Monday, August 26, 2013

Back To School Rules

Starting fresh is easy. Following through and persevering when it is tough is the key to success. I have great plans for this year, plans to persevere. That will be the key to getting through this year. We always start out strong and by Christmas break we are burnt out. After New Year's we are in a rut and barely get ourselves out by Easter and trudge along until we can't anymore sometime in mid-May. Not this year, if I can help it.

In order to succeed this year, I have planned to follow a few simple rules.

  1. Pray first, pray last and pray in between. I don't know about your family, but if we don't make the effort to pray before we all start school and then again after, things go awry. Sometimes one kid does math before breakfast and then another is in the middle of a lesson after breakfast and then the we all get working and don't stop to pray. It happens, but I need to make more of an effort to direct our efforts to God and to teach the children that what they do matters to God. I can't guide them if I am not always guiding them in His direction. I would fall short. Oh wait, that's why this is now a rule.
  2. Don't sweat the small stuff. This is a biggy for me. I let small stuff hijack my day. You know the bad phone call, wet panties, cat barf, spilled milk and such atrocities that happen. Somehow if I don't keep my cool, the day ends up a mess and no school gets done.
  3. Pace myself. Sometimes I want the kids to stick to the plans so badly that I forget about their needs. If we get behind, we quickly fall into despair and despair leads no where except to feeling like failures. I need to let my kids learn at their pace, within reason of course. Laziness doesn't count.
  4. Do snack-time. We generally just eat three meals per day, but that doesn't help curb low blood sugar and mid morning jitters. A mid morning fruit snack, a few nuts or a piece of cheese usually does the trick. The kids forget about what just frustrated them and the little guys are preoccupied with something other than destroying the house.
  5. Speak slowly and calmly even when no one else is. Ouch, I didn't do well on that one today. If I can stay calm when everyone is demanding my attention at once, the spark doesn't have a chance to develop into a major fire storm. Teaching the children to take turns and when they must interrupt and when not to belongs in here, too.
  6. Put school first. The bills can wait until after school and so can organizing the pantry or cleaning the bathroom. I feel better when and less guilty when the kids come first. 
  7. Get enough sleep, exercise and down-time, especially on weekends. The battery needs to regenerate and not run full speed ahead 24/7. Daily exercise is a must and so is remembering to take my vitamins. A healthy mom is a calmer and more collected mom. Failing to follow this rule always leads to a crash and burn, a two week bug that you can't knock off or something really annoying like shingles.
  8. Remember that I am not perfect! I won't always remember to follow the rules. I will fall off of the horse. I will lose my patience and forget snack time, but I must always forgive myself for these things. Home schooling is not easy and neither is being a mom of a wide range of children of varying needs. 
  9. Start the day with a tidy house and meals planned. I don't mean a spotless, but rather a tidy house. It is easier to learn if the space is not a mess and the dishes aren't piled up. Make sure the chores are done in a timely manner and everyone is helping to the best of their ability. Also having meals prepped is imperative to our home school's success. We turn into bears when we are hungry. Knowing that meals are prepped and only take minutes to assemble or finish or cook is so important. Everyone wants to have down time and no one including me wants to cook while trying to jostle a tired and fussy baby. Living grain free comes with challenges and meals are a challenge without a plan.
  10. Enjoy the learning experience. This is the reason that we home school. Filling in workbooks and checking off lists of things to do is not the focus of our home school. We don't school at home, we home school and enjoy learning together and being together. I need to rejoice in the little learning experiences as well as the little things.
"And in doing good, let us not fail. For in due time we shall reap, not failing". ~ Galations 6:9

Do you home school? Do you have a motto or rules for success? I am interested in learning what you do. 

On another note, I thought you might like to see some photos of our first day of school. We have a dedicated space for school in our basement this year. It is a small space, but it works for us so far. Everything is handy and accessible, except for the things that little guys shouldn't get into without supervision. Those things are stored up really high. Free access to glue and scissors is not permissible in this little house of mine.

 This is two oldest working on their IEW writing course. They were watching the video together. Luckily, they don't do all of their work in such tight quarters.

Here is Owen learning how to type using home row. He is having a few difficulties not peeking at his fingers, but that will get better in time.

Here is Maria reading out loud to me while I play cars with the baby. This book is really good. I didn't want her to stop reading, but she had to move on to her next exercise.

Here is Owen listening to his religion course online. I am really liking the Faith and Life online classes for a change. There are little video excerpts from the "Footprints of God Series" and lovely music interludes.

This is behind the school table. Hubby has plans for painting the school room in a lighter brighter color. There are perks of being married to a painter.

This is the opposite side of the room. This is the computer work station. The back to back desks are working really well so far.

This is my basket full of teacher's manuals, books that we are reading and everything that I need at my fingertips. There is another basket beside it filled with library books and another basket on the other side of the room in the corner. We have books everywhere. I am in my element here for sure. 

Well, that was our first day with hopes for the rest of the year. I hope that you come back often. We have lots of plans. Tomorrow we are making egg pudding just like the pioneers. Later this year, we will be dissecting an owl pellet and spinning yarn. 

God Bless, friends and thanks for stopping by.
Holly Hobbie - friends


  1. Tina,

    I really like your rules especially pray as a family before the day starts, have snacks and enjoy homeschooling! Oh yes, also remember we're not perfect. We try to do all these too.

    I love the Elvis quilt in one of your photos. Are you an Elvis fan?

    I hope you have a happy school year.

    1. Sue, hubby is a huge Elvis fan. This is the first quilt that I made for him. He picked out the materials and I pieced it and quilted it for him. I love how it turned out. We found some more Elvis material on our last trip to the fabric store, so there will be more Elvis in the future.

  2. Love the rules, these are excellent! Many blessings to your new school year!


Thank you for taking the time to comment. May God bless you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...