Welcome to Build Your Library’s Homeschool Tidbits: Episode 36 – Starting Your Day on the Right Foot. In this weekly video series, I will delve briefly into a topic related to homeschooling and will share some of my knowledge and expertise as a long-time homeschooling mother of 4 children. Three of whom have graduated high school and one who is a college graduate!
Are your days stressful? Have you tried to start a routine but by midmorning everything is falling apart? Think about your best homeschool days. Can you pinpoint what you did to make them successful?
I often say that the best part of homeschooling is the flexibility it offers you. But for some people that flexibility can be stressful. It offers too many options and opportunities to get off track. I’ve talked about the importance of creating a routine, but today I want to focus on some tips to help you start your day on the right track.
Nothing is more stressful than scrambling around to get things ready as you are trying to start your day. Take 10-15 minutes in the evening before you go to bed to look over your lesson plans. Then lay out the books and supplies you will need for the next day. This will give you some time to relax as you start your day. Also, you are more likely to get things done if they are already prepared ahead. Whether this means writing out a checklist or just setting out a stack of books and art supplies, take the time to do it the night before. It will help ensure you actually accomplish them the next day.
If you know your children are not morning people, you cannot expect them to automatically get up at the crack of dawn. That is setting yourself up for disaster. Even if you are a morning person, you can’t assume everyone can adhere to a super early start time. Be reasonable with them and with yourself.
If your children are early birds and you are not, don’t beat yourself up for not being able to get up earlier than them. Just have simple and easy breakfast items on hand that they can prepare themselves. My twins were the early birds and learned to make cereal and pop tarts when they were 6. Then you can get yourself up and ready when your body needs to without feeling rushed.
What do you think is more effective? Screaming up the stairs that it’s time to start school? Then rushing through a quick breakfast so you can hurry up and get started? Or gently waking up your children and slowly easing into your day? Which one of those scenarios happens at your house?
Charlotte Mason said, “Education is a discipline, an atmosphere, a life.” Creating the right atmosphere in your home goes a long way toward making your day run smoothly. When you set the right tone, your day will naturally be calmer and more relaxed. Maybe you can put on some soothing or upbeat music to rouse your children out of slumber. Then give them the time to wake up naturally. Have a child that needs more than that? Go sit on the edge of their bed and gently rub their back and softly talk to them to wake them up.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not much good until I’ve got some caffeine and food in my belly. Your children will be more responsive, and your day will get off to a better start when you all have a yummy and nutritious breakfast. That doesn’t necessarily mean you all have to sit down and eat together, nor does it mean you need to spend an hour prepping a gourmet meal first thing in the morning.
I keep a stock of frozen breakfast options. Pancakes, waffles, and sausage are always in reserve so that in a pinch, there is something substantial and quick to make for breakfast. Scrambled eggs are also a great quick and healthy breakfast. You can even prep the night before and have baked oatmeal or French toast ready to pop in the oven when you get up.
Starting your day with math makes sense if you love math or if you find it a fun and rousing way to begin your day. But some kids HATE math or find it stressful. If that’s the case for you, then starting your day with math would be less than ideal. It would be a better option to choose to begin with something enjoyable for everyone. Maybe that’s your current read-aloud or music appreciation. Maybe it’s poetry or singing. Hey, maybe in your house it’s math! But do something that gets you all excited to start your homeschool routine and you will be setting up your day to succeed.
None of these tips is anything revolutionary. But when you’re in the thick of things, especially when it’s not going well, you can’t see the forest for the trees. Try these tips and see if you can find a way to make your mornings run more smoothly. Then the rest of your homeschool day can be a breeze!
I hope you found this Tidbit helpful! Come back next week for more homeschooling inspiration!
Until then, happy reading!
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full-year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 21 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also make incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books, and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also check out her author page on Amazon.