After having such a long break for the holidays, it is sooooo hard to get back into the swing of things. Not only the swing of things, but the right attitude to kick off the beginning of school again. Having said that, I thought it would be great to share with you some of the things I do to help us get back into the habits and the right mindset for the large task of schooling our kids at home. Since schooling takes lots of time, scheduling is the key to getting it all done, so I thought we could start there.
Scheduling is a hard topic for me, since I really do not like schedules very much. I would rather go with the flow and see where things lead, but I know that does not work for us as a family. When I do this, the housework doesn’t get done and school takes a back burner to my desires at the time. To keep from letting things slip, we have to have some sort of schedule. Not so much a schedule, but a routine.
Routine is the key word, because we really don’t stick to any certain times for our activities. What do I mean by this? Well, most of our family are night owls. That means that getting up is always a task in and of itself. If we don’t have plans, it wouldn’t be unusual for us all to sleep in till around 10 AM. So we set our alarm clocks and try to get up at a reasonable hour. For the first week back to school we set the alarms a bit later (8:30) than normal (8:00), to help with the transition to more standard times. Once we are all up, we start working on our routine.
What does our routine look like? I’m glad you asked. First we set certain standards for school days in our home. The first standard is that there is no T.V. until lunch. Doing this helps us from getting distracted, myself included. Second is that everyone is to complete one simple chore before starting school. Of course, we eat breakfast before diving into chores. I start on the laundry while the kids empty the dishwasher, tidy up the entry way, and make sure their desks are ready for the school day. Like I said there isn’t a true time to this, but that when they are done, we are able to start school. I would say that on average it is around 10AM.
When school does start, we work hard moving from subject to subject as we finish that day’s work load, until around 1PM. It might be a bit earlier or a bit later depending on when we finish our subjects or when everyone’s tummy is starting to growl. We take about an hour break. I make a quick-lunch, we eat and the kids head outside to burn off some energy. When the hour is about up, or the kids have come in tired from running around, we head back up the stairs to our school room to finish up on that day’s work.
Usually after lunch I have finished my teaching with the kids, and they are working on their independent work. As soon as each child is finished with their work, they are free to head down to play. When everyone is done with school, we do a few more chores and jump into any after school activities, dinner, family time and bed.
By keeping a simple routine, day in and day out, the kids know what to expect. They aren’t looking at a clock to guide them, but the routine itself. For us, this works. So even if we stay up late the night before, we are able to continue with our routine, just maybe an hour or so later than other days. As for how we schedule our subjects, that is a matter for another day.
So my question for you is, do you have a routine ready to help you get into the swing of starting school again? If not, make some time today to think how you could set up a simple routine to bring some consistency to your school. I can tell you from experience, that changing up the routine really gets at the kids. They thrive on routine and honestly as much as I don’t like to admit it, I do to. So even when you aren’t in the mood to start school, following a simple routine will guide you, and them to completing a successful start to this second semester in school.
If you already have a successful routine, please comment below and share it with us. Seeing others ideas just might help someone who hasn’t started a routine yet, get going on one.