Last year, I discussed my tendency to be chronically random and my struggle with developing routines. A year later, things aren’t perfect (yes, some mornings I still forget if I’ve washed the shampoo out of my hair), but I definitely feel more settled and relaxed. I decided to focus on larger goals and an order, or rhythm, to our days and weeks instead of sticking to some arbitrary schedule.
I still like to remain flexible, but with a little regularity to our days and weeks, my oldest has learned what to expect from our homeschooling routines. With many of our regular activities now falling into place, we’ve been able to focus on adding in more fun things, like stories and songs or poems to begin most days, more time to dig in the dirt and study the critters in our yard, and weekly drawing and painting sessions. The next additions to our rhythm will be to cook more together and maybe schedule a board game afternoon each week.
If you’re new to homeschooling, looking to change up your existing routines, or chronically random like me, take a look at your daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal rhythms to see if you can add some comfortable regularity to your homeschooling.
I am very relaxed about our start time, so I simply aim to finish our main lessons before lunch. Then, in the afternoons, we run errands, play outside, complete computer lessons or games, and do art or handwork before dinner. I try to get these things done in a similar order each day, but I don’t have to keep an eye on the clock all day long.
We definitely plan around regular outings, like lessons, library trips, and group outings, but I also try to incorporate rhythms into my lesson plans now. For instance, with spelling, I introduce a new list on Monday, we practice it throughout the week, and I quiz my daughter on Thursday afternoons. I try to find such a rhythm with each of her other subjects also. That way, lesson planning is quick and easy for me, and my oldest knows what to expect each day. Of course, I’m not afraid to alter the routine if a fun activity presents itself, but it’s very easy to get back into the swing of things with a regular rhythm already in place.
Do you like to spend the first week of the month cleaning the house? Do you like to print out all of the worksheets for the next month on a particular day? Do you spend the second Thursday of each month lesson planning? Automating some of your regular administrative tasks can help keep you on track and keep you from having to remember all the things you need to do all month. Consider getting the kids involved by having them fill out the family’s dry erase calendar on the first of each month or filing their papers on the last day of the month.
Don’t forget to consider your seasonal or yearly rhythms. Are you usually refreshed and ready for lots of book work in the fall? Do you feel sluggish and like staying home to read and bake in the winter? Are you busy gardening and going on field trips in the spring? Don’t fight those inclinations; instead, work them into your yearly plan. Take advantage of times when you know you will have extra energy, and create a gentle plan for you and your children during busy seasons when you know you will need to practice more self-care.
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