LIKE MAYBE THE BEST THING EVER for your family? Because homeschooling, like anything else, is whatever you make it. So make it something, well, just something. Proper or not. But definitely worthwhile. And even sometimes workable. It’s up to you. IT IS ALL.UP.TO.YOU. (Shudder.)

*Item 25 is a sentiment required by homeschool law to be expressed by all homeschooling bloggers and all blogging homeschoolers. 

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