One thing I’ve learned during the past 5 years of homeschooling is that the perfect routine is a moving target. It seems like we need to reevaluate and reorganize our school routines every few months to fit our current season of life.
Right now we are using a secret tool that has totally revolutionized our homeschool time. It’s pretty simple, really and can be implemented easily in your home as well. The huge change that’s making all the difference? We call it Morning Time.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found that my kids drag their feet doing morning jobs. They play and read and lounge about while I’m getting work done and then I end up nagging and pushing and prodding them to get stuff done so we can start on schoolwork. Morning Time flips this struggle on its head.
At 9:00 each weekday morning (except Thursdays, which are our Co-op days) you will find us tromping down to the schoolroom. If we’re lucky, Elijah is still sleeping at this point. (He’s a great sleeper!) We barricade ourselves in the school room for some focused learning and read aloud time. Everything we need is in one place, our morning time basket.
Our routine looks like this:
Scripture Memorization work
A little scripture study and journaling
Read an article from The Friend
Read a quote from Images and Testimonies of The Living Christ
Read a page or two of poetry from Favorite Poems Old and New.
Read two pages of our (favorite, delightful, amazing, best fit for us yet….) Science curriculum
Read a chapter or two from our current read-aloud. These are always based on the historical time period we are studying.
While I am doing all this reading aloud, the kids are drawing pages for their science or history notebooks. Ellie will also diagram a sentence or two and Ethan does Explode the Code and handwriting during this time. Once a week I introduce an art journal page and they work on their pages while I read. They also might color in our favorite coloring books and Ethan plays quietly with legos pretty often.
This focused time generally takes an hour, maybe a little more if we decide to read more of our read-aloud book.
After morning time, the kids split up and do their independent work. Math, writing assignments and assigned reading (based on the historical time period we’re studying) for Ellie, reading practice and math for Ethan all happen during this time.
Of course their are squabbles. Sometimes we can’t find a book we need. Sometimes people are grumpy or Mama is stressed, but I can’t adequately express the difference this has brought about in our home. I am nagging less, I feel like we are accomplishing more (and we are doing it more happily, too!) and we are checking a full day of school off our to-do list well before other commitments can crowd out the important things I have always wanted to include in our homeschool, but could never make happen before because they were always last on the list. Now that poetry and devotionals are first on the list it happens every single day.
And the kids are also more motivated to do their jobs afterword. They have to have chores and piano practice done before they can have any screen time or play with friends. That is much better motivation to move quickly through chores than me prompting them to hurry so we can go “do school”. They want to get to the fun stuff, so I don’t have to nag them and keep them on task.
We are year-round homeschoolers so we’ll continue this schedule throughout the summer months, adding it in on Thursdays when our co-op ends for the summer.
I feel like I’m gushing a little bit, but I really can’t describe what a difference this simple change has made for us.