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“Love is the beginning and end of education, because love is the way we become more human.” — Stratford Caldecott, Beauty in the Word

I’ve heard the advice, and I’m sure you have too. You should always start your day with math.

Why You Shouldn't Start Your Homeschool Day with Math

Kids need to tackle difficult subjects while their brain is fresh.

Kids need to get the hardest thing out of the way first.

Kids need to eat that frog so they don’t procrastinate.

Poppycosh.

I am all about personal productivity and doing hard things first to get them out of the way, but let me let you in on a little secret: homeschooling has very little to do with personal productivity.

Homeschooling is about relationships.

Instead of beginning your days with a struggle that may involve butting heads and damaged relationships with one or more of your children (ask me how I know), you can fill their tanks, and your own, by beginning the day with delight.

When you start your day with something that delights you and your children, they are more eager to start their school day, and so are you.

There is less grumbling about having to do schoolwork, fewer stalling techniques like wandering to the bathroom for the umpteenth time, and more energy. Who knows? Maybe you won’t need that 3rd cup of coffee, after all.

If you’re not starting with math, what should you start with? Here are a few delightful ideas:

  • Reading a chapter of an exciting new read-aloud.
  • Singing a hymn or belting out a praise and worship tune.
  • Reciting a beautiful (or even silly) poem.
  • Playing a game (with movement!) to review math facts or memory work.
  • Making a sketch of a flower or the bird at the feeder in your nature journals.
  • Pointing out the fallacies from a YouTube video of last night’s Presidential debate.
  • Practicing Latin chants — in funny voices.
  • Praying for each other.
  • Sharing a picture book that the big kids remember fondly and the little guy is experiencing for the very first time.
  • Doing Mad Libs — grammar and hilarity in one small paperback.

Doing just one of these at the start of each day moves the needle from grumpiness to smiles. Doing a few of them together consistently can turn around your entire homeschool — really.

So ditch the math lesson first thing in the morning and start with something delightful. You will be happy you did.

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Pam Barnhill

Pam is the author of The Your Morning Basket Guide and Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. She also is the host of three popular  podcasts -- The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, Your Morning Basket, and The Homeschool Solutions Show. She lives in the Deep South with her husband and three kids, where she is the go-to lady for great curriculum recommendations or a just a pep talk on a rough day.
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