Your Instructor’s Guide is highlighted and indexed. Pencils are sharpened, and your basket holds all the books for the day. Your coffee is hot. The Bible is open to the right page.
Everything is perfect. Then, it dawns on you. Something is missing. Where are the kids?!
I can relate to this scenario because it happens to me regularly. Reining in a first grader, a kindergartner, and a preschooler is no small feat. Add in the infant who equates napping with medieval torture, and wow! I’m sure you can understand why I hum the Mission Impossible theme song as I make breakfast each morning.
Fortunately, I have a tried and true arsenal of tricks to rein in my kids. Through trial and error, toil and strife, I have found joy in homeschooling, too. I have a strong belief that homeschooling, although hard (cue that Mission Impossible music), is the right choice for our family! I also come equipped with a lot of caffeine and complete faith in Jesus: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
1. Rein in Kids with Food
Truth? You have to feed them anyway! Use this fact to your advantage. While your kids are eating, you have a captive audience. After you satiate their minds with knowledge and their bellies with food, they’ll be ready for a mind break and off to play. In the wake of the storm, your coffee will taste so much better!
2. Rein Them in Outside
All those books that are wonderful to snuggle up to on the couch are just as enjoyable, if not more so, outside. Read under a favorite tree, on a picnic blanket at the beach, or on the front porch just before a storm.
3. Rein Them in on the Go
Homeschooling would be a piece of cake if it weren’t for all our other earthly needs. Still, cars need oil changes and pantries need groceries. No matter how hard I pray, dinner still won’t make itself. Being portable is the solution.
Take your Couch Subjects™ with you! I keep our current Read-Aloud, Readers, and reference books in a ready-to-go bag that I can grab on the way out the door. We have spent many an oil change reading up on Greek myths. Just ask Bill, our service guy. He’s learned a ton too!
Table Subjects™ work the same way. Invest in a few clip boards with internal storage, so the kids can quickly unearth copywork or science worksheets on the go. I recommend keeping a glue stick and a pair of safety scissors handy as well.
4. Rein Them in On the Road
You’re going to be in the car anyway. Plus, the kids are trapped. Go for it!
- Sing and memorize scripture verses.
- Listen to audio books.
- Quiz your kids with flashcards on a ring.
- Discuss your latest Read-Aloud
Lyrical Life Science is a current favorite with my kiddos! You really haven’t explored all science has to offer until you’ve sung about cold blooded vertebrates to the tune of When Johnny Comes Marching Home!
5. Rein Them in with Music
Sometimes I need everybody in one place when it’s not meal time or driving time. My solution? I play chopsticks on the piano. Seriously, it works!
When they hear chopsticks being played, the kids run to the room and have a seat on the carpet for announcements. I make sure to reserve this method for when I’m calling them to do something fun like poetry tea time or hands-on history!
Now, here’s the whole truth about what happens when I have finally achieved the perfect homeschool flow:
- The baby will wake up and need a diaper change.
- The timer on the stove will ding.
- The mail carrier will drop a package at the door.
Fear not! Just take a deep breath, pray, and pick any one of the options above to get back on track!
Your turn! I’d love to hear and try some of your suggestions! What methods work for you? How do you reign the kids back in when they go off course?