Back-to-Homeschool Routine

It’s finally here! After a two-week break to get my affairs in order, we are ready for Back-to-Homeschool. (Actually the kids have been ready—very ready. But I’ve insisted on my break.) And thus, a back-to-homeschool routine. Which means, among other things, back-to-early mornings.

We’ve been very casual learners this summer: starting around mid-morning or whenever I finally get things in order, working through topics with only a skeleton of a lesson plan. It’s been very enjoyable—loving summer, loving learning, and best of all, loving on Littlest. But it is time to bring back some structure. I can feel it, and I can sense that the kids need it, too. But oh! Those early mornings are the worst.

Thankfully, I do have Littlest, who insists on eating at 5 a.m. every morning. So the first step has been to stay up after I finish the early morning feeding. And the first half of the first step is to get to bed a little earlier.

To achieve all of these steps and half-steps, I’ve turned to my ipod alarms. I figured out that I can customize any number of alarms on particular days and label those alarms with a name. I currently have six alarms set to go off each weekday:

5 a.m.—Pray

7:15 a.m.—Shower

9 a.m.—School Begins

2:30 p.m.—Exercise

4:30 p.m.—Take pills

10:30 p.m.—Bedtime

5 a.m.—Pray 

Labeling this alarm convicts me when I consider hitting the snooze. It’s not just my time to wake up (if Littlest hasn’t already done that job for me); it’s my time to meet with God. I start with prayer time rather than Bible study for a number of reasons but primarily because I know that if I need to feed Littlest first, I can still pray while I do that. No excuses = greater chance for success. After I finish feeding, I continue with my Bible study and a cup of coffee (decaf, but hey, maybe I can fool my body into thinking it’s the real thing).

Once I finish my prayer and Bible study, I then get to work answering emails, setting up any posts for my Facebook page, and blogging. I can usually produce 2-3 blog posts in about an hour (reviews take a little longer); and I try very hard to schedule my posts in advance.

7:15 a.m.—Shower

Before this alarm actually goes off, I’m fervently praying that the kids don’t wake up. If they do, I make breakfast and push my shower just a little bit later. If not, I like to get my shower out of the way before the day erupts. This time also includes getting dressed, doing my hair, putting on make-up, etc.

9 a.m.—School Begins 

I am a stickler for this start time during the school year. My mom was a stickler for starting on time back when I was homeschooled, and it made college so much easier. During the summer, anything goes. But now it’s time to get in gear. {Sigh}

2:30 p.m.—Exercise

I have found that I can be most successful at including this into my routine if I do it in the afternoons with the kids. I’ve been reviewing Family Time Fitness (stay-tuned for the details coming soon!) and literally exercising WITH the kids. Otherwise, the rest of the day tends to crowd out this good-intention. The alarm is for accountability. The kids know it’s coming, and when the alarm goes off, there’s no more procrastinating.

4:30—Take Pills

Nothing exciting here, folks. I have certain pills I have to take before I eat supper, and I never remember them. This has helped me immensely. It also signals the beginning of dinner prep. Littlest comes to the rescue again here, as well. There’s no room to procrastinate. He eats at 5:00, so if dinner is not prepped and/or in the oven, we eat about an hour later than normal (if there is a normal at this stage in life).


Littlest used to take his last feeding at 11:00, which started a really bad habit of staying up way too late. Even after he dropped this feeding, I still stayed up way past what I should have. The evening really just gets away from me. This alarm helps me to shut the day down at a half-way decent time. And it is a source of accountability as well; when my husband hears the alarm, he helps me by insisting that I start preparing for bed.


So that’s it, folks. My new routine, and the tips and tricks to make it happen. (1) Set lots of alarms; (2) get a five month old who wants to eat every 3 hours!

I’d love to know what makes things move at your house. Leave me a comment with your tips for setting up a routine.
Published by Tracy
Our life is creative chaos, and our homeschool is loud and busy and distracted and challenging and lovely. My name is Tracy, and I homeschool my crew of three kids with ADHD/dyslexia, finding creative ways to use their strengths to teach their weaknesses. As a homeschooled homeschooler, I love customizing curriculum and making adjustments to incorporate fun, hands-on projects for out-of-the-box learners. Stop by to find grace for the messes and mistakes, and knowledge to pick up the pieces and make something special. Let’s grow together!

2 thoughts on “Back-to-Homeschool Routine

  1. I have alarms set to wake up in the morning and to read in the afternoon (my own “school time”). I don’t know why I never thought of setting one for bedtime. I am struggling to get in bed on time these days. A printed-out, laminated schedule is what keeps us on track during the school day. My oldest thrives on a schedule, so he keeps me accountable. Thanks for the good ideas!

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