When we first began homeschooling, I found it quite overwhelming. Because I had no idea what I was doing, I read
a billion (well, it felt like a billion) books and blogs looking for “the perfect homeschool day”. In fact, I was convinced I needed to make a schedule, stick to the schedule, and if we deviated in any way, I would be a complete failure. I mean, every good homeschool mom follows a minute-by-minute schedule, right?!!
Truthfully, a minute-by-minute schedule just didn’t work for us. Following someone else’s “shoulds” proved to be so limiting and life-sucking for our family. When my schedule expectations weren’t met, I would get grouchy…and even feel angry (yes, there were some heart issues there). I was comparing myself to others–and I could never measure up. I always felt behind and home wasn’t a joy-filled place to be.
(Oh, friends! I am so thankful for the grace I’ve found in the years since that time. I have given up the minute-by-minute schedule. Whew! Freedom!)
Nowadays, the strict schedule has been replaced by rhythm and routines.
As I’ve studied the life of Jesus over the past year or so, I’ve been intrigued by His use of time. I don’t see him carrying around an hour-by-hour calendar, but there is a beautiful flow to His days. There are times of solitude with the Father and times of relationship with those around Him. He doesn’t appear to be in a hurry and has time for the “teachable” moments. He follows the lead of the Spirit!
That’s what I want in my homeschool–and in my life!
This is where rhythm and routine come in for us. There is an expected order to our day, but when the unexpected pops up (and it will), we can easily move things around and embrace life as it comes. Yes, I still have a basic plan in my mind, and even a time “schedule” we can fall back to when everything begins to feel chaotic–but for the most part we have anchored our day around various events.
Here’s a look at how that works for us:
Morning: Everyone gets up and completes basic chores and gets ready for the day. The girls are all old enough now that they share breakfast-making duties. Hooray for this non-functioning-in-the-morning mom!!
Next, we begin our school day with Bible time. We always do Bible time in our living room in comfy chairs with a relaxed spirit. I want this to be one of the best memories for them of our homeschool days!
After Bible time, we review our CC memory work and read Mystery of History.
After our “group” time, we move into independent work. Two of the girls are using Teaching Textbooks for math, so they can work pretty well on their own. I do math and reading with my youngest daughter (1st grade) at that time.
My oldest then begins Rosetta Stone Spanish while I work with my middle daughter on her reading and writing. The youngest works on her handwriting and then reads independently.
Next, I work with my oldest on her Classical Conversations Essentials work and anything else she needs help completing. My middle daughter works on her handwriting and independent reading, and my youngest is free to play or complete some fun activities on the computer.
Before lunch, we usually read a chapter or two of our read aloud.
Lunch: We work together to get lunch and dad usually comes home to join us. We do a little cleaning and tidying after lunch.
Afternoon: Rest time! We all need a break! I also blog during this time.
After an hour or so, the girls have time to do whatever they would like–an art project, play together, make something, whatever. Then, we try to do art on Mondays, science on Tuesdays, history projects on Wednesdays, CC on Thursdays, and free day/field trip day on Fridays.
Dinner: Before dinner, we have a whole house TURBO Tidy–just my way of getting the house cleaned up fast so it is halfway decent when John comes home. We make it a point to eat together as much as possible.
Evenings are free for various events and activities.
Bedtime: Bedtime is pretty consistent during the school year (not quite as much during the summer). Bath, brush, books, pray, sing, and lights out for the girls. Then, we relax for a while and prep for another day!
That’s it! That’s our average day. Creating rhythm and building routines around anchors (meal times, school times, etc.) has really given us a sense of freedom and peace as we seek to live out this homeschool life.
How about you? What have you learned about scheduling in your years of homeschooling?
Find more Day in the Life homeschooling posts here.