Today's School Day

Today's school time could have gone more smoothly.

Ok, so I admit, today's school time could have gone more smoothly. Time to sit up and figure out what went wrong.

Here's some examples of what not to do when homeschooling, folks.

Sleep is not essential.

The kids (and their parents) have more trouble going to bed some nights than others. The day after a late night is never pretty. As for today, there was significant straggling last night an hour-and-a-half past bedtime.

Tired kids are less likely to take risks and instead of struggling through a challenging assignment, won't start it at all.

Tired kids are much more prone to breaking down and to starting arguments, usually over LEGO. Tired kids are less likely to take risks and instead of struggling through a challenging assignment, won't start it at all.

We'll just wing it.

A tired mother is a disorganized teacher; a disorganized classroom is chaotic. I usually prepare for the school day the night before or in the morning just before we begin. Most of the subjects require no preparation work besides becoming familiar with the day's material. Any worksheets and photocopies that are needed I prepare at two week intervals, so I usually have the current week's work and the following week's work at hand.

That's another post, though. Today we're talking about what not to do.

Also, the children like knowing exactly what they have to do. Without some kind of checklist I end up with "What should I do no000w?" every time someone finishes something.

We'll clean up later.

Our school space is in the family room. This usually works well since this is the room I wield the most control over in the entire house. We do the majority of our living in this room. Of course that means that sometimes there's several baskets of laundry waiting to be folded, blankets that should be on someone's bed or something, vacuuming that needs to be done, books that need to find their way back to a bookcase (or the library). Some disorder is fine, but too much is just plain distracting for everyone.

lapdesk We use lap desks like this one from Barnes & Noble.

Push on through the meltdowns and get stuff done.

At times when it seems like we are really not getting anywhere, we almost always take a break. Sometimes we take a short, dance break. Other times it's a longer break -- an hour playing outside. Today the children asked to have a quiet/nap time. That was about an hour and worked perfectly. They came downstairs refreshed and ready to work again.

We didn't complete a full day's worth of work. Sometimes we just don't. Remember your school days. Did you touch the bottom of the moon every single day? I expect not. And that is how it should be.

We didn't complete a full day's worth of work. Sometimes we just don't.