Finding a Rhythm for my School Day

I have mentioned before in a previous post that we do not have a set schedule for our school day. This is not to say that I haven’t tried. I remember when my kids were in lower elementary grades and I was trying to manage visual therapy sessions, three kids (two of them temperamental twins), household work (to include repairs), the hubby’s civilian work and school plus military things he needed help with and school my kids.

I very much wanted a set schedule. 

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At one point I created a specific schedule of when exactly school was going to start. What specific subjects we were going to start with. When exactly break times and lunch would be. I even scheduled in a specific time to go out and try to play with friends or ride bikes outside. I created a loop schedule for the subjects we didn’t need to do every day and I had a designated time every day that we would focus on all the hands-on projects for that day.

Can you guess where this is going?

Our school day crashed and burned. My older boy rebelled fully. There was no consoling his frustrated and honestly saddened heart. My schedule didn’t make any sense to his logical mind and he was beyond frustrated. This is also my boy who was easily frustrated with school because his eyes were still weak and he had trouble focusing his vision on it. My daughter tried to follow the schedule but she didn’t work as well with the order in which I had scheduled the subjects. Plus, she is my quick thinker, the one who breezes through everything and can perfectly recall what it is she worked on. She even likes to look up extra things when something piques her interest. The schedule was frustrating to her because she would finish quickly and then be told to wait around a lot. As for my youngest. Well, he was still a little little guy, in 1st grade maybe and he is my wiggle worm so we had habits to work on with him in the first place. Add a set schedule to it and it is chaos for him.

So what did I do?

I did what we always do as homeschoolers. I adjusted. I started out by giving my girl the go-ahead to start working ahead of the schedule, she just had to come to show me her finished work before moving on so I could see she was doing well. I then allowed her twin brother to start choosing what order he wanted to do school in. I was surprised to learn that he would rather start his day with English, the subject he struggled the most with than to do it halfway through the day, after having “warmed up” his brain. Finally, I let my little man play all morning. He built Lincon log homes all over the den while I worked with the twins. He created tunnels and obstacle course down the hallway while I read history to the twins. And when I asked the twins a question, he would holler the answer from his bedroom where he was getting more knights to fill his castle in the front room. Turns out my little man was learning a lot while playing. He learned his math facts this way too. I finally started including him in the flashcard game I played with the twins because he was having so much fun yelling out the answers from another room. My little man did get his own sit-down time with me too. It was just after lunch and when his little mind could focus better.

If not a schedule, then what is this?

We have pretty well fallen into a set rhythm in our homeschool day. I have heard other homeschool moms who also say they don’t call it a schedule but more of a rhythm and I tend to agree. With a rhythm, there is no set time or time frame even. When we have a dentist appointment or a meeting in the morning, the school can be shifted to after that or the kids can bring their book work.

Typically our day runs like this:

Independent bookwork first

Start on computer school

Lunch break followed by a play break

Group time

Finish computer school

Occasionally documentaries will be watched with lunch or group time but that is basically how our day goes. We tend to stick to the general order of things but the time of day can and does shift and change. The Independent work includes their math, English, writing practice, critical thinking and bible study. What order the kids decide to do it in is completely up to them. Group time, I try to give the kids some say so on what order we do things in but it can include science, history, social studies, art, and music.

The flow of our school day helps keep things relaxed 

I am so thankful that we have found a rhythm to our day and thankfully it is a rhythm that also falls in line with my husband’s schedule. I do still long for a set schedule some days but for my family, a rhythm just works better. For your family, a rhythm may also be the way to go or in order for everything to be done every day that needs to be done, you need a set schedule. Every family, every house, every homeschool, will have different needs and a different way of getting everything done.

Hopefully sharing how our homeschool runs helps you with yours.

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Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is homeschooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah-ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it.  As a family, we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have downtime, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.

What I hear a lot: Why didn’t you just ask?

There are many things that I hear a lot and some of them are said by the same people or only certain people say certain things. The one I am going to focus on is one I am sure you have heard.

Why didn’t you just ask?

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This can be said in connection with our personal life:

-need a babysitter short notice

-need advice on how to deal with

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Nature: How Much Is Too Much?

Lately, the weather has been back and forth so many times I do not know what season we are in. One day it will be 30 and winter-like, the next day it will be 60, sunny and almost early summer feeling. The weather going back and forth as it has been has caused some plants to even bloom early. This has me thinking about spring and what that means for us.

Nature Walks and Hiking

We are a very outdoorsy family. We camp in regular tents, my boys go on weekend backpacking trips, my daughter and I have camped not only in 25-degree weather but also in a torrential downpour (unplanned). We have hiked little trails that are only one

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Do It Anyway

I’m sitting here trying to come up with a topic for this week’s blog post. I’m having so much trouble getting my thoughts together. My body is tired and my mind is completely scattered. It’s been a long day and nothing wants to come up or out. I’m two seconds away from giving up and going to bed. I just figure I can explain myself through email and pray my apologies will be accepted. I say in my head “What do you do when you don’t want to do something?” And a still small voice says to my heart “Do it anyway.”

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Morning Battles

Every morning I brace myself for a battle.

It is not a battle most people think of either. It’s not a battle against a long day. It’s not a battle against kids who don’t want to get up. It’s not a battle against starting school work. No, my battle is a unique one for me.

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My son doesn’t want to eat breakfast.

Now, that’s not entirely true. He is hungry and willing

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Unexpected Changes to the Schedule

I do not have a planned out, hour-by-hour schedule, but we have a schedule established in our home.

Get up, eat, see Daddy off to work, morning chores, then independent book work. After independent book work, there is a bit of a break, kid showers (after arguments), lunch, then group time work before they all run out of the house to play for the rest of the day.

This works for us. This also just changed.

I find it interesting that once we get a good rhythm going in our house, things have to change. Whether it changes because your kids hit a new developmental stage or something happens with a family member, or a parent’s job gets changed up, there always is a change. For instance, a few years back my mom and little brother came to live with us for 8 months. Another instance was when my twins developed from young kids who had to do hands-on things all the time to ferocious readers who wanted more library books on what we were learning about. Yet another example would be when my hubby was activated with his national guard unit to help with hurricane rescue and evacuation. Changes happen and we have to adjust accordingly

So what changed this time?

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We now have a 3-month-old puppy running

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Encouraging Kiddos to be Active

Ever since the invention of the television, parents have been having trouble keeping their kids active. It seems all they want to do is stare at a screen. When video games were invented, this problem was made worse. Not only could kids never miss their favorite shows, but now they had to make it further in the game than their friends.

How then do we get them to go play? 

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While we can often get frustrated with our kids’ tendencies

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After the Break is Done

After an academic break, sometimes we feel we have to jump back in full speed. We want to get our children and ourselves back on the same schedule. We also want to start rolling at the same pace as we were before our break started.

While those intentions are great, there is no need to stress yourself out just yet. Why not ease your way into this thing called school. Just take your time and flow back into your regular schedule.

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New Year Ideas for the Kids

I tend to not set resolutions. I was never big on them and then as I got older and saw how quickly people seem to drop them, I decided New Year’s resolutions were not for me. The funny thing about that is ….

Every year I seem to pick something to focus on improving

This year, I want to focus on helping the kids learn to set personal goals and work towards them. This is no easy task as children rarely see their own faults and when we try to point it out to help them learn, it is not received well (can you tell I have tweens?). So how do we help our kids assess themselves and set personal goals that are attainable?

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First and foremost, we need to have our children think about

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New Year, New Lifestyle

Happy New Year! So this is the time of year for resolutions. Now I don’t really like New Year’s resolutions because the idea is to take on a goal that you’re not mentally or physically prepared to accomplish. You’re expected to go from couch potato to workout queen or slob to prince charming overnight. It leads most people to failure (and usually out of lots of money).

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