Homeschooling, like all things in family life, requires balance.
Some folks love the carefree and loosey-goosey approach to homeschooling, while others perfect a strict routine and discipline with a school-at-home approach. Some folk wake and start school early, while others flow lazily into a relaxed, informal day. Some families work in a classroom environment, while others love to learn everywhere, anytime.
Whatever your homeschooling approach is right now, it should fit your family lifestyle. I encourage you to find the way that works for you and your children in this season of your life.
If you’re a mom with lots of young children, then I encourage you to create a simple predictable routine for their day. Mix in free time for unstructured play and exploration.
Here are some of the main family events that should follow some form of predictable routine ~
- Morning wake up, washing & dressing
- Making beds
- Start homeschool time – circle time or Bible story, songs & prayer
- Short, sweet seat work lessons
- Tea time and short outdoors play time
- Core and read alouds and other schooling or learning
- Lunch time
- After lunch nap or quiet play
- Free afternoons
- Clean up & pack away toys from the day’s play
- Bath time
Habit-training is a vital part of creating an easy, stress-free day. Work on your routine, focusing on one aspect at a time for several weeks until this is established. (Start with the routine that causes you the most stress and frustration in your family.) Once your children can cope with that routine, move on to focus on the next area that causes you the most stress.
Many new homeschool moms have very high ideals and expectations. Most new homeschool moms struggle to maintain a formal, strict regimen every day, and they can easily burnout. May I suggest that your homeschooling plays a minor role in your day when you are teaching young toddlers, pre-schoolers. If you are working with multiple ages, focus on the most needy first and then focus on the rest.
Truth be told, you can’t do everything with every child every day!
Especially when children seem bored, frustrated or aimless, look to switching the rhythm and approach of your homeschooling.
- Change the routine and start with subjects that you normally do later in the day.
- Change your homeschool room or learn somewhere new/ outside/ at a library
- Change your approach and make things fun
- Switch to a new activity such as a lapbook or project instead of reading a read aloud that just doesn’t “fit” you or your kids.
- Do drills or physical movements instead of seat work. This works really well if a child is struggling with a subject like maths or spelling! Rather do jumping or skipping or ball tossing or jump on a rebounder while doing skip-counting or times tables, spelling, etc.
- Leave the workbooks and find hands-on activities instead.
Charlotte Mason perfected this switch of rhythm with her principles ~
Structure and discipline (Seat work lessons)
- Short, sweet lessons
- Perfect / excellent quality work
- Attentiveness and discipline
- Memory work and copywork
Informal and unstructured approach (while still requiring focus and attention)
- Fine Arts
- Nature Study
I found that having one FREE DAY worked for our family. Although I say “Free” it was rather an INFORMAL day where we focused on Fabulous Fine Arts Fridays. These days made the rest of the week feel better and help prevent burnout and stress.
What works for your family? Please share in the comments below.
Blessings as you find what works for your family, Nadene
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