Week two of our homeschool year is done and in the books! Hooray!
This week I made note of several things that save my sanity during the school week to share with you.
Routine, routine, routine
I cannot stress this one enough. Routine is what keeps the homeschool ship afloat. It’s what keeps you from realizing you haven’t even started school yet at noon. Plus, it keeps the “Do I have to??” battles at a minimum when your students are used to their routine.
Now, I’m not a set an alarm, start school on the dot at 8am, kind of homeschool mom. You might be, and if that works for your family then go for it! But, when our day starts, it follows the same pattern.
My children know that after breakfast they are expected to get ready for the day (which is a set routine of tasks- get dressed, hygiene, make beds, feed pets) and bring their school books to the kitchen table.
Generally, my students also follow a routine of subject order, which creates a chaotic, but working flow around our table. Usually this allows me to work my way around the table helping this one on a hard subject, while that one completes something independently. Each year it takes us several weeks to find that rhythm.
Try different things, when you find what works stick to it!
Teach them… enforce them!
The worst thing at the homeschool table is to hear the constant chirp of “Mom, Mom, MOM” from 5 children.
Here are some of the homeschool manners I enforce:
Say mom once. Wait for eye contact from mom, so you know she heard you. Then wait patiently. If you wait more than a minute or so see the next rule.
Don’t just sit there if Mom is taking awhile. Keep moving. Move on to the next question, section or even subject if necessary.
If Mom is doing phonics/reading with the little kids no interruptions…PERIOD! This is where routine also comes in. For the 20 minutes it takes to read with my 1st grader, the other children are working on their most independent subjects.
School-time only toys for the littles
This is a lifesaver, especially for 3-5 year olds. Here are some of our favorites:
Magnatiles (or any magnetic building toy)
Lots of coffee. And a cute mug always helps.
Each year I have to remind myself that homeschooling is really a full-time job. You can’t expect to also keep up with the housework, do projects, cook meals, etc at the same level that you do when you aren’t teaching.
When I feel behind on my homemaking jobs I end up with a bad attitude from the frustration and stress. Being prepared for that inevitability helps.
First, just know you cannot possibly get it all done.
Prioritize. Each family has a few things they really need to accomplish to function well. During the school week concentrate on those things first. For some it might be a home cooked meal each night, for others it might be certain areas that must remain clutter free, or a chore that you can’t stand to get behind on.
Divide and Conquer. Use those students of yours! Tackle chores together, or assign them individually. Think through how your children can help with the breakfast and lunch rush. Plus assign everyone a chore to complete after school.
Plan ahead. Look at the week’s school and outing schedule. Plan homemaking ahead of time around that and stick to the plan. I know that laundry day shouldn’t be co-op day. And that I might as well plan to clean the kitchen after a big science experiment lesson.
Are you the type that must have the entire house clean all at once? Then planning 4 heavier days of school each week while using the 5th day for cleaning is the answer for you?
Choose some things to let go, or save them for the weekend. During the summer I love to get all the chores done during the work-week to leave the weekend free. But, that’s just not gonna work for me during the school year. I know that I need to carve out several hours each weekend to meal plan and grocery shop. Also, a few times a month I spend one weekend day organizing or cleaning.
After 7 full years of homeschooling, I’m getting the hang of balancing school and homemaking… and just letting some things go!
Do you have any sanity saving tips for the homeschool week for me? I’d love to hear them!