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How to Instill Calm in Your New Homeschooling Routine
It’s finally happened. You’ve decided to give homeschooling a try. But, where do you begin? How do you structure your time? What if you can’t fit all the subjects in one day?
I had those same concerns when I started homeschooling my daughter in 6th grade. The mistake I made was trying to duplicate her B&M (bricks and mortar) school schedule. We used a timer and set 40 minutes aside for each of her subjects, with three minutes between to get the muscles moving.
Three minutes off, forty minutes on.
It was bizarre and stressful but we were conditioned to believe that was the way it was supposed to be.
If my daughter found a subject she wanted to further explore, there was rarely time to do so because we had a schedule to keep. Just like in school.
Honestly, it took us a year and a half to realize we were simply imitating the very routine we wanted to avoid. Instead, what we did – finally – was choose a major subject to study on a given day. Monday was for Language Arts, Tuesday was Social Studies, and onward. The beauty of this new freer schedule was the opportunities it presented for Daughter to explore new areas of interest, plus the freedom for her to attend activities planned by our local homeschool support group.
Let me give you a taste of our daily, more calm and productive routine –
Each morning started with gym class which was an aerobic workout using one of our many workout tapes. After gym class, was a cool down period where we’d prepare a light snack – like, say, an apple with peanut butter.
After gym each day was Math. For Daughter, the ALEKS math program worked well. She’d spend 30-40 minutes each day with this program then break for a quick 5-8 minute when-you’re-short-on-time workout. Sometimes, for this quick fix workout, we’d use a Tae-bo tape, sometimes dance, sometimes shooting a few hoops in the yard.
We then had the rest of the day to work on a given subject. No stress, no reason to sit for hours straight to cram it all in. Instead, we adjusted our time as necessary, fitting in a trip to the park, the mall, or sometimes even just stopping to play a board game or tune into a movie. After all of that, Daughter would do one elective – music, photography, foreign language.
The amazing thing we’ve learned in our three years of homeschooling, is that opportunities for learning are everywhere. You just have to be open to them.
For example –
One afternoon, when we took a break to watch a movie, the movie happened to be Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. When the movie ended, we talked about Dickens’ view of 19th Century London then spent the rest of the day researching the period, discussing it and comparing Dickens’ fictional depiction with the facts.
Learning opportunities are everywhere. When you’re not so stressed about finding them is when they’re so easy to find and explore.
There’s no reason for learning to be restricted to chalkboards and number 2 pencils. The world is full of lessons. All you need to do is find the path you enjoy the most – put on your walking shoes and be willing to not only trip up every once in a while, but stop and enjoy that which is right in front of you.