The Key to Homeschooling Consistently

Have you ever started off your day by watching a movie, turning on the television, mindlessly clicking around Facebook, or skimming your online news feed? It happens. Does it affect your mood?

We’re fooling ourselves if we say it doesn’t.

I know I am tempted – and often give in to the temptation – of checking my email and “catching up” online first thing in the morning. Even if I get up before the kids and take a walk and read my Bible, if I then open up the laptop and lose myself online while the kids are getting up and having their breakfast, it does not help my mindset. It does not help me get the day rolling.


Listen to this post:


How we begin our days sets the tone for the whole day. What we put first communicates most to our kids and to ourselves, even unconsciously.

No matter what we say our priorities are, what we actually put first is our priority.

Do I want to have a focused homeschool day? Then I can’t start off on a distracted path.

Do I want to be consistent in our homeschool? Then I have to be committed to starting, every day, and not letting my own ennui or the kids’ pleas pull us off course before the day has even begun.

Homeschooling consistently is no hidden secret or magic bullet. It is simply showing up to do the work, no matter what we’d rather be doing. Isn’t that what we ask of our kids every time we pull out the math book? What we ask of them, we must require of ourselves.

Habits of independent learning, self-motivated studies, and enthusiastic conversations are grown in the soil of day in and day out consistency. If we don’t start our days well and keep ourselves and everyone else on track, our kids will not wake up automatically at age 10 being able to keep themselves on track without us. That is the fruit of long years of learning consistency from us.

Want to know how to homeschool consistently? Here's a kick in the pants and a free download to help you in homeschooling consistently every morning!

What is Homeschooling Consistently?

Consistency is repetition.

The dictionary says that consistency is “the achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time.”

Consistency is the opposite of boom and bust cycles. It is putting in the time as scheduled. It is being willing to put aside our issues and show our kids what it means to cheerfully perform our duties.

Consistency is an atmosphere.

Another meaning of consistency speaks to viscosity, or “the way in which a substance, typically a liquid, holds together.”

What is the consistency of our homes and our days? How do they hold together? If we’re haphazard or hit-and-miss, if whether or not we do our work depends on our mood or the weather, we do not have an atmosphere of learning. When we open the book and just start, quieting our doubts and demons, we’re creating a home consistency that speaks volumes and that will grow independent, self-motivated students over time.

Self-motivation begins with us, every morning.

Homeschooling Consistently Is Diligence.

Too much of the classical education conversation relies on the word rigor. Sure, modern education is pretty much a joke and we want more than that. But rigor is the wrong emphasis. We don’t want hard work for the sake of hard work. We want diligence – a willingness to do what must be done, whether it’s hard or easy, regardless of how we feel in the moment.

Diligence is repetition.

Diligence is “careful and persistent work or effort.” It keeps going until the job is done. It doesn’t slack off or procrastinate. Diligence turns our attentions off our emotional responses and our physical whining and puts the spotlight on the job in front of us, reminding us of what’s important.

Diligence is connection.

Diligence comes from a Latin root meaning “attentiveness, carefulness,” and “value highly, esteem, prize, love.” When we prize a thing, we will diligently seek it.

Unfortunately, we most often prize our own convenience and comfort, and it turns out that homeschooling is not very convenient or comfortable. So we self-sooth with coffee and chocolate and outbursts.

However, what we diligently apply ourselves to will become what we love and value highly – habit breeds affection. Or, as C.S. Lewis said:

Very often the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already.

The way to order our affections, to learn to love what must be done, is to simply show up and do it, over and over, until it’s a habit, until it’s normal, until it’s a part of us.

Homeschooling Consistently is Faithfulness

Faithfulness is repetition.

To be faithful is to be “loyal, constant, and steadfast.” That is not a boom-and-bust approach, but regularity.

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. – 1 Corinthians 4:2

If we obey one day and not the next, we are not faithful. Faithfulness implies steady effort, continual attention, persistent obedience regardless of personal feeling.

Feeling follows effort. If we wait for the feeling, we will not be faithful. If we put faithfulness first, we will find our feelings fulfilled as well. We are not automatons, simply following orders, but we are faithful servants who love nothing (not even our own convenience) more than doing God’s will, the work He has given us each day to do.

Faithfulness is integrity.

Another meaning of faithfulness is “true to the facts or the original.” When we are faithful, we are being faithful to a Person, to our Lord, following in His footsteps, growing in Christlikeness. Faithfulness is sanctification, not merely “getting things done.”

Charlotte Mason put it this way:

Let us do each bit of work as perfectly as we know how, remembering that each thing we turn out is a bit of ourselves, and we must leave it whole and complete, for this is Integrity.

Doing our work to the best of our ability is faithfulness, integrity. Offering up every little act as an act of praise is faithfulness, and reminds us not only that our work matters, but why it matters. It matters because it is how we are glorifying God.

As Holly Pierlot wrote in her book, A Mother’s Rule of Life:


>From this point forward, then, every time you move into another scheduled event, offer it up to God and ask him for his help and blessing. Place yourself in a spirit of obedience to God’s will. Tackle every task as a direct response to God, just as if he were asking you, “Will you go do your laundry now?” Just say, “Yes, I will.” And smile at him.

This is faithfulness.

Want to know how to homeschool consistently? Here's a kick in the pants and a free download to help you in homeschooling consistently every morning!

Homeschooling Consistently Means Showing Up Every Morning.

The funny thing about consistency is that starting is the hardest part.

That morning where turning on the television or surfing the internet seems so tempting is only that – a temptation. The more often we give into it, the harder it is to pull ourselves out. Conversely, the more often we resist and simply start, the less often we find ourselves tempted to do otherwise.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit. –Aristotle

If we strategize ways to jump-start our days, to pull ourselves out of our whining heads, and to just get started – and then do them – we’ll find we aren’t as lazy as we feared. We can consistently show up and do the work, and even consistently be excited about it.

We simply have to turn our attention away from our in-the-moment desires and set our minds actively on what really, eternally matters. Then act on those truths.

After all, before we can chide our kids for their dawdling or their whining or their procrastination, we must reform ourselves and lead the way by example.

Gain (Self)Control & Competence

Do you spiral downward or upward? When you start to lose your grip on your situation, do you spin your wheels and devolve into chaos or listlessness? Or do you ratchet up and wind yourself up tight, stressing and lashing out and gripping control? Some of us simply bounce between these two extremes – a controlling tyrant one day to a zoned-out couch potato the next (control is exhausting, after all!).

Walk the narrow path between these two deep ditches with self-control instead of situation-control and purpose instead of panic. Exchange your apathy for liveliness and your sluggishness for stamina.

Learn more here.

Get started with a free prep sheet that will help keep you focused on what matters:

Morning Prep Sheet

Want to know how to homeschool consistently? Here's a kick in the pants and a free download to help you in homeschooling consistently every morning!

17 Responses

  1. […] was one lonely rose yesterday Post Script Mystie had yet another excellent post today: The Key to Homeschooling Consistently Shared Quote “The waiting that is the essence of faith provides the context for […]

  2. Elaine Casey
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    Thank you for this encouragement. It helps to be reminded from other HSMS (homeschoolingmoms)that consistency is essential in keeping sane! Thank you!

  3. Erika
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    What a timely message. Thank you for this! I’ve been telling myself I need a kick in the pants and need to get on track with the start of our day. I’ve started working on our morning beginning, but lacked the kick in the pants. This is it! Thanks!

  4. Kellylynn
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    Right on! Thank you SO MUCH! I love this “How we begin our days sets the tone for the whole day. What we put first communicates most to our kids and to ourselves, even unconsciously.
    No matter what we say our priorities are, what we actually put first is our priority.” YES! Just what I needed to hear. Amen about the “kick in the pants” This’ll do it. Thank you Lord! :-)

  5. Taralee
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    This is exactly what I needed today…and maybe every day:) I’ve been struggling with exactly this…consistency. It is very hard for me to stick with a schedule even though I know the importance of routines and habits. This has given me much needed inspiration to begin again and make changes that I know my family needs to be more successful in our quest for knowledge. Thank you so much for sharing. You have a beautiful way of sharing things using just the right words and wonderful quotes. I will be referring back to this one.

  6. Lisa
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    Thank you :) I’ve chosen Isaac Watt’s poem ‘The Sluggard’ for myself this term. It is helping renew my mind! Proverbs connection of being lazy with poverty also helps me! I still need a lot of help. Thanks again, Mystie.

  7. Kandi
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    Wow! This is EXACTLY what I was struggling with this morning. I really needed this reminder and encouragement. Thank you so much! You frequently encourage me and help keep me in the right direction! Thank you!

  8. Angela
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    Thank you! I needed this right now to do the dishes before bed. The more often I do it, the easier it is to do. The more often I put it off the harder it is to keep doing. No matter my justification (which I can find for anything) things just have to be done. I have already culled social media and email (mostly) from my day before we start school. It just sucks all the motivation out of me and leaves me a wreck. So even if I have had my 30 minutes of quiet time to read and pray and we start on time I still am not at my best if I’ve accessed social media.

  9. April Ann Wofford
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    Ouch. Just the toe stepping I needed! Thank you! No, really. Thank you! His mercies are new every morning!

  10. Elizabeth
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    How can I download a daily prep sheet? I couldn’t find a link! Thanks. :)

    • Mystie Winckler
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      Enter your email address in the form at the end of the post and a download link will be sent to you automatically. :)

  11. Natasha
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    Thanks so much for your encouragement, Mystie!

  12. Samantha
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    As I read this I see how this applies to many areas of our lives and not just homeschooling. It is so easy to let ourselves be distracted and to waste time checking email/social media and getting sucked into the internet instead of doing what we should. What a great reminder and encouragement to stay faithful and consistent in what we are called to do.

  13. Lori
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    This is so appreciated! I definitely tend to overlook how much how I spend my morning affects how the rest of the day goes. I have a part-time adjunct teaching job along with homeschooling and being an at-home mom, and I’ve realized that if I spend the few hours of the day, before the kids are awake, getting some of my teaching work done–rather than watching Good Morning Football with my husband and scrolling through Google News stories and getting outraged by people’s comments and checking out any daily e-book bargains–not only does that allow me to steadily chip away at the work I need to do, so that my evenings and weekends are mostly free, but it also makes it far easier for me to transition into the homeschool day. Moving from grading student papers to homeschooling my kids is far easier for me than moving from surfing the internet to homeschooling!

    It’s funny, because I actually just finished reading A Mother’s Rule of Life a day or two before I read this post, and the part you highlighted, about treating what you need to do as a direct command from God, was what struck me the most about the end of the book. It is such a hard attitude to incorporate, but it’s something I really want to work out, because I can totally see how, if practiced, it would transform how I view so much of what I do.

  14. Bethany
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    Ouch! But so very true! Sometimes I wish I just had a boss who would dictate to me what had to be done and I would do it. It’s so much harder to be the master of myself. It is certainly a spiritual battle more than anything else! The Lord’s grace and work of His Spirit are not optional components of a positive outcome!

  15. mother_lodes
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    wow, wow, wow!! This is SPOT on, and such a message from the Lord to me today! THANK YOU!!!

  16. Jeniffer
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    Yes, yes, yes. This is such a great reminder. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement!