Routine. Routine. Routine.
For someone like me, routine is hard. I prefer change and creativity. I’ve learned, though, that routine can actually enhance change and creativity. Not stifle it. Because of our routine, must-dos get handled first and efficiently, which leaves more time for the can-dos. I also believe, through observing my children, that they prefer a routine. They are more at ease during the day when they already have an idea of how the day is going to go.
When I first began homeschooling I tried to run our day by a schedule. This meant that every activity had a specific start time, which meant that if we went long, the next activity started late and our whole day was off. It also meant that if we didn’t need all the time allotted for an activity, the kids would have a small break that was usually hard to pull them back from. With a routine, we simply do our school activities in the same order each day. We start on time and go from there. My two biggest boys are almost entirely independent learners so they get to make their own routine. The youngest two still require more direction from us so we make their routine for them.
Our school day routines:
Caleb is 17 and has a job. He does his school around his work schedule and is self taught. RC and I grade his work and answer any questions he has. (or look up answers to questions we don’t know the answer to) 🙂 There is a specific amount of school work he has to complete each week written down in our planner, but he gets to decided when he gets it done. He has been doing great with this, despite the fact that he has been working around 30 hrs each week since the new year. His classes include Trigonometry, 11th grade Language Arts, SAT prep, French, History, Science, and Animation. Caleb hopes to be a computer animator one day and has already completed a few short animations simply by watching tutorials and teaching himself. We are now building up his portfolio in preparation for college. He has to complete one 3-5 minute short each semester.
Joshua is 15. He is mostly self taught, though he does need help with his Algebra 2. Joshua prefers starting school early and getting done early. He begins his day with French, then 9th grade Language Arts, then he reads for a bit. All of our children borrow books from the library and have to read every day. Joshua usually has time for a break before lunch at 11:30, and it usually includes Pokemon cards or legos. The kids aren’t allowed video games till 5pm on school days. After lunch the three younger kids do Science or History together. Science is on Mondays and Wednesdays and we are going through Bill Nye’s show right now. History is on Tuesdays and Thursdays and RC found a really cool curriculum that uses Dr. Who. Being BIG Dr. Who fans we are all loving this. The kids watch the coordinating episode on Tuesday and then research and write a short essay that is due on Thursday. After that Joshua does his Algebra 2. He reads his lesson and completes the practice problems. I then check those to make sure he is understanding the concepts. After I’m sure he is understanding, he then completes the lesson problems. Joshua is teaching himself to draw, and when everything else is done he usually works on his drawing.
Isaac is 12. He begins his day with timed copywork (I’ll explain in a future post), and then his timed math facts. He then reads his math lesson and completes the few practice problems that go along with the lesson, just like Joshua. Before he can go on, I check his practice problems to make sure he has understood the lesson. If so, he finishes the lesson, and if not, we discuss it and I hopefully help him understand. If he gets through his math quickly, he will go on to his Language Arts. If his math has taken more time, then he will spend his time reading until lunch. After lunch he does Science and History with his siblings and then completes his Language Arts, if he hasn’t already, and then does his French.
Micaiah (Mi-kay-uh) is 10. She begins her day with timed copywork, and then her timed math facts. Her and Isaac do this together. She then moves over to my desk and we read her math lesson together and she does her practice problems with me. Once that is complete, she moves back to the table and finishes her lesson. After math she does her handwriting lesson (she is learning cursive this year) and then she reads. After lunch she does Science and History with her siblings and then she returns to the desk with me so we can do her Language Arts lesson and her reading comprehension and phonics. She then does her independent Language Arts work and her French.
I grade lessons as we go and only mark them off in the planner once they have been graded. If any problems in their assignments are wrong, the children are required to figure out their mistakes and correct them. The only place this isn’t required/allowed is on tests. We usually end our school day around 3pm with a walk/bike ride in the neighborhood across from the RV Park.
By doing the things we have to do with the help of a routine, we are more free to do the things we really enjoy. It has also helped me to chill out because I’ve seen how doing a little every day really can add up. If my child isn’t getting something today, that’s ok. We’ll simply work on it again tomorrow and I know that one day it will click. Just like muscle memorization, doing the same thing over and over has benefited my kids with much less stress on my part.
So, have you discovered the benefits of a home school routine?