3 Things That Totally Changed My Homeschool (for the better!)

changed my homeschool

3 Things That Totally Changed My Homeschool (for the better!)
~ Written by Cait Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies

When I first began homeschooling, it was under duress. In fact, I call myself an unexpected homeschooler because I never thought we would homeschool our children.

But here we are, so many years later, not just surviving but thriving in our education. Looking back, I can see that there are three things that totally changed my homeschool and helped us establish our approach to learning.

It was difficult in the beginning. I knew my son needed a different approach than a formal school environment provided.  But I found myself wondering how to provide it.

My only reference was my own understanding of education. I went TO public schools. I worked as a school psychologist IN public schools.

The more I tried to find resources to homeschool, the more overwhelmed I became with curriculum choices and homeschool styles. Finally, in desperation, I decided to take it one step at a time and just do what really worked for my kids (and for me).

Eventually, these three approaches to learning became the backbone of our homeschool.

coffee and books

3 Things That Totally Changed My Homeschool (for the better!)

While I knew we needed a different approach to learning, I also knew we needed some structure. These three things have worked amazingly well for my family:

1. Coffee and Books

My motivation was at an all-time low. Instead of waking up early and accomplishing all the things, I struggled to put my feet to the floor in the morning and do some of the things. Somewhere, in the midst of my battle with getting started each day, our mornings evolved.

I don’t know if it was out of laziness or if it was an attempt to make myself feel better about homeschooling, but I started reading to my kids as soon as they entered the kitchen. I didn’t ask them to do math first. In fact, I didn’t talk about our homeschool must-dos at all.

Instead, I poured myself a strong cup of coffee then picked up a great book and read aloud.

Coffee and Books is our most peaceful time of day. The reading sparks fantastic conversations and learning. This ritual starts our morning off on the right foot and has made this family of bookworms smile.

2. Lazy Unit Studies

I love the idea of unit studies, but always felt overwhelmed with all planning and then actually getting started.

Somewhere along the way, I decided that the value of following my children’s interests and all the rabbit trails that come along with them was far more important than trying to make them perfect.

My Lazy Unit Study plan was born.

Essentially, when my kids stumble upon a topic that interests them, I use resources easily available to us (think library books, documentaries, YouTube videos, and any local field trip opportunities) to keep learning about it for as long as they stay interested.

If you want to know more about exactly what this looks like in our homeschool, I created a quick and easy ebook and an entire course to help you get started.

This guide will help you identify your child’s current interests and also learn to find the wonder in plain sight. It will guide you through the brainstorming, planning, and execution process. You will also learn how to document child-led learning.

bird unit study

3. Gameschooling

There is a wealth of research suggesting that learning through play creates more comprehension and retention for our children. Play impacts the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children and teens.

It is also a much more joyful and satisfying way to live our homeschool lives.

We are a family of gamers. I grew up playing and loving board games. My kids are the same. Why not combine our love of games with our love of learning?

Gameschooling is the intersection of PLAY and LEARNING. And it changed everything in our homeschool.

We use games to learn everyday, in all areas of academics and life.


If you are just getting started homeschooling, or are looking to shake things up in your learning, I highly recommend starting with the simple things that bring you and your children the most joy.

For us, that’s good books, interest-led learning, and games as often as possible. These are the three things that totally changed our homeschool for the better, and I’m so grateful!

How about you? What has changed your homeschool for the better?

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!