This homeschool year, I am on a mission to make our days go as smoothly as possible. I have found that one of the easiest ways to have a good day is to start well. If the morning begins in a frantic manner, the whole day tends to unravel into a mess of frustrated kids and a stressed out mom.
Here are some things that work for our family to help our days get off to a smooth start and hopefully finish with a happy family:
- Prepare the night before.
At night before we go to bed, we lay out our clothing for the next day. I also try to make sure that school work folders are filled and ready for the children to sit down and begin their work. Even some breakfast foods are mixed ahead. For instance, the dry ingredients of the pancake batter are mixed together and all cooking utensils set out. When we wake in the morning, we add the wet ingredients and begin cooking.
- Get up before the kids.
This is a big one for me. If I wait until the kids are up before I get up, my day starts off in a frenzied manner. It helps me to get up early and have a quiet time, gather my thoughts, and get dressed for the day.
- Have breakfast at a set time.
We have tried in the past for everyone to come to breakfast as he or she awoke. It just didn’t work for our family. It felt like I never left the kitchen. This year, we have breakfast at 7:30 so we can eat with David before he leaves for work. Doing this has kept me from spending valuable morning time in the kitchen when I’m needed elsewhere.
- Clean house before starting school.
Now, I’m not talking about a major cleaning here. I’m talking about the things you need to have done to keep you comfortable in your own home. For instance, I have trouble focusing on school if the dishes need to be washed. So in the mornings, we all spend about 20 - 30 minutes doing the following tasks: making beds, washing breakfast dishes and wiping tables/counters, starting laundry, and vacuuming rugs.
- Set a time for school to start.
If I don’t tell the kids (and myself, for that matter) that school starts at a specific time, we all tend to get a little too involved in things around the house. I have set our start time as 8:30. After breakfast, we do our few morning chores. (When everyone pitches in, it doesn’t take long.) Then, everyone gets dressed and brushes their teeth. (And if they complete everything early, they have a little free time.) I will start reminding them that school starts in 15 minutes, and then again at the 10 minute mark and 5 minute mark. This helps us all to stay on task and get our day started in a timely manner.
- Be flexible.
Ok, time for a true confession. Ask me how many of these got done around my house today? Ummmm, that would be…NONE. Some mornings don’t go as planned. However, that’s the beauty of homeschooling. As homeschoolers, we can change our days to care for sick children, late nights, and those days that just seem to never get moving in a good direction. I can truly say that homeschooling has helped me to be more flexible and just enjoy life as it happens.
I’ve given my tips for getting off to a good start. Do you have any tips that help your days start well?