I am a relatively organized person. And I would have thought that would extend into my homeschooling experience. But in the midst of starting homeschool for my girls I had two little ones underfoot. Add to that the fact that homeschooling can be a complete upheaval of all homemaking routines. I spent the first 2 and a half years of homeschooling floundering without a sure foundation to ground us. Every once in a while, we would settle into a homeschool routine. And then life would shift and I would no longer have my feet underneath me.
It was, in short, a struggle. Some things would get done regularly. Other things would get put off for another day (Ahem…1st grade math…ahem). And my kids knew that if they worked me hard enough, the whole day could be put off. Often I felt like a homeschool mom failure.
As if the internal struggle wasn’t real enough, I also had two students who put up a MAJOR fight on most days just to get through the little bit we were getting done. I understood that the early years of elementary learning are supposed to be loose, but this was not exactly what I pictured. I needed a solution – on some days I thought I needed magic.
We worked through SO MANY solutions – so many. But I finally settled on a simple homeschool routine in January of this year and it has worked every.single.week. since then. As you can imagine, I am overjoyed at how this has worked for us.
A Look Ahead
I took into account the personalities of my students, my own preparations, and the work we NEEDED to get done. Taking all of this into account I created a chart for each week. I transferred the items on my homeschool planner to the chart, week by week.
This was so my students would be able to see, at a glance, what each day would hold and how it fit into the week. And I made sure there were blank spaces on the chart – places where they would feel like they could breathe! I post the weekly schedule on the first day of the week and my girls get excited to find out what is coming in the week ahead. They joy over favorite books and activities as though a holiday is coming. Seriously! I think their excitement may be due to being able to see what lays ahead of them. Before, I just announced what was next and they were always unaware of when it was going to end.
If you are interested in using my weekly schedule and editing it for your family, check the link below.
Once the chart of the week is posted, the kids can not only see ahead; they are in charge for the rest of the week. Well, not exactly, but close. They take turns being the first student of the day (they monitor it). And I ask them, “What’s up for you today?” and, “What’s next?” They get to decide which assignment or teaching session they do and when they do it. I just rotate the students through a schedule that is fair. They don’t always have the same amount of assignments on the same day, and they are not always learning the same thing. When it is the turn of one student, the other finishes up an assignment independently or works on copywork (or drawing).
This requires me to be flexible with my day. It requires that I am prepared at any moment to teach anything. But that is not too complicated. We follow a blend of Classical Conversations and Charlotte Mason methods for homeschool. Classical Conversations memory work takes about 30 minutes of our day each day – I have a review schedule for that, too. The bulk of our day is taken up with completing all the rest of our work: math, history, science, etc.
The ONE thing
We have worked over the past couple of years into a great routine of morning time. This is our ONE thing. We do this when all else gets shoved aside. It is typically done while all the kids are eating breakfast. I will read-aloud a story or a poem. We will listen to a playlist I create on Spotify for each month. I call this morning time, our Gathering. You can read more about it here. And you can sign up to get the summer 2019 sets of Gathering place mats, too!
When we get finished with our Gathering, we start on our Bible time. We are currently working through the book of John inductively. It will take us years to finish! But it is such a joy to see the kids engaged and interested in what we will learn each day when we open God’s word.
Having this one thing as our anchor has kept us on track throughout this past year. And our routine relies largely on this time we spend together at the beginning of our days.
Encouragement for You
One thing I have noticed in our homeschooling journey is: Every homeschool is different. Not only is that OK; it is one of the reasons I prefer homeschool. We can do it however we want. We can make it as simple as we want. I hope you, too, will work yourself into a simplified homeschool routine. In that hope, I humbly offer my simple weekly schedule for you to modify as you need to for your homeschool.
You can get it by clicking here and saving a copy to your Google Drive. Once you have saved it to your own Google Drive, you can modify it as you need for your family.
Blessings to you on the journey!