Routine versus Schedule

Homeschooling  works better when you have a plan, and most new homeschool moms feel more secure when they have a detailed schedule.  But in my first year of homeschooling, I was almost a slave to a very detailed schedule, and this approach produced a lot of stress and anxiety.  May I offer you another option?
First, let’s look at the difference between schedule  versus routine ~
schedule (noun) ~ a list of planned activities or things to be done showing the times or dates when they are intended to happen or be done or timetable or  list of the times when events are planned to happen.

versus

routine (noun) ~ a sequence of actions regularly followed or  a usual or fixed way of doing things.

A schedule tells you what to do and when to do it.  It is usually filled with times, lists, blocks, and boxes to tick off.

A routine is a pattern by which you live. It gives structure and order to your day, but it doesn’t dictate exactly when things should be done. It allows you to find a flow that works for you on the day you happen to be living.

By now you have realized that it may be better to follow a routine rather than a schedule as Mary shared at Parnips & Paisley, but when one starts a new educational program or curriculum, a schedule is often necessary to ensure that the work is covered in the allotted time.

If the schedule has you constantly looking at the clock and rushing from one task to the next, and feeling stressed and overwhelmed, you could easily fall into striving and performance instead of enjoying the learning journey, especially if you suffer from perfectionist tendencies,

I tried to schedule everything. I often became discouraged and felt like a failure.  When I decided to ignore the times listed on the schedule and follow the schedule as a suggestion or proposed outline, I immediately felt relieved and revived.  I gained confidence as we gradually found our own basic routine, and I freed myself from the self-inflicted torture that each failed schedule brought.

So, how does one set up a routine?

  1. Decide what is really important such as – building faith, making and eating meals together, working together as a family in caring for home and animals, reading good books, and learning about ___.
  2. Find the time-flow for your family – who is an early riser or who needs more time to wake? When does your family get their best work done? When are their creative times? Homeschooling allows the freedom to set suggested starting times for the different elements of the day.  With young children, it is often best to start early and work until tea-time, lunch and nap times.  Teenagers often move into a very different time flow and this is when it is best to give them the liberty to sleep longer and work later in the day.  Moms, remember to consider your own energy levels!
  3. Identify your important daily events which form pillars in your home such as mealtimes – where activities fit before and after breakfasts, lunches and dinners at more or less the same time each day. We are farmers, and so daily milking forms an important daily event. Create your routine around these times.
  4. Create habits – start with your important daily events and add the most important activities  around those; such as morning chores before breakfast, school seat-work before lunch, creative hobbies after lunch, pack away before dinner, etc.  Keep it simple and don’t throw everything in it at once. Once your family find their flow in those elements, you have space to add more things in. Stick to it to create habit.
  5. Be flexible. This may seem to be contradictory, but if your routine isn’t clicking and something feels off, adapt or change it. You are the ruler of the routine, it shouldn’t rule you. If one day you feel like straying completely from the norm, by all means, do it. Those days make life memorable. You are in charge. You don’t need to worry that you’ve blown it, the set routine will be back tomorrow.
  6. Daily themes 2015Offer options and extras such as different themes for each day.  This was a wonderful way to fit in all the extra subjects in our homeschooling without feeling overwhelmed.
  7. Add freedom and create space for your children to explore their gifts, passions, interests and talents.  Let them be bored.  Offer them the materials and some inspiration and see what they create!

Here’s to you finding your rhythm and flow in your homeschool days!  May you homeschool in grace.  Feel free to share your family’s routines and schedules in the comments below.

Blessings, Nadene

Planning for 2011

It is nearly the end of 2010 and I have been busy planning for 2011!

We filed all this year’s completed work.

I wrote out evaluations and recorded our work we accomplished.

For several months now, I have prayed and planned for the right combinations, curriculums and materials for my children for next year.

I used very similar planners for this year as I did in 2010.

Using a wonderful Overview and Year Planner from “The Wholehearted Child” I jotted all the basic ideas I had in the ‘foundation’, ‘circles’ and ‘roof’.

Starting with the foundation – Discipleship Studies

We will continue with the very successful “Bible Draw!” pictures of each Bible book; concentrating on the New Testament this year.

For Disciplined Studies

These are our basic 3R’s and 2nd language.  We will continue with our current Singapore Maths, Sonlight readers and Language Arts, Sequential Spelling and Copywork and Dictation for handwriting.

Discussion Studies for 2011 –

After the most wonderful year using my first eclectic curriculum, I have chosen to re-use my eldest daughter’s Sonlight American History Core 3 and 4 for the younger 2 next year for the spine of our Discussion Studies.  Although I have purchased the condensed core, I have planned to branch off and take whatever tangent and hands-on activity we may find along the way.  I also want to create new notebook pages and minibook combos, and maybe a lapbook here or there … so we may not complete the package in a year … or at all.

For our Classic Literature we will continue our Little House Series with the wonderful free lapbooks from Homeschoolshare.com.  This has been an absolute highlight for the girls and it will fit in perfectly with our Sonlight cores.

For Fine Arts we will further our monthly studies of Famous Impressionist Artists and Famous Musicians using Charlotte Mason’s wonderful principles and methods.

For Discovery Studies

We will enjoy our weekly Nature Study and Exploring Creation With Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day. I have purchased the lapbook to go with this book (one of the very few purchased lapbooks!) and used my time-saving method of preparing the minibooks.  We’ll complete Geography cards and definitions and add as much map work with our other studies.

Our Discretionary Studies

We will include homesteading skills, cooking, baking, sewing, needle crafts, farming, gardening, guitar lessons and other skills or interests

  1. There! Planning phase 1 done!
  2. Now, 2. I create a simple page with my 2011 Year Plan.  It is a basic planner with daily, weekly or monthly columns.
  3. Next, 3. I type in the most important subjects on my 36 Week Subject Plan and Record of Work.  This forms the most detailed plan and I record everything we do on this same page.  This took the longest time because I had to schedule the Artist/ Composer/ Science Lesson/ Poem/ Bible books across the 36 weeks.
  4. Lastly, 4. I made the Week Timetable for in front of our files. This is the basic daily schedule.

Final Checklist:

Filing done √

Planning done

Printing done

Timetables done

New Cover Pages in the girls’ files

Pop over to my Free Planning Pages for downloads your own personal use.

I trust that your final preparations for the end of this year are going well.

Blessings,