3 Steps to a Calmer Homeschool Morning

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3 Steps to a Calmer Homeschool Morning • homeschool schedules • time management
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of trying to juggle homeschooling multiple grades, keep up your home, invest in your marriage, and have a little time to breathe? Do you feel like your schedule is too packed and your to-do list is too long?

If so, you might be in need of a makeover to your routine that leads to a calmer homeschool morning.

You see, the morning sets the tone for your whole day. When the morning goes well, the rest of the day usually goes well. And conversely, when you wake up rushed and harried, those feelings often filter down into your entire day.

I’ve spent the last few years working on changing my approach to morning, and while I’m far from perfect (you should have seen me running around like a crazy woman to get out the door for an appointment the other morning!), here are three keys I’ve found that are imperative to having a better morning.

1. Begin the Night Before

You're tired at night. I totally get that. I am, too. In fact, most nights, I can't wait to get some comfy pants on, put my feet up, and enjoy a good book or movie.

But I've found that if I take 15 minutes to prep for the next day, I do myself a huge favor. I use these 15 minutes to do three main things:

  1. Quickly clean up the main living areas of our home.
  2. Look over our plans for the next day and make a short to-do list or loose schedule for the next day.
  3. If I have anywhere I need to go (appointments, field trip, errands, lessons, etc.), I get together everything I need to get out the door the next day (diaper bag, library books to return, etc.).

When I do these three tasks, I enjoy crawling into bed and curling up with a book much more because I know I have things in great order for the next morning. Plus, those 15 minutes of effort often completely change my morning.

Not only do I wake up to a cleaner house, but I wake up feeling in control of my day because I already have a plan of action in place. Now all I have to do is just follow the plan!

Tip: When making your to-do list, challenge yourself to immediately cross three things off, without even doing them. This will force you to carefully evaluate everything on the list and help you weed out what isn't that important.

2. Get Up a Little Earlier

I know, I know. Getting up early is not fun, glamorous, or exciting. And if you're currently in a stage of life where you're getting up multiple times in the night due to illness, pregnancy, or caring for a fussy infant or child, you can skip this point entirely.

But the rest of you, hear me out. Getting up just 15 minutes earlier can make a tremendous impact on the overall success of your day—and quite possibly your entire life! I dare you to try it for just three weeks to see if you prove me wrong.

Instead of pulling yourself out of bed at the last minute and then rushing around like a mad woman so you can get everything done you need to do before your homeschool day starts, try waking up 15 minutes earlier than normal in order to spend quiet time praying, reading the Bible or an encouraging book, or writing in a journal. This will give you a calm start to your day and will allow you time to be still, count your blessings, and begin your day with a great attitude.

Tip: Find a friend to join you in your early rising challenge. It's so much easier, and more fun, when you're not going it alone. You might text each other in the morning when you get up to help you stay accountable.

3. Attack the Hardest Thing First

I can be a master procrastinator. I can come up with all sorts of seemingly good things to do instead of doing what I really should be doing. But when I spend most of the day procrastinating, I feel behind and unfulfilled.

Thanks to Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog, I’ve been challenging myself to begin my day tackling those dreaded tasks first. You know what I’ve found? Those tasks I thought I loathed really aren’t usually that hard when I just set my mind to do them and then get them done—as soon as possible. They usually take less time than I think they will, and I always feel so good to check the hard things off my list early in the day.

You know what else I’ve discovered? I have more time than I thought I did! When I stopped burning daylight and stalling in order to avoid the unpleasant tasks, it has freed up a lot of extra time in my day. This, in turn, made me feel much less busy and able to go through my days more calmly and cheerfully because I don’t constantly feel behind.

Tip: Have a dreaded task to tackle? Set a timer and challenge yourself to race against the clock. This will motivate you to work harder and faster, and will make it more like a game than a difficult task! You'll probably find you get the project done in no time at all!

If you need more help with planning a doable homeschool schedule, we have experienced homeschooling moms who would love to talk to you. Click here to connect with your homeschool consultant.

3 Steps to a Calmer Homeschool Morning • homeschool time management • homeschool schedules
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About Crystal Paine

Crystal Paine is a child of God, wife to Jesse, mom of three, a former Sonlighter, and founder of MoneySavingMom.com. She is the author of  the 14-day online course Make Over Your Mornings  and the New York Times bestseller, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.
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77 Responses to 3 Steps to a Calmer Homeschool Morning

  1. Nellie says:

    Eat a good breakfast is the key to a great day.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Getting up earlier than my kids is the biggest part of making my day go better. It's really hard as I work some nights and I'm very tired but I'm always happy when I manage to accomplish this.

  3. April Guthas says:

    What makes my morning smoother is finding a supplement to help with energy levels in areas of coffee! I take one tablespoon on L-carintine and it has changed my mornings, days and whole life. With a chronic illness the energy levels was my main struggle in the morning till I found what works to help me. I would love to win and learn more:)

  4. Sandra L says:

    Prayer and coffee!

  5. Pingback: 3 Steps to a Calmer Morning - Money Saving Mom®

  6. Mary says:

    I could probably use some changes with my mornings. So it would be great to win this.

  7. Christi says:

    Our mornings go much better if I also encourage my kiddos to take a little bit of time the night before to lay out things that have to go to school in the morning.

  8. Melissa says:

    Mornings are hard for me--I really struggle to get out of bed. My best strategy for starting the day off right: be showered and dressed before my kids get up. I also make a point of completing my morning prayer and devotion time before the rest of the family is up and moving. Getting into God's Word and making time to talk with Him before my family needs me helps me serve them better.

  9. Julie Haley says:

    I would like to transform my mornings by being able to feel like I am being intentional with my day. There are so many things left at the end of the day that I feel that I could accomplish first thing in the morning if I had a plan. I just feel so overwhelmed most days. This course sounds great!

  10. Miriam says:

    I have a morning routine consisting of 6 items I do first thing. Once I get those things done, I feel calm and ready to tackle my day.

  11. Torrey Popovich says:

    I have a few must do's in my house before starting school. If these are done I feel like I have gotten my day off to a good start. For me it is: start a load of laundry, make the beds and empty the dishwasher.

  12. Kristin says:

    The hardest part of my morning is trying to find some bible study time. I get up earlier than everyone but that time always includes getting the dog up and fed and making breakfast before everyone comes downstairs. I spend the time at night prepping for the next day so I cant get to bed earlier and wake up earlier. I feel dry and tired. Hoping to find some inspiration from this article! :)

  13. Kristen Bukowski says:

    My mornings are a disaster right now as i battle constant morning sickness and fatigue. I'll take any pointers i can!

  14. Cheryl McClurkin says:

    I struggle greatly with mornings but I find that when I brew my coffee and sit at my small kitchen table and reflect on my blessings rather than focus on whatever I am frustrated with, I seem more happy and productive. Focusing on the positive in my life makes my day brighter. Once my boys wake up I encourage them to fit with me and do the same. It makes a better morning for everyone.

  15. Renee says:

    Overnight oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, or other breakfasts I can prep the night before are such a big help.

  16. Kathy Ostrowski says:

    Definitely waking up before the kids get up and drinking tea by myself in quiet. I review what needs to be done for the day with no distractions.

  17. Anne says:

    I find that my mornings set the tone of productivity in my day, so I try to combine things and multi-task where able: I read while exercising, or listen to an uplifting or instructional video while putting makeup on...anything I can "double-up" on makes me feel empowered to have a great day and ENJOY getting things done. :)

  18. Tatum Buckholtz says:

    I pack bags and pick out clothes the night before.

  19. Shana Harder says:

    I'm a mom to two littles and one thing that helps our morning is getting dressed before we go downstairs for breakfast. If we don't we have a tendency to stay in our pajamas half the day and I'm not as productive.

  20. Laura says:

    Time in the word and in prayer and a cup of tea to start. But the saving grace this school year has been having a breakfast plan and having all clothing (down to the shoes) for my kids picked out. Since I have one going to the bus, one getting picked up for a carpool to school, and a toddler I have to have everything all ready to go or else things come crumbling down. One way I think I want to change things up is make sure I have all lunches packed and some time to exercise, I never seem to find time for exercise. I also think I need to go to bed earlier.

  21. Genie says:

    Starting to have everything in it's place for the morning has helped me lately. Workout clothes, earphones, books etc. are right together where I can find them. No hunting and gathering in the dark, so I don't wake the kids, anymore!

  22. Lisa Graham says:

    Having my devotions early helps me through the day, and then I don't have to keep looking for a time to fit them in.

  23. Alannah Q says:

    Finishing well the night before and then getting up when the alarm goes off the FIRST time ;)

  24. KatieP says:

    I unload the dishwasher while my coffee is brewing, that way I can load dirty dishes in the dishwasher throughout the day, instead of letting them pile up in the sink.

  25. Christy says:

    Getting everything cleaned up before we start school (with my 4 and 2 year old under foot) is my morning challenge. It's great when I get it done. My day is chaos when I am too distracted and we start school in a messy kitchen

  26. Jo says:

    I like to pick up toys the night before and try to get all the dinner dishes cleared away so I can get up to a clean house in the morning. Helps a lot!

  27. Deanna says:

    Praying and taking time to myself a few minutes before I get out of bed. A load of laundry first thing and then coffee!

  28. Sonja Z says:

    I used to be so good at getting things done in the morning. Now 2 kids later, I feel like a train wreck before the day even begins. I need help in this area!

  29. linda says:

    Definitely starting the night before: making lunches, showering, picking out clothes for me and kids - as much as I can eliminate from the morning helps. Now I'm working on the "getting up early" part, and it's not going so well yet :(

  30. Danielle says:

    Getting myself ready before the kids get up helps tremendously. We always prepare the night before by picking out clothes, having bags packed, lunches packed, etc. (My kids are not homeschooled and my husband and I both work full time).

  31. Michelle Murphy says:

    Getting my clothes ready for the next day makes my day go so much smother

  32. Jean says:

    Prep my coffee machine the night before so I can just walk into the kitchen and turn it on. My kids put all the their homework back into their backpacks as soon as it's completed. They also make their own lunches (they are 3rd grade and 6th grade).

  33. Heather Eavers says:

    So my first thought is lots of coffee. But I do find that getting up a smidgen earlier allows me time to get everyone ready and have time for the unexpected blips.

  34. Nancy says:

    I love waking up before everyone else and reading a devotional and praying, and of course, enjoying a cup of coffee. When I start my day like this, it always seems to make everything go so much smoother. I'm much more calm and peaceful when the rest of the family gets up and this reflects onto them and they seem to be more at peace also. So it's a win-win!

  35. Alicia says:

    The best thing for my mornings is to stay away from the computer! If I'm checking emails and blogs at breakfast the kids see that, and it sets a tone of disengagement even if that's not my intent.

  36. April says:

    Wake up before I get woken up by my child. I've found if I can get ready before she wakes I feel that much more ahead of my day.

  37. Jen says:

    Getting up before my kiddos and getting ready before them! If I have to try to get the ready at the same time as myself or get ready after...ten times longer!

  38. Marcia says:

    Making tomorrows lunch and setting out my outfit.

  39. My says:

    My morning goes smoother when I thank god for a new day and tell myself it is a beautiful day full of possibilities as I smile - fake or real depending on how I feel. When I can I love to get up 40 minutes before I truly have to and go for a short morning walk, it is refreshing and I find myself enjoying my day more...

  40. Gayle says:

    My daughter has slow processing speed so I have a checklist of things she has to do with the time they should be done to keep her on track in the mornings so I don't have to. I can just refer her back to her list or ask her what's next, is she on time etc?

  41. Debbie says:

    I want to transform my mornings so that I don't feel like I'm running from the time the alarm rings until I get myself to my desk at work. I get to work feeling exhausted at the start of the day.

  42. Patty says:

    coffee and Bible study before the kids awake & the craziness starts.

  43. Krystal says:

    I love starting a load of clothes or dishes first thing in the morning, as well as sweeping floors and straightening up, all before the kids get up. It makes me feel like my house is clean and ready for the day.

  44. Stephanie jones says:

    My mornings are typically rough. It takes me awhile to get organized and ready to start the day. I would like to get going earlier. This is probably something that would really help me. Those three tips were just what I needed to here.

  45. liz says:

    Waking up before my husband and greeting him with a coffee to share

  46. Rosana says:

    Staying off the internet/my phone is the best thing I can do for my morning.

  47. Cindy b says:

    I try to have the kitchen clean before I go to bed but looking for more tips.

  48. Sara says:

    I've never been a morning person & now I have 3 kiddos under 5 so I'm up pretty early, but I still struggle to be productive during that time. Getting my house cleaned up before bed has become a must for me. Having to clean the kitchen before being able to make breakfast is the worst. I've been trying to be more productive in the mornings (and all day) but I could definitely use some help.

  49. Colleen says:

    I would love to make time for Scripture study, prayer and meditation first thing in the morning.

  50. Cynthia Massaro says:

    I need to get up an hour before my family to get dressed in peace and have my devos alone. I feel so relaxed when everyone else wakes up.

  51. Amy says:

    My dh prepares breakfast while I get the little ones going. What a blessing and help.

  52. Janine says:

    A minimum of 15 minutes with my Bible, journal, and a cup of coffee.

  53. Stephanie says:

    I think preparing the night before has been especially important for me because it helps to know what needs to be done first thing in the morning, even when I'm not fully awake!

  54. Terri Donahoe says:

    Hi, my name is Terri (hi, Terri) and I am a habitual snoozer. I usually sacrifice my workout time and sometimes even my Bible time to the snooze bar. I need a makeover for my mornings. I will try prepping the night before for a while to see if that helps me to be motivated to jump out of bed instead of rolling over ONE MORE TIME. Thanks!

  55. Need Anap says:

    Getting up with my alarm instead of hitting snooze.

  56. Su says:

    I struggle to find time to have my devotions and time with the Lord. I would love to change that.

  57. Brandi says:

    Thankful that my two oldest daughters help tag team breakfast with the littles.

  58. Tamboliya says:

    I listen to sermons when I first wake up and listen most all day & night in the background while I am doing other things (sweeping, etc.)

  59. Getting up before everyone else and having some quiet time with the Lord (reading my Bible and praying) and then doing something for myself (reading blogs and posting on my own blog) helps me have a much better day.
    I don't really have the morning thing figured out at all but I know that if I can have my quite time with Jesus and do something small for myself I am much more likely to have a good day.

  60. For me, just having the dishes done is a big help in the morning. It sounds silly, but when they're not done, I feel like I'm starting the day off behind schedule. When they're done, it's like a fresh slate.

  61. Amy says:

    The best part of my morning is leisurely drinking my coffee as I spend time reading my Bible and in prayer. My whole day is thrown off when I can't pull myself out of bed with enough time to spend with Jesus.

  62. Anissa says:

    Getting backpacks ready with lunches done to grab in the morning makes a huge difference. I also always have their clothes and shoes ready to go. Saves so much time and stress!

  63. Krystle says:

    What helps make my mornings go smoother is when I put all the "little things" in the car the night before such as my daughters morning snack, jackets, a book I like to read over my lunch break, my to do list, etc. Instead of running all over the house in the morning trying to remember these little things, I know they are already in one place and we can get out the house faster.

  64. Heather says:

    I use my phone for my morning alarm and sit it across the room so that I have to get out of bed to turn it off. I'm already up, so the temptation to get back in bed is not there. As the snooze button queen, it's the only way to ensure I get up in the mornings!

  65. Katy says:

    I set out my clothes the night before!

  66. Efi says:

    I'd like to be able to read a bit in the morning, before my babies wake up!! I miss that so much!!!

  67. Amy f:) says:

    I love this post- it is perfect for my lifestage and I appreciate how simple, straightforward, well-written, and encouraging it is. I feel like I can finally do this! :) Thanks!

  68. Amy Cooper says:

    I have to write a to do list the night before...it helps me sleep as well! I wish I had the motivation to get up earlier though

  69. Katherine says:

    One of the first things I do every morning is put away the clean dishes from the night before. It only takes a couple minutes, and everything is neat and ready for me to start working.

  70. Jessica says:

    I do better when I go to sleep at a decent hour. I rarely get enough sleep and I always feel amazing when I do. It's something I'm really working on. Also, quick breakfasts are key.

  71. michelle says:

    Starting my morning in prayer and the Word of God always makes for a smoother day. No matter what problem may arise during the day, His presence gets me through it all!

  72. Jessica Magyar says:

    I do not have early risers. So, if we have early place to be I dress kids in comfy clothes night before so they are dressed for day already. It is a life saver!

  73. Sabrina says:

    Taking the time to clean off my kitchen counters before going to bed at night always gives me a little boost the next morning when I wake up. Getting up earlier is the area I need to work on...

  74. Laura says:

    Stephanie Jones, you are our giveaway winner!! Please send your email address to me at Sonlight so I can get you your prize! ~Laura

  75. Jean says:

    I make my bed and start a load of laundry before going to the kitchen. It makes for a smoother day! :)

  76. Annie says:

    Forwarding this along to a friend who begins homeschooling next year -- thanks for the tips! Visiting from Coffee and Conversation :)

  77. Mikaela says:

    Getting up earlier makes such a big difference in my day, it can just be so difficult to stick to it!

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