I hate when people tell me what to do. I don't even like to follow recipes because that's how rebellious of a soul I have! So even when I make my own routine, I like to break it! Just to stick to myself!! I know. I'm weird.
My kids and my husband do not fare well like this. They need the routine and I need them to feel comfortable and accomplished. Therefore, we routinely routine. It has made my 6 year old go from struggling to get anything done in the 3 hours of homeschooling to getting it all done in less than an hour. I'm actually writing this at 10 in the morning because we're done with his checklist of required learning activities for the morning!
Here's how I recommend beginning a routine in your homeschool. Then I'll show you what a typical day looks like for us.
"Food can be a motivator"
1. A schedule is not the same thing as a routine. This may work for some families, but timers just stress my kids out instead of encouraging or motivating them to finish their work. Sometimes the kids wake up at 6:30 and sometimes at 8:30. Some projects take longer or the kids just want to spend longer on a certain subject. I don't like to be bound by specific times and that seems to work well for us.
2. Start your day before breakfast. Food can be a motivator. The morning routine is like this EVERY morning: brush teeth/bathroom/wash hands, make bed, THEN breakfast. This gets us feeling like we've already accomplished something.
3. Make breakfast a lesson time. Everyone is sitting down. Everyone is quiet. When else does this happen with a multi-aged group? Breakfast is the time of the day we review 'the plan' and discuss upcoming holidays or the weekly Torah portion.
4. Divide and conquer. We have our routine set up into four sections: Early morning, late morning, afternoon, evening. If our 'afternoon' routine falls apart (which is the section most susceptible since we're all a little tired and hungry by this time) we can just pick back up with our evening routine and save the day.
5. Start small and keep it simple. At the beginning just put a few simple goals into each part of your routine. Once you've got those down add curriculum or chores. We began with just reading and math in the morning. That was it. After about a week we added in two worksheets, read aloud time and science. This week we're tweaking our afternoon to add art or music time.
And finally, here is our routine.
- brush teeth, wash hands
- make bed
- get dressed
- clear table
- kiss mommy
- Explode the Code or Read Bob Books
- Math Concept and Worksheet
- Science Read and Experiment
- Hebrew Read and Write
- Parsha Play
- Educational movie or PBS video game (when I make lunch and need the kids out of my hair)
- Art or Music
- Walk Chip/Outside time
4pm - Has all work been done? Has anyone had any strikes? If we're good, than it's video time (this is also when I start dinner, so I need them out of my hair again)
- Tatty gets home
- Bath/brush teeth
- Video game with Tatty (these are video games my husband played with his Dad, so he feels this is bonding time with his boys - Pajama Sam anybody?)
- Read two chapters of Magic Treehouse (or current chapter book)
What's your routine?