Are you the type of home educator who prepares for school the night before? Or are you the type who prepares right before your kids sit down in the morning? There are no wrong answers here!
Honestly, I would love to be the type of person who prepared everything the night before…but I am not.
Instead, I focus on setting goals to be able to minimize the time I prep materials each day. I review our goals weekly and quarterly. This helps us stay on pace academically. Because of setting clear goals, my daily prep time is minimal.
My habit is to get school materials set up for the kids after breakfast. During the window between breakfast and the start of school, my kids (ages 8, 6, and 3) do their morning chores (e.g., clear spot at table, make beds, bring laundry to the laundry room).
I timed myself today, and it took about 15-minutes to get everything set and ready for my three children.
If you have clearly set goals, have selected good materials, know where to find your materials, know your students, and are organized, it should not take long to prep materials for a 6-7 hour school day.
Above is a picture of my main bookshelf for homeschool curriculum. I have one white bin for each child. In their bin is the material that I want them to use for that week. Most of the workbooks that I store in the white bins are used daily (e.g., spelling, handwriting, Grammar, etc.).
During that 15-minute window between breakfast and the start of school (when my kids do their morning chores), I pull out their white bins and place them at their spots at the homeschool table. Then I page through each book, making sure that the binder clip is in the right spot for where they need to open up the workbook. I circle the number of pages they need to do. Some materials I put in their folders. The left side of the folder is “To Do” and the right side of the folder is “Done.” Other times, I put materials in their binders to complete (e.g., math binder has their BJU math worktext, math facts, materials, and homework completion tabs).
Once my children are done with their morning shores, I ask them to get their supplies, which includes the following: pencil case, binder, notebook, and folder. I remind them (daily) to make sure they have two pencils that are sharp and have an eraser; they sharpen pencils, as needed, before starting school.
I ask them to sit at their spot until I say it’s time to begin. We usually wait to being until all three students are at the table (including the 3-year-old, who does not want to miss out on school!).
Then I go over with each child what is expected to complete. Some work is independent (e.g., handwriting). Other subjects, I need to sit one-on-one with a child. For example, I like to sit next to my 1st grader as he completes his Grammar pages to make sure he is following directions correctly. Although he reads at a 3rd grade level, learning Grammar is new to him and I don’t want him to get confused with a new definition, such as learning the parts of speech.
I hope you have good routines to help your day get started off well. Each of us home educators are unique. We have our own strengths and weaknesses, philosophies, and preferences. What works for me, might not work for you. I have a “do school at home” approach to homeschooling; I always loved school, and I am a trained educator. The first few hours of our school day look very school-like, and our afternoons tend to be more relaxed. Go with what you think is most reasonable for your personality, teaching philosophy, schedule, and what will help your children reach academic goals.
I pray you have a great start to your next school day with your children!