If you’re like me, January is a time of getting back to work after a nice break for the holidays. I have noticed that with our homeschool there seems to be a natural cycle of learning–times for breaks and times for more focused study. Sometimes it is difficult to get back to doing school, and I find that these 5 Daily Disciplines really aid me in a successful school day as well as managing the day-to-day demands in the home.
1. Follow the routine.
You have probably designed the perfect schedule for your school day. Instead of being too specific about times, I have found it most beneficial to look at your day as if it were a book shelf. For example, look at the morning routine and the bedtime routine as the bookends of your day. They are essential. They support everything that happens between them. Your other activities are the the books on the shelf between them. Some days you may not “read” every book between them. Some “books” or subjects of the day may be larger or take more time than others. It may seem silly but I have found this analogy helpful because it takes the stress out of a rigid schedule and pretty accurately represents my colorful homeschool day. I would add that it is best to try to go in the same order each day. Order of subject is more important than timing because it helps kids know what to expect and will aid you in less struggle. Try not to add too many unexpected assignments–especially for special needs kids.
Homeschool Tip* Make a block schedule for your day instead of using times. For ex. Block 1 – Math, Block 2 – English, etc.
2. Limit activities and commitments.
I am as guilty of this as anyone–probably more. Some of us thrive on it. And it may be good for us, but we need to ask ourselves if it’s good for the school day too. That’s why I have to take special precautions to be careful not to over-commit. Running too much gets me distracted and then I don’t get anything accomplished. I minimize this by taking Fridays off for appointments such as grocery shopping and trips to the doctor or dentist. This works best for me, but you need to find what works for your family. It is truly a balance between too much activity and not enough. I know moms who homeschool three weeks and take a week off each month to do what they have to do around the home. If you haven’t already, with time you will find what works for you.
Homeschool Tip* Schedule extracurricular activities for children together or possibly on the weekend or afternoon. Or take one day off a week and do a four-day schedule.
3. Dishes, bathrooms, laundry.
Housework is tough for anyone. Add homeschooling, and you got two full time jobs! Sometimes we just need to let things go. That’s true because we just can’t do everything. But a clean house is important to me so I find that if I just focus on these three areas my house stays pretty clean. Anyone else in the family can help dust, vacuum, take out the trash, etc. Staying focused on just these three main necessities really helps.
Homeschool Tip* Don’t be a perfectionist. Chores are great for kids and teach them responsibility.
|Electronics are here to stay.|
4. Monitor the use of electronics.
These can be huge distractions for us and our kids! Isn’t it typical that the minute you’re on the phone little Johnny stops doing his grammar and sneaks out the Gameboy? This is something we can’t get away from. Electronics are here to stay! So we must find our own methods of dealing with the challenges we face with multiple children and multiple devices in our home. Some moms eliminate them all together. And that is totally acceptable. But for some of us that may be too drastic. We use our computers and readers to do some of our subjects each day. So I have to say that what works best for me is presence. Being completely present with my child during the homeschool day may not always be possible, but keeping a close eye most the time sure pays off in the end.
Homeschool Tip* Passwords are a must and it’s ok to have them on your kids’ devices too, if one has been bought for them. Time constraints and designated off-limit times are appropriate.
5. Focus on the family meal Monday thru Thursday.
This is a big deal. I know it seems that it should be so simple that it would go without saying. But cooking meals takes a great deal of planning and preparation, even simple meals. I believe the time and effort does pay off. Especially for larger families and homeschoolers. The economic benefits are obvious, but I also believe there are less obvious ones. For some reason when we are not eating out, at least during the school week, things just flow better. It is easier for us to follow our routine and everyone is happier. Of course sometimes you just have to eat out, but it really helps to bring everyone together and I think that helps homeschool days be successful.
One more Homeschool Tip* Keep it simple. Simpler meals are often healthier and easier. In addition, though it may not be great for the environment all the time, keep paper plates and cups on hand for that crazy bad homeschool day.