When you were in school, did you ever play around all semester before attempting to cram all the information into your head the night before a test? I did! To be honest, it never worked.
Diligence and the Well-Run Homeschool
Sitting down and teaching the kids everyday is key to a well-run homeschool. Little ones learn phonics best when you sit down everyday for 10 minutes or so rather than a once a week cram session of 30 minutes. That is if you can even get your child to focus on phonics for 30 minutes!
Older children need time to internalize math concepts, to process history, and to memorize poetry. While we all need break days periodically, we also need to sit down and educate our children.
Tips for Diligence
Short and Sweet
Keep your homeschool plans as short and sweet as possible. Don’t plan to spend 10 hours a day, 6 days a week hitting the books. It’s a recipe for burn-out. Instead keep an eye towards why you’re homeschooling. Plan your homeschool with your goals in mind and remember, less is more.
It’s more because it’s better to keep to a school day you can consistently get done, rather than to attempting to create the perfect homeschool. You’ll burn out after 2 weeks.
Figure out what your minimum school day is and begin there. It’s easier to slowly add a subject or two into your week rather than desperately dropping subjects because you ran out of time.
Have a Start Time
For my family having a start time for the school day is essential. It’s a time that lets us know we need to put away the toys and games. It’s time to pull out math and start our schoolwork for the day.
The start time doesn’t matter as much as knowing that it’s okay to spend an hour chatting with a friend on the phone at 8am. However at 9am it’s time to hang up and get to work.
Don’t worry about the specific start time. Start at 7am, 9am, 1pm, or even at 7pm in the evening. It’s all good! Plan around your family’s natural rhythms, but do have a time each day for homeschooling.
Have a Plan
Know what you’re going to do before it’s time to sit down and teach your children. This doesn’t mean you need to create elaborate lesson plans. It could simply mean knowing that today you’ll touch on history, science, and the read aloud before teaching math, phonics, and handwriting.
It could also mean knowing that when the kids wake up feeling poorly and coughing, you’ll pull out the science DVDs for the kids to enjoy Bill Nye instead of struggling through a regularly school day.
The point is to have a plan in place so you’re not just flying by the seat of your pants. Most of the time when you fly by the seat of your pants, something gets forgotten. Sometimes it’s science, spelling, or geography. Other times it’s math facts or art.
Have a plan in place before you begin the homeschool day.
Have a Spot
Where are you going to do your schoolwork? Some of the biggest arguments that have happened in my house have been over where kids will work. They’re competing for the dining room table because the kitchen table is covered with paper. They both want to sit next to the stove so they can make tea to drink during school.
It doesn’t really matter, what’s important is to know where you’ll sit down to work and have the area prepped ahead of time. Put out pencils, crayons, and pencil sharpeners. Have the table cleared and ready for kids to sit down and work.
One of the biggest issues getting schoolwork done is not being prepared for the school day. I detest those days I’m rushing around and trying to print papers. Realizing I’m out of ink just compounds the issues.
Personally I prepare for the school year by printing most of the papers I need. It doesn’t change the need for me to sit down for an hour or so on Friday to read through the lessons for the next week, sort the papers, and plan the school days.
Starting the week prepared makes a huge difference in the quality of our school week.
Diligence in the well-run homeschool means sitting down and actually homeschooling our children. In order to do so, spend a few minutes prepping the homeschool ahead of time, even if it’s only the night before.
Read more in the 31 Days to a Well-Run Homeschool series!