Ahhh! Home Schooling!! It brings it’s challenges as well as rewards, over all… the rewards do out way the challenges. Over the years of home schooling my children there has been much trial and error and from this I’ve gained a few things that have been a huge help during our school days and months.
Now let me quickly point out, I’m not at all a home school expert. I’m just a regular mom doing the best she can by God’s grace! (and lots of prayer too)
I want to share with you a few secrets and tips that I’ve adapted and it’s helped tremendously throughout the years.
Here are my top ten secrets and tips that may help you:
- Get up early. This has been so key in helping start the school day better. Now, does it always happen? NO! But for the most part I make every effort to get up BEFORE the little blessings get up. It gives you time to spend with God, pray, & find a scripture you can meditate on for the day. It’s also a great time to catching up on e-mails, Facebook, etc. before the day gets rolling.
- Create a schedule. I know this sounds like a real NEW concept but getting into a good routine of getting the kids up at the same time, breakfast scheduled, chores etc. It helps the kids know what to expect. Remember there are times the schedule flies out the window and that’s okay! It happens to ALL of us!
- Hand out chores. Oh the chores! I love this part. We expect our children to do age appropriate chores every day. Once in the morning and once at night. (sometimes we have to throw in a 10 minute tidy during the afternoon too) Get a chore chart and start with basic tasks of picking up toys, taking dirty laundry to the washer, loading dishwasher etc. You get the idea. At our house we section off “Rooms” and each child is assigned to a specific room for sometimes a week or maybe a month. They are in charge of keeping that room tidied and picked up. This teaches them character and responsibility. One other hint in this department…..start when they are YOUNG!!! It’s much easier getting them into the habit and trained at a young age of what to expect. You can find the chore chart HERE. and a few other free ones!
- Plan a menu. Planning at least a week worth of dinners is a great way to start. Sometimes I can plan out two weeks in advance but realistically for me a week is good enough. I get an inexpensive three prong folder and print out a free monthly calendar with the big blocks so I can write what we are eating on a specific day. Any method will work….but it’s a great idea to KNOW what you are eating the morning of so you can pull it out of the freezer or do your prep stuff a head of time. Another side note…I’ve also gotten to the spot where I plan out my breakfast and lunches too. I rotate easy things that are inexpensive and quick. Here is a free menu printable HERE.
- Take breaks. Sometimes you just HAVE to stop everything and go get fresh air. Especially if your having a day going sour, take everyone for a walk, or go to the park. etc. The principle is not to let yourself get to stressed out or the kids for that fact. I can smell a sour day a mile away…..and we just got to roll with and sometimes just take a break!
- Don’t compare yourself. This is a big one! Don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself with someone at church or another mom from your local home school group or even from reading home school blogs! Remember each family is different, each situation is different, and everyone has different styles, gifts, and abilities! Your family is unique and so is your home school year! Embrace the way God wants you to direct your school day and follow God’s leading when making changes and other decisions.
- Have fun. This is pretty simple, but it’s so easily forgotten! I know as moms we get focused on getting the tasks of school done, but you can add fun into your day. Messy crafts, a park day, a field trip, doing school outside, letting them sleep in one morning, etc. The ideas are endless. The main thing is to laugh and have fun. I do have to remind myself of this from time to time.
- Get a color system. Now this one you might be asking color system? Let me explain. Being we have a big family, it’s very helpful to color code things. So we don’t go through a ton of cups in one day (when your home ALL day each cup adds up!), give each child a color and they use that particular color for the day or all the time. It keeps track of who’s is who’s and it cuts down on having to wash a billion cups, bowls, and other items. I purchased these at Amazon HERE.
- Accept interruptions. This was hard for me! Being my husband is a Pastor our phone rings lots (learn to rely on caller ID) and we also get drop ins too. For your house it might be a fussy or sick child, a doctor appointment, unexpected visit, etc. These are the days you just have to roll with it. Things might be upside down for a few hours and that’s okay. It happens and God put interruptions in our day for many reasons, use them as opportunities to be a blessing to others or He may be teaching you something. Keep an open mind.
- Pray! Pray! Pray! Last of course is prayer! It is truly essential and I feel a big difference in my day when I neglect it. Pray over your school day, pray over each child, pray for wisdom and strength, it’s a must. God wants to hear our cries or help and He wants to be our source of strength. Rely on Him and make prayer a top priority of all you do!!!
I know I only mentioned 10 things. I honestly could mention 10 more, but these were a few things that I’ve adapted and tucked under my belt through out the years. Remember pinterest is a great idea place for many FREE printables, ideas, etc. Be sure to follow A Heart for the Home HERE on Pinterest!! I try and add many valuable ideas and tips for home school to cleaning and organizing.
Have a great school year!