With full time school getting ready to start back up soon for many of us, excitement and some change is in the air. Well, mostly the excitement is for me. The change for the kids! Shhh, don’t tell them it is coming yet!
Each year we change things up a bit. Sometimes out of boredom and sometimes out of necessity. It keeps things fresh and keeps the kids guessing. Through the years of kids growing up and the changes we make, I have one that seems to be the hardest to transition to…
Schooling AFTER lunch.
I know, shocking, right? After all, kids in public school attend ALL. DAY. LONG.
But tell that to many younger homeschooled kiddos and you will probably get blank stares. After all, who still has things to do after lunch?
As a veteran homeschool mom, I advise new homeschoolers to simplify the way that they look at school. Our goal, after all, is not to reproduce public school at home. With only a few students to teach, no need for bathroom breaks and hall passes, or busy work to fill in time, school for younger grades can typically be done in a few short hours. It’s true, trust me. It is also one of the many glories of homeschooling.
But as the kids get older, their workload does grow larger until, gasp, school after lunch is needed.
So how do you help older kids transition to this new game plan?
Warn them ahead of time. No really, do warn them. Kids are creatures of habit, and just like us, unless it involves presents, they do not always do well with surprises. Or change. Let them know ahead of time that with the new year comes new things, one of which will be to continue school after lunch.
Make lunch enjoyable. Make time for lunch and make it enjoyable. Maybe this is a time of family chatting, or reading a devotion together, or even enjoying a chapter book. You can even enjoy food prep together as a team. Make it a fun break in your day.
Don’t allow for play until after the end of school. I know this one may meet some resistance, but hear me out. Most kids, dare I say no kids, want to stop playing in the middle of something to start school, or anything else that they do not want to do for that matter. Take it from someone who has been doing this homeschooling thing for 19 years, do not go there. Once they are playing with their toys it will take a drill sergeant or worse to drag them away. The struggle is just not worth it. Stick to a toys-after-school time rule and you will avoid the battle before it begins.
Start slow. Rome was not built in a day! If you are new to school after lunch, I would recommend you start with one new subject after lunch each week. By adding small increments of time, you will build your child’s stamina. Remember when you were fading out nap times? Each new week they could stay up a little longer. Same concept, different subject!
Save the best for last. Do NOT end your day with math, unless math is what your kids love best! Most kids are more refreshed and able to mentally AND emotionally handle more stress and harder work in the morning hours. Do the harder subjects early on and save things they really enjoy and look forward to for the end of the day. We often save electives or science projects til the end. What better way to finish but with a smile on their face and yours?
Reward hard work. Every child is different, but we all like to be rewarded in a specific way for a job well done. Maybe it is as simple as reminding your child that once school is done they will be able to go play in their rooms or with their friends Maybe your child likes stickers, or you can end your day with a snack. Maybe you allow a quick video or electronic time. Find what works for your family and what your child will receive as a job well done reward so they have something to work towards.
Remember mammas, the days may be getting longer, but your homeschool days are growing shorter, Enjoy the time before and after lunch, and all the moments in between! You are doing a great job!