Back to School, Back to School, Does My Teacher Know the Rules?

Do you know the “rules” for your homeschooling time?

Are you going to have a start time? What about snacks, when are those available? Breaks – are they something that is offered, when? Does work have to be completed neatly or just completed? What is the consequence for not doing something? Who cleans up? Where do completed assignments go? Is sitting optional? What about using a pen?

Do yourself a favor and take 30 minutes and think through your non-negotiable rules and routines. If you haven’t taken the time to decide what things matter, your children will notice and they will make up ALL the rules for you.

During your first two weeks of school, putting rules, rhythms and routines in place will save you a ton of trouble, frustration and probably yelling as the year progresses. Deciding those rules and routines now is your first step to success.

Already in the trouble, frustration and yelling stage? No worries. You CAN start over. Take the time today to determine what rules and routines are right for your family and implement them on your next school day. It may take a little longer to form habits since you will also have to break old habits but children are flexible and they will adjust as long as you stay consistent.

I’m often asked what rules and routines our family uses. I’m hesitant to share since every family needs do what is best for them. But for the sake of example, I’ll share a few. We have found that the following are our top five rules and routines:

1. Do your best. This includes in answers, participation, attitude and neatness. I do a lesson with Oreos at the beginning of the school year that helps explain this one to the children.

2. We start at a specific time every day. Then there is no confusion about if / when we’ll do school.

3. Breaks come as you focus and complete your work. After our morning subjects that we do together, they are responsible for finishing getting ready, making their bed and then doing what we call “one big and three smalls”. Then, they can have a break until our next together lesson as long as the work is completed well (they may miss some answers as long as it is their best work). If they focus, they should have about 20-30 minutes of a break before we come together again. We repeat the same “big and three smalls” after each of our group instruction times.

4. As long as you are doing your best and not on a computer or tablet, you may work wherever you please.

5. Your materials are your responsibility.

Plan smart. Plan Simple, Plan for a wonderful year.