We are three weeks in to our new school year. I think I FINALLY have all the kids correct curriculum (missed a few things I when I ordered it this summer) and their books organized in a way that works for them, me, and their tutors at the tutorial.
I’ve done things a little differently this year, and SO FAR, it has helped our days to run more smoothly.
First of all, I’ve committed to waking up before the kids every day. I’ve tried this in the past, but truthfully, what I did was sleep in as late as possible on “school at the building days” resulting in a rushed and flustered Momma trying to hustle the kids out the door in the morning. Resulting in crabby and late kids and Momma. On school at home days, I would just sleep till the first kid woke me and let the kiddos sleep in till they woke, with the aim of starting school right after breakfast.
I’ll be honest. It didn’t work great for us.
For many reasons.
This year I have finally resigned myself to the fact that morning person or not, I gotta set that alarm get up shower, make my coffee, prep breakfast, etc BEFORE my lil morning glory wakes. I also wake my not so morning glory kids up (EVEN ON SCHOOL AT HOME DAYS) and we start school at the same time every day. 3 weeks in, I still hate waking up early, but I can honestly attest to the fact that it makes a MUCH smoother day for all of us.
Another HUGE, HUGE change for us, was coming up with a visual aid to hold us accountable to our school work. At a meeting this summer with some other moms from our tutorial, I heard someone mention something about clothespins. I was intrigued. I googled it and found a lot of people use clothespins to keep their kids on tasks with their chores. You write all the chores your child has to do on individual clothespins , hang them on a door hanger or something, and as they complete them, they move them to the other side.
My husband made a little board for each kid. I wrote their names on the top and he hung hooks above our dry erase board in our school area. I made clothes pins for EVERY subject I wanted them to do. This was huge for us too, b/c our tutorial doesn’t cover all the subjects and I found myself having a hard time staying on top of the ones not covered at the building… especially on “at the building days” I also added those extra stuff I wanted them to do each day like catechism, piano, and for my oldest Spanish. On at the building days, I move to the left every thing they covered at the tutorial. For the girls this leaves them with just catechism and piano on the right side of their board on Mon and Wed. For my 3rd grader he is left with spelling, handwriting, Spanish, piano, and catechism still hanging on the left side of the board when he comes home on Mon and Wed. They know that they have to finish all their school work EACH day. When they come home from school, they can’t play with the neighbor till all the clips are moved. They also can’t watch TV. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, they can easily monitor through out the day, how much work they have left. And they get that joy of checking things off of a list. It is a MUCH needed visual reminder for all of us throughout the day of what has been done and what is left to do. And it is great accountability for me to keep us doing all the things I want to do, but tend to let slide as most good intentions often do.
One other little thing that seems to be working for us. One of the clothes pins is book bag. School is not done until their books are put back in their bags and INTO the van on Tuesday and Friday (Thursdays they just have to pack them up). This has really helped us on Mon and Wed mornings as our book bags are already packed and in the van when we wake up! AND our house stays tidy b/c they are putting away all of their school stuff at the end of the day.
I am really optimistic about these new things that seem to be helping things run more smoothly. Our days aren’t perfect. We have messes. We write on the wall. We clog our septic line and have sewage back up into our basement (yes, that was our little “fun” adventure on Mon). But, things are rolling along.