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Laid back mornings? What am I doing wrong?


dorothythomas
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I am so frustrated. In my head, we have wonderful mornings here at home. That's part of why we homeschool, right? But in reality things are much different.

 

My nine-year-old son gets up at about seven. When he gets up all he wants to do is watch a movie. I'm not a big screen time person but somehow we've gotten into this place where he watches movies in the morning. And really I don't know what else to do with him. So he gets up at seven and wants to watch a movie and then he's hungry. My daughter, on the other hand, gets up at about nine. She just seems to need more sleep. So when she gets up she eats too. And then they start playing. I often don't want to interrupt their playtime because they're getting along so well. But then eventually they start to argue and bicker. And then when I finally suggest hey maybe we should start doing some cleaning or some school, they get really upset.

 

I can't figure out a good way to have smooth mornings that are still relaxed. Especially when my kiddos get up at two different times. It makes it hard to have breakfast together. It makes it hard to start the school day together. And I don't know what to do with my son in those two hours while my daughter is still asleep. What I would really like is to have some kind of rhythm to our morning that isn't so rigid that we can't change it. But I don't know how to do that when my daughter seems to need so much more sleep than my son. I would love to hear from other moms about how your mornings go. This is been a real frustration for me lately and I don't know exactly why it seems so insurmountable. I would love any help or advice anyone has. It feels like it ruins our whole days when our mornings are so scattered and frustrating and disorganized. And school then is such a frustration.

 

ETA: Oops. Meant to post this on the general education board. Sorry.

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Give him a small snack when he wakes up (dry cereal or a granola bar or a banana), and have him watch something educational. Or take that time to work one on one with him. Have breakfast started and timed so that you all can eat a bigger breakfast at 9 when dd wakes up. Then go directly from breakfast to school.

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I would either cut the screen time, or limit it to 1 educational "something". I have to fight to get back to our normal no screen time in the mornings and during the school week once they get started.

 

We've never eaten breakfast at the same time here - so no suggestions there! But, I'd have him get ready for his day and start on whatever you need to work on with him alone. It just means he can then have the afternoon to himself!

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We find that our days are smoothest when we start school promptly in the morning and have the afternoon free for other stuff. Putting off the start of school shifts work into the later part of the day which leads to less productivity and loss of concentration

 

Why can't your son start his schoolwork when he is up? Or eat breakfast first and then start school? Why do they have to start together? This would give you the opportunity to work with him one-on one first, and then send him on to independent work when you work with his sister. I'd think, at that age, it would actually be beneficial for you to have their start times staggered!

 

I found that letting my kids have extended time on the computer or TV makes starting academic work more difficult; I would not want a 9 y/o to start the productive morning time by watching movies for two hours. If you do not want to work with him in the am, let him read independently or something.

But I suggest having a consistent start time that is not to be negotiated every.single.day (the start time doe snot have to be the same for both kids)

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You gotta take charge. :-)

 

Ds doesn't get to watch TV until he is dressed, has eaten breakfast, and has made his bed. TV has to be off at 9.

 

You might consider waking up dd around 8. Then she has to get dressed, eat breakfast, and make her bed. If she and ds want to play after that, well, that's fine, because both will have eaten, gotten dressed for the day, and made their beds.

 

Can your dd go to bed earlier in the evening?

 

If they play together after dd is up and has done her morning routine, you'll want to watch them and step in before they reach the cranky spot (if that's possible, lol). At the point when you decide it's time to do chores or start school stuff, if they whine and complain, you need to discipline for that, without remorse. They are children. They need to be taught what is acceptable behavior and what is not. It is your job to do that. Yay you. :D

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Lol. Yay me.

 

I don't think I have a problem with taking charge but I want to be consistent. There are several good suggestions here. I think I need to think through what is best and then stick to it like glue. I do think screen time, even educational, makes school time harder.

 

Looking forward to more ideas. Thank you so much.

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What times do they go to bed? For us easy mornings start with a steady bedtime routine. If DD is up late for some reason, I know the next morning is NOT going to be easy!

 

I would probably put the kibbosh on movies in the morning. Try letting your DS watch 1 educational program, then have him help with chores/breakfast prep. Start insisting DD wake up at a regular, reasonable time each morning. If 9 works for your day, fine. Breakfast at 9, then DD who slept in can help with breakfast cleanup/chores while your DS plays. If DD doesn't like it, tell her she can get up when her brother does if she wants to (you'll be happy to wake her).

Let them play for a little while until a set time (10 or 10:30 perhaps). BEFORE they generally start bickering is the time to end free playtime. Have lessons start at the same time every day. Start it with something fun/together, such as an (educational) game or project or music time or whatever will go over best. If your kids are like mine, a snack may be called for during/after this opener. Then get down to business and spend at least an hour on other lessons before lunch.

 

What will make it easier, overall, is starting school at about the same time every day, ease into it with a fun but educational activity, and not letting their morning play devolve into bickering. I don't allow any non-educational TV viewing until after all schoolwork is done, but my DD often watches Mythbusters, BizKids, or something else I've approved as educational while she eats her breakfast. It's a good middle ground for us.

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Honestly, our mornings are more pleasant and relaxed when they're *not* relaxed. No screen time in the morning. My kids get up, get dressed, and do their set list of morning chores. Then we have breakfast (with some poetry/Bible/hymn reading at/after breakfast), and then they start their independent schoolwork while I tidy the kitchen and switch the laundry. It's not an option for them not to. It takes some time to build the routine but is so worth it.

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How old are your kids?

 

My oldest DS gets up before my other two. He wakes earlier than I do on days he goes jogging with DH. He makes himself a breakfast hors d'oeuvre if he is hungry. :tongue_smilie: He is allowed to play quietly, read, write, play piano or guitar (in the living area), get a head start on his chores, etc. But no TV. We do watch TV here. I am not anti-TV at all, but when you take a kid fresh out of bed and let them spend a longish period in front of a screen, it seems to me that you are effectively taking someone who woke up refreshed for activity (physical and mental) and resetting them for passivity. I know I get into quite a lethargic state when I relax in front of a screen for too long...resistant to more productive activities, let's say. :D This leaves me wondering what you are doing during these hours. No pointing fingers, but when I get online, it can be hard to get off. If I have to force myself offline, then force kid(s) away from the TV and/or play...well, the day begins with unpleasantness all around. It involves changing habits for everyone.

 

So anyway, my oldest rises before the others and has come to love his quieter mornings. My DD is a sleeper (has been since birth!). It doesn't work for us for her to sleep any later than 8 though, so I went through a period of waking her and she adjusted by eventually resetting her clock to fall asleep earlier, which is better for me anyway. I prefer quiet, uninterrupted nights and more productive mornings. So, I get up between 6:30-7 to sip coffee in quiet. I usually check e-mail and the boards (which is probably my worst habit, definitely my Achilles heel!). The kids wake one by one and whoever isn't up by 8:00 gets woken up by me. From 8-8:30, we do our chores, and at 8:30 we have breakfast. School starts at 9:00, with a morning meeting and we do content work all morning, with some skill work folded in. The trick I have learned (for us...it works and is the key for us) is to not lose the kids in the first place. A lot of time and precious energy is wasted reeling them in, time and energy which would be better spent learning. If your kids resist school, they may just be in the habit of resisting. Habits are hard to break.

 

I hear you saying that you don't want to interrupt the kids' play because they get along so well, but if their play ends in bickering, that is them craving order and direction. They just don't know it. Teaching them the habit of work first, play later is good for them, and they will play later, more freely without the threat of having their play cut off looming over them. We have lots of fun with school, so that helps too. If you make a schedule change, maybe add a pretty new lure to your school day to make it more enticing to begin efficiently. You could start with a nature walk, have poetry breakfasts, etc. Morning Meeting is cool for us, as we discuss lots of fun stuff. Anyway, launch into something they love first.

 

I hear...

 

...when I finally suggest hey maybe we should start doing some cleaning or some school, they get really upset.

 

...and it sounds like they just have too much power and too little direction in the morning. Then they get upset when you try to take it back. My kids have a lot of power over our days here...lots of choices. I take preferences into account and respect their opinions, strengths/weaknesses, blah blah blah... :tongue_smilie: But! I am in charge. I know what is good for them and what must be accomplished (with one mom and three kids/grades to educate), so I structure our days accordingly. Kids will resist change, especially when it involves taking some of their power, but they can change. I have said this before, but my kids most needed more structure at the point when they seemed to resist it the most. Their resistance was like a symptom of the need, really.

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I have only 1, so not quite the same issues. But here is my view. We used to go to B&M school, and live in rural area where whether for public and it meant school bus, or private and I drove, we had to get up very early (in the dark). This was clearly not healthy for us, and all I have read has indicated that children tend to be sleep deprived, and that natural waking is more healthy. So when we homeschooled, I made sleep a priority--and a number of things that had been problems resolved with plenty of sleep. For that reason, I think letting your dd sleep if she needs to is important.

 

My ds gets his own breakfast most mornings (even when he was the age of your dc, I tried to have things like already boiled eggs available to make this possible, sometimes things like leftover pizza, quiche, sandwiches, or of course cold cereal is easy--now he can cook simple meals himself, or can get other things like yogurt and fruit or sardines and toast), though sometimes I make something special, or cooking is a special activity of the day.

 

He reads first thing to get going with the day, Then usually goes out with our puppy to play (I take puppy for his first time out of the day), and get his blood moving--if I had 2 kids, I'd send them out to play together in a similar way. Then there are chores and schoolwork time. Then play time, alone or with friends. Movies rarely, even if educational, are watched other than from 7-8 PM, if other things are done for the day and it is not a night we have something to go to. Sometimes there is a sick day or a day where weather stops him going out and we do have a middle of day movie, but that is pretty rare.

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...I have read has indicated that children tend to be sleep deprived, and then natural waking is more healthy. So when we homeschooled, I made sleep a priority. For that reason, I think letting your dd sleep if she needs to is important.

 

I will say that if the DD is going to sleep shortly after (a reasonable) bedtime, quickly after her head hits the pillow, I agree about letting her sleep until she wakes naturally and adjusting the schedule for that (spending that time doing one-on-one work with the DS, as regentrude recommends). My DD, however, was getting into a pattern of sleeping in and then not being one bit tired at (her very reasonable) bedtime. She would read, pet and brush the cat, write stories (that she repeatedly got out of bed to read to me), draw pictures and cartoons (ditto), do crafts (!!?? in bed!), etc. so I didn't feel an ounce of guilt for helping her reset her clock.

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She would read, pet and brush the cat, write stories (that she repeatedly got out of bed to read to me), draw pictures and cartoons (ditto), do crafts (!!?? in bed!), etc. so I didn't feel an ounce of guilt for helping her reset her clock.

 

 

I'm sorry; do we have the same daughter? LOL! She does all of that stuff as part of her winding down at night, including crafts and the cat cuddling. To some degree, no matter how tired she is, that sort of stuff oddly enough does wind her brain down and is necessary for her, but I do usually have to tell her at some point to turn off the lights and put on some quiet music. She's like me, a natural night owl and not really a morning person, but the entire household functions better when we're all up and moving in the mornings.

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We have relaxed mornings because we don't start school until 10 am, because I am working in my office until that time. My 12 year old gets up around 6:00 am, while my 8 year old sleeps in until 8:30 or 9:00. 9:00 is the enforced wake time. We don't allow screen time regularly on weekdays (oldest does occasionally earn computer time, we occasionally allow some afternoon/evening TV, but nothing regular). We all eat breakfast at different times, but the rule is you must eat before 10 am.

 

Older DS is allowed to read in the morning, work ahead on his afternoon chores, or play quietly in his room. If younger DS wakes early enough, he is allowed the same things. At 9:45 they get a 15 minute warning to wrap up what they are doing and get ready for school. At 10 sharp they are expected in the school room. Arguments or whining result in a loss of an after school privilege. Older DS rarely puts up a fight, he knows the drill and the boundaries. Younger DS is getting better, but still sometimes tests those boundaries! Older DS is also pretty independent at this point and he's a morning person, so he generally gets started much earlier anyway, so he can have more afternoon free time.

 

While our mornings are relaxed compared to some, I do have certain times for certain things to occur and those are written in stone. They can do what ever you want, within a few rules, from waking to 10 am, but at 10 am they are mine and I expect rears in seats (or sprawled on the floor, or at the table, or in the backyard, or where ever lessons are occurring)! It took some time to turn this rhythm into a habit, but now that it's done we usually enjoy pretty effortless and stress-free mornings.

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I am a newbie but I wanted to say if I let my kids watch tv in the morning it's downhill from there for the rest of the day I don't know why! So what I do I let them have 30- 60 mins (only because they each want to pick a show) of tv in the evening after dinner and bath then its off to bed and a lot of times I read.I would like to cut tv back to 30 mins a day but this is what we are working with now! It works much better and honestly I think my kids get along better with no tv in the morning but maybe its just me. Good luck for breakfast I have no suggestions but working with your ds in the morning sounds like a good idea and keep consistent I think a child like to know what to expect.

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I don't allow TV before school. It just doesn't work here.

 

When your son gets up, either let him play on his own (surely he has Legos or something) or go ahead and start school with him, saving together subjects for after your DD gets up. I would LOVE it if I could get my oldest son's school partially done before everyone else woke up!

 

Btw, I've fallen into the morning TV rut before. It really didn't take long to get out of it. I just told the kids that the new rule was no TV until after everyone's school was done. The first week of no TV is hard, but then the kids start figuring out how to entertain themselves again.

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My DD, however, was getting into a pattern of sleeping in and then not being one bit tired at (her very reasonable) bedtime. She would read, pet and brush the cat, write stories (that she repeatedly got out of bed to read to me), draw pictures and cartoons (ditto), do crafts (!!?? in bed!), etc. so I didn't feel an ounce of guilt for helping her reset her clock.

I'm sorry; do we have the same daughter? LOL! She does all of that stuff as part of her winding down at night, including crafts and the cat cuddling. To some degree, no matter how tired she is, that sort of stuff oddly enough does wind her brain down and is necessary for her, but I do usually have to tell her at some point to turn off the lights and put on some quiet music. She's like me, a natural night owl and not really a morning person, but the entire household functions better when we're all up and moving in the mornings.

 

Triplets!! My DD is the same. She is a night owl, just like her daddy, and cannot wind down easily. I've also resorted to music to tame the savage beast, errr, daughter. She goes to B&M school so we have a hard deadline for getting up an out in the am but nights are still impossible.

 

OP, I agree the screen time is probably not helping. I'd do one on one with DS while DD slept, if that's what you want her to do, then breakfast, then group school. Play later.

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I'm sorry; do we have the same daughter? LOL! She does all of that stuff as part of her winding down at night, including crafts and the cat cuddling. To some degree, no matter how tired she is, that sort of stuff oddly enough does wind her brain down and is necessary for her, but I do usually have to tell her at some point to turn off the lights and put on some quiet music. She's like me, a natural night owl and not really a morning person, but the entire household functions better when we're all up and moving in the mornings.

 

Triplets!! My DD is the same. She is a night owl, just like her daddy, and cannot wind down easily. I've also resorted to music to tame the savage beast, errr, daughter.

 

:lol: Funny!

 

So, full disclosure? I am like this too, so I totally get it. Unfortunately, this also means that I like my time alone in the evening, which I don't get if DD is up and down showing me all the products of her awesome creativity, you know? :tongue_smilie: In the interest of complete transparency, DD's "very reasonable bedtime" mentioned above really is quite liberal. After some experimenting/tweaking to ensure she gets enough time to be who she is and enough sleep to be healthy and pleasant to be around ;), her bedtime is now made up of two separate times. DH and/or I generally read bedtime stories to the kids and tuck them in around 8:30. DS7 might read for 15 minutes, then goes right to sleep without a single peep. Zonk! (This is a thing of beauty, and I will miss it when it's gone. :lol:) DS10 reads for an hour or two, then turns off his light and goes to sleep, generally leaving us alone after the tuck in. DD still does all the things I mentioned before, and will continue to be allowed to do so as long as she leaves us in peace! I go in at 10:00, turn off her light, and do a second tuck in. She is allowed to listen to music or her "ocean" (white noise cd) as she goes to sleep. This is our "sweet spot" compromise right now. Before, she would stay up significantly later. It was bad for me at night and for all of us in the morning. We'll see how it changes as she gets older.

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How long have you been homeschooling? I ask because I know I used to have this image in my head that my kids would LOVE learning and so would LOVE school...because after all that was a large reason for us homeschooling. So that image translated to me expecting them to always have a good attitude about schoolwork and to be ready and happy to start.

 

Reality is that they don’t always love it. Sometimes they really just don’t want to do the more schooly things or sometimes it’s one subject they hate not matter how fun I try and make it or sometimes it’s that it’s a favorite subject of theirs or something fun but they just have a different agenda.

 

I’d look at it from their perspective...if what they want to do is watch movies and play then of course there isn’t much incentive for them to stop doing that and start doing school. I think sometimes as a homeschooling Mom I feel disappointed that my kids aren’t excited to do the things I’ve planned for them. I think we all put a lot of time and work and energy into planning good things and it can be disheartening to feel like you have unwilling and unenthusiastic students. I think sometimes you have to put aside your own emotions and just say “it’s time to start†and ignore the protests. With my own I’ve told them at times something along the lines of “School is not an option for you. You can go to school here, you can go to school somewhere else but you have to learn. You do have a choice about how fast you get work done and about your own attitude. But even if you are grumpy and make us all miserable you still have to do the math. (or spelling or whatever the issue is).â€

 

Assuming since you posted your post that you aren’t a believer in complete child-led education/days, I agree that I’d stop the TV/movies in the morning. I’d also maybe institute a strict schedule for awhile, maybe a few weeks. It’s always easier to relax a schedule than it is to try and impose a schedule on kids who are used to freedom. I find that once mine are used to a routine it’s fairly easy to say “today we’re going to take it easyâ€. But I know those first few days getting back into a routine after a break are always a little tough.

 

I have a nine year old son and one thing that has helped a lot this year with him is that I give him a notebook with all his weekly assignments in it. I check the ones in it that he can do on his own in red. This might be Math questions or a page of Latin or independent reading. I don’t expect him to totally manage his own time but it’s a good way for him to see what things he can work on during downtime. I’m often out in the morning working and then get home after they’ve been up awhile so with the notebook he knows he can start without me (the incentive being that he’s done earlier). Maybe you could figure some way to leave a few assignments for your son each day that he could do during that two hour period. Then he could have a break later in the morning while you work with your daughter.

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I second the suggestions of no tv before school and staggered start times for the kids who have different sleeping habits.

 

Letting the kids play until they are cranky and then trying to start school is a set-up for disaster.

 

Tara

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A movie first thing in the morning will not work for my boys! Ask me how I know? Been there done that! I have two boys who are 16 months apart. My oldest is a late sleeper. He wakes up between 8:15-8:30. My youngest is up at 7:00. Most of the time I complete math and spelling with my youngest while the oldest is asleep. On other days he's allowed to watch 1 Brain Pop episode, practice his piano, read, or play with his Guinea Pig. A checklist work great for my boys because it allows them to see what they need to complete and it also allow them to see how much they have completed before they are allowed to watch tv.

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:lol: Funny!

 

So, full disclosure? I am like this too, so I totally get it. Unfortunately, this also means that I like my time alone in the evening, which I don't get if DD is up and down showing me all the products of her awesome creativity, you know? :tongue_smilie: In the interest of complete transparency, DD's "very reasonable bedtime" mentioned above really is quite liberal. After some experimenting/tweaking to ensure she gets enough time to be who she is and enough sleep to be healthy and pleasant to be around ;), her bedtime is now made up of two separate times. DH and/or I generally read bedtime stories to the kids and tuck them in around 8:30. DS7 might read for 15 minutes, then goes right to sleep without a single peep. Zonk! (This is a thing of beauty, and I will miss it when it's gone. :lol:) DS10 reads for an hour or two, then turns off his light and goes to sleep, generally leaving us alone after the tuck in. DD still does all the things I mentioned before, and will continue to be allowed to do so as long as she leaves us in peace! I go in at 10:00, turn off her light, and do a second tuck in. She is allowed to listen to music or her "ocean" (white noise cd) as she goes to sleep. This is our "sweet spot" compromise right now. Before, she would stay up significantly later. It was bad for me at night and for all of us in the morning. We'll see how it changes as she gets older.

 

 

That's what we do as well. After reading as a family, the 4 and 8yo boys are in bed between 8 and 8:15, and they usually fall asleep pretty quickly. Sometimes the 8yo reads for a few minutes. DD goes to her room when the boys go to theirs, and she usually stays up until 9:30 or 10 before I make her turn off her light. :)

 

I'm with you on needing the time alone in the evening.

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I have found that a movie in the morning does nothing but make my dd turn into a little monster who is irritable and begs all day for more. My morning routine is a work in progress but so far: you get up, dressed, make bed, chores, food, 15-20min play so I can get school ready, and they can rid of wiggles, then school starts. She only gets electronic rights if the majority of school and chores is complete. The weekends and really bad weather days is more lax but if I let them watch movies too early in the day it can be hard to get them into their own creative space. I need to work on the bedtime routine. We are all night owls so its not easy.

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f you make a schedule change, maybe add a pretty new lure to your school day to make it more enticing to begin efficiently. You could start with a nature walk, have poetry breakfasts, etc. Morning Meeting is cool for us, as we discuss lots of fun stuff. Anyway, launch into something they love first.

 

 

This is brilliant! Would you mind explaining what kind of fun stuff might go into a Morning Meeting? =)

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We got in a rut this past January with the kids watching tv in the mornings before school. I was very sick for a few weeks, so it was easier for me to have them watch tv, and it was hard to get them off of their laid-back routine. We have taken away all "screen" time (this includes tablets, DSes, video games, tv shows, and computer time), and it's been 3 weeks now. My kids get along so much better now. My middle child wakes up first every morning and reads a book! Oh my goodness! He hates to read, or so he used to say. Now he's become a reading freak! I love it.

 

Sometimes my kids play board games before we start school. Sometimes they build puzzles. My oldest, my only daughter, is a grouch when she wakes up. She's the hard one. My boys are up at 6:30 am every day. They actually wake up earlier, but we tell them that they are not allowed out of their rooms until 6:30 am. My daughter would sleep until 9:00 am if I let her. We wake her up at 7:00 am. We let them relax until 7:30, when we eat breakfast, and that's when school starts too. I read MoH to them while they eat, or sometimes our Apologia science, depending on what day of the week it is.

 

After MoH or Apologia, they get a 15 minute break, and then it's math. Then another 15 minute break, and then we run the gammut of Language Arts, etc. We're usually done by noon. We eat lunch, then they have a half an hour of school reading, and then they have quiet time in their rooms until 3:00 pm.

 

I find that sticking to a schedule helps my kids. They ask for it. While I was sick, we got off the schedule and my middle child asked for us to do it again. We said goodbye to all screen time for all days (not just school days) and we are back on schedule. The kids are happier, and best of all, I'm happier.

 

Set a schedule and stick to it. Maybe insist your son stay in his room until a certain time and make your daughter wake up at an earlier time, having them both emerging from their rooms at the same time, so that you can start your day. I'm not sure if you're like me, but the first thing we do each day is a group thing, where I need all of them at once, so staggering a start time will not work for us. It is a very good idea though, and I'm thinking about it, wondering how I would work it...

 

Anyway, best of luck to you. Those pesky screens seem to turn kids crazy. ;)

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This is brilliant! Would you mind explaining what kind of fun stuff might go into a Morning Meeting? =)

 

There are a few good threads out there. It is basically the same idea as Circle Time. I'm just not in love with the term, especially for older kids. :tongue_smilie:

 

It is different now from how we began, but at different times it has included a mix of the following:

 

yoga, walking dog, some form of morning exercise with chatting

 

memory work/recitations (We do poetry recitation at tea & poetry time in the afternoon but other stuff in the morning.)

 

calendar/seasonal discussions (We plan for holidays and special family events/outings.)

 

menu planning (Each child gets to pick one meal per week and help me prepare it. We pick/schedule that at morning meeting.)

 

weather

 

skip counting, clock reading, or quick living math activity

 

singing - We (ideally) learn a new song together every week (can be a folk song, patriotic song, historic selection, etc.). I try to relate them to something we are learning for school or relevant to the season. This was so much fun during American history!

 

chore check/review

 

shared thoughts (taking turns talking about anything on our minds)

 

character/values discussions and stories

 

current events

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Agreeing with the others, screen time does NOT work here before school. In fact, I don't let mine watch T.V. until school is totally over (mine want to watch it during their recess time.) The only time they can watch anything is if it is specific to their school work (for ex. a civil war documentary during our civil war study etc.) We ease into school by having me read aloud a story, a poem, singing songs, doing picture study etc. at the breakfast table.

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My kids also do not do well with any screen time before school. So I don't allow it. I did get into the habit for a while of not wanting to disturb their play. I am NOT a morning person so they typically will have been up for a while before I am ready to be actively involved in school. They do have some things that they can at least start independently, so I've taught them that is their responsibility to get dressed, eat, and start school right away in the morning. They have a basket with their books and a check-list of their weekly required work. They can ask me for help if they get to something that isn't independent before I'm ready in the morning, but they don't wait for me to say, "Time to start school!"

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There are a few good threads out there. It is basically the same idea as Circle Time. I'm just not in love with the term, especially for older kids. :tongue_smilie:

Yes,calling it "Morning Meeting" makes it sound much more appealing! I love this and gonna borrow it for sure. =)

 

It is different now from how we began, but at different times it has included a mix of the following:

 

yoga, walking dog, some form of morning exercise with chatting

 

memory work/recitations (We do poetry recitation at tea & poetry time in the afternoon but other stuff in the morning.)

 

calendar/seasonal discussions (We plan for holidays and special family events/outings.)

 

menu planning (Each child gets to pick one meal per week and help me prepare it. We pick/schedule that at morning meeting.)

 

weather

 

skip counting, clock reading, or quick living math activity

 

singing - We (ideally) learn a new song together every week (can be a folk song, patriotic song, historic selection, etc.). I try to relate them to something we are learning for school or relevant to the season. This was so much fun during American history!

 

chore check/review

 

shared thoughts (taking turns talking about anything on our minds)

 

character/values discussions and stories

 

current events

 

 

May I ask how long a typical Morning meeting takes? I'm sorry if asking it here is diverting away from the OP's original question...I just thought maybe others might like to hear too...Thank you so much for sharing, these are fantastic ideas.

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May I ask how long a typical Morning meeting takes? I'm sorry if asking it here is diverting away from the OP's original question...I just thought maybe others might like to hear too...Thank you so much for sharing, these are fantastic ideas.

 

It can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes, depending on what we need to cover and how pressed we are for time. Again, we do not do all of that every day. It used to be longer, back when we exercised as part of that time. Now the kids swim daily and DH runs with the dog (and sometimes DS10), so we don't include it. I left it in the list as an idea though, because it worked for us for a while.

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Whilst I get my older two off to school in the morning, ds9 sits at the pc and watches 2 brain pop videos (uk and US) whilst he eats, he then goes though the open tabs on the pc which are:

spelling city,

xtra math

math rider

duolingo

quizlet (in an ideal world)

by the time he has finished, the 2 boys are off at school and ds has finished his drill for the day. We then move in to school proper.

I couldn't have him watch a movie in the am, brainpop is all I will allow

Stephanie

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I have a no-screens rule for the day, including the morning. No recreational screen use until school is all done. If one gets up early and wants free time before starting school, he does other things - DS1 will read or play ping-pong on the backboard, and DS2 likes to play with the Lego game parts. With these activities, they aren't grumpy about putting them down and starting school when it's time.

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Take control. Make a schedule, explain it to your children, stick to it.

Any foot dragging, whining, and not following the schedule results in their after school time being shortened because the work gets moved to homework status.

I am all for relaxing in the mornings but I get up early (5:30) to get my lazy mornings going. Dd enjoys reading, playing outside, and PBS kids in the morning before school...to do this she gets up at 6am. School starts promptly at 8:30.

 

You did not say how old your children are. I am referring to school age kids (2nd -6th).

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Wow wow wow. So much wisdom and good advice.

 

Monday (today) is our Saturday because my husband is home today and not Saturday so tomorrow starts our new school week. So I will be doing some planning today and talking with my kiddos about expectations. I expect that I am in for a rough week. But I think you all are right and the long term will be much better.

 

I think no screen time at all before school. DS loves audiobooks and he can listen to those or whatever or we can start school. He gets up around 7. I suppose I will start getting up at 5 so I can finish my quiet time before he gets up. And then when he does, he can do stuff on his own or maybe start some work with me. I like the idea of people getting their own breakfasts but then we have some morning time to come together.

 

I think this will be a tough week but better for all of us ultimately. I really resonated with whoever said that falling apart is often a symptom of needing more structure. It clearly is here. So I am off to do some planning! Thank you all so much.

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this may or may not be helpful to you. we have recently switched up our routine. since summer is coming and it is already HOT here, we moved school time to the afternoon. my kids get up between 7 and 10- 3 staggered and different every day. the only requirement is that morning chores MUST be done before they can eat. they are welcome to play- outside or in- but when they're ready to eat, chores better be done. we were having lots of problems with distractions and dragging out chores before. mornings are slightly cooler so they can get their outside time (or outing/activity) before it gets stifling hot. i call them in around noon and they do their afternoon chores while i make lunch. we do our afternoon basket while they eat then move into "school". this new routine has worked wonders for us all. things are getting done (and in a timely manner), they are getting along fairly well and building their relationships in the mornings. the only thing i've had to gve up is our mandatory rest time but i get so much done in the morning and they have gotten their play out of their systems, we haven't really missed it. over an hour of our school is spent snuggled in my bed reading anyway so... there ya go- rest during school time.

 

anyway, this seems to be opposite of the norm, but has worked wonders for us. :)

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So impressed and inspired by your resolve to get started with your new routine....now! That's great!

 

I'm usually a fairly disciplined homeschooler, but when mornings start to get sluggish, I stumbled by accident on a trick to jump-start us: get up and get out! As quickly as possible, grabbing breakfast to go if we can, I get my Kindy and 3 preschoolers out of the house. A short walk, a nearby park, the post office, or even (if the weather's not cooperating) a van ride to grab myself a coffee at the drive-thru (with the kids singing along to their memory songs on cd, just to redeem the time). Somehow just getting out of the house energizes us all for the day, and we hit the schoolroom as soon as we return (usually by 9) to take advantage of that energy. It really works wonders for us! (And on a sluggish rainy day, the latte for me is especially motivating) :-)

 

Of course, it might be a bit tricky with your sleepyhead, but if your DH is still at home to hold down the fort, perhaps you and your early bird could benefit from an outing, just until he kicks the movie habit. Might ease the transition this week. Best wishes!

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I'm going to chime in with no screen time. We don't do any screen time during school hours unless it's something educational and those are few and far between so they actually view it as a "treat". :) My boys wake up usually between 7-8 and entertain themselves until I call them for breakfast. They do legos, draw, write stories etc. If anyone has a problem with screen time in the a.m. it's me! These boards always manage to suck me in! Best wishes to you as you implement your new schedule:)

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We also have a "no electronics" rule in the mornings. Like others noted, it's really hard to recover from that down time. If your son needs a little time to get himself moving in the morning, I would have him read or do quiet play (maybe legos?). T.v. is one of those things that we've tried to make the exception rather than the rule- we ask "have you finished school, is your room clean, have you read for 30 minutes, have you been outside, have you been creative?" If all of those things have been done in a day maybe we have time for some t.v., but usually at that point we find it's the end of the day. :)

 

We have a "morning routine" that involves breakfast, getting dressed, making the bed and brushing teeth. That must all be done by 8:00 (we have to start school by 8:30 if we're going to finish by lunch so that I can work in the afternoons). If they get done early they are allowed to play quietly, read or get started on school early. I'm not a great morning person myself and I need our mornings to be peaceful and quiet early on if I'm going to be successful in the day. We school all morning, and part of what makes that easier is that my boys know they will have the afternoons free for projects and play and time outside.

 

I had to be really strict about the new routine when we made this change in our family and stick to a "to-the-minute" timeline for about a month. After that we were able to relax, the kids know just what to do and what to expect, and it really has transformed our mornings into a more peaceful time for everyone.

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I've been having this same issue in the morning. I work full-time from home so I've been scheduling my day to end at around 10 or 11. In the meantime, the kids are supposed to be eating breakfast and getting ready for the day. Ultimately, they end watching TV to kill time. I'm finding that when I finish work, I'm still struggling to get off the internet and my kids are totally unmotivated to do school. I've been going back and forth on switching my hours and waking the kids up to start school by 8:30 or 9 and turning off all screens until school is done. Based on everyone's feedback to your post, this sounds like the direction we need to go.

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