As a homeschooling mom, I know my days are never going to be the same. I may plan all I want and make colorful schedules and have the “best curriculum,” but the day can easily get off course without a moment’s notice. That is life and we need to plan for the unexpected.
However, over the years, I have learned that there are a few things we do each and every day that help our homeschool day run as smoothly as possible. These things aren’t really anything crazy, and you have likely heard of them, but perhaps having them all in one spot may help your homeschool day run a bit more on autopilot.
Sonlight has graciously gifted me one complete level curriculum in exchange for my honest review.
Habits That Make Our Homeschool Day Run Smoothly
- I wake up before my children. I am starting with this, because I can hear you groaning now. As moms, we do so much and go all day long, and now I am telling you to get less sleep? Yes. When I wake before my children, I have “me time.” I can spend time with the Lord, reading my Bible and praying, and I can get work done early if I need to. I start the day in quiet and restful peace, and I am ready when my children wake up. I can greet them with a smile because I have filled my cup already. I wrote more about this HERE. Try it for a little while.
- My children know that we have a routine. My children have morning, afternoon, and evening chores. This starts when they are about preschool age. I do my daily chores at the same time as them, and my 2 year old help me. Having all of us doing our household chores at the same time really helps cut back on the whining and the procrastinating, because we are all working as a team for the same goal. Yes, there are occasions where I have to sit and nurse the baby, but for the most part, I am working right along with them. Each of the chores works off from the other. If one child does not load the washing machine in the morning, the other child cannot transfer it into the dryer in the afternoon. This helps keep the kids accountable to each other.
- I meal plan each weekend. I take about a half hour each Saturday and meal plan for the coming week. This saves my sanity on a daily basis. I know what we are having for each meal of the day and I know how much prep time I will need for each meal. This also prevents my children from asking me “what is for lunch” every single day. You can see how I meal plan HERE.
- I set up the daily work each night before. I have shared this before, but my girls have a daily work folder. This is similar to the idea of workboxes. I make sure their work is set up for the day by organizing it the night before. You can see how I use our Work folders HERE. I do this for my son as well, although his is much easier. My son uses Sonlight and his lesson plans are already done for us, which makes preparing for him a breeze. I just pull out the week he is using in his Student Guide, and make sure his books are available, and he is good to go in the morning.
- I live by a planner for everything. I have a planner I use for my home and business and I have a planner I use for my homeschool. I prefer having two planners, but you may like everything together. I also have an Instructor Guide by Sonlight that I use on a daily basis to help my son through his work. Thankfully, my Instructor Guide lays all his lesson plans out for me, so I don’t have to think about it. I just take the week my son is using out of the large Instructor Guide and place it in my smaller homeschool binder and then everything is in one place for all my children. Everything I need for the week goes in my planner.
- I plan and prepare a snack at a scheduled time each morning. We eat breakfast around 8am, so midway through the morning, my kids get hungry. I always plan a snack for the day and bring it out when we are doing our Morning Time. I make sure it is a healthy snack of some protein and healthy fats and some fruits or veggies so their brains will get the fuel they need along with their tummies. Having a snack during Morning Time makes it seem extra special too. If I am feeling extra patient, we may even have some tea with our Morning Time snack.
- We make physical activity part of our daily routine. Children need to get the wiggles out, no matter how old they are. I start each morning with the younger ones by giving them a mini “workout” and they love it. This isn’t anything special- I just call out moves and count as they do them. I might say…”ok, now do 10 jumping jacks” or “run in place for 20 seconds.” We do this for only 5 or 10 minutes, but they love it and it does help them focus in those early morning subjects. Later on in the day, when I start to see them getting antsy, I might do it again or send them outside to run around and play for a few. My older kids don’t always want to go outside, but when I don’t give the option, they do it and I can see the benefit in them later.
I hope these simple habits help you in your homeschool. We do not do anything particularly special; these are things I believe every homeschool mom can do. Even if you take one or two of these ideas and make them your own, just try to find a few habits that you know you can depend on each time to make your homeschool day run a little more smoothly.
If you have any other tips, I would love to hear them!