Top Ten Ways to Rock Your Homeschool Day | @iHomeschoolNet | #ihsnet

This homeschooling gig can be tough. However, after 13 years I’ve discovered some tips that help me rock my homeschool day.  There are my Top Ten tricks.

1. Have a plan.

I’m not a detailed planner, but our homeschool operates on a fairly predictable routine. I’ve discovered that I can’t function without a general plan. Some days, that’s a sticky note that says, “Math, English, history, science, reading.”

No, I’m not kidding. Whether you’re a detailed planner or a sticky note list-maker, having a general plan for your homeschool day helps you focus on what you hope will happen. It’s okay to be flexible when plans go awry, but having an outline in place can help you rock your homeschool day.

2. Prepare the night before.

A successful homeschool day often starts the night before. I find it difficult to work in clutter, so I like to make sure that our work area and the kitchen are clean before I go to bed. It doesn’t always happen, but I function better when it does.

Make sure you have pencils and paper. Make the copies or print-offs you’re going to need the next day. Check to see if you have everything you’ll need for the science experiment or the history project.

3. Keep your to-do list minimal.

In addition to homeschooling, we also have homes and families to manage, but sometimes we get a little too ambitious with our to-do list. I try to keep my non-school-related to-do list pared down to 3-5 items. These are typically things that have to get done that day along with a few things that I can reasonably expect to accomplish.

If you tend to list everything you need to do along with everything you might be able to do if the stars align, it helps to have a separate list. You can then plan on tackling a couple of items from the “if I have time list,” well, if you have time. Then, the items that don’t get crossed off aren’t mocking you and stressing you out.

4. Get up before the kids.

For some of you, getting up before your crack-of-dawn early risers may be laughable. I remember the days when I needed every last second of sleep. However, if you can manage to get up even just a few minutes before your kids, it can make your day go so much smoother. Maybe you’ll have time to sip a cup of coffee, take a quick shower, or have some quiet time before the busyness of the day takes over.

Thankfully, I’m in the stage of being a mom to only teenagers. Getting up before them isn’t difficult. Getting them out of bed before noon is. I savor the quietness of the house in the mornings and appreciate having time to workout and wake up (fully) before donning my many hats.

5. Have a doable chore system.

You can’t do it all, so have a doable, age-appropriate chore system in place. For me, it helped to sit down with my husband and identify the things that needed to happen for us (me) to be able to function peacefully in our home. For me, that means the house is vacuumed and dusted, the bathrooms and kitchen are clean, and pets are fed.

When my kids were little, we had a chore chart with rotating duties. Now that they’re teens, it works to let them negotiate for permanent chores, rather than rotating. It doesn’t really matter which chore system you use, as long as it works well for your family.

6. Make your curriculum work for you.

Always remember that curriculum is a tool, not the master of your homeschool. Don’t be afraid to tweak it to make it work for you.

7. Have meal plans in place.

My day always goes more smoothly when I know what we’re doing for meals. Having a meal plan means that I can make sure food is out of the freezer and/or in the slow cooker for supper, and that I don’t have to spend time staring aimlessly into the refrigerator trying to decide what to fix for lunch.

8. Take care of yourself.

Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Don’t burn the midnight oil grading papers or vegging out on social media. Go to bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep. Choose healthy meals and take time to exercise – even if it’s just a stroll around the block or a bike ride in the park with the kids.

9. Have some down time during the day.

We take a long lunch each day. I get some online work done – and play a little Words with Friends. The kids catch up with friends via Skype, text, or {gasp} phone. The break gives us all some much-needed down time and we come back ready to knock out the rest of the day’s work.

I know some families do an afternoon nap time or quiet room time. One family I know takes time to visit their grandmother or run errands in the afternoon before returning home to tackle their more difficult subjects.

10. Keep first things first.

Remember that while academics are important, family comes first. Sometimes academics may need to take a backseat while you address character issues. Some days, you may need to knock off school and just spend some time as a family. You may need to take your teacher hat off and just be Mom. On those days, rock your family. You can rock your homeschool tomorrow.

What’s your best rock your homeschool tip?

Top Ten Tuesday

About Kris Bales

Kris Bales is the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest voice behind Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She and her husband of 24+ years are parents to two amazing teens and a homeschool grad. Kris has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. She also seems intent on becoming the crazy cat lady long before she's old and alone.

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