Tips for a Happy #Homeschool Day
We're about 9 weeks into our homeschool year and all over the FB groups and such, I am seeing a lot of "Homeschool Mom Burnout", HMB for short. (I just made that up) Moms who are ready to give up and ship their sweet little hellions back to public school. Don't give up yet, Mama. With a few tips and tricks, you can turn that frown upside down and start to enjoy homeschooling again.
The key to a having a good morning, is to start at night.
1. Make sure they get plenty of rest the night before. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean put them to bed at dusk, if that works for you, fine, if not, that's fine too, just make sure they get enough rest, so they can focus the next day.
2. Make them eat some kind of breakfast. Something. In their belly. Not junk. I get it, some kids are just not morning people, or afternoon people, but your body didn't get the memo and it wants food.
Break it down for them, explain it to them like this... Your body is like a car, it needs fuel to work properly. It's been at least 8 hours since your last fill up and your "car" is empty. Then proceed to feed them something with some kind of nutritional value... scrambled eggs, toast, oatmeal, something.
3. Set the mood for the day. No, I don't mean dim the lights and light some candles, unless that helps, then, by all means... I mean if you are in a good mood, they will be too and vice versa. If you are excited about learning, they will be also. You are their barometer as to how the day will go.
4. Tell them exactly what you expect and give them an outline for the day. I find if a kid knows what they need to do, they will pretty much do it, but if they are left to their own devices, they would probably read a book and doodle all day. When you start "school", let them know, "We will do this, this and this, then we will take a break and have lunch.". Then, their brains go ahead and accept it and start to move on.
5. Be prepared. I can not express how much this one has helped me. Last year, we were mostly just winging it. I had some really fun workbooks and we went to the library a lot and we did other fun stuff, but this year, I decided to really get organized and it has helped me (and Micah) immensely.
Being organized doesn't have to be hard or complicated. You don't have to use some elaborate book and system with stickers and colors for every day and all that mess (unless that works for you, then, by all means, color code away). For me, simple is better. Maybe if I had multiple children that would be necessary, but with just one, I find this method works amazingly well.
For this schedule thingy, I used a calendar from Dollar Tree and some Post-Its. I wrote each subject on a Post-It, so he would know exactly what we were doing each day. I let him choose which subject to start first and as we finish, I let him pull the Post-It off. It's simple, but for us, it works. You could always add to this and write each assignment, for an older kid who is able to work independently.
As you can see, this is a very basic student agenda from Dollar Tree. It has just enough room for me to write down a brief description of what we are doing in each subject, each day, with room left over for extra curricular activities.
When I got the agenda, I took about two hours and sat down with my Little House 123 lesson plans and wrote out everything for a 9 week period. It was a bit tedious for my ADD brain, but I got through it and I can not tell you how much easier my whole day is now. Seriously.
The Little House curriculum has been amazing for me. I am not very good at lesson planning. I will find a million fun things to do, but none of them tie-in to each other, so it all ends up being a weird, jumbled mess of random information, I get frustrated, give up and we end up reading five books and calling it "school". That was last year. This year has been soooo much different.
Each day, I look in my handy dandy book and I see what I need to do and we do it. No whining, no fussing, no crying. (I'm still working on Micah though) *rim shot*..... *crickets*
Jokes aside, Micah has really taken to this curriculum. I love that it utilizes videos, because Micah is a very visual learner so this is perfect for him, especially since he figured out how to stream them to the living room TV, via the Xbox. We can sit on the couch, in our Pjs and "do school". How cool is that?!
I also feel that a routine is key to having a (relatively) stress free morning. Notice I didn't say a schedule. Routine is different. Schedule is: "We must do this at 8:01 or else puppies will die!" No, That sucks. Don't do that to your kids. Isn't part of the fun of homeschooling, the luxury to do things at your own pace?!
Do something fun in the morning to get the day started off right. (and get those bodies moving) I have recently been introduced to a fun (read as: low impact for Mom's old bones) yoga series for kids, Cosmic Kids Yoga. Micah loves this and will actually participate without whining.
Cosmic Kids also has a "Zen Den" series which I really love. It's a series of videos that help children focus, be more mindful and have better coping skills. I have actually listened to several of them and found them very relaxing and helpful. (and short-ish, which is great for my ADD brain)
This is one of my favorite ones. In this video she refers to the smell of fresh popcorn and I just happened to find a caramel popcorn candle at the Dollar store. One morning, Micah was being especially jerk-ish, so I lit the candle and we watched this video together and it really helped him to refocus and relax. (and Mom too)
What I'm really saying, as I ramble on is: find what works for you and don't get discouraged if it takes you a little while to figure it all out. It took me a year to find my groove and realize I wasn't like other homeschool Moms and that's OK.
In that year that I was "screwing up", Micah learned to read and spell. Yes, my five year old reads and spells better than most second graders. Somehow, someway, the learning happens, whether you are using an Erin Condren planner or just flying by the seat of your pants, so keep on keepin' on, Mama. You got this!
11/5/2015 10:18:45 am
GREAT tips! I really enjoyed reading a glimpse into your day. It was so very helpful to this Mom.
11/5/2015 03:22:13 pm
Love your tips! I also love your authenticity. We are all different and unique families, homeschoolers, and moms.
Great post. We are in our tenth year of homeschooling. We have four children, with the younger three still homeschooling. I think we homeschool moms need to remember that homeschooling, children and even we as mothers are not one size fits all. It is important to be flexible and change when change is truly needed and push through when that is the better option.
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