5 Simple Tweaks for an Easy Homeschool Day

 Summer is officially gone as leaves drop like confetti while farms burst with plump, orange pumpkins.  This also means school is in full swing and the excitement of new pencils, binders, and folders are slowly fading away.   How are the homeschool days going for you?   Is the excitement of new material starting to fade away as well?  
Maybe you'd like to enjoy this beautiful fall weather but the time quickly slips away?
Maybe you are seeking some small tweaks to make it a simple, stress-free day?!!
If so, you've come to the right place, so stay with me, sister!
One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is the preparation stage.  I love to plan, organize, and create checklists.  Years ago, I became a little overzealous with our schedule and lost focus on priorities. Thanks to trial and error though, I finally designed a system with a more realistic and simplistic approach.
I'd like to share with you some awesome, yet simple tricks to make your tomorrow an easy homeschool day.  These tips are for those who already have a timeline but needs a few changes.  
If you are starting fresh, see this post on how to create a daily plan using a minimalistic method.  You'll want to set aside 20 minutes sometime today and grab a pencil and paper.  Better yet, if you are techy like me, type it up in Google Sheets.
Let's review some areas that cause some twitchin' and need a little tweakin'!
 1.  His Perfect Plan - Begin with Prayer
 Always plan prayer into your homeschool.  This is a great reminder of who's in charge.  It's not me, it's our Creator.  He is awesome and powerful, He alone can restore sanity.  Prayer brings peace. Prayer brings a perfect plan for your family.
  2.  Table Time - Family Focus on God
  Add the most important subjects in the beginning of your mornings.  For our family, coming together to the table and spending time with God is our first priority. This means prayer, bible, and scripture memorization is #1 on the list.  Then, music is next as we want our children to learn how to play spiritual songs and hymns before the Lord.
Over a year ago, I planned music in the afternoons and noticed the kids were only practicing twice a week.  We may have had unexpected guests, a quick trip to the store, or several distractions to push us off the track.  
Once I scheduled music to mornings, it made a huge difference in the results of their lessons.  This is the first year I noticed my oldest daughter actually sitting down to play for fun!  Afternoons can bring distractions and activities you may not expect.
Next, the 3 R's (Reading, WRiting, and 'Rithmetic) are scheduled in succession.   We use Ambleside for our core curriculum and writing lessons are provided online by schoolteachers.com. We absolutely love it and click on my link here to get started!  It has over 300 courses, tons of bonuses (check out the harvest bundle) and I've even taken a tech course on Podcasting.  For Math, we use Saxon textbooks (after coming off of Teaching Textbooks for 3 years).
3.  Loop Scheduling - No Subject Left Behind
 The other subjects can go into a rotation.  If you have never heard of loop scheduling, here's an example.  Let's say you promised a playdate on Tuesday afternoon and didn't get to geography in Rotation #2.   With loop scheduling, you can be assured it will be worked on tomorrow.  To read more about loop scheduling, please see my post here.  It's great for subjects that tend to get missed during busy times. 

4.  Quality Time, not Quantity

Consider reducing the times slotted for each subject. The Charlotte Mason Method is a huge proponent of keeping lessons short. Studies suggest the average healthy adult has the attention span of 20 minutes.  With children, their attention is even shorter! Keep your lessons to 20 minutes or less.  Set the timer on your smartphone to help your students focus and keep YOU accountable to the time limit.  Siri would be happy to help you with this! All you have to say is "Set timer for 20 minutes" and she/he will do that for you!  I use Siri several times throughout the day. Here is a list of popular commands.  If you are an android user, here is an article on how to use Google.

 5.  Use Technology as your Teacher's Aide

Technology can be a great asset for education, especially for larger families with different grade levels.  As alluded to above, download some educational tools available on your tablet, smartphone, and laptop.   While teaching one child, another can be memorizing a multiplication song from YouTube. You can also use YouTube to find educational videos related to their current studies.  It takes a little time of forward-thinking to avoid any significant disruptions.
I hope you will consider these 5 simple tweaks for an easy homeschool day.   I've learned these tips the hard way or through extensive research and want to pass it on to you!  If I can help one person to avoid wasting time, I've done my job!

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