Who doesn’t use a routine? I know there a lot of homeschool families that claim they don’t, but in reality even their days follow some type of pattern. Figuring out your homeschool’s natural routine is a major key to a successful homeschool. Even if you do not have a set wake up or bedtime, you are most likely doing “school work” between the 2 times most days, no matter what type of homeschooler you are. This routine does not need to be set in stone, nor does it even have to have everything on it. Just an outline will often solve some of the problems homeschooling families face.
(Scroll to the bottom to grab the printable!)
I have found 2 great benefits from setting up a morning routine:
- organization for everyone
- a lesson in responsibility
We, the homeschooling moms (and dads), all have more than once felt totally overwhelmed by all that we do as both home educators and parents, so a bonus to this is:
- your load gets lessened (maybe not immediately, but soon!)
- the day starts off on the right foot
A routine will enable you to exactly see and address what needs to be done. No, it’s not just a list. Bear with me and picture your morning. Even without having to rush to the school bus or school drop off, what is your morning like? If it’s like mine, the kids would sleep until noon if I allowed it (well the older ones, the little ones tend to be up WAY too early) and the first thing after the whiny, mumbled “But I don’t want to get up!” is “What’s for breakfast?”
For a long time I was trying to get 4 Things under control all at once, and most mornings it was chaos, with me missing a shower (or if I got one, it was about 30 seconds long before someone was in dire need of something and I had to get out, knowing I probably had not washed all the vital body parts). This would set the mood of the day, and not in a good way. I was feeling frazzled and battle ready before 9am.
I realized something had to change.
That’s when I began telling the Things what I needed them to do in the mornings. Soon they knew what had to be done BEFORE breakfast.
- Noodle has always been an early riser and by 5am he was rearing to go. I allowed him to come into bed with me when Daddy left (around 5) and we would snuggle until it was time to wake the others. He felt special (and sneaky because Daddy doesn’t allow them in our bed), I got to stay in bed a little longer, and the other Things were not being awoken by the little guy before they had to be up. (More often than not, Noodle would fall back asleep and I got another 1.5-2 hours of sleep! Bonus!!)
- When I woke the others, I would tell them, “Get up and make your bed.” Guess what? Soon it was happening, plus the older ones began helping the the younger ones and all the beds in the house were made! (were they perfect? not right away, but it was a start!)
- The next step was to get them dressed. With the first task complete, I would give them the next direction, “Get dressed and put your pjs away.” The older ones could dress themselves, while I handled the littles. Now the Things were fully ready to tackle the day, and pajamas had even made it to the hamper!
Before breakfast was even thought of, a few of the tasks that usually fell on my shoulders, were now taken care of by the Things. There were times they needed gentle (and not to gentle) reminders to stay on task, but it was a start. While they were doing these tasks on their own, I was able to organize breakfast, without them underfoot.
Once every one was ready, they ate while I (miraculously!) got a full shower, including shampoo and soap! Our routine lessons continued. If they were done before I was, together they could unset the table and (because I run the dishwasher when I head to bed) unload the dishwasher. Mornings had lost some of the chaos and everyone was more at ease. Did this happen without incident the first, second, or even tenth time? Nope, but the older ones got it down and soon the littles were following suit. Do I still have some rough mornings? Hello, I had 3 teenagers in the house this summer (well, 2 and a pre-teen), what do you think?
This new morning routine also began teaching the Things responsibility. They knew what was expected of them and that there consequences for not completing their tasks. They were not allowed to sit down to breakfast until these things were done. It laid the foundation for more responsibility as they got older and were given more chores. In our family, everyone has jobs, or chores, and everyone contributes. I have never paid an allowance to the Things, even for extra jobs. I know many families that do and it works perfectly for them. The Hubs and I just took a different path.
Now I’m NOT saying to follow my morning routine.
You need to do what works for YOU. This is what worked for our house. One of my friends loves homeschooling in pajamas. Her whole routine is different than mine, but it is a routine, and it works for HER. Another family enjoys the idea of everyone sleeping until they awaken naturally, but each child knows what to do once he/she is up. The idea is that it is a morning ROUTINE. Everyone knows what is expected and there is not chaos when everyone stumbles out of bed.
I have created a simple printable for you to discover what is causing problems in the morning at your home. Ask yourself what you need done in the mornings. What are the children having a hard time completing? What do you need completed/simplified/organized to keep your sanity and enjoy the day?
Once you have an answer to these questions, focus on each one and discover the root of the problem. I know, getting rid of the kids for a bit would be great, but not a reality of EVERY morning. So what are your other options?
- What tasks can they do without your supervision?
- Is it easier to feed them first, or dress them first?
- Can the older ones aid the younger ones?
- What order do they use the restroom?
- What chores can they help you with (without you having to go back and do it again!)?
- Is it better for them to work together or separately?
Keep an eye out for my next post on our DAILY routine and how this helps me deal with homeschooling and mom life while not having the Things trigger a “mom’s head just exploded” moment!
And by the way, you are nailing the mom life already!