I’m a big believer in routine. We’re all creatures of habit in many ways and when it comes to children I believe that they tend to thrive on routine as most crave the predictability and security that a routine offers.
When it comes to home educating many families find success in having a routine, a predictable rhythm to their day and week that allows their homeschool to flow more easily. We certainly do.
Now I’m not talking about a schedule here where every aspect of the homeschool day is slotted into a timetable where maths has to start at 10am, followed by a break at 10:30 and history at 11:00.
This may work for some but when one of the blessings of home educating is greater freedom, a rigid schedule can miss out on some of the flexibility and spontaneous joy that home educating can bring.
So below you will see what our daily homeschool rhythm looks like. Our school day starts at a different time every day and occasionally we swap elements around if need be but in general, this is the flow of our day.
STARTING THE DAY
Thankfully my girls are not early risers and Bubbles generally only squarks for me around 7:15 (sometimes even 7:45) but the day generally starts with us heading down to breakfast in our pyjamas around 7:30 once I’ve managed to wake up a little.
I love the idea of being all dressed and ready to start the day before we head down for breakfast, but Bubbles tends to wake up “starving” most days and I’ve learnt that battling to dress a hangry 4 year old is not always worth the fall out.
Every day straight after breakfast we do our morning chores. Blossom empties the washing machine and hangs the laundry and Bubbles empties the dishwasher with my help.
Once the chores are done we jump straight into our table time work (sometimes still in our pjs). This typically starts anywhere between 8:30 and 9:15. This is the slot where we get our copy work (writing practice) and maths out of the way, sometimes some picture narrations and nature journaling too.
Table time is really for my 6 year old who is now doing some formal lessons, but my 4 year old likes to feel part of things even if she isn’t yet required to do the work so for her table time involves any fine motor activity of her choice; colouring, beading, stamping, octons, hammer board, etc
At present Table Time lasts no longer than 30 minutes.
Now that our table time work is out of the way and the essentials of the day done the girls (are supposed to) get dressed and then have some free play time whilst I fit in my 30 minute workout, shower and get myself (and then sometimes my 4 year old) dressed for the day.
Sometimes there is time for them to squeeze in some yoga practice whilst I get ready and then sometimes I have to skip my workout all together if we’ve had a slow start to the day or have to be out of the house especially quickly.
Once we’re all dressed and ready for the day we start our morning book basket, usually around 10:00 – 10:30 depending on whether we’re heading out or not.
Each morning basket consists of devotions, art enrichment and a main lesson:
Right now our devotions include a Bible reading, our gratitude journal and a prayer.
Every day I kick start our art enrichment section by reading a poem. We look at a poet each term and try to get familiar with their style. We then follow up poetry with either hymn study, picture study or composer study. Like with poetry, when it comes to picture study and composer study we focus on one artist/composer per term to really familiarise ourselves with their work. As for hymn study, we study 1 hymn per month and again the aim here is familiarity not word perfection.
Now we have a 6 year old in the house we’ve introduced a few more subjects to our week so our morning basket now includes one main lesson per day; natural history on a Monday, PSHE on Tuesday, history on Wednesday and geography on Thursday.
These lessons often involve read alouds, picture books, the occasional video and of course, lots of discussion.
This is where things differ a little as most of the week we head out on an outing or to a group after our morning basket but twice a week we stay home.
So on Mondays we attend our Nature Explorers group, on Tuesdays we have a play date, on Wednesday we do catch up and crafts at home, on Thursdays we tend to tackle house or gardening projects, on Fridays we visit the library and then on Saturday it’s swimming lessons, followed by church on Sundays.
Always an important one. As I don’t have to prep for school lunches the night before I don’t, unless I know we’ll be out and about for lunch the next day. Generally I just serve leftovers or prep sandwiches as and when we’re hungry, usually around 12:00.
After lunch we read a chapter or two of our current read aloud and on the rare occasion that we had to skip morning basket to rush out we add it on to this space here.
In true Charlotte Mason fashion I try to get all the school work in the formal sense out of the way in the morning so that the afternoons can be for more leisurely activities and lots of free play.
So on Monday we have our Poetry Tea Time, on Tuesday we try to bake, on Wednesday the girls visit their grandparents for a playdate on the farm, on Thursday we have a family outing and on Friday the girls attend their Rainbows group. Saturday and Sunday aren’t school days in our home so those afternoons are generally just for rest and play.
DINNER & BED
Dinner is usually somewhere between 17:30 and 18:00 and after dinner we head up to bed. I try to have my 4 year old down by 19:30 and then Blossom can read to me in peace before being tucked up in bed around 20:00.
We used to attempt reading practice during table time but it proved difficult with a chatty 4 year old around so we needed to find a consistent one-to-one slot in the day and bedtime won out.
Once the girls are all settled in bed my evenings then consist of a small amount of prep for the next school day followed by my own down time.
Thankfully my termly lesson planning and hours prep on the weekend make the world of difference enabling me to do very little planning in the evenings for the next day.
I then aim to head up to bed around 22:30.
So there you have it, our daily rhythm. Nothing too rigid, just a general flow to our days that helps make our learning all the more intentional and enjoyable. In my next post I’ll try to unpack this rhythm a little more for you and will share how a school day looks in more detail.
Do you prefer to have a rhythm to your day?