Some days are worse than others!
Daily humble yourself before God in prayer and recognize that apart from Christ, you can do nothing. Call on God to help you throughout your day to keep your focus on Him. Pray for your children! Pray God will open their minds and hearts to receive what they will be learning that day and pray for any specific needs your child may have. (Here are a few posts I've written on prayer)
I cannot stress this enough! I know this is the hardest thing for a Mommy to get done! The simplest way to make sure this happens is to wake up 30 minutes earlier! I know it's hard but the Lord will bless your efforts! Do NOT skip this! Sometimes I let my morning get away from me and I am tempted to keep on trucking. I have to stop myself and make myself steal away for a time of devotion. Sometimes this means backing everything up 30 minutes, getting 3 kids busy on something, and hiding! Just do it!
I didn't realize how important this is until I saw a friend try to do things that were not in her nature to do. Homeschool friends are great but we are all passionate about what we are doing individually. I am always careful to share with new homeschoolers because I have seen how easy it is to latch on to what others are doing. Handle this matter wisely and you will see the good! Know your style and stick to it!
I Do Not use a timer! I know I'm breaking homeschool protocol! But I do not want my child's learning time to be defined by the sound of a timer going off! However, I am always aware of what time it is and how long we've been working on a task!
We are constantly splitting up and regrouping throughout the day. I found a cute service bell at a local store a few weeks ago and we are loving it. When I need everyone to come back together for whatever reason, I ring the bell. Simple! It has helped with first time obedience and following directions! Keep it interesting. Don't let every time you ring the bell be for giving directions....they'll stop coming! Change it up with a "drop everything, we're going to the park"! Or hand out candy! Or sing a song. Take a walk. Have fun with it!
Leave time to tend to life because life happens whether you're ready or not! Sometimes we all just need a break! Sometimes people drop by! Sometimes the dishwasher breaks and there's water all over the Kitchen floor...true story! Don't let it ruin your day (like I almost did)! Take care of business and pick up where you left off!
If they don't know what is going on, you'll loose them completely! A while back I found myself telling my kids over and over what we were doing that day. I started making lists for each child (read more here). It takes me about 15 minutes to make my list and three children's lists each night. They know what's going on, what's expected of them, and where to look for their next task when Mommy's not available. It has encouraged responsability and independence in our home! (You can read about my children's lists here)