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    Tips for a solid start time each morning?

    Do any of you lovely ladies and gents have some tips for starting school at a set, non negotiable time each morning? It’s like my kids know that it is all fake…nothing bad happens if we start “late” and nothing good happens if we start on time. Additionally, *I* struggle with a solid start time. I wake up at 5:45 every morning to exercise so I am up well before the kids, but we still seem unable to say that Pledge of Allegiance till 9:30 🤦🏼‍♀️ We like to take a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood before we start school; everyone behaves better, including me!
    Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
    DD (age 10): MP 5
    DD (age 8): MP 2
    DS (age 5): MP K
    "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella

    #2
    We live by cell phone alarms. Everyone knows they better be dressed (unless I approve a pajama day!) and basic daily tasks done (unload dishwasher!) before the morning devotions alarm. I don’t care if they’ve eaten breakfast - not my problem! The alarm keeps ringing until I get in and start. We always begin by singing which helps the stragglers. Unless it’s me, then, well, oops, life. This year I’ve been giving my kindergartener morning work (or unfinished phonics pages) 10-15 min before the day starts. It gets my biggest daydreamer in the room so she isn’t lost in pretend land when it’s time for school.
    Carrie
    Mom of 5 in Tennessee

    2021-2022
    3rd or 5th year homeschooling - slowly transitioning to more MP
    5th grade girl
    3rd grade boy
    K girl
    Littles running wild

    Comment


      #3
      We follow a rhythm more than a clock driven schedule, but we usually end up starting at roughly the same time most days. We generally sit down to breakfast around 7:30 then the kids read saints and Bible and do recitation and flash cards with Dad around the table. We all clean up breakfast and then start morning time. Seat work starts right after morning time. Most days we start seat work right around 9 give or take 10-15 minutes in either direction. With all little kids (7, 6, and 3) trying to start at an exact time would cause unnecessary stress for me. Even on a fairly routine morning, something always seems to come up. I’m naturally a really structured person so this works well for me. Just wanted to share a different perspective.
      2021-2022
      DS1 (7) - MP2
      DD (6) - MP1
      DS2 (3) - SCA
      +6 little souls in Heaven+

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Fireweed Prep View Post
        Do any of you lovely ladies and gents have some tips for starting school at a set, non negotiable time each morning? It’s like my kids know that it is all fake…nothing bad happens if we start “late” and nothing good happens if we start on time. Additionally, *I* struggle with a solid start time. I wake up at 5:45 every morning to exercise so I am up well before the kids, but we still seem unable to say that Pledge of Allegiance till 9:30 🤦🏼‍♀️ We like to take a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood before we start school; everyone behaves better, including me!
        Oh, honey — been there! I get up early to exercise, too, so I get this. No condemnation or guilt-tripping here! The key thing I’ve found is to treat the start of school like a doctor’s appointment or church: WE ARE GOING TO BE ON TIME — no exceptions, no excuses. But you have to be the driver in this situation; your kids are not going to take the lead here. I have the classic hummingbird brain. Anything shiny can distract me. I can run around in circles with 5 or 6 things “cooking” at the same time and not get any of them actually completed. So being on time is something I definitely have to work at.

        You know how good it feels to be prepared for something versus racing around and putting out the hottest fire like a crazed maniac? Preparation is the key to winning here. Take a few minutes every day to really prepare for battle — er, school — and it will really make a difference. Put your phone down, don’t check your email. Move in straight lines. Set a timer for yourself if you need to. Work as fast as you can for 15 minutes; rest for 15 minutes (watch that silly TickTock you’ve been eyeing); work as fast as you can for 15 minutes. Repeat.

        A few tips:
        * Prep for the day the night (or week or month) before.
        You can go whole-hog and create a stash of filling freezer breakfasts. But you can also whip up an overnight French toast casserole or breakfast scramble after dinner the night before. Put it in the fridge before you go to bed. Pop it in the oven when you get up to exercise; it should be baked by the time you’re done. Set the table the night before. Lay out everything you need for breakfast (that’s not refrigerable) when you clean up the kitchen after dinner. Saves loads of time in the morning. Load the dishwasher and program the coffee maker after dinner as well. Know what you’re making for lunch the next day. Have an eye on what dinner will be and how long it takes to create. Shop monthly if you can — it saves loads of time each week. Lay out your clothes and your kids clothes the night before. And on and on and on.
        IN SHORT: Be prepared.


        * Shorten your morning time.
        I get up between 515-530 every morning. I haven’t used an alarm clock in years. I just wake up. It’s awesome (and annoying). It means I’m up no matter what (even if I didn't get much sleep the night before). But I love the early morning. It’s my favorite part of the day, bar none. It’s quiet. I have the house to myself. I can do whatever I want… in theory. I have a nasty habit of thinking that it’s going to stay pre-dawn for — literally — hours. If I sit down to do my devotions with my coffee and my iPad, I can look up and it’s 10AM — easy. That’s fine in the summer time. But during the school year? We’ve got to motor, Mama. So shorten your “me time”. Devotions take 20 minutes, workouts (with your clothes laid out the night before) take no longer than 40 minutes. (I can squeak in a 45-minute workout if I am really on my game). Showering, unloading the dishwasher and getting breakfast made, eaten, cleaned up and loaded should take about an hour (let’s be honest here).

        So let’s do the math: If I wake up at 530 and really bust it to get everything done in the morning, we are ready to take our neighborhood walk at… 730AM. Add in some “I woke up late” or “Unexpected drama” time and we are really talking 8AM here for a boots-on-the-ground, everybody-out-the-door time. Walk for 20 minutes, grab some water and your books, break up a quarrel, deal with a straggler — SQUIRREL! — get settled and you can safely start at 9AM.

        We try to cram too much into our mornings because we think the sun is just going to rise when we are ready for it to. We are wrong. 😂 Shorten your morning time however you can. 40 minutes of exercise every day is a whole heck of a lot better than no exercise — or 60-90 minutes that throws off your entire day. You can hit another workout later in the day after school. You can’t rewind and start your morning over.
        IN SHORT: Move in straight lines. Time passes quickly.


        *Move along without your kids. They’ll catch up.
        It’s like my kids know that it is all fake…nothing bad happens if we start ‘late’ and nothing good happens if we start on time.” Guess what, kids? Mama is starting without you. If you’re late, you’re lost — and you’re going to have to figure it out on your own.

        In a brick-and-mortar school the teacher doesn't wait to start class until everyone is ready. She just starts. If you’re tardy or unprepared — shrug — tough. You’re going to be a little lost for the first half-hour. Marathons start when they start. Runners line up and get set. If you’re not ready to run when the shot fires — shrug — tough. You’re probably not going to beat your personal best. Same with my homeschool. We start when we start. You don’t show up on time, you get behind. The only way my kids are ever going to take me seriously about starting on time is if I start on time.

        Their father works from home and can deal with anyone who is willfully tardy. They don’t like “going to the principal’s office” so they really weigh their options on being disobedient. After we have established that Mama ain’t playin’ — school is at __ o’clock every. single. day. — the kids get up every morning like they’re supposed to and school starts on time … mostly. 😜
        IN SHORT: Be consistent. Mean what you say.


        This homeschooling, child-rearing, house-keeping gig is our job, our vocation. It is easy to treat it lightly because the consequences don’t seem so fraught. There is no one standing over us with the threat of firing if we show up late or miss a few meetings. We are our own boss. But turn that on its head for a second: We are our own boss. We’ve been looking at our workspace the same way for so long, we can forget we are in charge. We can get complacent. We can get slothful. We can get whiny. We can start to wish someone else were in charge.

        But if you — the boss — walked into your workplace as a stranger, what would you fine-tune? Really think about that. What “system” is broken or limping along that needs fine-tuning or fixing? Examine your trouble spots (for us it’s dinner time — I am always late; like it’s a “surprise” every evening that people want to eat). And then take action steps to make your time, your focus, and your vocation more efficient.

        Efficiency can sound like a “bad word” in a realm that deals with spouses, mothers, children, learning, relationships, love, care, building a future, etc. But what efficiency really does is give you time, convenience, ease, lower stress and better relationships so you can achieve the goals you set when you started on this homeschooling adventure.
        IN SHORT: Don’t worry. You’ve got the tools to make this an amazing school year.
        “If I should fall even a thousand times a day, a thousand times, with peaceful repentance, I will say immediately, Nunc Coepi, ‘Now, I begin.’.”

        ~Venerable Bruno Lanteri
        ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
        Wonder Boy 14 ... MP5 + R&S Math 6
        Joy Bubble 12 ... MP5 full core
        Cowboy 10 ... MP5 + R&S Math 4
        Sassafras 6 ... MP1
        All … SSPX Catechesis

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Fireweed Prep View Post
          We like to take a 15 minute walk around the neighborhood before we start school; everyone behaves better, including me!
          I think this is the key; or your "easy button" as DiannaKennedy says.

          Our family is full of scattered and/or hyperfocused-on-their-own-things persons (depending on the day), including me. But if I can find a well-established part of our day to hook a new habit to we're golden.

          Rather than having a set start time for school, what if you set a start time for your walk? If they're not ready, the walk gets shortened by that amount of time. Then, when you walk in the door, everyone walks straight to their workspace, you grab your opening reference sheet, morning basket, or whatever you use to start your school day and everyone begins.




          Jennifer
          Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

          2022
          DS18: Graduated and living his dream in the automotive trades
          DS17: MP, MPOA, headed to his favorite liberal arts college this fall
          DS15: MP, MPOA
          DS13: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
          DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
          DD10: SC3
          DD7: MPK

          Comment


            #6
            This exchange of ideas is so beneficial. Sometime we get stuck in ruts and hearing someone else’s method is eye-opening. We have 6 kids and getting them all ready for the day at the same time sharing one bathroom is borderline torture for our 13yo girl. So we stagger their wake up times, while I’s making breakfast. We all eat breakfast at the same time, with recitations while we eat. We move DIRECTLY to our schoolwork, not really cleaning up breakfast. That can wait until the at-the-elbow work is done. I’ve never found a perfect way of conducting school - it usually involves some level of self-mortification on my end. And what a bitter blessing that is!

            Also, I had the thought that whatever plan you come up with, stick to it for 6 weeks and by that time the kids even out and adopt that routine. I love getting to that 6 weeks mark when things are mostly on autopilot.

            If someone has a good quiet alarm idea I’d love to hear it. We don’t have a lot of technology in our house - I prefer it that way. Our kids share rooms, the older ones are expected to awake before the other because they have more “getting ready and chores” to do, but they sleep through soft alarms, and the loud ones wake EVERYONE up. Where’s the balance?!

            Happy First Days Back!
            2021-2022 year: (all full cores)
            D13 - 8th
            S12 - 7th
            D10 - 5th
            S8 - 2nd
            S8 - 2nd
            S 5 - currently unaware of his MP destiny
            We have used MP exclusively for 7 years (with one sabbatical year in '18 for a breather). Glad we're on the road together!

            Comment


              #7
              Wow, thanks for all the tips!

              Anita It's nice to find someone else who gets up early to exercise...I don't know anyone else who does that, other than my husband, so at least we are both rising at the same time (and get tired at the same time). You are right: I am trying to fit in too much before breakfast. I have a bunch of dietary restrictions that make things tricky, but I could make granola and saute the kale and make the salad dressing for the week on the weekends. Blessedly, my husband does all of our grocery shopping!!! That is a huge time saver for me. And I will either need to get up earlier, or plan a "daily double" type workout schedule to get what I want; currently training for an backcountry hunt in the mountains so workouts are long right now.

              I've been working on limiting screens till the evening for myself, and I could probably do more in that department. I love the idea of starting school by myself. That would confuse them so much I did take the walk by myself today, since I was done with my chores and done with breakfast and they weren't.

              And you are so right. I've been whining, complaining that this all depends on ME. I have a lot of work to do in the "acceptance with grace and grit" category for sure.

              And your entire reply made me giggle; thanks! :-)

              CarrieAnne I set the "get the kids up and doing chores" alarm on my phone, but I will add a few more.

              jen1134 I made my coffee while I ate (love my French press) and put it in an insulated mug so it was ready for when I returned from the walk, and I could pick it up and head straight to the school room! That "flow" from door to schoolroom is going to be critical.

              CrystalEv I will send you a PM of the alarm clock I just purchased for myself. I detest keeping my phone with me at night (as I get sidetracked by it so easily) and this alarm clock has multiple melodic alarms and an easily adjusted volume dial.
              Last edited by Fireweed Prep; 08-13-2021, 03:17 PM.
              Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

              Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
              DD (age 10): MP 5
              DD (age 8): MP 2
              DS (age 5): MP K
              "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella

              Comment


                #8
                Bravo, Anita ! I am soaking up every single word.

                I love talking to friends who have more kids or work outside the home. They seem more realistic about how little time they have. I was whining about how annoying it is to print all of those 3-page quizzes double sided, printing and stapling each one separately. My friend scoffed and asked if 10 saved sheets of paper were worth my time and hassle. Sometimes crowdsourcing puts things in perspective.

                So, here are my 2 cents.

                There are ways we can organize, plan, vision-cast, and implement procedures from a secular standpoint. Glean where you can. The best way to develop a habit is NOT to be flexible. Be rigid. Hold the line.

                Determining those things which are truly important is not a secular task, though. It is a spiritual one. It is a task of faith and humble reliance upon the Lord. I love Matthew 6:33: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

                When we set His ways above our ways, He gives us the grace to teach our children well with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts (or we beg God for His grace, and He conforms us to His image). Some days I get in a great run. Most days every bed in the house is made and teeth are brushed and flossed. Every day we eat a simple meal and get into God's Word. There are only so many #1 spots. We have a #1 biological need and #1 spiritual need, and both of those are non-negotiable. Everything else vies for 2, 3 and 4 on a case-by-case basis. And still, we usually manage to start school around the same time each day. God is so good. His loves endures forever.
                Mama of 2, teacher of 3
                Summer: First Start French I
                SY 22/23
                6A, teaching TFL & CC Chreia/Maxim in group, and Koine Greek
                MP2 w/ R&S Arithmetic 3


                Completed MPK, MP1, MP2, 3A, 4A, 5A
                SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1

                Comment


                  #9
                  Anita Well ….. you just completely blew me away with that response. Printing that post out and putting it in my binder. 😳 You are a general and I mean that as tthe highest compliment.
                  Plans for 2022-23

                  Year 12 of homeschooling with MP

                  DD1 - 27 - college grad, bakery owner
                  DD2 - 16 - 11th grade - HLS Cottage School - online classes, looking at dual credit - equestrian and theatre
                  DS3 - 14 -7A Cottage School - soccer/tennis -dyslexia and dysgraphia
                  DS4 -14 - 7A Cottage School -soccer/tennis -auditory processing disorder
                  DD5 - 10- 5A, Cottage School - inattentive ADHD - equestrian and tumbling
                  DS6 - 9 - MP 1 - home with momma

                  Comment


                    #10
                    You ladies are amazing!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Mine will be getting up to an alarm this year. Breakfast is on their own. My husband and I get up around 4:30 to exercise together. The only “bad” thing that happens if they don’t get moving with breakfast, chores and school is their loss of any free time in the afternoons, any screen privileges, or playing with neighborhood friends who also homeschool.

                      I would find the consequences/privileges that work in your home and enforce them religiously. My time and focus are better in the mornings so they need to be “on” early as well.

                      Keep trying! You’ll find what works but be strict with the best hours of the day. Mine are between 7 and 11.

                      Blessings!
                      Homeschooling for 13 years
                      2021-2022

                      11th grade girl-MPOA 8 classes, French with me, Hillsdale summer Brit Lit program soon!
                      8th grade girl-MPOA 4 classes, MP CC, French with me, ABeka algebra and grammar
                      6th grade girl-MPOA FFL, MP spelling, lit, geo, Apologia Botany, French me, ABeka math
                      3rd grade boy-MP LC, French, Dinosaurs, ABeka language, math and spelling, MFW Amer history and lit
                      Kindergarten girl-ABeka language, writing, math, MFW Kinder
                      1 year old-enormous distraction ❤️

                      Comment


                        #12
                        These are great comments and suggestions. I second Anita !!! Wow!

                        One thing I'd like to share that may not be so common and I struggled with for quite awhile - my children rise early. There's virtually no "me" time in the morning. It's not unusual for the children to be up at 5:30-6 no matter what the bedtime was. So we start morning routine of chores, breakfast, getting dressed, etc. first thing. I also set out some work for each of them to start (in different rooms -ha) if they're up super early. Rules are to stay quiet until breakfast. Again, ha. After breakfast and quick clean up, work starts. I also have them make their own lunch from two-three choices with supervision. (I suppose I could cut down on time by having it all ready to go, but the children seem to enjoy that kind of independence). If work isn't where we're supposed to be, choices might be gone and you get what you get. After lunch is play time for a bit, then rest time (I still have littles). During rest time, they're expected to finish and/or work on independent work quietly. When they're done, they can do whatever. If they don't get their work done, free time is cut short and they get a talk with the principal. Usually during that rest time is my workout. But I do need to work more structure during day. We tend to more routine than time of day.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I'm still a rookie....

                          So far, this is where we are. I bought the kids their own alarms that go off at 6:30. It used to be ipads, but that's not worked out the way I wanted. They start the day with a workout. They grumble every time, but afterwards, they seem happy. It's either running 1.5mi or a circuit of some sort. Then they hit the showers and make their own breakfast (microwave pancakes, eggs, toaster french toast, etc). We try to start by 8:30 but usually it ends up being 8:45ish.

                          I've started trying to follow the same pattern daily: Latin, Math, (classical/modern/science, etc), Literature...break for lunch...Composition, spelling, and grammar. It should end around 3:30.
                          Melissa

                          DS (MP4M) - 10
                          DS (MP3A) - 8
                          DS (1) - 7
                          DD (Adorable distraction) 4

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Someone wise once said, “I don't have all my ducks in a row. I have squirrels, and they are at a rave.” So don’t be fooled into thinking there is someone out there who has it *all* together — because there isn’t. (And if there is, I sort of wish I could get all the birds in their yard to poop on their car.) Everything I listed is an ideal. Sometimes we hit it, sometimes we. Do. Not. … But we try. There’s not one right way to do this. But there is an efficient “mean” for your specific situation. Someone who works second shift, is pregnant, nursing, has tiny children in the house, or who lives with extended family and chronic illness is going to have a different “mean” (average, center line, state of equilibrium) than another person. There are also dads on the board who homeschool (DUDE: I can’t even). So look at your particular situation and find the “mean”. Then exceed it by 15-25%. That’s about the level of excellence you can maintain without burning out or having everyone hate you. If you find yourself in a slump, re-evaluate what’s working and what’s not and — again — find the mean and meet or exceed it.

                            Besides just being Type-A and kinda control-freaky myself, the only reason this stuff is even on my radar is because of who I married. My husband is an efficiency engineer by trade with almost 30 years experience in logistics and quality progress. … YAH: the trains run on time at my house (sometimes against my will). But even though it’s hard to drag my sorry carcass off to do things I don’t want to do, the end results (harmony, order, not rushing, being on time, being prepared) are worth the trade off.

                            I still struggle with keeping the toilets clean and the furniture dusted. The house is always organized and tidy (see “Type-A Control Freak” above) but not always clean. I could definitely sweep, mop and scrub more than I do. Someone else is not going to have the same priority as I do regarding that. I know some home-keepers who vacuum their floors every single day (these people exist, y’all) and keeping things shining is their first priority. That’s about priority number mumblemumble for me. As long as the dishes, trash and laundry are done, there’s not clutter and mess on my surfaces and floors, and the kitchen is clean, I don’t really polish stuff but about once a week or once a month, depending. “If the minimum weren’t good enough, they wouldn’t call it the minimum,” as my husband is fond of reminding me.

                            There are only so many hours in the homeschooling day; I have to spend that currency where it adds the most value. I get up and work out early in the morning because I will —literally — go crazy if I don’t. My anxiety and irritability are markedly lower if I have exercised. I just know this about myself. I also know that people generally like to eat and that things run smoothest when they get to eat regularly without chaos and disorder. Therefore, food prep and execution are high on my list. We are obligated to school 180 days a year — and it is EASY to let that slide with lazy days, field trips, and just general “I don’t feel like it”-ness. So I throw myself into executing the school year as briskly and efficiently as I can (without killing myself). We get in, we get out, we move on. Every minute you waste on something non-essential is a minute you can’t get back. Bank those saved minutes like money. The goal is a fat — FAT — nest egg to use on things you really love when you’re not working. All those lovely art projects you want to tackle, family time, movie night, working in the garden, hikes in the mountains, swimming, trips to the zoo or just enjoying a beer ALONE, are made possible by the efficient sweat of your brow. Figure out your “mean” and work it.

                            “If I should fall even a thousand times a day, a thousand times, with peaceful repentance, I will say immediately, Nunc Coepi, ‘Now, I begin.’.”

                            ~Venerable Bruno Lanteri
                            ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
                            Wonder Boy 14 ... MP5 + R&S Math 6
                            Joy Bubble 12 ... MP5 full core
                            Cowboy 10 ... MP5 + R&S Math 4
                            Sassafras 6 ... MP1
                            All … SSPX Catechesis

                            Comment

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