Mention the famous (or infamous) words “homeschool morning routine,” and you’ll likely get a myriad of responses – some positive, some not so much. Often the negative ones involve some assumptions about morning routines that just aren’t true.
Here are a few common routine myths that our veteran homeschooling community has put to rest:
Myth 1: I’m not organized enough for a homeschool morning routine.
Very few of us are super organized, ultra-detailed mamas who can somehow juggle and color-code our day down to the last second! Yet many longtime homeschoolers have found they can create a morning routine that benefits everyone involved.
“Though it is not my style to have a structured routine, I am trying to establish boundaries and better habits for my kids,” wrote one homeschool mom. In other words, anyone can set up a general “guideline” for how a typical morning (or afternoon, for that matter) should proceed.
If you’re having some trouble establishing guidelines that work, see our previous post about creating a morning routine tailored to your homeschool.
Myth 2: Even if I set a routine, my kids will hate it.
Oddly enough, many homeschoolers have found their students eventually embrace a morning routine even if they put up some initial resistance. Once they know the boundaries and expectations, kids tend to thrive in an atmosphere where they know what’s coming next.
As one mom writes, creating a routine spurred some welcome changes and a little friendly household competition. “Lately, my kids have been getting themselves up, eating breakfast, and then having a race to see who gets their math done first!”
Myth 3: A homeschool morning routine doesn’t help when life just happens.
Facing sudden job loss, a death in the family, or other unexpected emergencies? Many of our members experience these and other traumas, and have found ways to cope. But even in these events, a routine can actually help lessen some of the other burdens you may be feeling.
An important tip is not to make your family fit your routine, but fit your routine to your family. If you need to homeschool in the summer because of a stressful season, go for it. Your routine can give you that flexibility when you need it.
Another community suggestion is to work adequate sleep and mandatory cleaning schedules into your homeschool. Share the load with other friends and family who are willing to help.
Perhaps most importantly, remember to give yourself some grace. As one wise homeschool mom wrote, “Just take time to set the priorities, and when the unexpected comes, such as illness, deal with it and school later.”
Myth 4: Routines just stress me out. I’d rather go with the flow.
Actually, routines can help families go with the flow by creating order – even if it’s an order that changes as needed!
“I have found that routine tends to make everyone function better,” one homeschooler wrote. “I am not a schedule nazi, but I do like to have a general flow to our days and an order of events.”
Routines also have the side benefit of letting you add other things to your plate as needed. Want to take one of the many available day trips near Kansas City? You can plan for those by incorporating them weeks, if not months, in advance into your school schedule.
Myth 5: My family’s unusual work schedules won’t allow for a routine.
You might be surprised to know how many homeschool families work second or even third shifts. If that’s the case, you may not be able to set a “morning” routine – unless it’s just to sleep in – but your afternoons and evenings could definitely benefit from a set schedule!
(See more tips about balancing homeschool and work shifts here.)
Myth 6: Homeschool morning routines only work when kids are a certain age.
Well, it depends on the kids, but we know homeschoolers who have successfully recruited 2- and 3-year-olds into their morning routines!
Here’s the morning routine of Dawn Pittman, one of the speakers at our annual homeschool workshop:
“We have followed the same routine for our 13 years of homeschooling. Breakfast is at 8:00. Before breakfast, the kids do their morning routine, which includes grooming and personal chores (make bed, pick up room), plus their ‘team assignment’ which is a job to help the family. (Feed animals, start laundry, etc.)
When they were little, we all worked side by side. As they grew, they became responsible to do things on their own, freeing me to wake up and spend time with Jesus before I also did my own chores. They are 11 and older now. They set their alarms, get themselves up, etc. and even the youngest have for the last three years.
They don’t always get things done perfectly, but when they ‘forget’ or don’t get up (which is rare), they are still expected to do their morning routine before starting school. BIG BUMMER if you miss breakfast or everyone else finishes school first. Natural consequences….”
Myth 7: You’ve almost convinced me. But I’ve tried routines before, and none of them has worked.
It’s possible that you’re thinking of a routine as something that must be followed to the letter (or the minute). Maybe if you thought of it more as a flow or “mind map” as to how your day should unfold, you might be encouraged to try again.
For example, many veteran homeschoolers won’t think in terms of a routine, but more of a set of guidelines – breakfast, several set topics in the morning, lunch, and then free time in the afternoon.
If this is an area where you struggle with, you have a wealth of resources and support at your fingertips! Simply reach out to one of our friendly mentoring moms and see how they work out their routines. They would always love to hear from you.
Liked this article? You’ll love our 11 early homeschool mistakes to avoid!