I have tried many things in our homeschool from different schedules, various curricula, and varying arrangements of furniture for our homeschool room. Some things worked wonderfully while others were a dismal failure. I can admit that sometimes I get things wrong. Other times, I just might get it right. And sometimes, I have no idea if what I’m doing is working or not.
However, I know one thing that it is working well for us. What is the most important thing I’ve done right for our homeschool? Having a set start time for each school day.
Ok, so there are many benefits of homeschooling. Flexibility is one. Staying in your pjs all day is definitely another. Choosing how to structure your day is another.
Well, I’ve chosen to have a set start time for each of our school days. School does not begin when I feel like it or when my kids decide to roll out of bed. Why not?
I don’t want to be unsure of the end time of our homeschool. I know how long a school day takes us and I don’t want to be schooling well into the evening. I don’t want to be wondering if I’ll have some spare time to do dishes or laundry after school or be worried that I will have to stop school to make dinner.
I don’t want to let my kids get lost in their own pursuits and then have to drag them away in order to start school. I want them to have lots of time after schoolwork is done that they can play without interruption.
I don’t want to allow myself time to get involved with my own pursuits and then have to stop and drag myself through a school day, all the while thinking about what I was doing before I began school.
To keep myself motivated and on track, I’ve decided to set a time when our day begins.
Would you like to know our start time? It’s 6 AM.
Do I sound crazy?
Well, I only wake up my oldest at this time. Tiger’s (1st grade) school starts between 7:15 and 7:30 so I make sure he’s awake by then.
It sounds early doesn’t it?
But think about this. Our neighborhood school begins at 7:45. I would need to be out the door by 7 to get her to school on time factoring in time to sit in the long drop-off line. I would need to get everyone up by a 6 or 6:30 in time to get everyone get dressed, fed, packed, and loaded in the car with hair fixed, outfits adjusted, and lunchboxes ready to go.
So, instead of getting my kids up early for a crazy early morning rush, I put on a comfy hoodie and some fuzzy socks and head upstairs to our loft school room. I make some hot chocolate for Curly (3rd grade) and turn on the essential oils diffuser as well as some Mozart or Debussy.
Curly sets her own alarm and appears in the school room a few minutes before 6. She is wearing her pjs and is wrapped in her favorite blanket. We start our morning with Bible and then finish the majority of her main subjects by 7:15 when it’s time for Tiger to join us for history.
The best part of having a set start time? I have an estimated end time. I know when my school day should end and I can take a deep breath and make it to that time knowing that I will have a break. My kids are motivated to jump right in to our school day because they know that completed work means lots of free playtime for them.
So, while having an early set start time to our school day was an adjustment, it has done wonders for our homeschool. A set start time makes school a priority and insures that school is completed first in our day. Then the rest of the day is left for us to pursue our own interests with a sense of satisfaction knowing that school is done.