Happy Mama, Homeschooling, Routines

Back to School Tips for Homeschoolers

It’s almost time for Back to School!

OK, well, for homeschoolers that may or may not be true. Maybe you homeschool year round, or maybe you started school in July, or maybe you’re not starting back until September – you can do whatever you want! But we have chosen a traditional school year so we’re getting ready to start soon! These are some practical and fun things I’m planning for this school year.

Side note: As a fairly new homeschool mom, I sort of feel unqualified to offer “homeschool tips”. I’m still figuring some of this out! But I’m also a second generation homeschoolers and was homeschooled from kindergarten to twelfth grade, so I do have a little experience under my belt.

Create a Routine

Homeschooling offers lots of freedom and flexibility, and while we love that, it’s helpful to give your kids (“students”) an idea of what to expect from day to day. It doesn’t have to be a rigid schedule of time blocks (unless you want it to be), but a general idea of what is coming next is helpful. I’m planning another post on our family’s routine soon! Maybe take some time to explain the routine the night before, or on the first day of school and then implement it each day your first week to get everyone used to it.

Plan your Lunches

I don’t know about you, but lunchtime can be a little hectic and I can end up standing in front of the fridge just wondering what to feed everyone. You might consider it a perk of homeschooling that you don’t have to pack lunches every day, but planning ahead can create a peaceful mealtime with minimal interruptions to your school day. You can make this as simple or as involved as you want. You could prepare lunches the night before (Maybe even put it in lunch boxes for fun!) or just make a note of what you’re planning to eat. If you have older kids who can fix their own lunch you could put a “Menu” on the fridge of lunch options that are available. I recommend some Simple kid lunch ideas here  And don’t forget your own lunch! My favorite is to have a salad for lunch (which I eat with lots of dressing!) so I feel like I had something healthy and filling.

Give Yourself Quiet Time

As homeschool moms we are with our kids ALL the time – which is great! But it can also be exhausting. With little kids, nap time is a helpful time to take a breather and refocus for the rest of the day. But older kids (and moms of older kids) need rest and quiet too. So I recommend that you have a set “quiet time” every day. After lunch in the early afternoon seems to work well, but do what works best for your routine. Send everyone to their own space for rest or for reading, drawing, listening to music, even playing quietly. My younger kids still nap, but my oldest has time in her room and has a clock so she knows when it’s time for her to come out. I use that time for my own rest or reading.

Remember to keep it Fun!

There is plenty of work involved in schooling our kids, but I always consider that my biggest job is to help them develop a love for learning. I don’t want to just stuff them full of information and hope they remember it. I want them to discover how to learn for themselves and to dive into subjects that they are interested in. And I truly believe that when they think it’s fun to learn, they will learn more and learn well. Let your kids choose fun science projects, or make messy art. Read books with them about adventures and wonderful stories and about nature and the world around us. Math facts are important, but alongside those be sure to play games and sing songs and enjoy the journey.

 

We are looking forward to a fun year and I wish you the same!

 

Birmingham Moms Blog, Pregnancy, Routines, Simplify

SURVIVING THE FIRST TRIMESTER WITH OLDER CHILDREN – BMB POST

This is my latest post for Birmingham Moms Blog!

People always ask if my pregnancies have been similar or different (usually it’s a question of feeling different with different gender babies). But my first pregnancy is so much harder to compare with the others. Why? Because it was my first baby and I only had to worry about myself and the baby on the inside — not other littles that were running around outside my body!

If I was tired after working all day, I would tell my husband the dishes could wait in the sink while I lay on the couch. But with my second, third, and now fourth pregnancies, things have been very different. I still don’t have a lot of energy during the first trimester, but there are a lot of people counting on me and I have to keep things afloat a lot more than I did that first time.

So how do you survive the exhausting first trimester when you have other kids running around? These are just a few things I have found helpful.

Click here to read the rest of the post – – – – – – >

Routines, Simplify

ROUTINES TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE

Being a mom is filled with many tasks and to-dos. And in-between  the tasks there are a hundred things to be done that aren’t even on the list. “Mommy I need a bandaid”, “I’m hungry,” “Can you play a game with us?”. And because those are the things that are most important to me (and probably to you), it’s hard to feel like I accomplish anything most days.

Do you feel the same?

Oh good. I’m glad I’m not alone!

But I have finally figured out how to get done the things that really need to get done. And the secret is actually really simple.

Routines.

I know, you’ve probably heard it before, and I had too. But the key has really been creating simple (SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE) routines and following through with them every day with very few exceptions.

Here’s exactly how I have done that.

1 – I wrote a list of the things that really needed to be done. And some of them were the things I was really struggling with. And to start with I kept it to the most basic things. I felt like I could add more things later if I felt like I got these under control. For me they are: Get dressed every morning. Empty the dishwasher and wipe the counters and table after breakfast. Start a load of laundry in the morning and have it put away before bed. Have the floors cleaned up before bed.

2 – Decide when those tasks need to be done and assign them to one of two routines: Morning Routine and Evening Routine.

3 – Create the exact routine for Morning and Evening with the needed tasks and WRITE THEM DOWN and POST THEM. This is KEY! I simply wrote the routines on sticky notes. My morning routine is in two parts because I have one part of the routine straight from getting out of bed before I leave my room and one part in the kitchen during and after breakfast. So I have a sticky note on my bathroom mirror that says: Put on clothes, Wash Face, tinted moisturizer. Then one in the kitchen says Empty and Load Dishwasher, Wipe counters and table, start laundry. Next to the Morning Routine is my evening routine. It says Load and Start Dishwasher, Clean off counters and table and wipe off, Make Coffee, Fold and Put away Laundry, Lay out clothes for tomorrow.

 

That’s it. As long as I do those things the house doesn’t get crazy or overwhelming. And it was a lot of work to do all of those things at first, but with the help of the reminders and seeing what a difference it made they are now second nature. They have become a habit!