Tactics for Creating Your Ultimate Homeschool Routine
Now that summer is here, you may be getting mentally prepared for the next school year and setting your routine and/or schedule. If you don’t already have a tried and true routine, your days can seem a bit daunting or hectic. When I say routine, many home school parents think “schedule”. Routines and schedules are two totally different things!
Schedule vs. Routine
A Schedule is a list of ever changing tasks and appointments that change week to week including classes, playdates, doctor appointments, and due dates for certain projects–you know, the things that fill up your planner and is constantly being added.
A routine is more of a mini-schedule made up of a series of habits that automatically happen. You may not need them on your calendar or to-do list because they become ingrained in your daily routine.
Here’s some great ways to figure out what things to work into a routine both for your own sanity as well as keeping your kids on task.
Begin at the Beginning
When your planning for a new year, don’t overthink it. Think about what worked for your kids last year. Review your successes and weaknesses from last year and set realistic goals based off those. Once you’ve done this, it’s easier to find clarity on what you want to accomplish and which blocks of time are available.
Routine, not Schedule
Remember that a schedule are those things that change. Schedules are great for creating some type of order but easily get disrupted then hit with a distraction or a change. While a schedule is helpful and necessary for keeping track of it all, you also need a routine to achieve momentum and significant progress.
Consider Your Child’s Strengths
It’s important that you think about your children’s natural strengths and tendencies. Do they get up grumpy and take time to “wake up”? Do they have great energy in the morning but start to lag in the afternoon? Do they poke along at writing but blast through math? Do they dread social studies but look forward to science?
When creating a schedule, resist the temptation to believe you have to schedule hour-long blocks of time for each subject. Think about how your kids respond to each subject, their strengths, and where they need the most support. Consider all of this, and then instead of a strict schedule, build routine around the transitions between subjects.
Dismiss the Clock
Throw out the clock and forget staying on a set schedule. Instead, allow your family to immerse yourselves in your lessons. Focus on creating a rhythm for moving from lesson to lesson. Don’t get thrown off if your lessons last longer or get cut shorter. Drop any guilt over abandoning a schedule. Schedules aren’t as important as freedom in learning.
Many studies have revealed that it takes time to form habits or routines. It seems the general consensus is that it takes at least 2 months (about 66 days) for something to become a part of your daily routine, so don’t be too hard on yourself when new systems don’t work out right from the get-go.
Work with the Family’s Natural Rhythm
Take the high and low points of your day into consideration. This will help to relieve the tension from your family life. No one said school has to be certain hours during the day. If your kids love to sleep in, you take advantage of the quiet time in the morning, evolve your schooling around the late mornings and afternoons. If you have busy kids with extracurricular activities in the afternoon or evening, work school into the morning or even do a “split schedule” for whatever times of days work for your kids.
I’ve gotten into a routine where I do my 10 minutes of prayer and writing in my gratitude journal, I get a cup of coffee, take the dog for a walk, and get some client work done in the early morning. That way when our homeschool routine kicks in with breakfast, chores, and classes, I feel much calmer and at peace having had that time for myself.
Work in Time for Religion
If you do family worship, whether you regularly study during the day, leave lessons for family time at night or even perhaps routinely taking time around the dinner table for something as simple as “high points and low points”, make sure to try to do it at the same time each day to work it into your routine. It will become a part of your routine that everyone looks forward to and brings you more together as a family.
Create a Weekly Review
At the end of each week it’s easy to toss the books to the side and eagerly greet the weekend. However, for a more successful year, take a few minutes to at what went well and what could be adjusted.
I tend to easily get distracted with life so I sit down on Sunday afternoons while setting out work lessons and needed supplies for projects for the next week and write notes my homeschool planner. I then can look back during the year of things that worked, didn’t work, and it gives me new ideas on how to tweak routines so that it may work better for my multiple kids.
Remember regularly why you are homeschooling. When life gets tough, and it will, remember that it’s ok to make your day more about learning with adventures and games and less about having to check off those lessons in your planner. No matter what, your kids will be learning valuable life lessons.