Our First Day Of Homeschool

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

Hey friends! Yesterday was our first official day of homeschooling! There’s was so much anticipation for this day. We started to discuss homeschooling options before Brooke was even born. The fact that w’e’ve actually arrived here after all this time, feels like I’ve finally gotten to the top of the mountain and can see out over it. I know so many of you homeschool or have/are considering it. So today, I wanted to give you guys a full transparency look on how our first day went.

First, a bit about how we organized: over the past month, I've been attempting to organize everything in a way that's conducive to how I thought the day would flow once we started. We chose to do homeschool in our dining room. It was essential to me that the space we're in feels decluttered. Our downstairs area tends to stay the cleanest, which is why we chose that space. Another reason we decided on the dining room is that it feels open. Personally, being in our other option, our bonus room/my closet/ guest room would drive me a little stir crazy.

Even though we're schooling in the dining room, I didn't want it to overtake that space. This meant we had to buy an extra piece of furniture to accommodate our supplies. If you've followed me for any amount of time now, you know that I have a soft spot for updated vintage furniture. The reason? You can find fantastic deals on solid wood vintage pieces. The quality, construction, and detail are just so much better than newer pieces unless you're looking to spend thousands and we were definitely not. I was dead set on NOT having an open bookshelf. I don't want to see the mess. I want to be able to easily pack it all up when we were done and close the door. We were able to find a beautifully carved piece that used to function as a china cabinet.

From there, it's all about finding storage solutions so that everything has a home space.

Organizing Tip:

Everything should have ONE space, not two or three, ONLY ONE!

Organizing Tip:

Take time to measure all of the spaces you're organizing. It's a small insignificant seeming tip, but it will save you so much hassel in the long run. I knew exactly how many pencil boxes, clear storage, and baskets I needed in both of my homeschool cabinets to perfectly fit into the spaces.

Organizing Tip:

Think outside the box with organizing. For the kids' craft/coloring supplies that I anticipated them using regularly, I actually found lazy susans that were meant for the bathroom to put it all in. We keep them in the cabinet until homeschool days when I place the two susans on the dining room table. The fact that they spin makes it super simple for the kids to share. It's another one of those things that seem small, but not arguing over who gets to pick out what colors when saves us all time and energy in the moment.

Organizing Tip:

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to function well. Use what you have or buy new storage that serves you better. The point is that having everything organized will save you time during your homeschooling day.

At the end of this post will be a shopable scroll of everything that we purchased to help us organize.

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com
Manda Lee Smith } EvocativelyChosen.com

On to the day! The night before, I printed my lesson plan and read through it. I printed anything that needed to be printed, bookmarked my video links, and gathered any additional teaching resources I might need. I then lined everything up on our buffet from left to right by subject and the order that I would teach. I also sat out little sticky notes with the amount of time I should be spending on each subject and also set out my egg timer, NOT my phone. I wanted to assure myself that I had no access to my phone during the school day to not get detracted by calls or emails. It was beneficial to have the timer set per subject, especially since I'm also juggling a baby while teaching. I stopped the timer when I had to break for Emma-Rose, or the kids had a bathroom/snack break. It kept us on target. Maybe that's something I will continue to do, or it may not be, but for the first day, and until we find our groove, it was/is incredibly helpful! Setting everything up after they went to bed took about an hour/hour and a half.

My initial idea was to start homeschool AFTER Emma-Rose went down for her morning nap, BUT I'm SO glad I didn't wait. We all got up around 7:30-8 and had breakfast. I did bible time at the kitchen table, and then we moved to the dining room to start our day. I put Emma-Rose in a walker I specifically purchased for homeschooling and loaded her up with snacks. Girl's all about some snacks. After the snacks ran out, I did my best to try to occupy her with toys, but inevitably, she made it to my arms while I was teaching. It WAS a balancing act. I had to talk over her crying a couple of times. But just as she was getting inconsolable, it was break/snack time for the oldest two, and I was able to nurse her and put her down while they were enjoying their break.

This is where we entered our second part of the day and why I'm so happy Ems was down for it. It's a big adjustment to view Mommy as a teacher. There were a couple of times when I asked one of them to repeat something after me, and this little person doth protest too much. This is also where homeschooling is FLIPPING AMAZING. We took a break and worked on the heart issue. We listened to worship music which helped to easy ALL of our frustration. Most mamas I've talked to that homeschool, or some version of it, all tell me how there WILL be days when everyone cries. It's not all bliss, and I didn't expect it to be, but there are these moments when, even in chaos, you stop and soak in how special the time is that you're spending pouring into your children.

Manda Lee Smith | EvocativelyChosen.com

I finished "teaching" around 12:30. Emma-Rose was still asleep, which was amazing! This allowed me to make lunch, make their lunch for the next day, and cook most of our dinner before she woke up. After she woke up, I gave the kids some free play time upstairs and then some recess time as well so that I could focus on Ems a bit. After coming in, I worked on cleaning up and putting away all of our supplies and books. The kids did their chores while I was doing this, and that concluded our day! So our day was officially done around 2:30-3. Y'all I have never felt so accomplished, utterly exhausted but accomplished, at 2:30 in the afternoon before.

Oh and I forgot to add this in. James is in k4 but I’m teaching him the same curriculum as Brooke even though he is also going to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He is so interested and wants to be a part of everything we do! He will indeed learn the same curriculum next year but he’ll feel confident in what he’s learning! I think it was much easier to go ahead and include him. For us, it also helped Brooke to see that he was paying attention to mama as a teacher too!

So mamas, I'm here to say, YOU CAN DO IT! Will it look perfect? No. Will there be exhausting/trying days? Yes! BUT if it' something you feel is important for your family, God will work it out for you!

Please please, if anyone has any questions or is considering homeschooling feel free to reach out. You can send me a message on IG or email me!