I like to think of homeschooling as more than just an educational choice. It is a way of life! And just like in life, there are good days and...not so good days. How our day begins many times determines what the rest of the day will be like, so getting the day off to a good start is pretty important for us!
I am always tweaking and playing around with our schedule. If something is working out great, we keep it in our routine. If not, we try something else.
There are a few things that have been working for us lately to set the tone for a good homeschool day. All of these things happen in the morning before Big Brother ever sits down at his desk to work.
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A good morning starts the night before!
As much preparation as I can do the night before the better. If I already have Big Brother's assignments and the materials he needs for completing them loaded into his workboxes the night before, that saves us a ton of time and chaos! I also like to get the dry erase board ready for the next day's Board Work (see below).
Also, I have found having the kitchen and living room cleaned up before bed makes for a better morning. It doesn't take so long to get a good breakfast ready when I don't have dishes to wash or messes to clean up beforehand. Big Brother's workboxes and desk are in the living room, so being able to get to those areas in the morning without having to step over piles of toys is a blessing, too!
Getting a good nights rest instead of staying up late reading, watching videos, or surfing the web also helps to make everybody happier in the morning! If for some reason we are late getting to bed, I love having the freedom to allow a little extra sleep time in the morning.
Lately I have been turning on a Bluegrass Gospel hymns CD in the morning as we are going about our morning chores and breakfast. I don't know of anything that will wake you up and get you going quite like banjo music! :) The boys love it, and the hymns are a real blessing by turning our hearts and thoughts toward the Lord. And there's just something so sweet to me as a mother watching Big Brother load the washing machine while singing "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." :)
Bible Time & Prayer
I have determined that even if we are not able to accomplish anything else during our day, if we have had Bible and prayer time then we have done the most important thing. My biggest goal as a homeschool mom is to help my boys take up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:16), so I want to make faith-building a #1 priority.
Big Brother and I spend some quiet time reading our Bibles. He is currently working through Gotta Have God 2, a devotional book for boys ages 6-9. I enjoy reading a chapter along with my online Good Morning Girls. Big Brother also spends a few minutes quoting his memory work. Little Brother dearly loves joining in and doing the motions that go with the verses we are memorizing using the Scripture Talk DVD!
I am so thankful as a homeschooling mom to also have the freedom and the time to kneel down and pray aloud with my boys every morning! We all look forward to praying together. Both boys are quick to remember when it is prayer time, and they take it seriously. How wonderful it is to join with them in thanking God for His many blessings and asking for His grace for the day ahead. And Little Brother's little "Amen!" at the end is just so precious!!! :)
After Bible and prayer time, we usually do some work at the dry erase board on the wall. I usually use this time to introduce any new concepts Big Brother might be encountering in his work that day. I write a few quick math problems up there just for some practice. I might also write a new English rule on the board for us to go over, or some new science or history vocabulary. We don't spend a whole lot of time on this (maybe 10 minutes or so), but it goes a long way toward helping him be ready for the day's school assignments.
We like to spend at least 30 minutes in the morning playing our homemade review games. We have 4 different sets of cards right now including: Math, English, History, and Science. I add new cards to our sets each week as he is learning new things. This has been a super fun way for him to review old facts as well as for me to gently introduce new material. Sometimes we play a memory match style game, and sometimes we play Go Fish! Big Brother has retained information he is learning in school so much better since we have started our daily game time!! Little Brother usually sits at the table with us and either colors or eats snacks during game time.
By this time, Big Brother is ready to get started on his homeschool assignments for the day. Starting the day out right with good preparation, uplifting music, God's Word, prayer, and FUN really helps to set the stage for a great homeschool day at our house!
What do mornings look like at your house? How do you get your homeschool day off to a good start? I would love to hear your ideas! Please feel free to share a comment!
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