It’s the little things, right? When our Homeschool day unravels, it’s usually because a bunch of little things went wrong . . . often the stupidly simple things that just slipped my mind! We Homeschool parents are the conductors of this dance, after all! Whether it’s a waltz, a cha-cha, or a rave . . . well, that depends on us!
We have to learn to Homeschool like Bee-Keepers; preparing a conducive environment with the proper mood and pace for our little bees to thrive. And a big part of that for me is making a habit of KEEPING IT SIMPLE, STUPID!
10 Super Simple, “Save-Your-Butt” ~HOMESCHOOL HABITS~
1.) Rotating the Book Baskets every Monday.
This buys me hours each week. Seriously! Our kids spend double the time “perusing” or reading when I bother to rotate the books. To make it super easy, I keep six baskets filled with different collections of books and simply swap baskets in and out of a closet shelf each week. It takes me under a minute.
2.) Rotating the tray materials every Tuesday.
When I hear that dreaded word “boring” it’s usually because I forgot to rotate the trays.
3.) Restocking the Cozy Corner Bucket at the end of each reading block.
When we finish our reading block, I immediately prepare the bucket for the next day; swapping out readers for the next level, grabbing the next read-aloud, etc. When I neglect to do this, we have to scramble at the start of the next day’s reading block and the results are not great. Just when I’ve gotten the kids rounded up in “Cozy Corner” I have to then go and get organized and fill the bucket. This wastes more time and creates more frustration than I care to admit.
4.) Keeping each math manipulative in it’s own open basket on an open shelf.
I love using manipulatives in math lessons, but wow do I hate hunting for them! A tub of them all suffocating together in little ziplock bags . . . yuck. Or worse! All mixed together in one jumbled mess. That’s not math magic. What I have learned to do to avoid this less-than-thrilling-experience is keep each math manipulative in it’s own little basket (or other open container) on a close-by, accessible shelf at all times. It takes up slightly more space . . . but it saves time, energy, and my sanity. And I need my sanity, people!
Plus, it’s just super pretty. And you all know by now what a sucker I am for pretty!
5.) Keeping pencils, paint brushes, crayons, and markers in open jars and at child’s height.
Nothing derails me quite like a constant string of requests.
“Mama, I need a pencil!”
“Mama, I need paint brushes!”
“Mama, can you get me the markers?”
It took me longer than it should have to figure out that I wanted the kids to be in charge of their own supplies.
6.) Letting our kids get their energy out before starting lessons.
This is a big one for us. We do “Music and Movement Time” EACH AND EVERY DAY before we “start” school. Our kids are so much happier and more focused at the end of waggling their wiggles away. Keep it fresh with lots of different playlists! And be sure to include lots of classical music and happy, upbeat songs from various musicals. Follow our “Move It” Playlists on Spotify if you need ideas!
7.) Switching the laundry between each lesson.
When I forget this little gem it often takes me until bedtime to realize that I never put any loads of laundry in. Yes . . . I’m that foggy sometimes.
8.) Moving the stupid paper clip at the end of each lesson.
This seems so pointless, I know! But I swear it’s those little wasted moments that add up and make everything unravel! When I have gotten our son to his desk each day, I like to get right to it! If he has to wait for me to get organized, find the workbook, or find the lesson . . . well, it kind of just lets all the air out of both our sails right from the start.
So . . . at the end of each lesson, I move the stupid paper clip to tomorrow’s lesson.
9.) Breaking on demand!
Oftentimes, our instinct as parents is to push our kids harder when they lose focus . . . myself included.
“We have to finish! Just focus! We’re almost done!”
In the end, this causes our kids to become even less focused and much more frustrated. That’s my takeaway anyway. When our son gets foggy I am learning to say:
“You know what? Let’s have a snack and a cup of tea and come back to this in a few minutes.”
I’m not exaggerating when I say that taking a few minutes for a snack whenever he needs it, actually saves us a lot time in the end (and even more frustration)! It’s incredible how he will be slogging through a lesson, then we break for a quick snack and . . . ZING! He just powers out the rest of the lesson lickety-split. Almost every time.
Similarly, when our kids are struggling to remain in their seat, we parents more often than not offer up that good, old-fashioned, and less-than-helpful-standby of:
“Sit still! Stop wiggling!”
But “sitting still” is very, very hard to do when you are an itty-bitty bursting with life. So, when our son is practically hovering over his seat to where he can’t even read the words on the page (all that vibrating makes them blurry), I am making a practice of shouting out:
“RUN! GO! JUMP! GET IT OUT!”
It only takes maybe a minute for him to run like a tornado around the house, but the results are immediate and dramatic! If you try this with your own wiggle-worm, be sure to ONLY allow exercise and not toys/playtime, otherwise your little smarty may figure out how to play up the energy a bit during lessons! Running and jumping, on the other hand, only last as long as your child has breath enough to do so. I recommend jumping jacks and burpees.
Please note: I obviously have an energetic little boy on my hands. Different children may need different types of breaks. Breaking to draw or paint, daydream, listen to a favorite song, rest in a cozy spot, get some fresh air, or tell you a story they have had on their mind are all good possibilities for a quick refresh. Just be sure to keep breaks to only five minutes or so, and allow only one per lesson so that your child does not abuse this privilege.
10.) Doubling Up!
You know what they say: “make hay while the sun shines!” Or . . . “save for a rainy day!” We often complete two days’ worth of lessons whenever our son is particularly focused or whenever a lesson is particularly short. You know, using that sunshine to save for that rainy day. Seizing opportunities to get ahead (when the conditions are right) saves us big on those inevitable weird and wacky days.
Check out our previous post HOMESCHOOL HACKS for more sanity-saving secrets from our family to yours!
Thanks for reading!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~