A pat on the back

We’re over a month into our homeschooling, and it’s fun to look back and see what was a good idea and what wasn’t…  what we need to tweak and what has worked better than expected.

I tend to be very hard on myself and not give myself enough grace. I’m working on that, and as such, I’m trying to recognize the “wins” and pat myself on the back when something works well. So, I’m patting myself on the back today.

My big concern for our morning was the window between breakfast and starting our school time. I really need to clean up my kitchen at the beginning of the day. I didn’t want to let a mess sit until lunch. Sometimes my kids are good about playing independently (and happily) after breakfast, but sometimes they are clingy and need more structure and supervision. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to pick which kind of day I’m going to get.

I read somewhere about a mom who always started her day with a fun crafty type activity for her kids to dive into, and it seemed to make the rest of their school morning go well. I’ve read similar things… one who made her kids start with something physical (they’d all go run or walk before school), or one who always set out paints or drawing things on the breakfast table.

My plan was this: after breakfast, I would have an artsy/crafty activity pre-planned (and ideally, mostly set out) that they could do WITHOUT me, in another room, while I cleaned up the kitchen and made a latte. It’s been such a wonderful part of our schedule, and I’m so proud of myself for knowing what would work for me and my kids. C looks forward to the special activity, and they always play so well… happy and quiet! My goal has completely been met. It completely starts our morning off on the right foot, and she doesn’t mind sitting to do other schoolwork for a while. It worked so well… I think I actually cheered for myself after the first couple mornings when I saw how well it was working.

Here are a few things we’ve been doing…

Dot-to-dot paints:

Play with baking soda and vinegar (the food coloring aspect of this made me a bit nervous, so I keep a pretty close eye on them this day):

Playdough with some laminated picture mats:

Paints in ziplock bags:

Cutting and gluing construction paper to make a fall leaf:

Marble painting:

Painting (at a table near the kitchen):

What things have you done that work especially well for your family? Do you start your morning off with a “special” activity, or do you jump right into school work?

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