The Homeschooling Morning Ritual

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The morning can swallow your time if you don't have a ritual in place especially when you’re homeschooling.

You wake up, do a few things like have a cup of coffee and read a book. You’re savoring your quiet time, because you know your children will soon be up and it'll be about 16 hours before you'll be off duty again.

The morning hours before everyone wakes up are like gold.

Slowly, one child emerges, and then another, and then another. As they emerge, you spend some time with each one while the morning blooms.

A little later you realize the morning is getting on and no one has had breakfast yet.

Not only that, but everyone is still in their pajamas including yourself. You gather your children up to get dressed and to make their beds.

You do the same.  You’re now dressed and ready but an hour has passed, the morning is in full bloom, and you're still trying to get your children to get themselves ready for breakfast.

You go into the kitchen to make breakfast. By now everyone is hungry and grumpy. You start cooking. You get through breakfast, and then it's time to clean up.

You look at the clock and panic. It's 11 a.m., and you haven't started teaching a single subject yet!

The panic sets in.

This is how your morning will go if you don't set a morning ritual in place. And when you’re homeschooling, you absolutely must have a morning ritual to be productive.

You also need a morning ritual in place so you don’t end up an overwhelmed mess. This would not be a good example for the little ones.

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To implement your morning ritual, you’ll need to decide what will get done, at what time, and you need to stay razor focused employing at all time a good dose of discipline.

Decide first what time you will wake up (which also means you need to decide what time you’ll go to sleep!). If you need downtime in the morning, and I strongly recommend this, then make sure you wake up at least an hour early. Two hours would be even better.

Get yourself dressed before your children wake up. Have a cup of coffee. Spend your time doing something that matters to you like reading, exercise, prayer, and meditation. Whatever it is, pencil it in and make sure you have enough time in the morning to do it.

Whatever you pencil in, beginning with what time you wake up, will become your morning ritual.

You want to follow your morning ritual with what I call the Offspring ritual.

Teach your children to get into the habit of getting up at a certain hour each day and performing their own morning ritual. Your children wake up, brush their teeth, get dressed, put their dirty clothes in the hamper, make their beds, and come in for breakfast by a certain time.

That time is when you call them, but it's good to call them around the same time every day. Eating on a schedule is much easier on the body than random meal times, and having a specific time to eat should be a part of your morning ritual.

So while they're getting dressed, you're preparing breakfast.

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After breakfast, the children clean up while you get ready to homeschool.

Now the homeschool ritual begins.

On some days you might go out for an outing, so the school routine is obviously for the days when you stay home and teach your children.

Do you have a designated school room? It's better if you do, but not everyone has an extra room to spare, especially if you're living in a place where the real estate prices are high.

If you don’t have a spare school room, as I didn’t, then you want to designate an area in your home for school things, and there they live.

It doesn't mean children can't read a book while outside sitting on the grass or do a science experiment in the kitchen, but having a place to put things at the end of the day will help keep everyone organized.

If you do have a school room, you should head straight there and examine your plan for the day. Your homeschool plan should have already been mapped out and reviewed the night before.

Get your mind in gear for teaching, and ring your school bell!

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My mother lived on a ranch in her later years, in fact, we called it "The Ranch," and she had a cowbell she'd ring at dinnertime when we'd have family gatherings.

I love the sound of a bell even though I don't think you should ring it every time you want your children to change subjects.

But still, it's a nice touch to begin the school day.

I love essential oils too, so if you love them, then you can also sprinkle your children with oils like Frankincense for memory, peppermint for focus and energy, or lavender if you need to calm a child down.

The oil ritual gives them a pleasant sensory memory that they’ll associate with homeschooling.

A general rule is to teach your most essential subjects first, the ones that if there were an interruption to your day, you could still relax knowing you'd gotten those finished.

I think of language arts—except for literature, which I'd save for later—and math for the morning hours.

Leave room to be flexible when the situation warrants it and leave room for off days. I don’t mean non-school days, I mean those days when a child wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and doesn’t seem to be able to get much done. We all have them.

Your children should know that you mean business, and you should expect them to do their best work. But coat the homeschooling business with fun.

Give them breaks every hour to get up and stretch or run around the block or jump on a trampoline. It's not easy for children to sit still for too long, and it's better for their thinking power to get a good dose of oxygen into their brains.

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You want to schedule a long lunchtime break when they can eat and then go outside and play for a while.

Let the morning hours be the more intense hours of study, and in the afternoon you can take it easy. Read some history, do a science experiment, read a story out loud.

Let the children have some reading time to read books of their own choice. Let them pursue their hobbies: practice an instrument, do some artwork, or play a sport.

The point is to keep a schedule that you adhere to or the day will slip right past you. If you don’t keep to a schedule, too many times you’ll find that the afternoon has rolled around, and you’ll have barely made it past grammar.

It happened to me more than once. I speak from experience!

If you're a homeschooler, I'm sure you know what I mean. Create a morning ritual—yours and theirs—and then create a homeschool ritual and stick to it.

Try to finish homeschooling around the same time each day, so everyone has leisure time before dinner including, and most importantly, yourself!

☛ Don’t forget to leave a comment below and let me know what resonates with you!

If you liked this, you might enjoy my free download 7 Steps to Raising Children Who Love to Read.

Elizabeth Y. Hanson is a veteran homeschooling consultant and certified parenting coach.