I’m not a scheduler by nature.
I think I find set times difficult to follow after years of having babies and toddlers underfoot who are skilled in knowing how to interrupt every well made plan.
But a decade of that has made me flexible throughout my days, and it’s made me find a homeschool rhythm, (maybe not a strict schedule).
Let me give you a snapshot of a school day at our house to explain what I mean.
6:30 am: I sneak out of bed to go join my early morning reader boy who has just made his way to the living room. (He has the built in DNA to be a farmer rising at the crack of each dawn..)
7:00 am: Two more of the troops arrive and I serve them up the best home cooked bowl of cereal a mother could whip together.
8:00 am: I’m exercising quickly before my husband turns our bedroom into his office for the day and starts Zoom calling with his co-workers.
9:00 am: I’m cleaning the kitchen, serving snacks, and throwing confetti in the air because Save-on-Foods just delivered $300 worth of groceries to my door.
9:15 am: We still haven’t done a lick of school, but there’s an unwritten rule in our house that if the brothers are playing nicely together I don’t disturb them until I REALLY have to.
9:20 am: They start wandering in looking slightly listless… and that’s my cue.
It’s time to start school. THEY ARE READY, and SO AM I.
“Circle up!” I say, and we’ll bring out our morning time box. Wrapped in blankets and snuggled up on the couches we read our Bible, we recite some of our ongoing memory verses, go through our grammar book, review some sight word cards, and then I read them a few books just for FUN.
After that I pull out our Language Arts bin and I very CLEARLY tell the boys the 4 things we’re going to do without whining and complaining… And then we head over to our table to get to work.
1. Handwriting or printing: We use Handwriting without Tears, but you could literally use a post-it note and copy a grocery flyer if you wanted to. Don’t stress.
3. Reading: (Read to me, read to your brother, read to the wall… just please read, for heaven’s sake…) If you need a helpful book list check out Read-Aloud-Revival or Vooks which is a virtual picture book site offering a free 30 day trial.
4. Writing and Spelling: Go on and write me a page in your notebook that we use for all your writing ever.
Today a paragraph was written on “How much I love using our bread maker that we found in the give-away pile in our old building filled with rich people who gave away awesome things…”
Yesterday a paragraph was composed on “What the video game Super Mario Odyssey is all about and why it’s the best.”
I’m all like…
“Write your paragraph, don’t worry about spelling, just get your words down. Ok, now we’re going to dictate it (DICTATION MODE FOR THE WIN) into the iPad, onto Google Docs, and then we’re going to go back through it and change anything we need to, and also add more details to make it more interesting.
Maybe you can even draw a picture to go with it…
AND THEN, we’re going to pull out some of the words that you had trouble spelling, and you can copy them out 5 times each in that same notebook you use for all your writing ever.”
See what just happened there? Spelling, computers, typing, editing, writing, reading…
That took us to a snack break and a declaration of “Do your math and you can have a liquorice from the care package Grandma and Grandpa just sent to us.”
Liquorice is a powerful motivator.
11:15: I decide now would be a good time to fry some bacon. (All the non-schedulers without a meal plan are like “Yah, I get you girl…”)
11:16: All four children are asking for help with their math.
11:17: I’m flipping bacon while helping my oldest (who is sitting on the kitchen counter by the way) with using variables inside a numerical equation. Sounds fancy right? Don’t worry, it’ll all come flooding back to you, and if it doesn’t, Khan Academy has your back.
11:30 pm: I’m teaching my five year old to count by 2’s while sitting in front of our magnetic 100 chart attached to our dishwasher. I’m checking my 8 year old’s division skills in his book (Did everyone actually get the same amount of cookies on their plate??) and I’m calling out, “One slice of bacon for all y’all, don’t get greedy mmk?!”
11:40 pm: “Ok, go grab a book, find a spot, and read on your own and I’ll make lunch.”
12:00 pm: Lunch on the patio, because… hello fresh air and sunshine.
1:00 pm: Room time… For a whole hour. “Stay in your room, only come out to sneak to the bathroom and then get your little self BACK IN YOUR ROOM.” We all need a break in the afternoon, some quiet, some playing on our own, some Adventures in Odyssey audio stories. Elevation Church also has a kid’s audio adventure story podcast called Into the Portal.
2:00 pm: It’s time for Science. Or Socials, or Art… We rotate through them one day at at time. Any subject that’s filled with reading, exploring, and experimenting. I find them to be great afternoon subjects to end our school day with.
So just to review our homeschool day…
Bookwork (Reading, writing, spelling, math, etc…)
Afternoon rotating subjects (Art, Science, Socials, etc…)
Playtime, outside, chores, dinner…
Can you see the rhythm of it all? Its flexibility allows for trips outside when the weather is nice, drives to Grandma’s house on a random Wednesday, and “Drop everything we’re going to the beach…”
And as it turns out, it’s actually an unscheduled schedule…