SummaryIs morning madness ruining your school days? Homeschooling mom Patricia Purcell has a plan to get you back on track so that your mornings run smoothly.
It’s 8:45 AM and your homeschool day is supposed to start at 9:00.
Once again, the kids didn’t wake up on time. Currently, your teenager is ignoring his toast while he listens to music, your middle schooler has dragged her comforter to the couch and gone back to sleep, and your youngest is playing video games. You’re gulping down coffee while frantically paging through lesson plans, trying to come up with a schedule for the day. Your son’s math book seems to have vanished into thin air.
Everyone is ignoring the dog, who is whining to go out, again. At 8:58 you suddenly remember that the kids have basketball games tonight and their uniforms aren’t clean, so you dash downstairs to do laundry. By the time you get back, it’s 9:09 and no one has finished breakfast, much less started their lessons.
Frustrated, you yell for them to get moving, and they grumble back. You sigh, realizing that it’s not even lunchtime and the day has already gotten off track.
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. When I was new to homeschooling, I quickly discovered how easily an unscheduled morning can slip into chaos and derail an entire school day!
Experience has taught me that having a set plan for our mornings makes the whole day run more smoothly.
Here are some ways that I prepare ahead to have great mornings:
1. Take Care of Yourself
The old adage to take care of yourself first holds especially true for homeschooling mothers. Rather than feeling guilty about taking time for yourself, remember that the whole family benefits from having a healthy mother. Getting enough rest and eating well are obvious (if sometimes difficult) goals. Some other self-care tips include:
- Be an early bird. I try to get up at least a half hour earlier than my kids. Having a bit of ‘me time’ in the morning to enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the weather allows me to begin my day on a calm note.
- Pray. After years of saving most of my prayers for bedtime, I switched to saying morning prayers. It offers the dual benefits of my actually staying awake long enough to complete them and giving me strength for the day ahead.
- Get a head start. It’s surprising what you can fit in before the school day starts. This morning I did laundry, put dinner in the slow cooker, and made baked oatmeal for breakfast all before the kids were stirring. It gives me a mental boost to complete tasks so early in the day!
- Exercise. Mornings are a great time to get in a quick workout or get outside for a brisk walk. You’ll start the day feeling strong.
Whatever you choose to do with your morning free time, make sure that it will benefit you in some way and help the rest of your day flow better.
2. Have a Set Routine
Everyone (even homeschoolers) benefits from a routine. Not only are you freed from the stress of having to figure out what should be happening each day, but the household will function more smoothly. Obviously, the schedule might vary a bit from day to day, but certain things should usually stay the same.
- Have a set bedtime. Older kids may stay up later than younger ones, but even teens need their rest if they are to function well during the day. Beware of potential distractions such as TVs, phones, or tablets in their rooms.
- Make them get up on time. Once they hit the teen years, this may get considerably harder. Out of desperation, we resorted to purchasing a really loud, bed-shaking alarm clock for our oldest son.
- Get a healthy start. Have nutritious breakfast foods on hand, but put older kids in charge of getting their morning meals. I’ve found that the simple act of pouring cereal or putting bread in the toaster gets my kids moving far more quickly than if I play the part of a short order cook in the morning.
3. Be Organized
Organization is vitally important, especially if you are homeschooling multiple children.
- Invest in shelves or cubbies. Your house doesn’t have to be worthy of a magazine spread, but schoolbooks have a terrible tendency to get lost if students don’t have a designated spot to store them.
- Plan lessons ahead of time. This ensures that you won’t be scrambling to assign tasks at the last minute. Take it a step further and stock up on necessary supplies beforehand too.
- Make a schedule. Have a regular start time for lessons, and a set order for doing them. In our house math is the first subject every day, followed by reading, so that my kids get a harder subject out of the way first thing, and then are rewarded by a subject that they enjoy more.
- Give them space. Assign each student a quiet, distraction-free place to work.
4. Use Natural Consequences to Motivate
The beauty of having clear expectations is that they are accompanied by their natural consequences. Kids are more motivated to follow the rules if they realize that not doing so will lead to an undesirable outcome.
- Kids who don’t get moving in time to have a healthy breakfast will find themselves hungry well before lunchtime. Odds are they will learn to get up earlier.
- If lessons are not started on time, the school day may run longer than scheduled which may interfere with after-school activities.
The Secret to Making It Happen
Without careful planning and a set routine, mornings can quickly become bogged down in waking up reluctant risers, making breakfast, searching for lost textbooks, and desperate attempts to decipher lesson plans. Fortunately, with a bit of prep work and a lot of determination, morning madness can be prevented and the whole day can get off to a great start.
How do you make mornings run smoothly at your house?