The Key to a Productive a.m.

JMJ 46  *How funny that so much learning actually takes place outside the home, through errands, field trips, workshops,  park days, yet it is called homeschooling.  It is more like “not-at-homeschooling” many times!

Ring the School Bell 46/180 Days

How many days do I actually stay home the entire homeschool day?  Not many.  But today, we miraculously did. And these are among my favorite and most productive days, as you kind of have to be home to get stuff done around the house! How funny that so much learning actually takes place outside the home, through errands, field trips, workshops,  park days, yet it is called homeschooling.  It is more like “not-at-homeschooling” many times!

I am, however, a proponent of an industrious a.m.  I seriously attempt to devote 4 mornings/week to homeschooling, without too many distractions.  I say, attempt, because with homeschooling you do need to be flexible. 

Things come up, like the series of unfortunate events on “day 3” of my school year,   (for a good laugh, check it out)

Most days, the kids can finish 90% of their work before lunchtime, and what great news for them.  The rest of the day, unlike me, they have time for hobbies, leisure, and outdoor fun, sprinkled with a few chores to help mom. (don’t forget to delegate) High school can be a bit different.  By then kind, I pretty much let the kids direct their own schedule as long as they get things done.  Let’s just say that I have learned to pick my fights.

Also, things get changed up when there is a sweet baby in the house, forcing the family to be much more flexible and work around the baby.  Making my bed was quite an accomplishment in those days!  Many a spelling list was practiced while preparing meals, and storybooks read while nursing the baby.  

Prepare your little “ducklings” for the next day so they know what to do.  Art by Sarah

Here’s what I do- A few ideas on how to be industrious in the mornings:

  1. Get a good night’s sleep.
  2. Do a quick sweep of the house, the night before. This is not a thorough cleaning.  Take toys and other objects and place them at the bedroom doorways of the offenders, who didn’t put their things away like they were supposed to. Make sure the kitchen table is cleared and clean, and the counters are cleaned off also. 
  3. Prepare the lesson plans the night before, or like me, several weeks ahead, in pencil, for easy changes. Planners, lists, or post-its with simple graphics for the little ones, are helpful.
  4. Get up on the early side, or if you need to sleep in, make sure your kids know what to do to get started.  The whole idea, is to get stuff done, you kind of need to be out of bed.
  5. I usually do 10 minutes of exercise on my stationary bike for energy instead of a cup of coffee.  My energy lasts longer and I don’t get the jittery effects of coffee.  
  6. Have a morning routine, with delegated responsibilities, like feeding the pets.
  7. Have a decent breakfast. Eat for energy. Teach your children know how to prepare something simple to start their day.  I don’t prepare breakfast, but I do prepare the other meals.
  8. Teach kids to be self-starters. Your kids and their professors will thank you later in college for this skill, which is lacking in many students today.
  9. Don’t check your email, blog posts, pinterest, etc., as they are time-suckers, as fun as it is to stay connected.  Reserve that for later.
  10. Don’t forget to reward yourself midway through the morning, or at intervals.  My reward is simple.  I sit down on the couch.  I don’t have to say a word.  In no time at all, I am cuddling with kids and pets.  Sit and they will come.  Another reward to myself, is to walk with my kids for 20 minutes or so.  I used to put the small ones in their stroller, so I could actually get exercise at the same time as enjoying the great outdoors.  Or just go outside in the backyard, sit on the swing and enjoy the hummingbirds.  The point is that everyone needs to re-energize at intervals throughout the day, for everyone’s well-being and good moods.  

What is your strategy for a productive morning?

Like I mentioned earlier, we stayed home today.  We accomplished a great amount of academics, plowing through such things as book reports, Rosetta Stone French, dividing decimals, and adding hours and minutes together, in Melissa’s math.  She had a hard time with this one, as I usually do when I am trying to fit in more minutes and hours to my own day!

Can you believe we are still patiently waiting for “jacket days” in Los Angeles?  Incredibly, summer weather lingers through November some years, with true fall weather beginning in December.  Sorry to complain again, but a touch of fall would be welcome right now. 

We registered for a campus visit to Pepperdine University today.  (look at yesterday’s post for our lovely visit to the Mount St. Mary’s Open House as well as a guide to college open houses) campus).

Finally, we sent out 13 party invitations for Melissa’s Mystery dinner party on November 16.  We do a birthday party every other year for our daughters.  She is so very looking forward to this, and insisted on a mystery dinner.  I have never hosted a mystery dinner party, and I have no idea how to go about it, so I am not going to think about that right now!

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette


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