Summer is winding down and if you haven’t started already, soon your homeschool will be in full swing. Some of you may be singing the praises of getting back into a routine while others are dreading the early morning hours. For us, routine is a good thing. Structure is a must in our house.
When we first began homeschooling 4 years ago, I spent hours putting together a chart that outlined our entire day. I mean our entire. day. Down to the millisecond…well, almost. My oldest had been in preschool since he was 9 months old and was used to structure – a schedule. Every year I noticed they had a classroom schedule up on the wall that dictated what came next. After getting feedback from his teachers, I thought this was the way to go. We needed set times for each activity and subject. If for no other reason than to keep us on-track during the day.
You see, that first year I was not only juggling the newness of homeschooling, but also an 18 month old and a 4 month old. Call me crazy because I was!! I felt like I had lost my head most days, which is precisely why I felt we needed such a strict schedule.
All was going great until…he learned how to tell time! Ahhh!!!! It was all over then! He literally turned into a little Rainman. “Mom, we’re supposed to be doing Math. It’s 10:02 and we haven’t started Math yet.” “Mom, it’s 11:25. Have you started making lunch yet? Lunch is in 5 minutes?” He was constantly watching the clock and became obsessed with the time-table structure I had outlined. I quickly realized two things: 1) this was not going to end well if he continued with this behavior and 2) this was not working, for him or me!!
So what happens when that trusted routine is now failing you? The kids are revolting. You are exhausted by 9am. The baby is not adjusting to the structure? You name it…I’ve lived it! So how do you overcome and create a new schedule that works?
Getting back into a routine may come easy to your family, but to many it does not. These 6 Easy Steps to Creating a Routine that Works will get you back in the swing in no time!!
- PRAY!!!! Before you make any major decisions or changes in your routine, pray! It seems so simple, yet it must be the very foundation of our lives. Praying not only calms me down and brings me back to reality, it also allows me time to reflect on what is important. Which brings me to step #2…
- Step Back. Praying will naturally do this, but set aside time for just you, Mom. You’re tired and worn out, so step back and take some time to reflect on why you love you “job”!! Whenever I take the time to step back and count my blessings I always find more than enough to be thankful for. It puts things in perspective for me.
- Look at what does or did work. Make a list or go through your previous routine/schedule and find what works. Did Mom getting up earlier than everyone make the day run smoother? Did doing Math or History first in the morning work best? Does everyone need a quiet time/nap time in the afternoon just to chill? Whatever it was, be sure to keep those elements in your new routine.
- Talk to your children. I know this may sound crazy, but as your children get older (and sometimes even at the age of 2) they have their own opinions of what works for them. Not that you need to everything they suggest, but it does help to know what they think. Then you can talk through things with them as to why it will or will not work. I know my 8yr old responds so much better when he’s been not only involved but informed of the routine.
- Create a new one. This may seem simple, but it is a daunting task!!! Take the time you need to create a schedule that will work for your entire family! Be sure to get your spouses input, as he/she will be involved in the routine. Plus, it is important for everyone in the house to know the routine/schedule so things happen as they need to – i.e. chores.
- BE FLEXIBLE. I can honestly say, I may be the absolute worst person at this!! I like routine and structure. Sometimes far more than relaxing and having fun. I have always thrived on structure. But, when it comes to a new routine/schedule – being flexible is key!! If you’re tense about it the kids will sense it. If you stress about going over 5 minutes on your History lesson, you could ruin a perfectly good lunch. As the old saying goes, “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”
Over the past four years our routine has changed and evolved. During a difficult time last year, we tried the “no routine” approach. It quickly failed. My oldest is a boy and has no desire to actually do his schoolwork. Oh sure he was all about the hands-on and fun activities, but to actually sit down and practice his handwriting – that was like pulling teeth.
So not only does a super structured schedule not work for us neither did a relaxed day. I finally realized (after 8 years of parenting this child) that he needed to be informed of changes in his routine. He had it set in his mind what he wanted to do after he woke up and if anything came between him and whatever it was – he literally couldn’t handle it.
So I have recently re-vamped our daily school schedule following the above steps and it has made all the difference!!!
What are your tips to making a homeschool schedule that works?
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