8 Tips to start your homeschool day with a clear mind and a content heart. Diving into a busy day of chores, homeschool, children, and from scratch meals can feel a lot like being the ringmaster in a three ring circus. Taking a slow (and relatively calm) start to your day in order to get your mind, body, and most importantly your heart in the right place can make all the difference.
Why Should You Take a Slow Start to a Busy Day?
When I pictured staying home- back before I had actually had children- I deeply romanticized the idea of it.
Coffee runs, afternoon rom-coms, perfectly polished homes, and well dressed children were all part of the imaginary package.
It’s basically like having every day off- right?
Not at all.
In fact, it is the exact opposite.
You are always on the clock- day and night.
Between homeschool, library days, errand runs, grocery pick-ups, mealtimes, paperwork, housework, scrubbing toilets, changing diapers, nursing- and oh!– did I mention the never ending stream of laundry.
It can feel like lot.
The day is going to get busy- there is no doubt about that. Even finding time to rest is a chore in and of itself.
Taking a few moments at the start of each of day to simply slow down has to be a purposeful and intentional action.
It doesn’t happen by chance.
You have to plan for it.
Whether it is intentionally rising before your children or assigning them something to do so that you can take a moment alone, it is so important that you find that time.
That simple, slow start is often the difference between a Mama who is frustrated and overwhelmed by nap time and the Mama who is still managing the rising tides even when the big waves come.
The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself
I am the first person to knock this self care culture.
I think most of it is selfish and honestly does more harm than good.
There is, however, a major difference between the self care culture that says, “Put you first” and “Toss out every toxic and inconvenient person from your life” and simply taking care of yourself.
Taking care of yourself by aligning your heart with God’s, and spending some time getting your mind and body ready for the day is just as much for your family as it is for you.
Which serves your family better- an exhausted, short tempered Mama or a cheerful, patient one?
Obviously, taking some time alone in the morning doesn’t guarantee you won’t have rough moments or a bad temperament in your day, but it does set the stage for a more stable, grounded attitude. And that can make all the difference!
8 Tips to Start Your Homeschool Day:
These 8 simple tips that can be changed as needed to meet the season that you and your family are in.
1. Get Up Early
I always want to clarify that this may not be right for every Mama in every season of life.
The Postpartum/newborn stage, for example, is often not the time to practice rising hours before your children, especially if you aren’t sleeping well at night.
Assuming you are getting adequate rest, getting up early- before your children– can be a great way to start your day.
One of my favorite times of day is when the sun is just peeping over the mountains in the distance and all the house is still shaded and silent.
The hum of the coffee pot.
The glow of the lamp.
And the call of the rooster.
It’s a feeling of stillness that comes only in the morning time.
The day is still wondering what it will be, and you are right there in the soft pink glow of it all. Taking it all in for a moment.
Soon, the home will be bursting with squeals and the pitter-patter of little feet on the creaky floorboards.
Soon the smell of maple and warm cast irons will fill the air.
But for a moment the world is sleeping.
Rise a little earlier, it is worth it.
2. Nourish Your Body
This is a great tip to start your homeschool day.
We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and so we make certain that our children are eating a good, healthy breakfast.
But most of the time, we forget that when it comes to ourselves.
Absentmindedly sipping on a cold cup of coffee while nibbling the crusts off of someone’s half eaten piece of toast is somehow deemed “good enough”. And then we move on to cleaning the kitchen.
That’s not enough though.
Whether you are pregnant, breast-feeding, chasing around littles all day, or just managing a cyclical female body- we need more than coffee and crumbs.
Even if it is a simple boiled egg and a glass of water- that’s better than nothing!
My personal favorite way to start the day is with a large glass of water with a quarter teaspoon of real salt- like Redmond real or Celtic sea salt. (Don’t do this with typical table salt!) This can help balance blood sugar, boost electrolytes, and add trace minerals into your diet.
You can also add egg yolks to your coffee for a boost of choline!
The best way to nourish your body though is to eat a good breakfast.
I don’t mean a Krispy Kreme donut!
Eat something real and filling!
3. Time Alone with Jesus
This is the most crucial of all the tips to start your homeschool day on our list!
If you do absolutely nothing else, do this!
Oftentimes I forget breakfast and grab a handful of goldfish or skip doing the morning dishes in exchange for doing them during nap time- but this is the one that if I skip it, I really feel it.
It affects my mood, my perspective, my contentment- it changes everything.
It may be easier to study God’s word alone or more in depth at nap time or during other parts of the day, but carve out time to get alone with Jesus first thing in the morning.
Read His word for yourself.
Talk to Him.
Please, please take time to meet with Him.
If you’re like me and you stay home, you probably don’t talk to many people- adult conversations anyways– but you crave that conversation.
I often think I must look like Santa Claus of a morning- trotting up to Jesus with my big ol’ bag of burdens- problems, worries, concerns, requests, and of course gratefulness as well.
That time spent alone with Jesus aligns my heart and my eyes.
To remind me that I am raising His children and my main goal is to teach them about Him.
It encourages my heart to remember that I am not enough, but His grace is sufficient for me.
And it is a comfort to know that while I may not know what the day ahead holds, He does.
He knows every struggle, every beautiful moment, every short coming, and every trying moment I will face that day, and He is right there- ready to embrace it all with me if I will allow Him.
Take time alone with Jesus- that is the greatest tip to start your homeschool day- or any day for that matter.
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4. Practice Gratitude
We all have something to be grateful for, even in the hardest seasons of life. In fact, we have more things to be thankful fo than we could ever even count.
Beginning the day by practicing gratitude helps us to come into a content and humble frame of mind.
Most of our burdens are also blessings.
That kid who is refusing to eat anything right now is such a gift in our home.
The pile of laundry that is rivaling Mount Everest is also a reminder that God has clothed my family well!
And what a blessing it is to homeschool our children even though it may be difficult in the moment!
Whether you choose to simply take inventory of your blessings mentally, to pray over them, or jot them down is up to you, but taking some time to note the goodness of God and the blessings in your life helps you to have a better and brighter perspective of your day.
Thankful people are healthier, happier, and more grounded people!
5. Plan Your Day
I talk a lot about to-do lists for someone who almost never makes one.
I do, however, plan. my day out before it begins.
Generally, the night before I know what our school day and meal plan will look like to some extent.
Taking a few minutes in the morning to plan for milk pick-ups, grocery runs, or errands outside of the house allows me to think clearly about how much time I have at home and what I plan to do with it.
For example, today I have milk pick up at 1pm, so I have about five hours here at home before to tackle school, chores, and lunch. When we get back the littles will be ready for naps and I need to focus on some photography work and blog content.
Knowing that framework, helps me to plan what I hope to accomplish each day.
Today is not a good day to scrub the walls or mop the floors because I will not have time to finish that endeavor.
However, it is a good day to catch up on some laundry and clean out the craft cabinet.
When planning out your day each day, remember not to overwhelm yourself.
I used to schedule my entire week before it began, and what I always found was that I stacked everything on Monday and almost nothing on Friday. That left me feeling unaccomplished and beaten down on Monday and by Friday I was so burnt out I didn’t even want to tackle the small jobs I had left myself.
Laying out two or three “Most Important Things” was a game changer for me.
This helps me to see the tasks that are most important to me.
So I can accomplish the things that need to be done without the overwhelm of feeling like I have to do every single little thing today.
6. Morning Habits (for everyone)
I know I talk a lot about habits on here, but they are so important in keeping a well run home.
I have my own morning habits for each day and so do my children.
These are simple tasks that each day presents- like making beds, unloading the dishwasher, washing the dishes, tossing in a load of laundry, and tidying up.
Assigning them for yourself and your children, and then handling them early in the morning brings so much peace to the rest of the day.
Let’s be real, a lot of days don’t go the way we plan. Being able to walk past my bedroom and seeing a made bed and a clean room brings me so much peace even if the play room is completely upside down!
7. Get Dressed
As a stay-at-home mom, getting dressed each day can often feel pointless.
I spent the first couple of years staying home full time in my younger cousin’s hand-me-down shirts and pajama pants. I should probably note that he was a teenage boy who largely wore Hollister, Bass Pro, and shirts that said things like “I hope your parents like me”- so that’s what I wore, too!
Then one day, I was listening to a speech by Karen Andreola where she touched on how we as Mothers are teaching our sons what feminism and modesty looks like. (Daughters too, of course, but she was talking about sons.)
Instantly, I was convicted.
If I was the picture of how a woman should present herself, I was failing miserably.
We don’t have to dress up every single day, but we should present ourselves modestly.
You know to where we don’t have to hide in the curtains if the mail man comes to the door.
Getting dressed each day has an effect on our brain as well as our appearance.
We are often more productive and ready for whatever the day throws at us when we are dressed for it!
Plus, it doesn’t hurt to be presentable for our husbands when they come home every now and then.
8. Romanticize Something
There is so much beauty in the mundane moments of everyday life, but in the hustle and bustle of it all, they are often overlooked.
Click through a few Instagram reels and you are almost guaranteed to find one that paints the beauty of an everyday moment. The light is captured just right, the music fitting to the moment, and the whole image rises to a crescendo of artful beauty in a humble home.
All of our homes are capable of that.
In fact, all of our homes have those moments every single day.
But without the lens, the ring light, or the cello’s soft song- we overlook them.
So each morning, take a moment, and romanticize your home or something in your life.
Look at it through your phone lens if you have to.
Watch the way the sunlight dances across the floor. The way the steam from your morning coffee seems to glisten in the early morning glow.
Or the freedom and joy written across your children’s faces as they run down the hall or play hide-and-seek in the curtains.
Let the magic and wonder of your own life fill you for a moment before you begin to compare to anyone else’s.
Setting the Stage for your Day
Oftentimes the morning routine sets the stage for the day.
Rushed, overwhelmed, and chaotic mornings often lead to full days of struggle.
But mornings are a perfect time to begin slowly.
To drink in the calmness of the day with your first cup of coffee.
It is a great opportunity to align your heart and mind with what matters most. To submit your day to Jesus and to His plans rather than your own.
Mornings can also be a great time to connect with your children.
My littles tend to get up one at a time, and it always gives me an opportunity to get some one on one time with each of them as they wake that we often can’t carve out later in the day.
Taking that time first thing in the morning to curl up with them and let them know how thankful you are for another day to spend with them also sets them up for a calmer, more fulfilling day. (They need their little tanks filled too!)
I hope these tips to start your homeschool day with a clear mind and a content heart serve you well!