Family Boot Camp

By Donna Young · July 3, 2007

A Pair of Shoes - Vincent Van GoghFirst, I will define what family boot camp is according to my purposes. Family boot camp is a goal oriented event that lasts for 5 days or more. Boot camp must have clear objectives. Our family boot camps vary in intensity depending on the purpose at hand. In this article, I will discuss our current boot camp.

My daughter is about to enter into her final year of high school. During the flurry of the past few years, we have lost the routine that we had in the past. I have lived with routine and I have lived without it. I prefer routine. Establishing a solid routine is the main objective of our current family boot camp. Routines are difficult to become habit, so this boot camp will last for several weeks. To illuminate that statement, I personally will have to ensure that the routine does not slip away. That points to one vital factor of all boot camps -

"I do not have the luxury to shortchange my duties."

And that brings me to important point #1: Do not start boot camp unless you are able to follow through with your role on a daily basis until boot camp objectives have been met.

Our Objectives

The purpose of this boot camp is to establish a schedule that promotes health and well-being. This routine must become the normal way of life.

Our goals for this boot camp:

  1. Establish a basic routine of early rising and completing important duties and understand the importance of routine.
  2. Exercise every day, learn an exercise routine and understand the importance of keeping the body strong.
  3. Improve eating habits and learn to prepare healthy meals and understand the impact of foods on the body.
  4. Review English, mathematics, science, and arts with four daily timed classes.


We are into our second week of boot camp and we have several more to go.

This is our schedule:

My Schedule   Her Schedule

4:50 AM: get up and get ready for the day. After this, my job is to make sure that the day goes as planned.

I will oversee the chores and make certain that exercises are completed.

I will introduce all classes and teach if teaching is needed.

Meals will be prepared from fresh or frozen vegetables, fruit, and meat. Very little, if any, processed foods will be consumed. Student will be expected in the kitchen to learn how to handle and prepare meals from fresh food.

Boot camp will not overflow into the weekend, however, a reasonable early bedtime and early rising will continue to be expected.

  5:30 AM: get up and do early morning routine.
6:00-6:20: breakfast
6:30-7:30 kitchen duty, morning chores
7:30-8:00: Class one (English)
8:00-8:45: Exercise
8:45-9:00 break
9:00-10:00 Class two (Math - drill sheet, geometry, algebra review)
10:00-11:00 Class three (Science)
11:00-11:10 break
11:10-11:30 prepare lunch
11:30-12:00 lunch
12:00-12:15 kitchen duty
12:15-12:30 break
12:30-1:15 chores
1:15-2:00 Class four (Misc., Art usually)
2:00-4:00 free time
4:00-4:30 prepare supper
4:30-5:00 supper
5:00-6:15 free time
6:15-6:30 varies, leave for YMCA or continue free time
6:30-8:30 varies - YMCA, swimming, showers,
9:00-9:15 bedtime


While looking over the schedule, you will see planned routines and chores. The early morning routine would consist of normal things such as making the bed, getting dressed, brushing hair, personal devotional time, etc. Each day there will be at least one major chore that my daughter will do. The chores will consist of any type of chore that she ought to know how to do, everything from laundry to cleaning windows.

Please note the many breaks built into the schedule. This is simply realistic planning. Some slots overflow the allotted time, causing the next one to be late. The breaks provide a cushion and so far, they have enabled my daughter to be on schedule by the beginning of class four.

Should you have a family boot camp?

Possibly, boot camps can be used to meet almost any type of objective. If you do, please remember these vital factors:

  1. You are in charge; do not start boot camp unless you can follow through. In other words, if you want to have a week long boot camp, choose a week that is good for you and then clear your schedule as much as is needed.
  2. There must be a purpose to your boot camp.
  3. Make a realistic schedule and one that accommodates your goals.

Donna Young
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