Make coffee. Sip coffee. Savor the first few (and possibly only) quiet moments of the day. Then embrace the chaos.
Our morning routine was…well, not so routine until this last fall.
We’ve been working this year on making our homeschooling mornings more peaceful and smooth, especially the transition from breakfast into the “school” part of our day.
Since August, we’ve accumulated several items that tended to gravitate toward one particular spot near our kitchen table. These items we use almost daily, and they’ve proven themselves winners for helping the first part of our mornings flow in a more fun, peaceful and efficient manner.
While I love the idea of a homeschooling “morning basket,” the kitchen table is usually cleared for mealtime and filled later with craft stuff or library books. So alternatively, we use a cute wooden chair that sits right next to our kitchen table to hold these precious few items that we love and use every day.
Here’s what always sits on it!
*Items that aren’t necessarily ON the chair, but are nearby or under it, for space’s sake. 🙂
A(n old-school) CD/cassette tape player.
If the morning is already running smoothly (like I got up on time and had breakfast already in the works), we often play music while eating together. If I’m still working on breakfast and other morning “mom chores,” I use the cassette player to play some of our favorite stories or radio shows on tape. I decided that the music and stories we play on it deserved their own category. See below! 😀
Kid and mom-friendly music.
This is a big one for us. I’ve found that adjusting to the morning light is tough for my sleep-loving girl, and music helps all of us. However, there are only so many Disney princess medleys one mom can take! I love using CDs with praise and worship songs, classical music, and relaxing jazz to begin the wake-up time. Sometimes, when cleaning up, I’ll switch to something more upbeat and energetic. It’s so nice to be able to have a couple of favorite CDs right at my fingertips to switch “atmospheric gears,” rather than fumbling on my phone for a Pandora station that may or may not play what we both like. 🙂
Cassette tapes of children’s radio shows or book-on-tapes.
It’s amazing what a quick, ten- minute story (told by NOT me) can do to revive our morning peace, and ease my daughter into a “listening mood.” We love Jungle Jam and Friends, Adventures in Odyssey, and the Christopher Churchmouse series. All of them are great, Christ-based character building stories, and some of them even have books that go with them. These are mostly items from my childhood I hung onto, but you can still find all of them on Amazon, so if it’s something you think your kids would love, I encourage you to check them out!
*My daily lesson plan notebook.
Sometimes this notebook migrates…often to Bundle’s desk, and even more often, to the kitchen counter. But having this close by when we start our morning at the kitchen table really helps me continue to gather my thoughts about what’s coming next. I also love crossing items off of lists and using any spare moments to look ahead and jot down ideas for anything left blank for the week.
A favorite children’s devotional, Bible, or character-building lesson book.
I usually eat faster than Bundle, so as soon as I’m finished (or if I was on the ball and finished before she was up) I’ll read to her. Right now, we’re working through the Standard Bible Story Readers and The Children’s Book of Virtues. Here are some other books we’ve worked through and loved:
Good Night Hugs from God – Bundle’s all-time favorite. ❤
A set of our house rules, rewards, and consequences.
This is a new item on our chair. As our daughter has gotten older, whining, sassing and other not-so-pleasant forms of typical four-year-old communication have become more prominent. As a result, Hubby and I found this amazing set of editable, Scripture-based house rules from Confessions of a Homeschooler. We’ve only been using them for about a week, but so far, the results are pretty rewarding. The house rules are on the chair simply as a reference guide, and occasionally, as a reminder as we go about our morning routine. Hopefully we can continue using this with success!
*A small, no-prep, hands-on activity.
This week it’s plastic Easter eggs filled with small, pastel-colored craft pom-poms. Having something tactile that my little kinesthetic learning can play with if I’m caught up with something else is wonderful! Right now the eggs are sitting under the chair on a plastic tote.
This also isn’t technically ON our chair, but it hangs right next to it from a window hook, and we have fun changing around the chore magnets each day, and “checking off” (putting a smiley magnet onto) the chores we’ve worked on together. After breakfast time is usually when we tackle this, and it’s great to have it so handy.
I love that we’ve invested some serious thought and time into establishing a morning routine that works for us, and gathering a few materials that really make the first part of our day shine instead of drag.
What items help your mornings run more smoothly?
*I’m excited to share that I’ve chosen to share this post on the Hip Homeschool Hop running this week (March 21 – 27, 2017) on Hip Homeschool Moms! Please check out my post and tons of other wonderful homeschool related posts on their link up!