Today’s guest post is coming from Patricia, another one of my fabulous Schoolhouse Crew-mates. She blogs over at Raising a Self Reliant Child, and if you don’t follow her already, you should head on over there and check it out (as soon as you are done here of course, she worked hard on this post!)
Patricia’s blog is special for a few reasons- their family is a bilingual homeschooling family, which means she often shares wonderful Spanish resources (some of which I am planning on incorporating into our curriculum this year, like her Spanish Reading Corner). She also is a secular homeschooler, so if you are looking for non-religious resources, hers is a wonderful site to help you find programs that will work in your home.
Mostly though, her blog is just a bottomless pit (in a good way) of helpful information, and relate-able blog posts.
I hope you enjoy this sampling of her work, and please do leave her a comment here if you find it helpful!
If you’re just starting your homeschool journey, I hope these ideas will help you develop a practical daily routine. If you’ve already been homeschooling a while, perhaps you’ll find something refreshing here. There’s nothing wrong with shuffling things a bit to renew energies and enthusiasm.
Your Routine is Your White Canvas –Paint It Any Way You Want It!
Homeschooling routines are really a very personal matter. Take a random sample of families and chances are no two routines are the same. This flexibility is homeschooling’s biggest strength. You are free to mold anything to make it work for you. Take what works for others as a guide, but ultimately, the finest situation is to follow your own intuition and guidance. Aim to adopt or create your own schedule and rhythm. Work toward a daily routine that brings out the best in you and your children. You have a blank canvas, paint it any way you want it! There’s no chance for mistakes here, if something doesn’t work the way you expected it, keep painting your canvas!
When we first started three years ago, we adhered to a strict schedule. We were homeschooling all right, but it was just like going to school, only at home. How engrained school was in our very cores! How much we thought that learning happened sitting on a pupil’s desk, in front of a board. My husband even thought about getting us a smart board. Imagine! We would get up and begin at 8 sharp, then take a short break and continue on to the next lesson. It was delightful that we were learning together, but our routine was inflexible and uncompromising.
Thank goodness things have changed since then. I chuckle when I look back and reminisce. I appreciate our beginnings, but I’m so glad those rigid times are over. Today, we welcome spontaneity and unscheduled learning. We embrace the learning that happens at any moment, and have no hesitations to linger if we want to. We get to decide what’s important for us, not a lesson plan. We love to use all those wonderful curricula, but we also love to explore and discover what’s happening in the world around us.
Flexibility is Key
Our daily routine is flexible and a little unschooling-like. Super Hero’s free to do as he wishes in the mornings. He builds cool things with Legos, watches BrainPop on his iPad, or plays video games. I’m not particularly fond of video games, but since he’s allowed to choose what he fancies, I respect that.
The afternoon is more structured. I almost always begin by letting him decide –”Do you prefer to do math right now or history (science, etc.)?” Having the ability to choose makes him feel empowered and sets the tone for a good learning session. We read aloud a lot. I constantly read to him during brunch or lunch. And without fail at bedtime. Our reading interests vary: poetry, tales, novels, biographies, historical fiction, and non-fiction. And we’re big fans of audiobooks –these are a treat to listen!
The Master List
We keep a master list. An item makes it into the list after everyone’s approved it. Some things we do regularly, we rotate others depending on interests on a given week. I try to plan ahead each week –very loosely. During the course of the week, we will have covered most of what was planned. If not, we may try to cover it during the weekend, if we feel up to it. Nothing’s written on stone. We want to keep the joy of learning alive and well!
Tweak or Ditch
If Super Hero begins to grump about something, it’s time to “tweak or ditch.” It sounds harsher than it is. Usually, all I need to do is modify the activities required or shorten the lesson time. “Let’s just do it for 5 minutes” works like a charm! –The power that this phrase packs is phenomenal. I do set the timer and keep the promise, but often he’ll want to go beyond the 5 minutes because he’s so into it.
Homeschooling’s Supposed To Be Fun!
If something isn’t quite working out anymore, I’ll give it a chance or two to woo us back. If it doesn’t, it’s time to say goodbye. I figure the cost in aggravation and fighting resistance is much too high to make it worth our while. Homeschooling’s supposed to be fun. That’s our motto. If I have the reigns of my child’s education in my hands, I want to make it enjoyable and fun! I want my son to remember these days as the funnest and bestest experience he could have ever had. I can tell our routine’s succeeding when I look at my son and I see a happy, a real happy kid!
Download this pretty printable, print it and put somewhere you can see often. Each time you start to feel things getting hectic, look up, take a deep breath and repeat “homeschooling is supposed to be fun!” I hope this motto works for you as much as it has worked for us 🙂
Patricia Espinoza is passionate about homeschooling her 8 year-old son Super Hero. A committed lifelong learner, Patricia has graduate and undergraduate degrees in business, geology, computer science and mathematical science. Still, she considers homeschooling her finest learning experience of all. Patricia loves to read, write and take photos. She blogs about her family’s homeschooling experience at www.raisingaselfreliantchild.com