5 Tips to Start Your Homeschool Day
School days! Or lesson days as we call them. Preparing for them is such a key component to success! But when I say preparing, I’m not talking about prepping lessons, Printables, or art projects. I’m talking about the less tangible components that are not often highlighted. So today, I’m sharing a few ways we start our homeschool days that help make it more enjoyable and successful!
#1 Connection – This really begins the moment the kids are up and is a essential part of our day. Big hugs, warm eye contact (look at them like you’re so excited they’re here!), snuggles, and playfulness are all pretty fail proof for us! We also like to connect through read alouds, crafting, or drawing before we get to our daily lessons.
Connection creates a feeling of safety, and security. The part of the brain that’s responsible for emotions like these (the amygdala) reacts so aggressively to stress that it actually prevents new information from being stored in the brain and being turned into knowledge! It truly goes in one ear, and right out the other. Even seemingly small emotions like frustration, boredom, or feeling unsupported can create this response. Therefore, taking care of our emotional selves first is so crucial to a successful day!
# 2 Care of Self In this house we do big breakfasts! A stitch in time saves nine in this situation, and every time we skip it, I regret it because the kids want a snack mid work cycle! The brain will not allow energy to be diverted to academics when there are physical and emotional needs. As stated above, stressed brains aren’t able to form necessary neural connections. So our next step after connection is a large healthy breakfast to feed that growing body and keep blood sugar balanced. Yes, my kids love cereal too, but we save that for the weekends!
#3 Movement – This goes without saying, but humans NEED movement! It oxygenates the brain, gives sensory input, increases circulation, improves mental health and more. It doesn’t have to be structured though. Simple steps can be taken to invite movement into your environment. For us, this looks like having a yoga mat and cards, jump rope, speed ladder, exercise bands, and a billibo near by and within easy reach during our work cycle. We also go outside to feed animals, stretch, do jumping jacks, or a quick run around the house.
Each day looks a bit different. Some days one child may need more one on one than the others, I may have one really motivated kid that has been working since before breakfast, or a sleepy one that needs some extra time to get going. We go with the flow!
To signal the start of our lessons we gather together on the couch, around the table, or on the floor and we begin with tip number 4, which is…
#4 Breath work – We do breath work every day not only because it’s an important skill for life, but it’s also very much for me to get into the right head space. I need this time to center my self, and release any negativity, pressure, or tension. I leave out 5-6 of our 52 breath work cards and the kids each choose one. This give us 3 breath work exercises to practice each morning. I rotate them out once they have either been mastered or grown tired of.
#5 Gratitude and mindfulness – After a few minutes of breath work, we go around in a circle stating something we’re grateful for, or a good deed we either saw or did. This is one of my favorite practices and it often brings heart warming conversations. I’ve found giving my kids the choice between gratitude and a good deed really encourages participation. Immediately following, we have a moment of mindfulness to turn inward, say a prayer, clear our mind, and send love to the person who’s hand we’re holding.
Breaking off into work – When the kids were younger they loved for me to quietly tap their shoulder to signal it was their turn to choose a work, almost like “duck duck goose”. These days we tend to just begin. If I notice one of the kids struggling to get started, I’ll offer them a lesson.
The beautiful thing about these tips is that they can be woven in to your day as is. No overhaul of your daily to do’s, just pop these in as you see fit. Morning walks apart of your routine? Incorporate gratitude along the way! Snuggles on the couch while you drink your coffee? Introduce breath work!
Keeping consistent with routine doesn’t guarantee idyllic homeschool days every day, but these simple additions have anchored our days in so many positive ways, and turned challenges into growth. I hope they serve your family as well as they have ours!