1. Consistent bedtime that actually gives each individual child the sleep they need (different kids are at different stages and have different physiological needs).
2. A list for each of us of all the academic expectations/chores/things that have to be done outside the house so they know exactly what is coming down the pike. Once things are checked off they know I won't suddenly pile on more so there is more incentive to check move through our lists and get it done.
3. All work that could be done independently is attached to their list and laid out ready to go the night before. That way if someone wants to get up early and get started they can (DD loves doing this).
4. All school supplies/books/etc. that are going to be needed for the week are kept on a rolling cart. Each kid has their own section with all of their stuff there. That includes various types of paper (graph, college rule, blank, etc.) and writing utensils. Knowing where everything is helps all three of us.
5. Being really, really consistent with our start time. I have an alarm on my phone. Getting into the routine is tough but making that a priority and being consistent eventually helped us to stay consistent. It just became a thing we do, not a thing to avoid, KWIM?
6. Starting the oldest first and getting her through the things she needs me for so she can move through stuff she doesn't need me for while I work with her brother. I do this because bro does better sleeping in a bit and starting later. DD does better doing things in the quiet of the morning, before bro is awake.
7. Looking over everything the night before so I know what is happening the next day.
8. While eating breakfast DD and I watch CNN-10 for some current events news. Kind of gets our brains in gear. DS eats his breakfast later so he eats while I read to him. Current events are somewhat upsetting to him right now so we are not currently watching current events together but I used to just watch a second time.
9. DD also likes to do the quick stuff first, so she can check off as much as possible quickly. It helps her feel like she is really getting closer to her free time. It also keeps her from getting too brain drained before we hit stuff that takes longer.
10. Even though we have checklists, I try hard to start the day with some interesting rabbit trail discussions and just hanging out together. For instance, DD loves to walk outside and see the sun rise with me (yeah she and I get up pretty early). I make sure to take that time to really hang out with her. DS likes to share things he has learned from his latest history or science video so I take time to really listen and discuss. They both tend to stay focused more and get started on academics with more enthusiasm if I show that their priorities matter, too, if that makes sense.
11. I never have to wake DD, but if I have to wake DS, I do it by cuddles and lots of smiles and hugs and some laughter. I may have to firmly insist he get up but I do it from a positive attitude and try to make it funny. Sometimes I pretend I forgot how to speak English and I speak some sort of weird gibberish. Sometimes I pretend I am so tired myself that I pass out across the bed snoring VERY loudly. Etc. It starts our day with a bit of a laugh and a little bonding time. (Full disclosure, DS deals with anxiety and depression so anything I can do to keep him feeling good about things is worth the effort but honestly I think it is a nice way to start the day anyway.)