Why is it Important to Create a Routine?
These are some of the main reason I have chosen to set a routine for our homeschool:
- Designates a specific time to make sure school work is completed each day.
- Creates structure for my children so they know what to expect.
- Forces me to schedule other activities based on our school day instead of the other way around.
- Allows me to make homeschooling each day a priority without becoming overwhelmed and burned out.
How to Plan a Routine that Actually Works
Planning a routine is the easy part. Whether you can actually stick to it past the first week of school is the real challenge. I found this out very quickly during my first year homeschooling last year. I had big plans for doing school for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. Plus I wanted to add in homeschool co-op, extra science experiments, art projects, Spanish lessons, and music lessons.
What I didn’t consider is that a kindergartner and preschooler don’t have attention spans that last that long. All that on top of working as a part-time registered nurse, I came to realize that I just didn’t have the time or energy to fit in all those extra activities. Needless to say, my plan did not work out as expected. After a few weeks, we had cut out most of the extra activities and decided to focus only on the basics.
When planning your homeschool routine, it is important to remember not to put too much on your plate. Don’t over commit yourself if you truly want to create a routine that you can stick with for an entire school year. My homeschool plan this year is pretty simple. This way I can make sure we will be able to stick to our routine and achieve our goals for the year. You need to know your own limitations and set realistic expectations for yourself and your children.
It is also important to take a look at your typical daily routine and plan school work in a way that fits in with that routine. If your children like to sleep in, it is probably not a good idea to start school at 8 am every morning. Do you like to have family time in the evenings? Then plan to have school work completed earlier in the day. If you have an infant or toddler it can be difficult to accomplish much so sometimes it is easier to do school during their nap times. I work one weekday and one weekend day during the school year so I make plans to fit all our schoolwork into four days instead of five.
Taking time to decide what kind of routine is going to work for your family and making sure it is manageable in your current stage of life will save you a whole lot of stress in the long run.
What Our Routine Looks Like
Our homeschool days have a general structure that works well for myself and my children. This routine may be too strictly scheduled for your family, or perhaps you prefer to have your daily activities planned down to the minute and it isn’t structured enough. We follow this routine three days a week and go to our Classsical Conversations homeschool co-op one day a week. We take the fifth day off of school when I work.
- 6:30- I wake up about an hour before the kids. I use this time to drink coffee, do my bible study, and get ready for the day. Having this alone time in the morning really helps me get off to a good start and have the energy to take on the day.
- 7:30- Breakfast. We sit down and have breakfast together every morning.
- 8:00- Get dressed and do morning chores. My children get dressed and brush their teeth right after breakfast. They also have a few simple, age appropriate chores to accomplish. These include making their beds, picking up their bedroom and the living room, and unloading the dishwasher. During this time, I clean the kitchen, start a load of laundry, and get my toddler dressed.
- 9:00-11:30- Do school for the day. I don’t do the subjects in any particular order and usually let my kids decide what they prefer to do first that day. We spend 20-30 minutes on each subject depending on the length of the day’s lesson.
- 11:45- Lunchtime
- 12:30- Quiet time/Naptime. My toddler takes a two hour nap. The older kids spend about an hour playing quietly or reading. They usually head outside to play after that.
- 2:30-5- We do whatever we want for the rest of the afternoon! This is the time that we use to see friends/family, go to the library or park, grocery shop, do other activities, or just relax at home.
Importance of Remaining Flexible
I would be lying if I said we never deviate from our homeschool routine. Sticking to our routine is something I strive to do most of the time but not so rigidly that it cannot be changed \when needed. Sometimes things get busy or we decide to just take a random day off to do a fun activity. But that isn’t that the beauty of homeschooling? It allows us the freedom to take a break when we need one.
Don’t beat yourself up if you have to change your routine from time to time. Children (and parents!) can have off days where they have trouble focusing or just aren’t feeling it. Give them some grace during those times and mix things up if needed. Maybe they need an extra break thrown in between subjects. Some days they need time to run around outside to get rid of pent up energy before they sit down to do school. You can even take the day off if you feel like it would be beneficial.
Homeschooling is by no means an easy task. Taking time to evaluate your family’s individual needs and to consider how you can make homeschooling work for your family will help you to be successful. Create a routine that will be enjoyable and sustainable for your family this school year!