If your mornings look more like a scene out of a horror film than an old MGM musical you are not alone.
Trying to motivate three kids to start school — dealing with all of these different personalities and people who have their own agendas and want to do their own thing really makes for tough mornings around here.
So much so that I have had to develop some strategies to get our days off to a better start.
Always start your morning with a plan
All I mean by this is to simply know what you’re going to do first. It doesn’t have to be a fancy plan. It doesn’t have to be a complicated plan.
The afternoon before, the evening before, right before you go to bed — sometime before the morning — decide what it is you’re going to start with the next day and maybe do a little prep to get that ready.
Because if you have very young kids, if you’ve been up half the night with a baby, if you have a toddler, if you have a bunch of kids, not knowing where you’re starting in the morning is one of those things that causes your stress levels to rise just a little bit before you even get started with your day.
I love using a routine where we start with exactly the same thing. If you like to start with a little more variety, that’s ok too.
Always start your homeschool morning with delight
Mark Twain has this saying that if you eat a frog first thing in the morning, the rest of the day is only going to get better. (That’s a paraphrase there.)
Here’s the deal. There are a lot of productivity books written about this very thing. Eat your frog in the morning, get the worst thing out of the way and your day is only going to get better after that. That works fine for productivity, but honestly, it doesn’t work all that great for homeschooling.
And the reason is homeschooling is about relationships.
It’s about building relationships with your kids and it’s about the way you interact together. And a lot of times trying to force that productivity is not going to be very good for those relationships.
So what I encourage you to do instead is start your day with something delightful, something everyone enjoys and everyone looks forward to.
I have a saying myself — you should never start your homeschool day with math and for probably about 85% of us. That is the truth.
That is the place where our kids kind of get frustrated and struggle and run up against a wall, and we often do that ourselves as a homeschool teacher.
Now, if you’re one of those families or you have some of those kids who absolutely love mathematics, that’s where you should begin, but for most of us, choose something else, whether that be that read aloud or a documentary or maybe even doing some music appreciation or a little bit of art. Anything you could do to get your day off on a much nicer foot.
In our home, we do something called Morning Time or Morning Basket which is a delightful practice.
Always start your homeschool morning with a song
I’m not talking about singing a song. Instead, I’m talking about playing a song
Years ago when my kids were much younger, I would always be ready to start the school day, but my kids would be off doing something else.
Maybe they would be playing legos or playing in their room. Some of them would be dragging their feet and getting a very slow start to the morning.
I was ready to go and they were not. I would say, “it’s time to start school.” Wait a few more minutes. “It’s time to start school.” And then most of the time I would yell.
It was really not pleasant by the time it was all over. And it was such a frustrating sticking point to our day. It made my insides feel icky that this was the way we were beginning each day.
So this is what I did. I chose an upbeat, happy song that we now use to start our homeschool day. I use my little Bluetooth speaker and play it every morning.
What the kids came to learn from hearing this song is they have from the time the song starts until the time the song is over to finish up whatever it is they’re doing, get whatever it is they want to bring to the table with them and get to the table.
If they need a snack, they get that too. Then they’re seated at the table and ready to begin the day as soon as that song is over.
It gives them a few minutes of transition time, and I stopped having to yell. I just play the song loud enough that they can hear it wherever they are in the house and it has worked wonderfully.
There are a few moms in my community who have been using this for a couple of years now, and they say their kids need a little more time, so they have a short playlist of three or four songs that they use instead of a single song.
Want my list of song ideas and a few more tips for better mornings? Download my FREE Better Homeschool Mornings Guide today. Click here to access the guide.