How to find your homeschooling routine
If you’re new to homeschooling, the whole process of finding your way may still feel very overwhelming. Don’t worry, this phase will pass! You will find your groove. You may be wondering how to create a homeschooling routine that fits all your obligations, priorities, goals, kids’ activities and work.
Don’t stress yourself out about what other people think. This is YOUR family, you need to do what works for YOU. (For tips on dealing with criticism, click here.) Some families where both parents work and homeschool, a tutor may be involved to help. For every homeschooling family, it will be a little different.
What do I mean by routine?
Most homeschoolers will tell you they believe there’s a major difference between having a routine and having a schedule. A schedule has a negative connotation — everything is planned and must be executed exactly by the clock, no exceptions. Not really true, but it can make you feel that way.
A routine has flexibility — something that’s essential to homeschooling. A routine is more about the sequence of events that must happen in a day, rather than the exact time they’re happening. It’s about having something to work with.
My rule as a mommy has always been:
You need to have a routine in order to break it.
My children thrive on routines and like knowing what comes next. There are fewer meltdowns if I give them fair warning. They have a feeling of being secure and empowered because they remember the sequence and can start taking initiative in it.
On days where the routine is broken by an unusual appointment, meeting, activity, illness, or some inspiration, the children enjoy the breakaway that much more. They understand that it’s a deviation and the normal routine will be resumed soon. Everyone likes a change now and then to keep from getting bored!
Make a routine, keep it, and then on days where you need to, you can break it without your children holding you hostage to it the next day! From time to time, your routine will change as your family’s needs change and grow.
Benefits of a routine:
Humans are creatures of habit – we may not always be too reliable about how we use our time, but we all have certain patterns we like to stick to.
A routine for children helps with the following:
- Understanding what comes next, feeling secure
- Taking responsibility for their part in the daily routine
- The whole family is more able to be on the same page about what’s going on
- Less stress and anxiety
- Good health and immunity — especially with set sleep and wake-up times
- Helps the brain to turn short-term memories into long-term memories
- Ability to sleep well — routines can help prevent overstimulation
- Comfort during emotional stress
What does your routine look like? Which parts of it do you feel need to change and why?
Where to start with creating a homeschool routine
- What are you and your partner’s working hours?
- When are your family’s mealtimes? Do you meal prep?
- What are your child’s extra activities?
- When do you get exercise?
- What are the non-negotiables of your daily lives and how much time do they take up?
- Do you have help and when?
Answering the above questions will give you an idea of where the gaps are that need more attention and planning.
Homeschooling goals form part of your routine
The next part that will affect how you plan your homeschooling time and routine, is your goals for homeschooling.
- What are your goals for each child this month? This week?
- Choose two to three simple, specific and measurable goals for each child.
- List one or two activities that will help accomplish each goal. Those activities will then show you what to do during your child’s homeschooling time.
From there, depending on whether you have help or not, you can start creating a routine that spells out the following for you:
- Wake up
- Homeschooling time
- Exercise time
- Work time
- Errands / chores
- Dinner time
- Bath and storytime
- Lights out
If you have multiple children, it may help to create a unique chart for each child who is able to understand what it’s for. This will allow your children to understand what comes next during the daily routine.
Let your children be part of setting the homeschool routine
If your kids struggle to cooperate with you, give them certain choices in setting the routine, such as changing the order of certain activities and chores where possible.
Create incentives for your kids. Have a special family time, activity, or event once a week where the routine gets changed up.
My family’s homeschooling routine
7.30 Kids wake up
8.00 Breakfast and play
9.00 Bible story and homeschooling – alphabet practice, number practice
2.00 Nap time while mommy works
4.30 Take a break with the kids, chill out together
6.30 Bath and bedtime story
7.00 Kids lights out, parent time
8.00 Work or rest
This is a very basic idea of our day. It changes by half an hour or more here and there. No sweat. Other days it looks completely different. I’ll swap some of the times and activities around depending on what is urgent.
Would you like some more help in planning your family’s homeschooling routine?
Was this article helpful to you? What tricks and tips do you have to keep your homeschooling routine running nicely? Comment below and share with other mamas.