It’s the start of a new homeschooling year and, for many of us, that brings a ton of excitement about our new books, our new curriculum, and the kids’ new grade levels.
But we’ve been at this homeschooling thing for nearly ten years now and I’m here to tell you that the excitement… is going to fade. In fact, it seems like the longer you homeschool, the quicker it fades. And a lot of that comes down to having a rough homeschool day – or two or ten.
It’s so easy to think that you’re going to start the homeschool day right, only to have it dissolve into two shouting matches, a sibling fight, and a crying fit over a math problem by 11:00.
For years, I fell into the trap of planning weeks of lessons and then falling off the homeschool wagon just a few days in. I thought I needed to change my curriculum, revamp my schedule, or even try public school for a while.
I didn’t realize that I was planning my homeschool years right, but starting my homeschool days completely wrong. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to start the homeschool day right.
Take a look to see what didn’t work for me and what finally is working – after all this time.
Disclosure: I am a BookShark brand ambassador and am receiving free curriculum as part of my role.
How to Start the Homeschool Day Right
Images c/o: lanakhvorostova and SIphotography / depositphotos
Plan your day’s lessons and activities in advance.
Please, please, please do not set yourself up for failure by thinking you can do this on the morning you plan to teach a lesson. You won’t get up early and plan for it. Trust me. You just won’t. (I cannot tell you how many school days I’ve given up on because I fell for this idea.)
Take some time to set up a flexible plan for your school week. Shoot for having the lessons for the week done by the previous Friday. Then try to schedule only a few full days and leave yourself some space for lessons that take a little…longer than expected.
Have a family meeting first thing in the morning.
This one took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out. And, really, this tip came from my husband. Whenever he’s home during the day, he gets up and goes into the kids’ rooms to talk with them about how they’re feeling that morning.
As he told me, “That’s the best way to find out what’s on their minds before we get started. Otherwise, they won’t be able to focus on what we’re teaching, because their minds are somewhere else.”
So I started doing this on our homeschooling days too. When everyone gets up, I talk to them all individually to see how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, and what they want to do that day.
I tell them we’ll try to get at least some of what they’d like done – after we finish our school lessons. It really does help them put those thoughts aside (at least for a while) to begin the school day.
Eat a really good breakfast.
Remember those old cereal commercials we used to see on Saturday morning? The ones that show the bowl of cereal, along with toast, eggs, and a glass of orange juice as part of a “balanced breakfast”?
They weren’t kidding. Kids really need to eat a filling breakfast to start the day, especially once they hit puberty.
I was allowing my kids to make their own breakfast for a while. That led to eating less than they needed, because they often didn’t “feel” like cooking as much as they should have.
Now that I’m back to making breakfast (and they make their own lunches and snacks), they actually get full and their moods are ten times better, which makes our entire homeschool day run smoother.
How BookShark Helps Me Start the Homeschool Day Right
One of the biggest changes that’s helping me start our homeschool days off right is using BookShark with my youngest.
BookShark is a year-long, book-based curriculum that includes ELA, history, and science for grades K-8. I’m using it for our first grader this year and it has done wonders for my homeschooling routine.
Because BookShark plans the weekly lessons for you, I have her daily plans done in no time. I just look over the prepared plan, review the books we’ll need, and we’re off and running the next week.
Take a peek at my BookShark homeschool binder to see how it works!
Start the homeschool day (and year) right with these tips!
See more ways to plan your homeschool year on my Homeschool Planning Pinterest board!