As my husband always tells me, people fall into two basic categories: The chipper happy morning people (me) and those who would rather stay in bed for another hour (him). These categories are not limited to adults; children feel the same way. Some children pop out of bed and know what they need to do while other children drag their body out of bed and onto a couch, chair, etc continuing to grab every extra minute the can get. Not every family will do all of these; however, it is my hope that you can incorporate one or two of these into your daily routine.
As we all know some days can be more challenging than others; having a set routine can help start the homeschooling day! Here is a short list of ideas; take one or two of them and make them part of your daily routine!
“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.” (Adelle Davis)
This quote has been backed by scientific research that breakfast being your biggest meal and keeping the calories down at night is the key to combating obesity. However, the reality of this saying doesn’t always happen. If you are like me, an email, a Facebook notification, a phone call distracts me from sitting down to a well-balanced breakfast. I am not as bad as the Gilmore Girls with their pop-tart breakfast addition; however, unless my husband stops me to eat, I might not reach the kitchen until 10 am. Having a daily solid breakfast, as a family, is the perfect solution. It can be as simple as cereal or something a bit more substantial as a hot meal. You can recruit a child to be your “breakfast making buddy” and rotate this job through your children weekly. Not only will your children get a great start to their day, but they will also pick up some cooking skills.
Before my homeschooling life, before my daughter was born, I was a public-school teacher. Every morning for the eight years I taught in a brick and mortar school, my class began the same way, with a morning meeting. The concept of a morning meeting is for everyone to check in. It is a fantastic way to get everyone on the same page before starting our way too busy, well planned out day. Having this meeting during breakfast is a fabulous way not to add something else to your day.
Obviously, based on the ages of your children the meeting will look differently and for some of you it might be a combination of all of this!
With teens, it might mean going over classes they are taking outside of the home, touching base with what they are studying/learning and making sure they are on track and don’t have any questions or need extra help.
For elementary kids, it might be going over what is coming up in the next day or two (extra-curricular activities, field trips, playdates, errands that need to be accomplished). You might also incorporate reading a book together and or for the child to present a picture they drew or something they wrote/journaled about. For our preschoolers, it might include the letter of the week, calendar skills, song to sing etc.
A morning meeting provides a gentle, predictable routine to start your homeschooling day.
Some kids wake up with energy that you need to harness. Others roll out of bed feeling sluggish and need something to get their energy flowing. For either type of kid (or adult), starting the day with morning exercise is a great idea! Taking even 15-20 minutes to exercise each morning can be the perfect way to get everyone ready to start school with focus. Not only can you count this as “Physical Education” but it can be a tremendous bonding time!
As a family, jump on the trampoline, do a short yoga video, take the dog for a walk… it doesn’t matter what you do … just do it together and daily.
Many families like to begin the day with music. Together as a family, with the youngest and oldest children present, you can study a composer.
Another option utilizing music is songs that help memorize facts such as states/capitals, math facts etc.
Some families like to begin the day with educational video as a low-key option for everyone to finish waking up so they can tackle the rest of their school day. One great options is CNN10. http://edition.cnn.com/cnn10 This ten-minute news show explains headlines in a short, brief, easy to understand format.
In addition, you can find almost anything on YouTube. Find an educational, short video about a topic your children are studying. This is a great thing for your children to do as you are making a healthy, well balanced breakfast.
Many parents think that once their child begins reading on their own, they do not need to read to them any longer. Nothing can be further from the truth! You just need to change what you are reading. Always try to read one level above their reading level.
Reading out loud develops listening skills. Not only does read aloud develop listening skills, but it creates a family bond across the ages. All of your children are listening to their favorite book.
And best of all, this can be done during breakfast!
Discovering a routine that works for your family is an amazing discovery! It doesn’t have to be a huge production. Sometimes it takes a simple activity that signals to everyone its time to start a school day.
Eva Goldstein-Meola, is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium. In addition to teaching, Eva enjoys cooking, baking, playing Settlers of Catan, traveling with her husband Jonathan, Broadway Musicals and reading. Eva teaches a variety of literature and IEW writing courses for Open Tent Academy.