The following is a guest post by Anne Fischer.
“Mom, what do we have left?”
“Are we done yet?”
“Do we have to do spelling today?”
Field any of these questions before?
Creating a relaxed and flexible homeschooled atmosphere while allowing a child to have a sense of security and predictability about the day is a balance to achieve. Most days my little guy can handle a change with ease. But on occasion my lack of organization, or factors out of my control, bring him to a point of frustration.
If you have ever found yourself in the same situation, here are a few ideas to help your homeschool routine stay on track.
1. Know what your day looks like before you start.
This is common sense, I know, but if you are anything like me there are days you are more prepared than others. Having a system is helpful. Preparing and gathering materials, organizing worksheets, photocopying and making sure books are in order streamlines the day.
I keep five folders labeled Monday through Friday–so if I need to prepare anything in advance it will be ready to go for the week. I usually take time on Tuesdays to fill folders with materials through the following Tuesday. That way my schedule is set for the following Monday and my weekends stay more relaxed.
My son always knows where to go to find his math warm ups or various activities if I’m not immediately available. No worries if you don’t get to everything in the folder. It’s just a tool to give you and your child goals and organization for your week.
2. Create a visual for your child.
Create a visual of the agenda for your child’s day. We use a set of magnets that I made. (Simply put adhesive labels over old flat magnets, label and cut to size.)
We put them on the file cabinet in the school room with two sides: “Done” and “To Do.” When we complete a task, we move it over. I let my guy tell me what he wants to tackle next on the “to do” side.
The satisfaction that comes from moving a magnet to the “done” side is well worth the effort to make this system. You will have a visual assessment for the two of you at the end of the day. You’ll know what has been accomplished and if needed, what should be moved to tomorrow.
3. Keep it positive.
Don’t we all love a little pat on the back after a long day? Reward that hard work after a job well done!
We have a variety of ways to keep it positive. We hang pieces of work we’re especially proud of on a clothesline with colorful mini-clothes pins in the schoolroom to show off to any “visitors” (Often Daddy after work or neighbor kids who wonder what those homeschoolers really do during the day.).
My son also earns “Super Student Awards” and works toward field trips or a special night with Mom or Dad.
If you find your kiddos need a bit more focus for their days, try a few of these tricks. Soon you’ll find yourself feeling more content with the rhythm of your homeschooling day.
What “tools” do you have that help stay on track?