We know how it goes, the holidays hit and everyone is slammed. From November to December (and during the summer), school routines are interrupted, kids get out of the habit and then struggle when it's time to get back to work. Here are our best tips to get things going again with a solid homeschool routine:
1. Start gently.
We all know how difficult a shock to the system can be - and that's exactly what you and your kids are getting when you start with a full schedule right after the holidays. Ease into it, do a couple subjects the first day, some projects, and after the first week or so, you'll be ready for a full load again.
2. Get to bed early.
Obvious right? But those last few days before you start school again should be spent cycling your sleep rhythms back around to whatever your normal schedule is. Late nights during the holidays breed late mornings - for some this is fine, but for many kids this has them waking up past their prime learning time and causes more struggle (and gray hairs).
3. Start something new.
Often, restarting the "same old subjects" after a holiday is difficult. You know what to expect, the kids know what to expect...what if you spent a little time surfing Pinterest or something of the sort, and found a new way to approach a familiar subject? You know you're spending time there anyway, why not put an idea to use? Pick something from the most difficult/boring/annoying/pick your adjective of subjects, it'll help ease into the new year.
4. Put on classical music.
I know, people these days don't listen to classical. But from a brain chemistry standpoint, multiple studies have shown that it's good for the brain. Classical music has an effect on how people feel. If you put on calming classical music, or happy classical music, you'll probably have fewer fights with and between your kids. When I'm writing or doing something that requires mental acuity, classical is what I gravitate towards, Bach and Mozart in particular. Don't misunderstand, I love modern music, and I've been known to listen to some pretty aggressive stuff (Rob Zombie anyone?), but the words get in my way. They distract me from my work. Cleaning the house, now that's another story... I need a distraction in order to keep going without thinking about the work.
[tweetthis]Restarting the "same old subjects" after time off is difficult. [/tweetthis]
5. Have breakfast ready (or at least available).
No, you don't have to be "Susie Homemaker" to make this happen, I'm certainly not! But there's no doubt that breakfast helps get a day started off on the right foot. I love to cook, yes, I make our bread from scratch using a sourdough starter that I have to feed just like any pet, but half the time our home looks like an education bomb went off. The balance from science with an assortment of weights scattered, Latin books lying around, open books here and there... you get the picture.You can do a number of things that are easy, quick and even make ahead.
- Try cutting up fruit the night before and having it ready in individual-sized servings that can be grabbed and munched on while waking up.
- We start steel cut oats in the crockpot the night before.
- Make a whole bunch of breakfast burritos and freeze them.
Truth be told, my boys learned how to make their own eggs and sausage close to a year ago - and this has become their favorite breakfast because they can make it themselves. As a side note, my scrambled eggs are never quite as moist and yummy as theirs. In the long run, you want to be less short-order cook, and more guide to the wonders of cooking.
6. Try to get up before the kids if you need quiet time.
I know this is a tall order, and many days it doesn't happen around here (it's like the stinkers get a kick out of beating me out of bed), but it's worth it if only for the small amount of quiet time. I'm not much of a morning person, but if I can be up and have had coffee before the kids are up, I'm much more able to function. Double bonus points for doing yoga/meditating/morning prayer.
7. Make exercise a family thing.
We moms spend so much time making sure our family has what they need, and it's worth every moment, but health is a family affair. Try getting up with the kids and heading out for a walk when the weather cooperates. The fresh air seems to do wonders for my super-active boys and their focus is immensely improved afterwards. Even if you don't have twitchy little boys like I do, getting out and away from the house for a few minutes before you start school work is a good idea. Besides, you can always call it P.E.