January 31, 2013
Homeschoolers love to share their schedules and routines. We love to swap notes about what works and what doesn't in terms of managing and directing our days. But of course schedules/routines/rhythms, whatever you want to call them - are so unique to each person and family.
I look at some people's schedules and I get immediately anxious about the amount of activity they are able to pack into their days. I feel anxiety for them trying to rush through all that and I feel my own anxiety about not being that productive.
Our schedule is fairly busy, our days are absolutely full but part of that full is sheduled downtime. Reading, resting, exercising, etc.
I honor my need and my family's need for these activities by planning for them. Making space for them in our lives. Scheduling not just the activity but the apparent "inactivity".
I love the direction and discipline a schedule provides to actually implement ideas - homeschooling, earning an income, healthy eating, exercise, outdoors, reading, play, projects, etc. They all have a place in our days and on the schedule.
But as much as I love a good schedule - a routine for our days that meets our family needs - I tire of them and need flexibility in my life. If I feel bound by a schedule I get cranky and uninspired. Humans after all are wired for novel and challenging experiences, even those of us who love routine.
I go back and forth between these two realities - my love for structure and my need to break out of it to keep things fresh. My next post on schedules is full of practical ways I've learned to balance these two realities to foster joy and freedom in our home, while still getting things done.
But first, our usually, not always winter schedule.
What I love about this winter so far is that our days are really varied. Monday through Wednesday has one groove and Thursday through Sunday has an entirely different feel. So by the time you get to Thursday morning and you're ready for a change - ba-bing! you get one.
My whole family seems to really like this variety to our days.
For explanations of blocks see this post.
Early Morning Block
Morning Block - School
This where things get interesting. On Thursday and Friday we still have similar blocks in terms of time but what we do is different.
In the morning my family goes skiing. I work. The kids and I have a modified school schedule in the afternoon. I'm experimenting with this. I'm thinking this is a good time for family freewrite and history with Brienne and Laurent. Library visits (to pick up our fill of graphic novels) are a possibility also for this time.
Thursday night is family RPG night.
Friday morning we all go skiing together. Lunch time is made easier with pre-washed salad mixes and then all we need to do is make a dressing.
Friday afternoon is totally unscheduled. It may look like project time, along the lines of Project-Based Homeschooling but I also like to leave this block unscheduled and go with whatever is happening in the week. I need that margin in my life.
Friday afternoon, right before supper, we might clean the house. It takes the kids and I one hour, if that, all working together to vacuum, clean toilets and wash the floors if and where needed. Friday night is easy supper and family movie or gaming night.
Saturday morning we sometimes have individual ski lessons. The new piece this winter is French lessons all afternoon for myself and maybe Céline (she's still uncommitted at this point).
We're currently taking a break from scheduled hospitality on Saturday nights. Five hours of French lessons and driving on Saturday afternoon knocks it out of me.
Sunday is our family day outdoors, as always. We aim to ski in the mountains but somedays we only make it as far as the ski hill in our backyard. And this last week we didn't even make it that far as Damien was resting from a knee injury earlier in the week.
Sharing my schedule is not about saying "here, this is how to homeschool, or this is how to work from home together".
The beauty of homeschooling and working at home is finding your own routines that work for you. And after a year and half of blending the two, each season we find a new groove that fits for where are right now. And often the new routines seems better than the last.
Our kids are at the age when they need more out-of-home activity and engagement. The good news is that they are also at the age when they can help with a significant amount of food and home care responsibilities. Not to mention that Damien is very engaged with family life and homeschooling. And so life feels full and active, but generally not stressed or hurried. And this is good.
That's it (ha, ha!) for today. Next up in my mini-scheduling series this winter are specifics tips to help you make your own schedule for learning and life.
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