A Foolproof {Catholic} Homeschool Day

When we first moved to Pennsylvania, I had the opportunity to attend a local homeschool “Mom’s Day Out.” One of the speakers was Mrs. Mary Ellen Barrett, who blogs over at Tales from the Bonny Blue House, which gave us this lovely list of how to survive your homeschool day.  Since she shared it with us moms, I have called it the foolproof plan for our {Catholic} Homeschool day! Seriously, I’ve have had a chance to institute it with my lovely {but very headstrong} five little blessings and guess what?  IT WORKS!  And since it works {and I struggled so long to find something like this} I had to share it.  So here it goes; of course, some days this plan won’t work because illnesses happen, babies are born, etc., etc., but under somewhat normal conditions, this plan really does work:

1. ​Wake up before your children. Seriously, try this!  Wake up about an hour before them.  Get dressed and looked polished {you don’t want your children’s childhood memories be of mom in sweats and a dingy shirt}. Also, waking early makes it so that you are more tired at night and get a better night’s sleep.  This promotes going to bed earlier for those like me who are night owls. This also gives you time to drink your coffee or tea in silence, get some prayer time in, and also gives you time to plan the day ahead even possibly gathering school supplies.  This is also a great time to get some exercise in. Also, a good time to plan out your meals for the day, take meats out to thaw, etc.

2. All school work planned out ahead of time. Planning out your child’s school work ahead of time has numerous benefits.  Create a checklist or lesson plans for each child as far ahead as possible.  I like to do one quarter at a time.  So at the end of summer, I plan out the first Quarter.  Before the first quarter is over I plan out the second quarter, etc.  This has been a wonderful thing especially when I have some children needing me more because of illness or having to go to an appointment, etc., the work is ready to go without having them wait on me.  I also recommend, if you can purchase already made lesson plans, even if it is just a shell of what you want to do; this has really helped me! In addition, on a weekly basis, take some time out like on Sunday evenings to look ahead of what the children will be working on ahead of time.

3. Stay focused, curriculum-wise. Grrr….I was so unfocused when I first started and I made the mistake of asking too many people’s opinions and surfing too many blogs, my head was spinning!  First and foremost know what your teaching style is and what your children’s learning styles are ahead of looking for curriculum.  For the beginning years I am a firm believer that all moms should try to just buy a boxed program and work you way out of it {unless you just totally love it}. Then starts switching things out as you need.  Then find the curriculum that works best for your children and then STICK WITH IT!  Stay focused! This, of course, does not mean you should keep a book that you and your child hate, oh goodness, no.  But truly try to quickly find the right program and stay with it.  Keep it simple, do not overdo it! Pick something that keeps you and your children calm and focused.

4. Keep an orderly home. I know, it is not the easiest thing to do but here is my secret:  Simplify! Clutter overruns our homes anymore, society keeps telling us we need more and more but we do not.  Do not fall for this trap.  What we need is a clean orderly home that is inviting and warm.  Once you have simplified, make sure you have a system in place.  Clean a different room each day of the week.  Plan it all out and have the children involved in this it helps you and it teaches them to be orderly.  So remember, downsize on everything: books, TOYS!, and yes, even clothing!  “Less is better!” is my new motto!  {Lent is the perfect time to do this too!}

5. Enjoy your time with the children. This I have to have tattooed to my forehead as I am a worry wart and tend to not enjoy the moment.  So if you are like me: STOP! (and if you know me IRL, tell me to stop).  Instill discipline with firmness but with love.  Enjoy the time you have with your children being able to be home and all, not many mothers are able to do this so enjoy it! Remember to smile at them, encourage their hard work and hug them often.  After all, a happy and loving attitude towards them will make every school day flow more smoothly!

6. Avoid all electronic distractions. Yep, this means all phones, Facebook, Pinterest, blogs, television, Facebook {ha! ha! You know who you are, and we are probably friends on FB}.  I have a love-hate relationship with the darn thing {FB}…loving my Lenten break from it though.  It helped me realize that I had my tablet attached to an umbilical cord and felt the need to post everything going on at home, seriously: WHY?  After my initial shock that I actually allowed this to chain me to it, I deleted the app off my tablet and I am FREE!  I may or may not return but just the realization that the darn thing had such a grip on me scared me because I don’t get attached to things so easily.  Anyway, any electronic distraction is not good in your home or homeschool.  Ditch it! Or minimize it.  As a friend said to me, “it should be our tool, it should not use us as tools.”

7. Create a set routine. Not a minute by minute…that would drive you and me nuts, right? Well some of you like that, I don’t! But I do like to have a shell of my routine.  I would recommend you have things you do in the morning, afternoons, and night.  This way children know what is somewhat expected of them. Establish clean up times, and also quiet times on a daily basis. This will give your children meaningful work to do and an expectation of when it should be done.

8. Consult with your husband.  Even if he is not the asking type and trusts you in all you do, tell him the plans.  Get his input, get him involved in some of the aspects of the homeschool curriculum and routine.  You do want to keep the “principal” as we call my husband, happy. What are somethings that are important to him?  Make sure you involve him in the disciplining of the children, actually, he should be the lead in this if at all possible.  If it is not happening, pray and fast about it and talk to him about it. I have seen many homes were dad takes the backseat on this and the outcomes are not great.  He is the head of the home, you are the heart.  Men also see things from a different light and will help us in our homeschooling journey so involved dad as much as possible.  If you have boys, it is important that they help dad with physical work around the yard and house.

9. Be disciplined about your tasks. Do not stress yourself out but if you have a list of three important tasks you want accomplished for the day, stay focused on those.  This does not include what we said above these are others tasks that will help you get things done throughout the day.  This kinda goes back to #6 above but stay focused so check email, and read blogs before school begins.  Then avoid getting back online until all of your schoolwork is done.  Be disciplined about this and your day will be lovely.  For me, when we get to finish all or most of our school day BEFORE lunch it is a sweet victory and buys us a trip to the park, weather permitting!

10. Pray all the time.  Pray before the children wake.  Pray throughout the day with the children.  Do the Morning Offering with them, perhaps when you sit to have breakfast. At Noon, before or after lunch is a great time for the Angelus or to pray the Rosary…or other times in the liturgical year, to say the Stations of the Cross.  Whatever you do or do not do, make sure you always pray with your children on a daily basis.  Let them see you praying quietly alone, after or before Mass.  Go to daily Mass or/and Adoration.  A great priest once suggested that I start my day praying for each one of them by going child by child and asking their guardian angel for help and guidance through the day. Pray with them, for them, and ask them to pray for you.

So there you have it a little list of how to foolproof you {Catholic} Homeschool Day!

Fool Proof plan


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