We’ve organized our books, set up our school supplies and prepared for our first day back to school. But there’s something else we must do in order to have our school year run smoothly. We need to create a daily routine.
I’m not a fan of the strict schedule. Every time I’ve created one, I’ve failed at implementing it. There is nothing more constricting than knowing down to the minute what I’ll be doing each day. What if we take 30 minutes to complete spelling instead of 15? What if a 20 minute assignment only takes 10? Now the whole day is thrown out of whack and the schedule is tossed out the window.
I have learned that the key to a smoothly running homeschool is flexibility. You have to give yourself wiggle room. Life is unpredictable and we have to give ourselves the space to breathe in order to have a successful homeschool.
I prefer to divide my day into chunks. We have a morning routine, and afternoon routine and an evening routine. I do not assign timeframes to any of our work, though, I have a pretty good idea of how long any particular subject or chore ought to take. I will step in, however, to reign in any dawdlers who are intentionally taking too long to complete their work.
Here is an example of how our day might flow:
Obviously, my days don’t look like this everyday. We might drop the whole thing and go on a field trip or if my twins have a show or performance coming up, we might drop some of their afternoon work for more music practice (They are serious musicians and we treat it as their occupation.) My youngest is 4, and while I am planning on giving her a “preschool time” in the mornings, I fully expect her to be right in the middle of everything all day long. That is probably going to slow things down. This is the first year that she doesn’t nap in the afternoons, so that will be a major adjustment. Also, my oldest wants to be a writer, so I try to make sure she has time somewhere in her day to focus on her writing. She plans to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year, so I expect November will be a heavy writing time for her and we’ll try to pare some of her other work down a bit to make space for that pursuit.
Life is full of interruptions – a sick child, blizzards and power outages, grand opportunities and family obligations. I need to have a plan so that should anything come up, we can work around it.