Ready to start a new year of homeschooling? Here's a back-to-school routine to help get everyone back in the swing of things.
Going from a summer routine to a back-to-school routine can be pretty tough. It's not always easy to transition from the kids staying up late, getting to do what they want all day, and living pretty wild and free to a learning-focused routine.
It can even be tough for us parents! Not only do we have to get used to getting up at a certain time and having more tasks to do each day, we have to get the rest of the family on board.
In this article, I'll share a simple but effective back-to-school routine that will help you and your family settle into the homeschooling year with ease. I'll also share some tips that will help make the transition easier for everyone.
Let's get to it!
How to Get Back Into a School Routine
Before we dive into the actual back-to-school routine, I want to talk about how to implement it. Routines are going to vary from family to family.
Everyone has their own unique schedules and needs. The most important part is how you implement the routine. That's where most families struggle.
Here are some tips for following your back-to-school routine to help things go more smoothly:
Share the routine with your family
The very first step is to share the back-to-school routine with your family. Sit down and have a talk with your kids about what things will look like when the homeschool year starts back up.
Talk about any changes you'll make such as bedtime routines, wake-up times, what you'll expect them to do each day, and even what their homeschool day will look like.
There might be some moaning and groaning, but the more you communicate up front the better. Your kids will be a lot more successful following the routine when they know what's expected of them ahead of time.
And don't forget to tell your spouse or partner about the routine too! Having everyone on board is key for settling into the new routine.
Post the routine where everyone can see it
Once you've explained the routine to everyone, the next step is to post it where everyone can see it. Children are often very visual.
Having a posted routine helps them remember what's expected of them each day. Especially when you're just getting used to the back-to-school routine, this helps a ton.
Plus, it saves you from having to remind everyone over and over again what they need to do.
The most important part of instilling a routine is consistency. The more consistent you are with enforcing the routine, the faster everyone will get on board.
If necessary set alarms for bedtimes, wake-up times, and even when the routine should be finished. Once your family gets used to the new routine it'll start to feel like second nature.
My next tip for implementing a back-to-school routine is to encourage independence. Especially if you have more than one kid at home, you want to start teaching them how to be independent and be responsible for as much as possible with their routine.
Encourage them to track their own steps in their routine. Start teaching them how to brush their teeth, get themselves dressed, and brush their hair.
If possible, encourage them to even make their own breakfast. They may still need help with certain tasks, but the more they can learn to do for themselves, the easier your life will be.
Take it one day at a time
Don't expect everyone in your family to immediately get on board with the back-to-school routine. Don't get discouraged if things don't go perfectly right away.
Be patient and take it one day at a time. It'll take some time for everyone to adjust, so don't be too hard on your family or yourself if there are hiccups along the way.
Another good tip for implementing a back-to-school routine is to make sure you don't forget to celebrate successes. As I mentioned, it may take some time before everyone is following the back-to-school routine.
Whenever there's a success – even if it's small – make sure to recognize and celebrate it. This will help encourage your family to keep up with the routine and be successful in their homeschooling year.
My favorite way of doing this is using chore charts. You can have your child put a sticker or stamp next to every task they've completed.
This is a fun way to encourage everyone to get on board with the routine.
Include extra time for the unexpected
My next tip for following a back-to-school routine is to include some extra time in the schedule for the unexpected. We all know that life can throw us curve balls, so it's important to have some wiggle room in your routine.
You don't want to feel behind if something comes up and throws off your whole day. Having a little extra time padded into your routine will also help you to be flexible if someone is having an off day.
Assess your routine regularly
Finally, it's important to assess your back-to-school routine regularly. Routines should be fluid and adaptable.
What works today may not work tomorrow, so make sure you review the routine regularly to make sure that it's still working well for your family.
When should I start our back-to-school routine?
When introducing a new routine for children, the best advice is to ease into it. Especially when you're changing things like sleeping schedules, it often takes a few days for kids to adjust.
In order to avoid having to homeschool a moody and sleep-deprived child, I highly recommend starting your back-to-school routine at least a week before you plan on starting your homeschool year and school activities.
That gives your child (and you!) time to get used to the new sleeping schedule and morning and evening routine. During this week before school starts, you might try finding some fun activities to celebrate back-to-homeschool.
If you already know your children struggle with changes to their routine, try starting 2 weeks out and easing into the routine. Start moving bedtime and wake-up times up by 15-30 minutes a night.
This will help make the adjustment a little less dramatic for everyone.
Sample Back-to-School Routine: Morning
Now it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about the actual back-to-school routine. This is just a sample routine that could be adjusted to suit your homeschool day.
Here's what a typical day might look like:
8:00 am – Wake up and make the bed.
8:05 am – Get ready for the day: get dressed, wash your face, and brush your hair.
8:20 am – Eat breakfast and brush your teeth.
8:45 am – Morning chores.
9:00-9:30 am – Start your homeschool day
Starting your homeschool day
Jumping into your homeschool day rather than getting lunches and backpacks ready and heading out the door is one thing that sets a homeschooler's back-to-school routine apart from public schoolers.
The whole point of a back-to-school routine is so that your child is ready to start their homeschool day. However, because there are so many different ways to homeschool, there are also a lot of different ways to start homeschooling for the day.
You can pick and choose what goes into your homeschool schedule, but here are some suggestions:
- Reading aloud: You can start your day by reading aloud to your kids. Some families like to do this over breakfast and others snuggle on the couch or even head outside.
- Morning basket: A popular option is to do a morning basket with different activities or learning materials. You can include things like
books, music, art, games, etc. You can also find some ideas here.
- Calendar: For younger kids, going over the calendar is a great way to start the day. This can include holidays, birthdays, special events, and even a weather report.
- Journaling: Writing in a journal is an excellent way to start your day. It helps kids practice writing skills but also encourages self-reflection and creativity.
- Exercise: If your children have a hard time focusing until they get their wiggles out, you might start your day off with some exercise. If you're looking to calm them down, try yoga. If you're looking to burn off some energy, try heading outside for a bit.
- Hardest subject first: Many parents choose to get the hardest subject out of the way first. This helps kids tackle the more challenging topics while they're feeling fresh and energized.
- Easiest subject first: For some kids, doing the easier subjects first may help ease them into their homeschool day. It can give them a sense of accomplishment and also help build momentum for the more challenging topics.
- Music: Listening to music is also a great way to start the day. You can choose something calming or upbeat depending on your child's needs.
Remember that the goal of your back-to-school morning routine is that you and your child are ready to start learning for the day. So choose activities and a schedule that helps everyone feel focused and energized.
Sample Back-to-School Routine: Night
In addition to having a great morning routine, having a nighttime routine is also key for easing back into the homeschool year. Here's what your nighttime routine might look like:
6:00 pm – Transition from daytime activities into evening activities.
7:00 pm – Dinner time.
7:30 pm – Clean up kitchen and evening chores.
8:00 pm – Bath or shower, brush teeth, and get into pajamas.
8:30 pm – Quiet activities such as reading aloud, calming music, or quiet toys.
9:00 pm – Bedtime! Say goodnight and tuck in children.
9:30 pm – Once kids are in bed, mom or dad can do any prep needed for the next day such as getting lessons ready, prepping meals, or doing chores.
Again, everyone's bedtime needs are different so adjust as necessary. The key is to find something that works for your family so that everyone is able to settle down for bed early enough that they'll be well-rested and ready for the next day.
Final Thoughts on Our Simple Back-to-School Routine for Homeschoolers to Have a Great Year
Creating a back-to-school routine that works for your family is a great way to help everyone transition into the new homeschool year with ease. It also provides structure and routine which can help increase focus and concentration during your homeschool day.
Just don't forget to be consistent and keep it simple. With a little bit of planning and some trial and error, you'll have an amazing back-to-school routine that works well for your family in no time!
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