In the spirit of full disclosure, those parentheses are in my title because some of these tips aren't "exactly" mine. But some of them are. And even with the ones that didn't "originate" with me, I should still get some credit for recognizing their value.
I've been a home educator for 25 (long...very long) years so my school files are sagging with articles I've clipped, emails I've printed, and notes from talks I've given. Many of them have been re-filed (in the trash can), but lots of them have tidbits worth remembering, and some of those tidbits are worth sharing. Plus, by typing them out here I can go ahead and throw away lots of paper (to make room for more paper.)
I doubt if I'll get all "my" best tips in this one post, so maybe I'll start a blog series. Debbie's Extraordinary, Sure-Fire, Clever, (Stolen) Homeschooling Helps.
In no particular order, but with the most convicting ones first -
(1) If we are always planning to get around to doing something, but we never Do It... we're just playing mind games with ourselves. We may "feel" good because we are thinking about doing it, but nothing is actually accomplished. Don't fool yourself. Some of us are expert planners ....but don't get all that much done.
(2) "Wherever you are, be all there." This is one of my all-time favorite quotes. (Sure wish I could give credit to the brilliant person who I pirated this from.) I say it to other moms (and mutter it to myself) incessantly. What this means in regard to your children is that you need to be an engaging parent who listens to your children's thoughts, hopes, plans, desires, ...and very stupid/repetitive jokes. So many of us give ourselves big kudos for being physically present, when our minds might as well have an outside job.
(3) Too many outside commitments - even really great, godly, crowd-pleasing ones - make successfully HOME educating your child impossible. Make sure there are several days (in a row!) where your van never leaves the driveway and you never have to ask your child to 'hurry up'. If you're always finding reasons to leave the house, try this little tip that works for me - Don't wash your hair, wear make-up, or brush your teeth on the days you want to stay home. You'll be less tempted to leave. Your kids might not want to sit next to you, but they'll learn more.
(4) All activities, curriculum, read-alouds, everything you do, should have a purpose. Different denominations word it differently, but most Christians would affirm that everything we do is meant to glorify God. Start questioning the reason why you use/do certain things. And the answer should not have anything to do with the fact that your friend is using it/doing it. She has a different husband, different children, different finances, different circumstances.
And if this next one doesn't motivate you to get more serious about your school year, then all my plagiarism will have been for naught-
(5) "If we view ourselves daily as having a Master over us, our High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ, how well would we do our work? How well would we plan our days? Does an employer care if you get the work done each day or not? Will you be paid if you venture off into something other than what needs to be done? Would it be a problem if you're too busy talking with friends, being on the computer, or procrastinating to be bothered with the trivial things of your child's life and education?" (Ouch! Ouch! I need a band-aid...One of those really big ones that you have to tape on.) Shouldn't our determination and motivation be all the more strong if we are serving the King of Kings?
Well, that's enough for you to work on today, sweet mommies. Tune in tomorrow (or the next day...) for more. My filing cabinet runneth over.