Mornings for homeschooling families tend to start out one of two ways. Either you have a slow, easy morning, and start working into school when you feel like it; or it’s a hectic, chaotic morning, where you’re trying to get the kids moving and your kids are dragging their feet. Or, you’re trying to get things done (breakfast made, materials gathered, last-minute lessons ready) while your child bounces around everywhere, getting into everything, making it twice as difficult for you to get anything done…and then doesn’t want to settle down when it is time to get to work.
What if a few minutes of preparation the night before (or even on Sunday, for the rest of the week) could be enough to help you maintain control of your child in the morning? Many teachers will tell you that if you lose control of your classroom in the beginning of the day, you’re not going to have it for the rest of the day; and in many ways, the same is true of a homeschooling day with your child. Keeping them on track early on is a good way to make sure that they’re easier to get along with through the rest of the day—not a perfect solution, but one that will definitely help.
Sit down and put together a series of early morning activities—something that will start your child’s day off learning and busy. Depending on the age of your child, this could be anything from a few coloring pages to a series of worksheets—but don’t restrict yourself to printouts! You can also put together hands-on activities to start the day. Get out the counting activities, or a letter matching mat. Grab some playdough and cutouts, or scissors and ribbon, or some other activity that pertains to your child’s current developmental level.
There’s just one criteria: it has to be something that they can do semi-independently. If you have to talk them through it for just a minute, that’s okay—it’s worth the minute to have a few minutes to do what you need to do! On the other hand, if it’s something that requires a lot of supervision, then you’re going to end up spending more time taking care of their morning activity than you are taking care of what you need to do—when that was the entire point!
Their morning activity can be an arts and crafts activity. It can be a coloring page. It can be a small motor skills activity, to help a toddler or preschooler; or it can be a game. If you have several children at home, they can participate together or separately, depending on what you have in mind. The trick is to keep them busy, engaged, and on task, so that when the time comes to learn, they’re ready.