Discovering the difference between a homeschooling routine and a homeschooling schedule has been absolute freedom for me, and my hope through this post is that it may be for someone else out there as well.
Here’s a bit about me and why it has released me from guilt. i suffer from dark bouts of depression. Along with that depression, comes really negative thinking. I dwell not on all that I am or have done, but on all that i have NOT or am NOT doing. Instead of focusing on all my great mommy moments throughout the day, the load of laundry that I did get done, the lessons we did work through and the positive, I instead focus on the floor not being swept, the time I lost my temper, the read aloud we didn’t do, the science experiment that’s still on the back burner, the thank you cards that haven’t made it out, the phone call I still need to return . . . You get the picture.
I’ve learned that if I set my expectations too high and they’re not met, I don’t give myself the grace to start over. I beat myself up about not meeting those expectations. I have to set reasonable goals and a reasonable plan to get there. Homeschooling can be a bit challenging in that respect. This is our 5th year homeschooling and I think I’ve learned a bit to share.
1. I need a week plan. I take a bit of time to myself over the weekend and map out the week. I look at what my goals are and I figure out how I’m going to get there. I start with my outside distractions and put those in the schedule. When’s co op? Do I have doctor, dentist or other appointments outside the house? What day do I need to run errands if any? I map that out and then plan my schoolwork around it. If I’m out of the house a lot on a certain day, I make it an extra curricular day and do fun projects for the short time I’m at home or gather workbook pages we can do in the doctor’s office. I ration out our reading and other subjects for the days we can be at home.
2. I give myself an end goal and then work backwards. If I know I’d like to do a complete study of electricity in science using a workbook, picture books and an experiment, I figure out a time frame Id like to complete it in – say two weeks and parcel it up into daily bites that work around those outside distractions. Then I give myself a day or two “grace period”. The grace periods are pretty important so that the failure feelings don’t come into play.
3. I don’t regiment my day. I used to have the day scheduled down to the minute. I had it slotted into 15 minute slots and each slot allotted to a subject. I knew where I had to be at every minute of our scheduled school time and which child I was supposed to be working with if it was individual work they were doing. Unfortunately it never worked. Someone overslept, the phone rang, someone took too long on the potty, our read aloud took longer that 15 minutes, lunch ran long. We were never on schedule and I always felt overwhelmed & depressed. I never felt like we accomplished enough and I always felt like we were playing catchup. It certainly wasn’t an ideal learning environment.
4. I DO set a routine. I know the course of our day. I know the order of events. Everyday we start with Bible & prayer after morning chores & breakfast. Then we move on to the same rotation of subjects. I know what days I focus on new math lessons & dive deep into math with each child. I know what days we prefer to do science experiments or other extra’s. I know that daily chores come in the afternoon and I know there are no screens before 3:30.
A routine let’s us know what to expect (which is essential for child #3) but it also gives us flexibility. It keeps me on task while also keeping me sane. A schedule seemed to set me up for failure but a routine gives me the grace I need. I know I’m not a normal homeschooling mom. Depression and negative thinking can be overwhelming especially when you’re in the midst of it. I promise a routine is one way to counteract.
- Why I’m glad I’m not raising a prissy girl & a fishing derby
- Why we homeschool