Trying to find a homeschool routine that you can actually stick with?
Tired of struggling with your kids to get thing done?
Do you feel like a failure when they keep asking “Are we done yet???” and the school work is only half over?
I here you, and I have something to share with you that I think can make a huge difference in your homeschool!
Believe it or not, I used to be in the Army. I was a proud Army Nurse Corps Officer for 4 years.
One of the things I remember most clearly about being in the Army was the PT (Physical Training) sessions. Running in formation, road marching with huge rucksacks, pushups till your arms collapsed, sit ups till you couldn’t sit up anymore – it was intense!
By far the worst kind of PT was the unknown. You showed up in the dark of early morning and the leader said you were going on a run.
You started running, but there was no way to know what the pace was going to be, if you were going to be able to keep up, or when it was going to be over.
It was a mental gut check, just as much as a physical gut check!
I can still remember people falling out of a run right before it was over because they didn’t know they were so close to the end.
What does this have to do with homeschooling? Everything!
Your homeschooler needs to know what is ahead of them every morning when they start school.
Not having a clear structure in place for them is just like taking them out on a run with no end in sight.
They are so much more likely to be resistant and whiny when there is not a clear expectation of the day and a clear finish line.
I started doing this from day 1 in my homeschool and I have found it to be tremendously effective in keeping us on track, focused, and getting the assigned work done.
All you will need is your computer, a printer, and some card stock (see bottom of post for free printable!).
Look at your teacher’s manuals and find how many subjects you will be teaching (i.e. math, reading, science, etc.).
Type in the names of the subjects into a document page and blow up the font so only 3 or 4 subjects will fit on a page.
Print them all out on some cardstock (could also use normal computer paper and then laminate it to make them last longer). Then cut the papers into strips. This is what it will look like:
At night I go through my teacher’s manual to see what subjects I have to teach in the morning and I display those cards on my magnetic white board.
When my daughter looks at the board in the morning, she can easily see what her day is going to be like.
My daughter becomes a team player with me (as opposed to fighting against me) as we work to tackle the cards every day.
The best part is that every time we finish a subject, the card is turned over. That is a physical action that the child can do to show they have completed their work!
I also love that I never hear, “Are we done yet???” By just a glance at the board, we can all see what is left for the day.
Tip: If you have a white board, write out little notes (i.e. pages to be read) to yourself so you know what needs to be done for each subject. That saves a lot of time when you don’t have to fumble through papers as you transition subjects.
I think its important to include your student in the process of making and decorating the cards.
Ask them to draw a picture or decorate the cards in some way. I have found this gives my daughter ownership with the cards and the whole process.
She seems more excited for the first day of the school and the new subjects she will be learning about!
Just because you put them on the board in a certain order, doesn’t mean you need to follow that order!
A different order will help keep things fresh and interesting for you and your kids.
Your kids would probably love the power of picking the next subject!
Giving that option at times, may even head off a tantrum or grumpy attitude.
Definitely don’t try to do all the cards in one sitting. Breaks during the homeschool day are huge and kids look forward to that rest.
I may say, “Okay, we will do math, english, history and then we’ll take a break.”
Or, “Well, we have to leave for co-op now, so when you get home just know you still need to finish your spelling and reading.”
Expectations are clear and she understands with a glance at the board that the day is not done.
You might also want to read here where I write about a weekly reward program for all the cards being flipped over every day. My daughter loves the feeling of working towards something with her schoolwork – as opposed to just doing it to avoid a negative consequence.
Don’t have a magnetic white board? No problem! Cards can easily be displayed on a bulletin board, on the classroom table, or even on the floor if need be.
Have more than one student and they are doing different subjects? No problem! Just make as many sets of cards as you need. This may work to your advantage. Your students may enjoy a little bit of a race (assuming work is thorough and complete) to see who gets their cards all turned over first.
A little competitiveness can go a long way sometimes!
You’re half way through the year already? No problem! There is no reason you can’t start this at any time with your students.
Do you think your kids would benefit from a clear homeschool routine that tells them what they need to do every day? Do you think YOU would benefit from that visual?
I know that many times those cards keep me organized and motivated just as much as it does my daughter!
Flexible routine is a must in our homeschool and I encourage you to give it a try! It doesn’t have to be rigid or super complicated – a little cardstock and you are set!
Not wanting to fool around with making the cards yourself? Got you covered! I went ahead and made some of them for you! I even left a few blank for any unique subjects you are doing this year.
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Want to make sure you remember this for later? Pin it to your favorite board!