I will be completely honest and say that I do not have a naturally gifted ability in structure and organization. However, a fantastic morning routine is the single most important factor in determining how successful a homeschooling day will be.
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When we first started homeschooling our children, the eldest was 5 and the youngest was 4, and we also had a toddler and an infant in the mix. As you might have anticipated, our mornings were a bit of a chaotic mess. This mother was worn out from having to wake up to feed her children in the middle of the night, train them to use the bathroom, deal with wonky hormones, and figure out how to homeschool her children. I got up when the kids did, so there were more than a few days when the clothes I slept in became the clothes I wore during the day and then the clothes I slept in again in the evening.
School was something that only occasionally fit into our schedule and more often than not didn’t at all. Which was fine, considering how young my children were at the time. We still managed to get through it by reading together, making crafts, coloring, playing outside, and watching PBS.
However, as the kids got older, I found it difficult to deviate from the routine that we already had. I continued to wake up at the same time as they did, which resulted in our mornings being disorganized and us starting off behind schedule. On occasion, we would not get started on our schoolwork until it was time for the babies’ afternoon nap. Again, it worked alright on most days, but I can say with complete candor that I was not putting forth my best effort for either myself or for my children during those times.
Approximately six years ago, I became aware of the fact that I needed to make adjustments to our morning routine, starting with myself. I knew that in order for us to be more successful in our attitudes, in getting our work done, and in making our days more productive for our learning and our family life, I needed to establish some sort of structure.
I decided to take some time to evaluate the aspects of my life and the children’s lives that were successful and those that were less successful. After determining the aspects of our routine that required modification, I started making simple, workable adjustments here and there until our new routine began to take form. My list looked like this:
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- 1 Allow me an hour of sleep in the morning before the kids get up.
- 2 Devotions in the morning.
- 3 Coffee.
- 4 Chores.
- 5 A Reliable Beginning Time for All Instructional Sessions.
- 6 Devotions Held by a Group
- 7 Reading Out Loud
- 8 Read-outs pertaining to the past.
- 9 Instruction and Assignments Given to Individuals
Allow me an hour of sleep in the morning before the kids get up.
Because my children are typically early risers, the alarm in my house is set for 6:30 in the morning. I immediately get out of bed and get into the shower, hoping that the warm water will be enough to jolt me awake the rest of the way. After I’ve showered and put on some clothes, I’m able to perform my devotions without falling back to sleep.
Devotions in the morning.
I am aware that not everyone here adheres to the same religious beliefs as me, and that is absolutely fine. In order for me to make progress in my relationship with the Lord, I must begin each day by spending at least twenty to thirty minutes in the peace and quiet of my room reading the Bible and praying. If I don’t do it at that time, I won’t be able to keep my focus on Jesus and get my attitude in the right place, and if I don’t, it won’t happen.
Two glasses. Dark Roast. Completely indispensable.
Each of us is responsible for one of the morning errands around the house. Do chores such as emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, dusting, collecting the trash, feeding and walking the dog, etc. Every week, we give one of these to a different person in the group.
All of the children are now of an age where they are able to take showers, get dressed, prepare, and consume breakfast, clean up their rooms, and perform their devotions as well as their chores in time for school. When they were younger, we found that an incredible Chore Chart was of great assistance. Because this is the time of day that works best for her, my daughter takes her shower and reads her devotions before going to bed. My sons have a tendency to be a little shaky when it comes to their quiet times, but I’ve found that if I encourage them, they do them on a somewhat regular basis.
A Reliable Beginning Time for All Instructional Sessions.
Every morning at 8:30, everyone reports to the dining room to start the school day. In the past, we would complete our schoolwork in the living room; however, I’ve noticed that my children are more productive when they are seated at a table. And to tell you the truth, we do need to be in the same room for the accountability.
Devotions Held by a Group
Everything that we do, as far as we are concerned, is done to bring glory to the Lord. At least according to the theory. In application, this means that we begin each day by centering our thoughts on Jesus. I have discovered that it is helpful to set the appropriate tone and attitude for both the dynamic of our family and the work that we do at school. A passage from the bible is something that I do from time to time. The Zombie Apocalypse Guide for Teenagers is a devotional book that I occasionally read. Then we join our voices in prayer.
Reading Out Loud
Reading aloud to my children is something that has always brought me joy. And even as they’ve gotten older, my kids still enjoy being read to. I make it a goal to read at least one book series in its entirety every year. We have performed two parts of Harry Potter, both with accents and voices, as well as The Chronicles of Prydain, The Swiss Family Robinson, and a few other roles. If you were to ask my children, I’m sure they’d say that this is their favorite part of the school day. As well as mine.
Read-outs pertaining to the past.
Since I have children in high school, we don’t do this activity like we used to, and I miss it. When we were using My Father’s World, however, I would rather just read aloud our history passages than assign it to each student individually. Because of this, even before they were able to read on their own, my younger children were able to hear the same things as their older siblings.
Instruction and Assignments Given to Individuals
The remainder of our school day consists of the children breaking off into their own work, which may include reading, mathematics, or homework for their co-op. Depending on age/grade this will take between 1-3 hours. For me, this entails assisting them in comprehending the material at hand, providing direction, assisting them in locating information either on the internet or in physical books, checking their finished work, and making preparations for the following day.
Even though our days aren’t perfect, there is a remarkable improvement since the early years, when I first started instituting order and structure into our morning routine. It’s possible that after reading this, you’ll conclude that we don’t have enough structure or that we have way too much of it. Evidently, the genetic makeup of every family is unique. But if you are having trouble sticking to a routine, getting things done, or motivating yourself or your children to get things done, I hope this gives you some ideas that will be helpful.
Beginning anew at the beginning of a new academic year is the ideal time to do so. You are capable of accomplishing this.