We all want to start out our homeschool year well, but that can be pretty hard to do. I’ve screwed it up many, many times. I’m starting my 6th year homeschooling – What? How can this be? It sure doesn’t seem like I’ve been at it this long. You would think that after these many hours in, I would have it all figured out.
And that is sooo not the case.
I do know that over the years I have figured some things out that have really helped things to go a bit smoother. So, whether you’re brand-new at this, or you’ve been at it awhile, hopefully, you can find something here to help you out a bit.
Limit Your Homeschool Plans
I always have these grand visions of all the things we’re going to accomplish. And, for some reason, I think my kids will be just as gung-ho as I am. Man, am I dumb! My kids are barely able to get out of bed (well, honestly, neither am I) those first days of school.
They’re not at all interested in doing every… single… subject … plus hygiene … and chores … right out of the gate.
This never works. So, Moms! Start with something small. This year, we are going to start with Morning Time, Math, and Reading. That’s it for the first week. It might kill me, and I’m going to have to really hold myself back, BUT, this is about them, not me. This is the biggest thing that will really help us all to delight in our first days, instead of dragging through them.
End Your Homeschool Day Early
Another way to start well is to end well. I don’t know about you, but around here, ending well means ending early. Learning is hard, learning can be exhausting, so the best way to turn your first days into a train wreck is to go on, and on. Believe me, I’ve done it.
There have been many days that we were still doing school when I had to transition into dinner-making mode. Ugh!! Again, do I really think my kids are gonna be on board for this? NO! And, when this happens it doesn’t leave me with great enthusiasm for school, either.
So, we’re committed this year to be done by 2 pm every day. By 2 pm each day I’m D. O. N. E., like Finished … meaning my brain starts to shut down. So, how can I expect any different from them?
The thing is – anything I can push my kids into doing that late in the day will not be enriching or delightful or done well. It’s very likely they won’t even remember what they’re learning. No more work just to check boxes around here!
Do Something Fun
Kids love fun. Duh!
How do you think they’ll feel about picking up and doing this all over again tomorrow if we do something fun today? Let me tell you … it rocks their world! Here are a few ideas of something fun to do today.
- Go get ice cream
- Go to the park
- Play a game (here’s the one we played today)
- Make cookies together
- Get a Redbox
- Grab a coffee or cocoa together
My kids absolutely love it when I throw in these little surprises. I don’t do it very often, so it really throws them for a loop … and they think I’m the coolest mom ever when their day ends with a surprise. See if you can’t load the front end of your school year with some fun.
Let Them Pick Some Subjects
Have you ever looked at your list of school subjects and realized that your kids haven’t picked any of it? I definitely have. Now, I’m not suggesting that they pick everything. That might actually lead to a big mess … especially if you have multiple kids and multiple ages. I do think there’s room for their input, though. I try to start each semester with asking my kids, “What would you like to learn about?”
Frequently that means that there is a specific animal they want to study, or maybe they want to learn about a specific period of history. Whatever it is, I try to accommodate them. They’re going to learn much more and be more motivated if it’s something they choose. Go ahead, try giving them a choice. They may really surprise you.
You’ve got a long year ahead of you, Momma. Give yourself and your kids a break by starting things off a little lighter this year. You’ll have plenty of time to play catch-up.
So, I’m wondering … how will you start out the year differently? Let me know, and if you go get that ice cream, have a scoop for me (I like chocolate). 🙂
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