Our Homeschool Day (& Why Routines are a Good Thing)

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Our Homeschool Schedule

 

So, last year, I shared a “schedule” of our “typical day,” and I received a lot of criticism for it. Some people asked why on earth I would wake my young children at 6/6:30 (I don’t!), and others criticized our rigid schedule or long day. So, I thought I would share some of the reasons I love routines.

If you’d like to see more about how I plan our curriculum and learning goals, click here to see how I plan our school year in 3 steps.

Routines Provide Structure

The thing is, my schedule was really just our usual routine.  I added in approximate times just to give a general idea, but we don’t watch the clock all day. In fact, I’m more of a “free spirit” about most things. I’m not a scheduled organized type of person (although I would like to be).  I’m more of a disorganized person. But that’s why I need the structure provided by a routine, even if it’s very basic (our routine is basically just a glorified to-do list of daily activities).

Routines are also very good for children (particularly those with ASD), providing them with stability, even if unexpected or difficult circumstances arise.

Routines Allow for Flexibility (with accountability)

I know this seems to contradict, but the truth is that routines allow for more freedom in my day.

If I don’t have guidelines, I tend to be all over the place. I have a mission statement for our homeschool, and we have priorities for our family that are very important to us. However, without guidelines for my day, I would be spinning my wheels doing this and that, without focusing my efforts, and I wouldn’t get anything done at all. That is just me being honest with myself. However, within the structure of our routine, I can still make intentional decisions about how we spend our time.

For example, if it’s time for us to read a book and facebook is calling my name? No. The routine wins out.  However, if it’s time to read a book and the boys want to play a boardgame? Yes. We can change our routine. There is wiggle room, but a routine provides accountability to remind me to stick to what really matters.

Routines Provide Peace of Mind

Similar to a financial budget, a routine for me is basically a time budget. And while some people find them constricting, I find them freeing. Because sometimes, I can get stressed out. Sometimes, I feel that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done…anyone else?

I need to get things on paper to see the numbers add up and work out. Once it’s on paper, I can sort things out. If there really aren’t enough hours in the day, then I can start making cuts based on our priorities.  But usually, what I find is that there really is enough time in the day if I can budget it more effectively, spend it more wisely.

So, after all that, here is a very basic version of our routine. I’m still working on a more precise weekly schedule that includes cleaning, scheduled activities (such as AWANA at church, etc.) Please remember, this is just a general idea of what we want to happen. It doesn’t always work out this way, and sometimes there are other things added in. That’s okay. It’s just a guideline (training wheels, as Heidi St. John says).

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Our Homeschool Routine

Morning (6:00)

Walk/Jog
Quiet Time
Breakfast & Clean up
Morning Chores (make beds, clean up kitchen, start laundry, etc.)
Morning Lessons (This includes our Morning Board, Bible time, a short break, and then Language Arts)
Story Time
Independent Play for the boys/blog work & writing for mommy
Quick Clean up
Lunch & Clean up 

Afternoon (12:30)

Afternoon lessons (This includes Math and our “other” subject–activities, community, crafts, etc.)
Read Books
Quiet time for boys/blog work & writing for mommy
Outside to Play
Quick Clean up

Evening (4:30)

Daddy gets home from work
Family time
Dinner & clean up
7:30 Bedtime Routine for boys (bath + books + prayers + bed at 8:30)
Couple Bible Study for mom and dad
10:30 Bedtime (this is not happening yet, but it’s what we want to happen!)

PS–Are you looking for a great way to keep track of your schedule?  What you see above is our FAVORITE homeschool planner!  I use it for family activities, homeschooling, and even for my blog!  It really is an all-in-one planner for me!  (You can see more about how I use it here.)

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This post is a part of iHomeschool Network’s {Not} Back to School Hop.

iHomeschool Network

What does your homeschool schedule look like?

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    Im sorry people criticized you. We’re all so different, that’s what makes homeschooling awesome! We aren’t early risers, but we do tend to have longer days. It works for us.

  2. says

    Thanks for your post! Routine is a way to find the time to do other things! I can get all over the place also if I don't have a plan. It is always great to see other people's day, even if it is different than our own. Great job! Holly

    • Crystal says

      Holly, I feel the same way about it :) A routine/schedule definitely helps me find time to do the other things as well :)

  3. says

    This was so much fun for me to read. Our oldest is four and so we do a home “preschool” with her, but we are not very scheduled at all… as we contemplate homeschool or co-ops for next year I realize I must get our children onto some sort of routine… it was fun to read yours and consider how some of your schedule might be something we could incorporate in our days. Thanks!

    • Crystal says

      Thanks, Darby! I always enjoy seeing other people’s schedules as well :) Also, I think every family has some sort of routine, even if it’s a very general one, it just may not always be on paper. We all have the same amount of time to spend each day, so we’re all doing *something* with it and a general routine or to-do list helps me be more intentional about it :)

  4. angela says

    I am typically a “planner.” However, it just doesn’t work with my current season of life. I have 6 children (10, 9, 6, 5, 3,and 1). I am getting more accomplished without a schedule. Once my youngest is a couple years older, I’d like to go back to a schedule. I think every family is different and God uses seasons to grow us :) God Bless~~angela

    • Crystal says

      Absolutely, Angela! I personally can’t imagine trying to completely “wing it” everyday with 6 children and their learning and schedules and other household tasks,etc. That makes my head spin just thinking about it…lol! But, I completely agree that every family is different and you should do what works for your family :)

  5. says

    AMEN! I personally believe that a plan and order echo God’s character. That is seen all throughout Scripture. He is orderly and has a plan and purpose to everything He does. Why shouldn’t we try to emulate that to the very best of our human, finite ability?? Kuddos to a plan!

  6. says

    I’m with you 100%! I don’t function well without a routine, and I think routines are so important. There is so much a child can learn from a routine that will carry on as they grow. Great post!

  7. says

    Yes! Routine is actually more for me than them. I have 7 kiddos, and life and school goes haywire unless Mama is on track. I love reading your routine… we start next week, and I’m solidifying mine. The schooling isn’t the hard part, it’s loving and caring for 3 babies and preschoolers in the middle of it all. This year, I’m setting my heart toward resting in the life He’s given us… life is learning.

    • Crystal says

      Great thoughts, Amanda! I, too, am working harder to “rest in the life He’s given us.” That’s a good way to put it. We’re working on slowing down and simplifying–our possessions, our activities, etc.

  8. Teresa Markan Thurin says

    Great blog post! I love having a homeschool routine too (and so do my kids.) I find that people will always find something to be critical about. God bless you! :)

  9. says

    Great blog post! I love having a homeschool routine too (and so do my kids.) I find that people will always find something to be critical about. God bless you! :

  10. says

    I’m glad I came across this post! We just finished our first full year of homeschooling. The first year was such a learning experience for me on how I want things to be done. We did the “go with the flow” approach and I’ll be honest and say that it was a terrible idea. Like you, I am not very organized with my day and feel there’s just not enough time in my day. Having no schedule was probably the worst thing about last year! I finally made up a general schedule that we’ll start working on soon. Once we start school again, It’ll be more structured, but not necessarily to a T.

I love to hear your feedback and value your thoughts! All I ask is that we remain respectful and civil, even when we disagree. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate you!

Thank you for joining in the discussion!