Have you ever wondered how to have a stress free homeschool morning?It is possible to have a productive and happy morning with your kids at home, but you do need to follow some basic guidelines.
It’s always hard for me to get into a homeschool routine after the lazy days of summer. In fact, when I first started homeschooling I mistakenly thought every day would be a lazy summer day!
I was very wrong, and quickly found out that a basic schedule and routine was the key to a stress free homeschool morning.
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How to Have a Stress Free Homeschool Morning
Homeschooling your children does not need to be stressful. In fact, it is possible to enjoy the time at home with your kids. However, there are things you can do to make your homeschool mornings stress free!
Homeschool mornings can look two different ways. First, there are our normal days, when all the lessons are at home and we don’t have any appointments, co-ops, or activities.
Second there are days when we have to be somewhere. Each morning looks different, but these tips will make both types of mornings a whole lot easier!
Even if you aren’t going anywhere, I highly recommend having a morning routine. This routine needs to be clearly explained to all the kids so they know what is expected of them every morning.
Get up Before Your Kids
This is probably the most important component in a successful homeschool day, but it’s also the hardest.
When you are home with your kids all day, it’s easy to stay up later in the evenings because it might be your only time in a quiet home. However, staying up late makes it really hard to get up early.
Getting up before your kids, getting dressed and having a few minutes of peace and quiet will transform your day. If you don’t you will be playing catch-up all morning.
Wake Up Time
The nice thing about homeschooling is that your days can be more relaxed. By the same token, too much relaxing makes it hard to get all the work completed.
Set a wake up time for each child and make sure they stick to it. I recommend some kind of consequence if they don’t wake up on time. For us, it usually means extra chores or less screen time.
Prep Schoolwork the Night Before
Make sure all electronics are charged the night before, all assignments are printed out, and everyone has a pencil. I cannot tell you how much time we’ve wasted looking for a book or piece of paper.
This will cut down on the excuses as well.
Also, remember to talk with your kids the night before about what is expected of them for the next day.
Make Time for Breakfast
One huge benefit of homeschooling is that you are able to eat breakfast together if you want to. A more stress free homeschool morning might lend itself to making pancakes or waffles and give the family a little big of time together before people get started on their day.
Breakfast is a great time to discuss what needs to be done during the day in a way that is less demanding. A casual conversation over breakfast is significantly more effective than one had through a closed bedroom door at 8am. (ask me how I know this)
Build in Time for Breaks & Snacks
If you aren’t use to having your kids home on a daily basis, the amount of food they consume will surprise you.
Build in time for small breaks (15 minutes) and snacks during the morning. Kids need time to stretch, run around, and talk to their siblings especially if they are use to being around 25 other kids normally.
It does not take 8 hours a day to homeschool kids of any grade. Traditional schools have to build in buffer time for changing classes, bathroom breaks, and difficult students.
Your children should be able to finish a full day of school in a couple of hours. This gives them time for playing outside, making crafts, chatting with friends, and other fun activities.
While I’ll never be the one that always arrives fresh and early to co-op, ready to coordinate all the last-minute details, I have developed some strategies that work for our family of four kids (including a toddler) that help get us out the door on time and with no fighting.
Lay Out Clothes the Night Before
Yes, mom, even your own clothes!
I’m usually the last one in bed at night, so I lay all of our outfits, down to the socks and shoes, on the couch in separate piles. I tend to put my clothes and the toddler’s clothes on his changing table so I can get dressed right before I get him going.
I wake the bigger kids up and direct them out to get their clothes and then they scatter. My 11 year old heads to the bathroom to dress, my four year old gets dressed right in the family room, and my seven year old makes a beeline for her room.
Pajamas get folded and placed on their beds if they’re wearing them again, or thrown down the chute if they need to be washed. Then we all head into the kitchen.
Prepare Breakfast the Night Before
On co-op or class days, I don’t cook. The night before, I set the table with the makings for cereal, yogurt and granola, or muffins and fruit.
- Cereal: Boxes or containers with cereal are set in the middle of the table, bowls, spoons, and napkins are at the kids’ places, and milk is accessible in the refrigerator. They can serve themselves and the oldest helps the toddler manage without too many messes (hopefully).
- Yogurt and Granola: We make our own, so I leave the mason jars of plain yogurt in the refrigerator, put out bowls and spoons, and set out a variety of mix-ins, such as granola, dried fruit, nuts, honey, cinnamon, and fruit. Make your own granola with this easy and delicious recipe.
- Muffins and Fruit: I do not bake muffins on days when we need to be out of the house, but on days we’re staying home, I often bake double and triple batches and put the extras in the freezer. When I am preparing the table for the next day, I pull them out of the freezer, put the muffins on a platter, cover them loosely, and let them thaw overnight. If the kids want them warmed, my 11 year old takes care of that using the microwave. I also set out a big bowl of fruit so the kids can pick what they want from it.
Try these muffin recipes and find your family’s favorite:
- Whole Wheat Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
- Brown Sugar Cinnamon Muffins
- Chocolate Chip Honey Pumpkin Muffins
- Whole Wheat Mocha Banana Muffins
Load the Car
I try to load as much as I can the night before. With four kids, this can be quite a lot of stuff. For co-op days that includes the materials I need to teach two or three classes (depending on the semester), a diaper bag for the toddler, extra clothes for my accident-prone preschooler, snacks and lunches, water bottles, and kids’ backpacks and supplies.
Class materials, backpacks, extra clothes, and even snacks and water bottles can be prepared the night before and loaded. I fill the kids’ water bottles at night and put them in the refrigerator to wait. All we need to do in the morning after breakfast is grab lunches and water bottles and hop in the van.
Prepare Travel Friendly Foods
I spend some time on the weekends cutting veggies, fruit, and cheese cubes. That way, I can gather healthy snacks and lunches really easily. We buy very little prepackaged snack items, preferring to bake cookies, granola bars, and to make trail mixes in large batches. This makes it easy to pull together snacks and lunches without having to rely on high priced and heavily processed food items.
Program the Coffee Pot
Okay, so this one may be just for me, but I need my coffee in the morning. I need my first cup before anyone speaks to me, and having it ready for me when I wake up is such a blessing. (If you have a Keurig or other instant, single-serve pot, disregard this.) And yes, I need more than one cup, so I tend to refill at least once while I’m still home. I also take a thermos to stash in the stroller at co-op.
Remember, above all things, that you homeschool to provide your kids with the best of all educational opportunities and to help instill a love of learning and an appreciation for family. If you’re stressed and yelling every time you leave the house, your kids will not have the best memories of family outings, and they’ll tend to dread these days.
When you take time to prepare ahead, you are taking the time to slow down and enjoy your family. Reducing stress always begins with us, moms. Take the time to eliminate stress on busy mornings by preparing ahead, and your family will thrive.