Today in Homeschool Planning: Creating habits and routines for a successful year.
I admit it–I’m a little obsessed with homeschool planning right now. Even so, there comes a point where you have to sit back and wait on curriculum to get in. You can only plan your weeks so far, and there is a finite amount of detail that one can pack into those week plans. Well, you could go on, but realistically it would be pointless. If you are attempting to map out every minute of your homeschool, you will be disappointed and probably discouraged. Kids wake up late, make messes, coffee spills, breakfast burns… any number of things can throw off a morning. It’s life, whether you’re homeschooling or just trying to get your kids on a bus. Not all of homeschool planning–or life planning for that matter–needs to be about planning every minute. Establishing helpful habits and routines that will help schooldays to flow smoothly? That’s a good place to start.
“The Mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.” ~ Charlotte Mason
Establishing habits is not easy. As Mason implies, it may even be slightly painful–but it pays off in the long run. Our morning routine has given me the most concern as I think about planning homeschool days. Mornings are our most productive, happy time for learning or doing anything but they are slow. It takes so. long. to get through all the basics that we’re next door to lunchtime before we’re ready for anything. I really need to change that if we’re going to be able to settle into a schooling routine.
The following are the main goals I’ve set for the last month before we start into a schooling routine.
1. Getting Up and Being Purposeful
As much as my kids need good habits, so do I . We’re pretty early risers right now, because my Superman has a long commute, so we’re up every day between 4:30 and 5. Even getting up that early, I have to really be purposeful to get my day off to a good start. If I’m not careful, it’s easy to just lounge the morning away until 7. Then the kids start waking up, I still want to workout, they need breakfast, etc. So, I’m making these six tasks a routine in my morning. My goal is to have them all done by 7:30. I don’t set specific time limits for things, because (cue the chorus) life happens.
1. Have breakfast with my Superman and make his lunch.
2. Read my Bible and pick a verse to focus on for the day.
3. Check my calender and make a to-do list for the day.
4. Study whatever I’m working on in website design.
6. Shower and get dressed
Getting these things done before the kids are all up, or at least early in the day (if they get up earlier than usual) makes all the difference in how energetic and productive I feel through the day.
2. Limiting morning television shows.
Klaus and Eva often get up before I’ve finished working out. When they do, I let them watch a show while I finish. Sophia tends to wake up later and want to watch a show right around the time I’m ready to turn it off. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of saying yes. Our new “habit” is that the TV turns off at 7:30, regardless of whether everybody has watched a show.
3. Kids morning routine
Since Klaus and Eva need help getting ready, I’ve been getting them ready as we go through our day. Now, I’m focusing on getting them all ready for the day right after breakfast. Since I’ve already eaten, I’ll do some quick clean up while they eat. I’m also having Sophia get dressed and make her bed while I’m making breakfast. Once they’re dressed and reasonably clean, they play and I work at my to-do list.
4. We read at 9 AM.
Unless there has been a cyclone of destruction in the kitchen or something, I’m making myself set down the to-do list around 9:00. We’ll do a version of morning time–reading, singing, and memorization– and then move on with the day.
Having our mornings flow a little more quickly is a welcome change. So far, it’s going pretty well. We’ve been trying at it since I finished up my weeks of homeschool planning in the beginning of July. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and habits don’t happen overnight, but I’m hopeful that we’re on the right track.
How do you prepare your kids for school? Do you do anything special to get them ready for different routines?