{Homeschool LOVE} Why I Love our Early Morning Start Times

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Take a look at my homeschool schedule….you can view it here.

Did you notice that my homeschool day starts at a ridiculously early hour? I’ve had many, many, many comments (and, umm, criticisms) about this part of my schedule.

To some it seems absolutely insane.
Ok, well, to most people it apparently sounds insane.
Nearly everyone tells me that there is NO WAY that they could get up that early and do school with their kids. You know, they are not morning people and neither are their kids – things like that.
Others think my early start sounds rather strict and regimented. They think I’m a little bit mean even.

And that’s ok I guess. I’ll just brush off the criticisms. Except, know that I’m really a nice person, I promise. My kids usually like me on most days.

The beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility, and you should absolutely do what works for your family. Go for it! Embrace your own crazy and chaos.

However, this schedule is my own special kind of crazy and it works. It really works at my house! In fact, our early morning start time is something that I’ve come to love about our homeschool.

Here’s how our morning time works during the week:

  • I rotate which child is the first to wake up on a given day.

I created a schedule in which Curly (4th grade) is up first on Monday and Tuesday. Tiger (2nd grade) is the first one up on Wednesdays and Bee (1st grade) wakes up first on Thursdays.
For Friday I often rotate who gets up first. It’s usually whichever child has some catching up to do. Sometimes I even get two children up on that day to work on things together.
My kids know the night before who is going to be the first one awake the next morning. That child is responsible for setting an alarm and getting up with the alarm. It’s been a great way to teach them some responsibility as well!

  • I spend about 1 hour (and with Curly – 4th grade – it’s usually 1 1/2 hours) working with my early morning child. Then I wake up another child to work with me for 30 minutes to an hour before breakfast begins. (I rotate who is the second one up each morning as well).
In this morning time of an hour or more, I am usually able to complete much of that child’s schoolwork. We have the basics of reading, math, writing, spelling, and foreign language done for the day. It gives us such a huge feeling of accomplishment.
  • I create a special atmosphere for our morning time.

During our morning time, my kids sip on hot chocolate or hot tea and munch on a snack while we work on school together. The house is silent and our homeschool room is warm and welcoming – music is playing in the background and the essential oils diffuser is on with one of our favorite scents. School is actually peaceful. And it’s also insanely-effecient because I have ZERO interruptions.

These are the reasons why we now LOVE our early morning start time:

Quiet individual time
With our morning schedule I enjoy individual time with each of my older children. They have my uninterrupted time and attention for at least one morning per week. It allows me to assess their progress and provide them with any remedial help that they might need – in quiet and focused setting. I love our little chats over schoolwork as they have the freedom to work with me one-on-one for that morning.

School becomes a priority
School is done first thing in our house – before phone calls and emails and playtime and playdates and field trips. I have confidence in knowing that our basics will be covered on a daily basis because school is a morning priority. We are able to start on school without fighting against other distractions. My kids get my undivided attention during our school day and my kids are more focused.

We have a set end time
I think this is one of the biggest benefits of having a set starting time – we know every day when our school with end. Of course, this varies slightly when we spend extra time on a subject or need more review, but overall, we know when we can expect school to be finished. When I can see that daily finish line, I am much more motivated to keep pressing forward even when days are hard.

I have more free time
I’ve found that when I get school started right away and survive to the finish line (of around 2 PM) I’m left with free time for myself. I’ve filled this time with exercising, showering, reading, and blogging. I love knowing that I can reward myself for a homeschool day well done by having a little time to myself without any guilt.

Extra play time
Starting early in the morning and finishing school early in the afternoon leaves our schedule free for my kids to have more play time. My kids look forward to the end of school when they can play together or follow their own interests.
Also, the child who was the first one up in the morning has double the amount of playtime – he or she gets to play for most of the morning while I school the other children. My kids have started to recognize this benefit and have begun to enjoy the time when they get to direct the playtime with the younger girls – they love being the one in charge while the other older kids are doing school.

I feel accomplished
Knowing that school was completed in the morning leaves me with such a huge feeling of accomplishment. I love feeling productive! Once school is complete, I find I am much more motivated to spend some time cleaning the house or doing something to pursue an interest of mine. School is checked off my list and I have room for other pursuits. My day starts well with my priority activity of homeschooling and my day ends well because I feel peace knowing that I accomplished a goal for the day.

While my kids don’t especially enjoying waking up in the morning (and let’s be honest, neither do I), once we are together in our homeschool room we enjoy each other’s company and I’ve loved having the individual time with each of them. We also all enjoy the extra free time we have in the afternoons!
Our mornings start off in such a peaceful way and it sets the tone for our entire day to be productive, efficient, fun, and low-stress. Our set start time is one of the best things I’ve done for our homeschool.
Do you have a set start or end time to your homeschool day? Do you follow a schedule in your homeschool?
And if you need some help managing your day here are a few resources that you might find helpful.

Linked up with Hip Homeschool Moms

9 thoughts on “{Homeschool LOVE} Why I Love our Early Morning Start Times

  1. First off—thank you for all of your helpful information on this blog. I have read it for awhile now. Your info helped me to discover Right Start Math and we LOVE it at our house! Thank you!
    I love this idea of starting early, but I am curious about something—do any of your kids share bedrooms? If so, how do they get up with the alarm without waking the others? I’ve often thought of getting my older child (who is 8) up early to start school but she shares a room with her 6 year old and 4 year old siblings. Any suggestions?

    1. My kids do share rooms. My oldest (11) shares a room with her 4-year-old sister. The younger sister is a heavy sleeper and sleeps through the alarm. On the off occasion that she does wake up, we gently tell her to go back to sleep and she usually does. My 7 year old shares with her 6 year old sister – again the 6 year old is a super heavy sleeper and the alarm does not ever wake her up. In the past I’ve also snuck into the room to wake up the older child and I have been able to sneak back out with the older child without waking up the sibling. Would it work better if you snuck into the room? I don’t know how my kids can sleep through the alarms. The older ones are now used to getting up at that time so their body clock seems to wake them up right away.

  2. I love the idea of getting up this early and starting the school day. I think it’s good for setting habits for their internal clocks to wake early instead of sleeping half the day away when they become teenagers! I think I will try to work towards this goal…with baby steps because my internal clock is broken! lol! I want to cry at getting up at 7AM and coherent thoughts are hard to come by until I’ve sipped a cup of coffee. I’m new to homeschooling so I don’t want to start out with the crazy expectation of getting myself and any of my kids awake and “thinking” by 6AM! 🙂

    1. Definitely start slow! Set a start time at 8 am and then move it up if you want to. It took me several years to be awake and functioning at 6, but now I really love our early mornings. We all feel more productive now that we have our morning routine.

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