My friend Rebecca is what I would call a veteran homeschooling mom! I invited her to join us on our first day of school and give me any tips and tricks on how to manage our school schedule and more. I asked her to share this “Busy Bees” tip with my readers.
As I begin my 18th year of homeschooling, things look drastically different from when I began. And with just one child left at home, I find myself often missing those early days of homeschooling—days that were chaotic and crazy but days full of wonder and innocence. I was absolutely thrilled when Kelly invited me to join her and her two precious ones for their first day of school this year. (Kelly: um, we were soo excited to have her!)
Adding in a second child will throw you for a loop, and while Kelly had her curriculum choices down, she had lots of questions about scheduling and planning out her day. She wanted me to hang around, observe, and offer suggestions for making her day go a little more smoothly. My first tip for Kelly and for all her homeschooling readers? Busy Bees.
Picture this: Mornings are hectic. You’re not herding kids out the door to catch the bus or carpool, but your morning still needs to have a schedule and order to it. When my kids were little, the way the morning got started often dictated how the rest of the day unfolded. The responsibility falls on you, Mom, to make sure the morning starts off well.
What I noticed years ago was that while I was getting breakfast ready, my kids were just hanging around playing. After breakfast, it was constant prodding to get them dressed, rooms cleaned up, and then head into our schoolroom. That was just not working. It was wasting too much of the morning—a time when I felt at my best and had the most energy. So we established the Busy Bees. This is simply an order of things to do after waking up and before joining the family for breakfast. Each one begins with the letter “B.”
The Busy Bees
- Read my Bible.
- Make my bed.
- Brush my hair.
- Use the bathroom.
- Dress my body.
Read my Bible. As a new mom, I read how Elisabeth Elliot’s family had the motto of “no Bible, no breakfast.” As I’ve spoken to homeschool groups over the years, I’ve heard from parents who thought that sounded legalistic, so let me explain. When my kids were young, I wanted to get them into a habit of reading their Bibles. For little ones (non-readers), they might spend a minute looking at a Bible picture book or flipping through a Bible story book. For older ones (readers), they could spend a few minutes reading from their Bible, working on a memory verse, or writing something in their prayer journal. (Please understand: I didn’t stand over them.) They knew, because they had “caught” me so many times, that I was reading my Bible first thing in the morning, so it seemed to be a natural thing to do. It was simply part of getting their day started. As they got older– especially heading into those important middle school years–I made sure that they had good Bible studies for middle schoolers that they enjoyed doing.
Make my bed. As long as they pulled the sheets up, I was good with that. Whatever you do, don’t re-make the bed. As they get grow and get older, they’ll do it correctly.
Brush my hair. Girls with long hair often need help with this. (Mom, make sure you are pulling yourself together before the day begins too. You set the example!)
Use the bathroom. This will probably be the first thing they check off their Busy Bees list!
Dress my body. A great habit to establish with your kids is laying out the clothes they want to wear the night before. This helps you too. You’ll know if you need to run a load of clothes the night before rather than the day of.
When the kids are doing their Busy Bees each morning and getting those items marked off before breakfast, you’ll be ready to get started on school right after the kitchen is cleaned up and teeth are brushed–easing into your day much more smoothly.