Daily Rhythm

The daily rhythm of the homeschool life is just as implied.  Each lesson day you have planned out and ready to go in a fashion that suits your family’s pace.  It is not based upon the pile of books that you plan to complete but changes according to the ‘one thing’.   For some, their plans must be very rigid knowing that if lessons are not completed first thing in the morning they will slide off the proverbial plate.   For others, a rigid schedule would rob joy, and going slow is like medicine.  Your Daily Rhythm should allow you to fit lessons in amidst other daily life events, and sometimes it will mean cancelling the days plans.  Expect your rhythms to change from season to season and child by child as you focus on creating a Culture of Education in your home vs. a small traditional school.

That being said, your children should be able to expect ordered and planned lessons, reviews, and exposition (showing what they know) each lesson day.  Each lesson day up until middle/high school is to be parent-led through presenting/practicing new material, and reviewing previous material toward mastery while accounting for adequate time for the students to learn enthusiasm and pride in work as they are given time to showcase their work, their mastery, and their knowledge.  All too often it is we moms who are showcasing, requiring our children to perform their duties, and then we are off to catch up on the rest of life.  This leaves a child deflated and a mom inflated which must be mindfully reversed.  Surprising the reverse is not an inflated child and a deflated mom, but a content mom and a content child.

The order of classes does not matter, but that you have a skeletal plan of your days that allow for the ebb and flow of life along with learning.  One subject can flow into another, even allowing for overlap, along with longer or shorter times per subject as needed.  In other words, math may be very short one day and long or in a whole different format than out of a textbook.  For example, math stories, math art, a math based field trip, and so on. One of the most important things you ought always do is share AND, even more important you ought never to compare.  We all tend to share our highlights and deal with the rest at home.  Keep this buried in your heart as you compassionately share with other parents, and avoid thinking the grass is greener on their side.

If you ever have to choose between tying the strings of relationship vs. completing a lesson, choose wisely.  One lasts forever.

When you have babies and Littles your focus needs to be on nursing, naps, and meals with lessons peppered in -as able.  Attachment trumps education every time.  Trying to fit in a rigid day of complete formal lessons means that you will eventually become exhausted and your children crabby.  Yes, you are getting incredible lessons taught and completed, but at what cost?  I promise that you will not send your child to college not knowing how to read.  Preschoolers until around 2nd or 3rd grade need more movement, songs, and art and less paperwork.  Could these lessons be learned at a later time when you are more rested and the children more able to grasp concepts?  If the answer is yes (and it is), then why stress everyone out when you could opt for a relaxed daily schedule built on Year ‘Round Schooling and the reality that for our Littles every moment is learning.

The younger years (elementary) should be child-led learning and instructor guided.  This means that you will keep the children on task, use the full amount of time, but be flexible to shift subjects & classroom rhythm as indicated by the children’s understanding and behavior.  This is a key time for using lessons as a tool to teach diligence.  Until age 7 they will play school, so temper your enthusiasm to ‘challenge’ them at the break-neck pace they will allow (until they shut down).  However, if you shift the focus of the time of play-learning from completion of a lesson to the learning of a life lesson you use math as a time to practice a good attitude and phonics/reading as a time to practice patience and science as a time to practice sharing and history as a time to practice quiet.  Less is more during this time.

Middle School is a time of discovering where the student begins and the parent ends.  This ranges from (sometimes even) 4th up to (sometimes even) 10th grade depending upon the rate of maturity within the child.  You may have a seemingly very young son who needs to hear you say something to the tune if, “I respect that you chose to do your lesson poorly, and you know the consequence as listed on the If/Then chart (provided in your Member’s Packet).  I will expect your corrections within the hour.”  He is already indicating that he is emotionally ready to be himself, separate and apart from parents.  Continue setting the daily rhythm while giving space for your child(ren) to manage their own time, do their own work, make their own mistakes, and learn/practice becoming responsible for both.  All of this within an ever loosening parental-oversight as you see them maturing, but never hands off as that robs the child the joy of pleasing, and we all love that.

By the time high school rolls around, it should be relatively smooth sailing (outside of hormones and fighting for them to look up out of their screens).  Your High School Records Notebook (came linked to your member’s Welcome Email) will help you plan out your 4 year academic plan, pre-college game plan, high school resume, etc.  A 9th grader will probably need some concentrated time getting started under the sense that things are ‘so much more important’ now, but as soon as the rhythm is set, they should be capable of carrying on mostly on their own with a weekly meeting to make sure everything is on task/schedule, take any tests/quizzes you may assign, and to give you any items in need of grading.   Their daily rhythm will often be based upon which classes they are taking at home, at a coop, at a college, or by a private instructor alongside work and sports schedules.  Their free time becomes less which statistically means their lessons improve.  Note that our high schoolers (and middle schoolers) can quickly learn to allow us to help intensely with their lessons but because they know they are manipulating us they do not appreciate the help but resent the helper.  Let me repeat, if you ever have to choose between tying the strings of relationship vs. completing a lesson, choose wisely.  One lasts forever.