You’re just about to call the kids to start school when your phone emits that distinctive ding. It’s the siren song of a Facebook notification beckoning you to see who liked or commented. Laughter and giggles from the next room tell you that the kids are happily playing. They’ll be fine. Surely you can put off starting school for a few minutes for a quick scroll to check up on family and friends
Then, there’s a buzz. Your sister’s name pops up on your phone screen. Maybe just a few more minutes.
Consistency is the most crucial factor in homeschooling success, but it’s so hard to maintain. After years of experimentation, I’ve discovered five tricks that are essential for a consistent homeschool.
Set Regular School Hours
What are your homeschooling hours? Don’t have any? One trick for establishing consistency is setting regular hours for homeschooling.
That doesn’t mean that you need to be homeschooling from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every single day. Your homeschool hours may be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. when Dad is home to join in the fun. Homeschooling in the afternoon works well for other families. Instead of quiet time after lunch, maybe that’s when your family schools.
The hours you choose don’t matter; the key is setting a regular time for school. Regular school hours keep us on track and help combat the urge to postpone school.
Some days I keep telling myself we’ll read later. We’ll complete math after lunch. Science can happen this afternoon. But you know what happens when you postpone everything? It never gets done.
So set regular school hours and stick to them. You’ll stop procrastination in its tracks!
Know What You’re Going to Do Before You Start
Nothing is worse than sitting down with the kids and wondering what you should do today. Should your kids read a book? Perhaps it’s a good time for memory work.
Sometimes winging it works in a pinch, but rarely does it work long-term. You forget to do map work. You skip the science experiment.
Each weekend I spend a few minutes creating a list of tasks I’d like to accomplish in my homeschool in the upcoming week. A little time on the weekend saves us hours of frustration during the week. I can see at a glance what we need to do.
And the kids know I won’t suddenly come up with another three activities we must do after they thought the school day was over.
You don’t need to plan the entire week if it’s not your style. Try making a list of activities for the next day as you’re wrapping up the current homeschool day. The system isn’t important, but the plan is.
Get into the habit of writing down your plans, so you know what you need to do when it’s time to homeschool.
Plan for Interruptions
I wish I could say otherwise, but interruptions are a fact of life. Children squabble. The phone rings or a salesman knocks on the door. The toddler has a blow-out diaper.
Interruptions derail your homeschool. The secret to dealing with those inevitable interruptions is to plan for them. How are you going to deal with bickering siblings or the salesman at the door?
Consider allowing the phone calls to go to voicemail and have a set time for responding later in the day. Keep diaper-changing supplies in the schoolroom.
Knowing how you’ll respond to schoolday interruptions is a lifesaver. A plan allows you to be proactive instead of reactive.
Mix in Some Fun
Homeschooling can get monotonous if you keep the same routine day in and day out. When your homeschool feels boring, it becomes increasingly tempting to skip a day here or there. And the next thing you know you’ve lost your homeschooling consistency.
It’s vital to include fun in your homeschool routine. Why not head to the swimming pool or park once a week after the schoolwork is complete? Plan a playdate with friends for the weekend or add a fun science project to next week’s lesson plans.
When we discussed germs as part of my kids’ science lesson, I poured glitter on their hands. Glitter is just like germs; it sticks to anything you touch! We soon had shimmering floors. My kids had sparkly arms. So did the chairs! The children quickly figured out that washing their hands got rid of the glitter just like it gets rid of germs.
We had a blast! Until I had to clean up all that glitter. Despite the cleanup, a bit of fun in our science lesson helped keep our school day fresh and exciting.
So plan fun into your school day.
Keep Your Homeschool Streamlined
Keep your homeschool to a minimum. You may even consider minimalist homeschooling. Don’t keep adding and adding to the lesson plans. When you do that, you end up with a school day that never ends. It takes forever to complete!
It’s much easier to be consistent with a streamlined school day. After all, it’s easy to make time for 15 minutes of reading and finish the homeschool day. It’s doable when you know that school is over after you’ve completed a phonics lesson, math lesson, and a writing assignment. Yay! I can do that.
But what about a day that includes writing, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, Latin, logic, music, art, history, science, and geography? If you’re spending 30 minutes on each subject, the day will never end! Especially when the kids start fussing, whining, and complaining.
Keep your day streamlined so you can finish it in a reasonable amount of time. Kids need time for a social life and hobbies. So do you!https://www.weirdunsocializedhomeschoolers.com/making-homeschool-happen-on-busy-days/
Maintaining consistency in your homeschool isn’t difficult when you have a strategy, keep your day reasonable in length, and plan for interruptions. And most of all, add in some fun to keep your homeschool hours fresh and exciting.
Have you discovered tips that make it easier to maintain consistency in your homeschool? We’d love to hear them!