Does anyone else feel like that break went by way too fast?! We're getting ready to start back with our regular schedule next Monday and I'm busy with planning and preparation. Last semester was pretty hectic around here, even for us, and that's saying something. So I'm really working on being intentional about making sure our days start well. I've been brainstorming the different things I do (unfortunately, not always consistently!) that help get our days off to a good start and I wanted to share them with you.
Prepare the night before: Having a plan for the day is great, but if you have to take the time to get out supplies and run copies and pull books in the morning before you get started, you're not going to be able to get things going in good time. Things always run much more smoothly when I've got the things we'll need set out early so all I have to do is reach for the day's stack and get started.
Get up before your kids do: I used to read this advice and it was like nails on a chalkboard to me because for about the first nine years of motherhood, I either had a baby who would naturally rise at some ungodly hour when normal people don't get up or a younger child who would magically awaken within five minutes of me getting out of bed, so it made more sense to stay horizontal as long as I possibly could. If that's you, hang in there and know that it will get better. If you're not in that (mercifully temporary) stage, though, getting up before your kids do can make a big difference in your day. If you want to use this time to prepare for the day, that's great, but sometimes it's just nice to have a little time to putter around in the quiet. As long as you don't have to hit the ground running when the kids wake up, you'll be better off.
Schedule your day: I could never operate on a strict schedule, but I do try to loosely schedule each day by looking for the largest blocks of time and planning our most in-depth or time consuming activities then. The days I just start with whatever sounds good are the days we're still finishing schoolwork up after dinner, and nobody likes that!
Stay away from screens: This is a hard one for me, but what a difference it makes. Unless you've got truly pressing business to attend to online, keep your screens off as long as you can. It's too easy to get sucked into Facebook or even lost on a rabbit trail of lesson planning and then lose your momentum for the morning.
Be positive on purpose: If I wake up in a grumpy mood, it's only going to take a few minutes for my kids to pick up on that and become grumpy, too. Start your day off remembering that you have such a great opportunity to spend the day with your kids, and be extra polite and nice, even if it's not your first instinct. You can set the tone for the day, so make it a good one!
I hope you all had a wonderful break and that your first week back is terrific. Happy learning!