Thursday, September 5

on homeschooling :: finding a routine

I think one of the main things that every homeschool educator has to figure out for themselves is a routine or schedule that fits their family and time commitments.
I am a HUGE believer in finding this groove and in actually having a relatively set routine that is followed daily while homeschooling.
I personally believe that way too often it's easy to slip into days (or weeks) of procrastination if the slippery slope of "we'll do it when we feel like it" is set into motion.
So, in saying that, almost 5 weeks into our school year, I am still trying to figure out what works for us.

I purposely started the school year "early" (August 6th), so that we would have a bit of a running head start to figure out what works and doesn't work for us.
You see, due to the nature of my job, during the school year we are constantly in and out of the house for upwards of 4 or 5 hours at a time, often twice a day.
Definitely not typical schedule of a normal stay-at-home-mom. 
So, as my fall schedule is heating up and becoming busier and busier, I'm trying to figure out how to keep our groove while constantly out and about.

 *For those who have no clue what I do for work :: I am a childcare supervisor at a local church, which means that pretty much whenever there is a function going on that requires childcare, I'm there. I also work a couple of part-time shifts a week doing childcare at a local church-run fitness center. Having this type of job enables me to "be at home" with my kids and bring them along with me to work. :)

While at work there are a certain amount of things that  Audrey can do on her own in an unoccupied room. 
But a vast majority of her schoolwork is stuff that we do together.
Our curriculum is definitely not self-led, but instead requires a lot of "teaching" time.
So far what is working for us on "work morning" is having her do a bit of her math and spelling before we head to work. 
She's doing mostly review stuff in math right now, so I just need to be available to give a little explanation or correct her work.
At work she can do reading, free journaling, spelling definitions, and some workbook stuff.
Then once we get home and get Lawson down for his nap, we settle into history, grammar, science and the like.

It's working for us right now, but I'm still trying to streamline it better, so that our time is used a bit more efficiently, and so that, even with the disruptions in our days, Audrey still knows what she can expect at pretty much any given point during the school week.

And I'm coming to absolutely adore and utilize our days off of work to the fullest.
I really look forward to those days, as we have gotten into a really great pace, even though I'm still tweaking things a bit here and there.

Something that I've noticed is that Audrey really needs mini breaks throughout the time that she is doing school.
If she doesn't get them, she starts to drag and get lazy and sloppy. 
So, I've started implementing a 10-15 minute break between each subject.
That gives me time to regroup, get the materials ready for the next subject, give the little one some extra attention (although Audrey normally does this during her breaks), and possibly get an item checked off my ever present chore list.
It also gives Audrey a chance to recharge her brain a bit, maybe eat a snack, and delve into some imaginative play with her little brother.
Our one rule about these break times is NO ELECTRONICS.
Once she gets on some kind of technology, it's hard to get her off, plus I just think that the added stimulation does nothing to give her brain "a break".

Another thing that I've found very helpful is not only having a specific start time (ours is 8:15am when we're home in the morning), but also making sure that she's already fed and dressed, with teeth and hair brushed.
For us, it just helps to get rid of the lazy, lying around, "weekend" feeling and into the groove of getting some learning done.
She also gets a bit of an extended break at lunch and is allowed to watch one, and only one, episode of one of her shows.

All in all these few guidelines have really been working for us over the last month and I look forward to getting even more into my homeschooling jam and finding out even more what works for us.

What is your homeschooling routine like?
Do you also have an out of the ordinary schedule that you have to keep?
What are some guidelines that you have put into place that allow your day to run smoother and more efficiently?

peace, love, and all things sparkly.

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