My Morning Routine (As A Homeschool Mom Of Five)

For years I dragged myself out of the bed in the mornings, and I internally cringed any time I heard a blogger talk about the importance of "getting up before your kids".  All I could think was "how?".  How did all these moms manage to get up that early! I couldn't figure it out, and I resented the suggestion a little bit.  

Today I wanted to talk about my current morning routine, but before I do that, I just want to say that if you have kids under the age of 2, just forget about it.   Your sleep is more important right now than figuring out how to have the perfect morning routine.  You just focus on staying perky through those baby years any way you need to, okay?

Sometime after Georgie turned one, and I found myself NOT pregnant with a new baby as I had been when the last several kids turned one, I decided to slowly figure out a morning routine that worked for me. 

Full disclosure - it's still not a perfect morning routine.  I barely manage to get up before my early-bird kids, and there are weeks (like this week) when I don't get up before them at all.  It's still a work in progress, but I wanted to share how our mornings usually go.  On the days when I do manage to follow our routine, it feels like the whole day goes smoother. Developing a routine is a little thing that has made a big difference for my productivity and state of mind!  So here we go.

Between 6:15-6:45 - The sun starts to peek over the hills, and my internal alarm clock sounds!  I leave the curtains open in the room in the spring and summer so the sun will wake me up, but I'll probably start setting an alarm clock in the winter months. I quickly wash my face and brush my teeth, get dressed, and head downstairs.  I can usually squeeze in at least 15 minutes of golden coffee-and-Bible time before I start to hear the singsong voices coming from their rooms.  I'm still a little too sleep deprived to get up earlier than this, but 15 minutes ahead I can manage. 

7:00-7:30 - The kids are awake, and I have them make their beds and get dressed before they come downstairs.  Sometimes I'll let them watch a show while I make breakfast, which is usually some variation of oatmeal (cheapest breakfast I can find, so we have it often). I empty the dishwasher while the water is boiling.

7:30-8:00 - Once breakfast is ready, they will eat while I read to the kids or do our "morning time", which includes Bible memory, catechism, and a hymn. I usually try to read from one of our Bible resources or devotions too.

8:00-8:30 - I clean up the table after breakfast, and I'll get Wyatt (4th grade) and Gwen (2nd grade) started on language arts.  The big kids work on independent work and the little kids play while I go finish fixing my hair and makeup for the day.

8:30-9:00 - I come back downstairs and start Clyde's math and reading (1st grade), which usually takes 30-45 minutes.  If the big kids finish language arts, I'll have them start handwriting practice or Bible workbooks until I finish with Clyde's lessons. 

9:00-10:30 - Once I'm finished with Clyde's work, I'll get Wyatt started on his math since his level includes more independent work (after I explain the new concept).  Then while he's doing his worksheets, I'll get Gwen started on her math.  After that I'll do her phonics lesson while Wyatt moves on to his history curriculum. The little girls usually play in their rooms or outside all morning, but if I get desperate I'll put on a video for them.  

10:30-11:30 - If all goes well, the kids are finished with all their individual work by 10:30 or so, and we can squeeze in reading our science book or a history read-aloud all together. The little girls join us for this too.  If it's science, I usually have the kids do some sort of notebooking activity as well.

11:30 - 12:00 - Make and eat lunch!  I usually either read them another book while they eat, or if I need a break from reading aloud I might clean up the house a bit before our afternoon quiet time.

And that's our weekday morning routine. The first month of the school year this was working particularly well, but the last two or three weeks our routine has been a little messier than this, and sometimes we'll need to finish up some work in the afternoon.  October is a very busy time of year for us, and especially this year it has been a little crazy because of our car breaking down multiple times. But by November things should be quieter and we'll get back to a little more consistency.

My Thoughts About Morning Routines:

If you have young kids who don't sleep well, don't worry about it.  Like I said above, it took me years to even feel like I could manage getting up before my kids, even for 15 minutes.  The day will come when things will click and it'll work.  If that's not right now, that's okay.  

If you have slow mornings and like it that way, keep them! I look back in fondness now on our slow, unstructured mornings when all my kids were tiny.  It was nice to wake up slowly, and meander a bit in the morning before getting our day started. We need our mornings to be structured now with more kids doing schoolwork, but if you can make your mornings slow and you're enjoying it, don't succumb to the get-up-before-your-kids pressure.  Just enjoy it.

Coffee is a lifesaver.  You know what really gets me up and out of bed in the morning?  Coffee.  Derek makes a pot in the morning, and I smell it all the way up the stairs.  Just the thought of curling into my chair for a few minutes of quiet with my Bible and's what get's me moving, honestly.  I think it's perfectly acceptable to let a hot beverage be your morning motivator.

If you are feeling like your mornings aren't structured enough for your liking, start small.  You don't need to be superwoman and get up an hour before daylight.  Like I said, I barely make it out of bed 15 minutes before my kids a lot of days.  But even that tiny little bit of time has been a game changer for me.  It allows me to get my mind right before our morning really starts, and I don't feel like I'm starting the day already behind.  And saving just a few minutes to pray for my kids before they come running downstairs helps me a lot in remembering my goal as a mom - to teach my kids about Jesus and lead them to Him.  Having those few minutes to put that in the forefront of my mind has been wonderful for shifting my perspective and keeping me calmer when the morning craziness starts!

Do you have a regular morning routine, or are you in a slow-morning stage of life?  

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Megan said...

I’ve always been an early riser morning person but for the last 4 years I’ve either been pregnant or nursing a baby. I always feel bad that I don’t do enough but honestly sleep is really important right now ( I’m 33 weeks pregnant). I love reading about other mothers morning routine and I love how you don’t try to squeeze everything in before your kids get up. So relatable and realistic! Thank you!

Amanda said...

I wish I'd read your wise words about not waking up before your kids when I had babies. It is SO true! My kids are early risers, too, and it's all I can do to get out of bed when I hear them wake. Going to bed early isn't a great option for me because that's the only time I get to spend with my night owl husband! Coffee is definitely a huge morning motivator for me, too.

Michelle said...

I love you for saying it’s ok to sleep when you have babies. At my baby shower in March, MULTIPLE people told me to wake up before the baby. I politely smiled and nodded and thought NOPE. Once Gracie was a toddler, I had a good routine of waking up early to read my Bible. I tried to start doing it again once Clara turned 4 months old, only because the mornings are my only moment of alone time. I woke up an hour before she would typically get up, and of course she woke up an hour early that morning and has been doing it ever since. Of course! So I haven’t been getting up that early, I usually have a baby with me, and I just make Gracie play in her room for a bit. It’s working for

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