Last year I shared all the details of our first day back to homeschool, and the feedback was so strong that I had to make it into a stand-alone post this year!
I am going to share all the things we did (including pictures!), what our schedule was, and what curriculum I used.
I hope this gives you some ideas for your own homeschool by letting you be the “fly on the wall” of my homeschool!
But I am also going to share the not-so-great moments.
The moments that don’t typically make it on Facebook or Instagram.
The moments that other moms/bloggers may casually omit as they talk up their flourishing homeschool.
It’s about to get real, Homeschool Mama, so hold on!
Our First Day of Homeschool 2022-2023
1. My Morning Time
My very first day of homeschooling, I woke up feeling literally nauseous because I was so nervous.
Fast forward 5 years, and I woke up at around 6:00 am with a spring in my step!
After weeks and weeks of listless summer, we are finally going to have a day of structure and purpose. I truly love homeschooling my kids.
I woke up about an hour before my kids to grab some coffee and alone time.
Amazingly, I managed to make my way to our basement gym for the first time in…well let’s just say it was a long time.
I did 20 minutes of exercise because it was better than zero minutes of exercise.
I grabbed a shower and put on my homeschool mom uniform.
****Yes, I put together a homeschool mom uniform years ago. It makes mornings so easy and keeps me from being in my bathrobe at lunchtime.
2. Our Morning Time
I told my three girls (6th grade, 3rd grade, and 1st grade) that I wanted to start at 8:30 am, and we met that goal!
We like to start our Monday mornings with the Poetry Tea Time recommended by Brave Writer.
That essentially means that I put a thrift store lace tablecloth out with a teapot full of apple juice.
I made a (very simple) apple coffee cake and threw in some fruit and scrambled eggs.
My girls took turns picking and reading poems. Most were silly and made us laugh a lot!
****Just so you know, I would be unrecognizable to myself 15 years ago. A homeschooling mom of three who does tea time and poetry readings? It’s amazing how homeschooling has changed me.
Then I read the first chapter of our read-aloud book for the month. We had some flops last year, so I was really excited about this award-winning book!
Afterward, my girls grabbed their Draw the Verse books and we worked on scripture memory for Bible.
We ended Morning Time with current events via World Watch and then chore time.
Hurrah for kids vacuuming, mopping, and emptying trash cans!
My kids took a 10-20 minute break to run outside, hang upside down from the couch, and run to the basement playroom to build a rocking horse “unicorn” out of a folding trampoline.
You know typical homeschool stuff.
I took the break time to run some laundry, sweep out the garage, and get the kitchen back under control.
Because homeschooling is messy.
4. Individual Time
Older Kid: 6th grade
My oldest is in 6th grade now, so we only really meet in the morning and then in the afternoon to review her work.
I could never have imagined we would be in this place when we first started doing school. Like ever.
If you are in the trenches with a kid who needs you EVERY SECOND, it will not last forever.
****If you have one in the older age bracket, definitely check out the independent planner printable we use.
Younger Kids: 1st and 3rd Grade
My younger kids teamed up together for a comic book lesson about physics, motion, and gravity with this fantastic science program.
We did an awesome experiment with water bottles that I caught on slow-motion camera exploding on my (thankfully) tile floors – homeschool win!
Then my girls jumped into spelling and cursive together. And they did some Cosmic Kids Yoga for P.E.
Always, always, always group lessons if you possibly can – saves a bunch of time and energy.
****Somewhere in there, everyone ate lunch…they all just get something when they’re hungry. Good to keep easy grab stuff on hand.
Eventually, we did have to split apart for math, language arts, and history.
And The Day Was Over!
We wrapped it all up at around 2:00 pm and ran out to do some errands.
I would say the day was a tremendous success compared to some rough Mondays we’ve had in the past.
We had a productive morning time, covered a lot of subjects, had fun, and learned some stuff!
But that’s not really the full story of our first day back to homeschool.
I want to pull back the curtain and fill in some less than flattering information that most people wouldn’t admit.
What I Conveniently Didn’t Mention About Our First Day Back To Homeschool
I may have been jumping out of my bed to start the homeschool day…but I was still nervous.
Every year the workload gets heavier. More subjects, higher expectations, higher stakes.
As I look at the stacks of books, I wonder how I’m going to plow through all of it, keep it fun, stay organized, and get done at a respectable time.
It’s like every year I have 10 more puzzle pieces to fit into the same puzzle.
I will say that every year those puzzle pieces do fall in together after a few weeks to a month of finding a groove. You just have to remain patient and flexible.
So if your first day (or week) explodes, don’t stress – it’s normal! The puzzle pieces will figure themselves out.
2. Chore-Time Excitement
So I left one of my darling children to mop the kitchen floor with a Swiffer Wet Jet.
She had already demonstrated once that she could use the mop, so I went out to the garage to get some things done.
I came back into a kitchen floor soaked with Swiffer Wet Jet fluid. Two saturated Swiffer pads were in the trash can.
My daughter said the floor just needed to dry.
The desire to push that Swiffer Wet Jet button was harder to control than I had realized.
It took five large rags to soak up all the liquid.
I was annoyed with myself for leaving her unattended, and I was, well, just annoyed. We had a talk about how I was going to demonstrate how to use the mop next time.
And then I ate an extra piece of apple coffee cake in the teacher’s lounge, which is actually my kitchen.
3. Lost Knowledge=Short Temper
As I dug into my 1st grader’s math lesson, we did not make it past the warm-up review before realizing she had completely forgotten place value.
I had to stop the lesson entirely, get out the base ten manipulatives and start from scratch.
I felt like I had multiple personality disorder as different expressions flickered across my face as I struggled to mask anger, frustration, and irritation with a “happy homeschool mom face.”
My homeschool anger control strategies were definitely rusty. The internal anger was of course not at her (kids forget things, I know that), but at a bunch of other things I was wrestling with.
Anyhow, I ended the review with a favorite math board game and called it a day. I was happy that the lesson ended with her smiling as she legitimately beat me twice.
4. I Planned The Day in 20 Minutes At Panera Bread
We recently went through a move to another state that left us without furniture for 2 months. It was a crazy time, to say the least.
A lot of my homeschool year was planned in my head, but a lot of things had not been finalized or bought.
While my kids were at VBS – the week before we started school – I took myself to Panera Bread and forced myself to get organized and write down my schedule and shopping list. On a random piece of paper that was in my purse.
Looking at my pictures, you may have thought I spent hours putting together the perfect day.
If you don’t have that kind of time either, that’s okay!
With a focused 20 minutes, you can absolutely put together a wonderful first day of homeschool for our kids!
5. I Don’t Even Have All Of My Curriculum Yet
Due to the never-ending move, we finished the last school year in sort of a weird place.
My girls had met the standards I wanted them to meet, but we still had about 1/3 to a 1/4 of the curriculum left to the finish.
So, I kept some of it and we just started where we left off on some subjects.
I still need to order language arts for my older two, geography for my younger two, history for my older two, and art for everybody.
I will totally get to all of that, but I just wanted all of you to know that it’s okay if you start the year without all your ducks in a row.
It is so okay.
6. My Middle Kid Had A Bad Attitude About School
Yep. That’s the scout’s truth.
My middle kid is very bright and compliant with schoolwork, but she has no problem asking whhhhyyyyy we have to do school.
Like a lot.
A couple of days before our first day back to school rolled around, I had to sit her down.
I told her that her whining is not acceptable. In no other area of life can you walk around and complain like this. It has to stop.
We talked about boundaries for behavior, and what it feels like when someone steps over those boundaries. I also made her aware of the fact that her complaining was making it difficult for her sisters to look forward to or enjoy school.
I ultimately told her (in a calm and controlled voice) that if she complains during the school day, she will be dismissed to her room. She will complete her school work in the evening while her sisters are outside playing with friends.
I’m happy to report that we are now almost a week into the school year and she has done a great job controlling that internal voice.
7. I Use A Rewards System For School Work
My oldest has outgrown the need for a reward in exchange for school work, but the younger two still greatly benefit from a dangling carrot.
I don’t talk about this much to people that I know because I think they would incorrectly call it “bribing.”
There is a big, big difference between bribing and an established system to reward hard work.
If my younger two finish their assigned subjects with quality work and a good attitude, they get to pick two Youtube videos to watch directly after school.
****I am not a fan of Youtube, so I sit with my kids to watch these videos. Two videos a day is all I can take.
Not sure what you think about a rewards system for your homeschool? Check out this post on bribing vs. rewarding to get more details.
Why I’m Sharing All Of This Potentially Embarrassing Information With You
We live in a society where people tend to only show their best sides – whether it’s at co-op or on social media.
Inconvenient or messy details are swept under the rug so that all you can see is a gleaming, perfect life.
And that can make you feel like such a failure as you work your way through the homeschooling journey.
After years of homeschooling, I have learned to give myself so much grace – and you should too!
Homeschooling is a messy, challenging business that requires a lot of creativity, problem-solving, and flexibility.
If you find yourself standing in a puddle of Swiffer wet jet chemical juice – with kids who can’t remember their math skills and only work for YouTube videos – on a day that you planned on a napkin – I just want you to know that you’re on the right track.
You’re going to do just fine, Homeschool Mama!