The 5 Pillars of a Thriving Homeschool

by | May 25, 2018 | Encouragement | 4 comments

Are you surviving rather than thriving in your homeschool?

How to Have a Thriving Homeschool~Does this describe your homeschool? Mom is overwhelmed, the kids are resistant to doing school, there is a disconnect between goals and achievement, and honestly, it would be hard for anyone to be consistent with school if they were experiencing these same sorts of things.

I get emails all the time from homeschool parents with stories like this:

“I feel like I know what needs to get done, but because of my kids’ dyslexia, I can’t quite do it. Everything takes too much of me.  Everything just takes such teacher intense time! I have two dyslexic children and even on a good day it feels hard. I feel really, really behind.

I have selected such intense subjects that I feel like something needs to give….yet I feel like they are ALL important. We do reading, math, writing, handwriting, history, grammar, and science. If I am unable to teach for any reason, nothing gets done.

My kids complain and on top of all my other stresses, it’s hard to get them to start school. We took a break from school because of the stress and now I desperately don’t want to go back to school.

I wish somehow I could make things easier. I’m just so tired and overwhelmed.”

It can be difficult for me to answer such a loaded email because there are so many different issues to address. Mom is overwhelmed, the kids are resistant to doing school, there is a disconnect between goals and achievement, and honestly, it would be hard for anyone to be consistent with school if they were experiencing these same sorts of things.

Pillars of a Thriving Homeschool

All of these areas of concern have to do with what I call the Five Pillars of a Thriving Homeschool. If one of these pillars, or supports, is weak, the whole structure is compromised. The way I see it, these are the 5 areas that need to be strong for a homeschool to thrive:

Pillar 1: A Healthy Mom

You’ve heard the saying, “Ain’t Mom happy, ain’t no one happy.” It’s true. Your homeschool will not thrive if Mom ain’t happy. And like the proverbial mouse and the cookie, if mom is tired, she’s not happy. And if mom isn’t sleeping well, mom is tired. If mom stays up too late, she isn’t sleeping well. And on, and on.

I vividly remember my college days when I could stay up til the wee hours of the morning writing papers and studying, while munching on M & Ms and drinking soda. {shudder} Not so the homeschool mom of 8, or 6, or 4, or even 2.

Not even the strongest French Roast can make enough of a difference for the mom who is chronically sleep deprived. At some point, the piper needs to be paid.

To have a thriving homeschool, Mom’s health needs to be a priority.

Pillar 2: Kids’ Attitudes/Mindsets

Homeschooling would be so much easier if not for the, er, um … kids, right? I’ve said it once and I’ll probably go to my grave saying it. Character training is a subject. For many kids, however, behavior and attitude issues aren’t so much character issues as much as they are a mindset issue – especially for kids with learning challenges.

We’ve got to teach our kids to cultivate the resilience, grit, and mindset that they can learn, that learning is a good thing, and that, in the words of Winston Churchill, failure isn’t fatal.

Homeschools that are thriving have kids who have cultivated a growth mindset and have learned how to persevere through difficulties.

Pillar 3: Managing Expectations

Having our expectations dashed repeatedly leads to disappointment and disappointment leads to the homeschool mom above who just wanted to quit. I get it. I’ve been there, more often than I care to remember actually.

I’m going to share something that may surprise you. Our kids with dyslexia (or dyscalculia, dysgraphia, or ADHD) not only learn differently, but they learn on a different timeline than traditional learners. And that is okay.

Learning how to change the way we look at our kids’ progress is a big part of our confidence and stopping the roller coaster of emotions that tell us we are failing our kids.

The third pillar of a thriving homeschool is managing our expectations by understanding how kids with dyslexia learn and focusing on that rather than how the other 80% of students learn.

Pillar 4: Setting Realistic Goals

Reading, math, writing, handwriting, history, grammar, and science. Are you trying to fit all of this in each day or week? If you are, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

I doubt that any homeschooler has all the time they would like to accomplish all that they dreamt about while planning for the school year over summer break. This time crunch is more pronounced for families homeschooling kids with learning struggles because these kids take a lot longer to become independent learners.

Knowing what to prioritize and how to plan realistic goals for your unique kids and family dynamic is another pillar of a strong homeschool.

Pillar 5: Consistency

You can know why you’re homeschooling, have realistic goals and eager kids yet still struggle with your homeschool because you’re not actually teaching consistently.

Flexibility is one of the huge benefits of homeschooling. We can school in the morning or the evening, through the summer or not. We can take a spontaneous day off to go to the beach on an unexpectedly beautiful day. But allowing this freedom to become a bad habit of inconsistency can become a problem.

When we are homeschooling consistently:

  • we accomplish much more, even if we’re only able to get a few core subjects done
  • our kids don’t whine and complain (as much) because they know and expect your homeschool routine
  • we provide the overexposure to concepts that nontraditional learners need
  • we use less of our already maxed out brain power trying to decide what or if we’ll teach our kids today

Homeschooling consistently is the last pillar of a thriving homeschool.

Is Your Homeschool Thriving?

None of us has this all figured out. It’s a process of gaining mastery, all while juggling the ever changing demands of running a home and school.

I want to help you to grow in your sense of peace and purpose as you homeschool.

Join my new 30-day course for homeschool moms and teachers.

In this class, I offer 4-5 short videos each week covering these 5 Pillars of a Thriving Homeschool. I will walk you through each of these concepts, giving simple, actionable steps to strengthen you on your homeschool journey.

Join me for Revive! 30 Days to a More Peaceful, Purposeful Homeschool

I am super excited to be able to share the wisdom that I have gained over the past 20 years of homeschooling with a small group of woman. Like group coaching, I see Revive! as a way to bring more personalized mentoring/coaching to more of you!

Class starts October 1st. Sign ups end on September 30th.  Because of the coaching nature of this course, Revive! will not be offered again until the Winter of 2019.

Learn more and sign up for Revive! here:


How is your homeschool going? Are you thriving? Or are you merely surviving? Leave a comment below!


Homeschool Pillars




  1. Ashley Wright

    Marianne this blog is awesome!
    I am glad that you people share such wonderful blog which helps all those who are just entering in homeschooling. This will definitely help people in doing their best in homeschooling their children.
    Thanks, Marianne for sharing such wonderful blog.

  2. McLauren

    Thanks that you always have a helpful perspective from your experience with kids with dyslexia. As a mom of two very different kids, one with ADHD and LDs and another who is so sharp he can do whatever is necessary very quickly, the juggling and pacing of the whole thing is the hardest. Your tips really are great reminders. I’ve seen you at conferences several times and love your blog as well!

    • Marianne

      Thank you!!

  3. Teresa

    Thank you im dyslexic and have halped all my children cop in school not nowing that home ed existed
    We hav adopted grandchildren and home educate as school did not halp thats all i will say on that
    Thay are thriving and enjoying living and learning thank you as this sight is so encouraging
    I have to work 2s as hard to halp tham as reading is a chore and have to do it several times to make sure I get it rightfor tham so whan there are things i need to read i print tham off but a lot of your things are in big blocks which I find overwhelming so thats wy i print it so i can do it in blocks so thank tou again for all the good advice and resources one is a sght Lerner sow im now getting her interested in art as wards are art .


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