Homeschooling is one of the most incredible, rewarding, heart-melting, hair-tearing, frustration-inducing, exhausting, and difficult jobs you will ever do! But that doesn’t mean you need to throw in the towel. Here are 10 ways to make your homeschool day go more smoothly so you can get back to the first adjectives on this list without resorting to the use of a megaphone.
- Plan for feeding them. I know, I know, it’s not rocket science I’m offering here. But even if you start your day with the best of intentions, it’s going to end badly if you don’t have a clue what you’re going to make before a child, or you, gets hangry. A quickly planned meal and snack list for the day, or for the week, can save your homeschool and will definitely make your homeschool day go more smoothly.
- A place for everything. Again, not exactly a bolt from the blue, but how often have you gone to start something only to find the book you want to read from missing, the pencil case empty, and that gremlins have made off with your lesson plan? Even if it’s one basket per child piled high in a cupboard, at least you’ll know where everything is. Make the 10-minute post-schoolwork tidy a must to keep your homeschool supplies and papers organized.
- Build a rhythm. You don’t have to be rigid, but you do need to keep some things consistent to keep your homeschool on track. Think snack times, how you start the morning together, or just lighting a particular scent of candle to signify that it’s time to settle down to work. Building a consistent rhythm for your day will definitely make your homeschool day go more smoothly.
- Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share… Everyone who helps make a mess should be helping clean it up. Even the smallest child can toddle to the dishwasher with a (unbreakable!) plate, or wipe up a little spill. Older kids can and should be loading and unloading the dishwasher, corralling dirty clothes in hampers, folding and putting away their own clothing, and sweeping floors right alongside you. You’re a team, right? Delegate.
- Just do it. When it comes to schoolwork, some days you just won’t feel like doing it. Some days the kids won’t feel like doing it. Don’t give in to the temptation to just bail on it that day – at least not frequently. It makes it even more difficult to get back into your plans the next day, and the next, and then you hit burnout. Keep going! Try to get math and language arts done even on the days you don’t wanna.
- Try a block schedule. If you have a subject that gives you all fits and causes much drama, why not try the one-subject-a-day approach? Or even one subject per month, like Waldorf students do? Then you all know that you’ll only suffer through this torture for a limited time instead of dreading it every single day.
- Know your strengths. Stemming from number 6, if math makes you want to hide under your desk in a fetal position, then outsource it! Find a tutor, sign the kids up for online math classes with videos, rope your spouse into teaching if he has a knack for it. There’s no shame in it and you probably are amazing at explaining Shakespeare instead. Think about it… in a school setting, they have different teachers for different subjects. Why shouldn’t you?
- Combine as many kids in as many subjects as possible. Whether you’re including multiple ages in the same subject, or using the notebooking method to combine your subjects, you’ll want to find ways to streamline your days. Children close in age can use the same curricula for a lot of things. Wider age gaps can notebook about the same topics, and read the same materials, but have their own assignments.
- Yes, field trips count. Field trips are a hands-on learning experience that shouldn’t be discounted. Plan for at least one outing a month to a relevant location–museum, art gallery, behind-the-scenes at the hydro plant, a famous battle site–there’s always somewhere and they’re often free except for gas if you ask nicely and book ahead of time.
- Get outside. Fresh air and sunshine is good for the soul. No matter what the weather is like, and how little you want to do it, daily outdoor activity is a must. It develops the brain, gets the ya-yas out, and refreshes everyone. Set the example and spend at least an hour a day walking, riding bikes, sledding, or just enjoying the cool breeze as you stroll. This is one of the very best ways to reset your homeschool day.
Share your tips for making a homeschool day go more smoothly!
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