Are your mornings crazy or lazy? It’s time to create a homeschool morning routine that works for your family!
Why a Morning Routine
A homeschool morning routine lets you start your day on the right note. It is a time to prepare yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally for the day’s demands. It is an opportunity to spend time together and strengthen your family bond.
What to Consider
The perfect homeschooling morning routine is not one size fits all. It would help if you found what works for your family. Consider these variables.
When do your kids go to bed and wake up? What is your optimal wake up time? A successful morning routine involves everyone being well-rested (and, yes, that includes you). You may be a bunch of early risers, or you might all need a later start to the day. The key is to pick a time that aligns with your family’s sleep routine.
Some people are ready to jump into their day. Others prefer not to speak until they have had a steaming cup of coffee or tea. Chances are that your home has a mix of both types. Just because your kids pop out of bed like toast from a toaster does not mean you must start your morning routine immediately. If you (or they) need some time to warm up to the day, allot that time. People are much more likely to be patient and kind when they are mentally ready to interact with others.
Starting your day together can be the best part of your homeschool day. How much time can you block out for that? Perhaps your kids are younger and close to the same age; you could spend a lot of time together. If your kids are older and have independent work, you may not have that time. Likewise, if you have a large age spread across your kids, you will need time to check in with each individually. Decide how long you want your morning “together time” to be.
Ages of Children
Older children often bemoan that their younger siblings have less schoolwork. It’s just a fact of life. By necessity, your older kids will have fewer breaks and more items on the to-do list than their younger siblings. How can you plan your day? After some time together, think about how you will divide your time among your kids. I like to have my older kids do their independent work while I homeschool the youngest. Once the youngest is finished, I can turn my attention to any questions or issues the older ones have.
Start with You
Being a homeschool parent means you will be stretched thin: your time, your energy, and your patience. Begin the day by filling yourself, so you have something to give to the ones you love.
A Steaming Cup
Every morning needs a warmup. Begin yours with a steaming cup of your favorite beverage: coffee, tea, or cocoa. Yes, you could multitask during this moment by checking emails or making breakfast, but I say leave that for the second cup. Enjoy your first cup in peace. You may feel like you are being unproductive or selfish, but this is a valuable time of centering and preparation.
Self-care is an encompassing word, but think about what you need to do to care for yourself. Start your day by doing something for yourself. This could include some physical movement, like walking or yoga. It could be a hot shower and a chance to blow dry your hair. Do something entirely for yourself before you enter a day full of service to others.
You need to prepare yourself mentally for the demands of the day. Begin with a quiet time. What do you do during quiet time? That is entirely up to you. You could read the Bible or an inspirational book. You could journal, listen to music, or practice mindfulness while you sit on your porch. Take some time to gather yourself together in the stillness of the morning.
Give Kids Time to Wake Up
If you are a morning person, you may struggle to understand why some or all of your children are so sluggish in the morning. Everyone has their own circadian rhythm, and kids have different ones from adults. Children and teens need more sleep (and sleep at different hours). Before you assign the morning hours to various tasks, consider your children’s sleep needs. Think about when they seem alert in the morning. Some may be ready to go at 7, while others aren’t all full wattage until 10. Give your kids a chance to wake up.
Prep the Night/Day Before
If you feel frazzled and directionless in the morning, think about planning the day or night before.
Use the Coffee Maker Timer
Get a jump on your day by having breakfast items ready to go. Set your coffee maker to brew coffee at wake up time automatically. Make overnight oats, smoothie mixes, or pancakes you can pop in the oven.
Stock the Basket
If your morning routine includes together time, stock your morning basket with what you will need for the next day. Then you won’t spend valuable minutes searching for books and papers; you can use that time to savor your first cup of coffee!
A morning basket can be the center of your homeschool morning routine. Fill it with what you need for “together time”: books of poetry, quotations, stories, or the Bible, coloring or art supplies, small quiet toys, and journals. Place a basket by a comfy chair in your family room or near your school table.
Ease Into It with Giggles and a Book
Classroom teachers know the power of the first few minutes of the day. It sets the tone for the rest of the school day. This is also true for your first minutes of homeschooling each day.
Wouldn’t it be great if the first activity you did as a family was laugh together? Consider adding jokes to your homeschool morning routine. Tell your family a joke or two (or take turns reading them). In the Mama Teaches Store, you can find kid-friendly jokes for every season, such as these Winter Jokes. Consider adding jokes to your morning routine for a week to see how it goes.
I also like to begin our day together with a book, typically a story. Even if you have teens in the house, they will enjoy spending 10-15 minutes listening to a plot-driven tale. This together time can be the most memorable part of your homeschool year.
Remember: There Is No Need to Rush
We want to be productive; we feel the pressure to go, go, go. But remember: there is no need to rush. This is not a race. Even if it were (and it’s not!), runners do warmup laps before they race full out. You need to do the same. Ease into your day. Make sure your morning routine has some flexibility when you are extra tired, the dog runs out into the street or grandma calls.
Jot It Down If It Helps You
If you need help sticking to a homeschool morning routine, you can write it out and post it in your home. This is not a necessary step, but if it helps you or others to have a visual reminder of the components of your routine, do it.
Developing a Homeschool Morning Routine
Developing a homeschool morning routine can be a game changer for your school year. Imagine starting the day with calm focus and strength of purpose. It can set the tone for the rest of your day.