Struggling to find a simple daily rhythm for your homeschool? You’re not alone.
I remember early on in my homeschool journey wondering “how come homeschooling seems so complicated?” And, “why am I feeling so overwhelmed?” Then “there must be a way to calm all the swirling doubts inside my head.”
I’d looked at homeschool curriculum, even purchased some. But I still felt a bit unsure about how to put it all together. How to design my days so that they would run smoothly.
And as I explored these questions, I kept coming across the word rhythm.
Like when I wondered, “how do I keep the kids on track all day?” OR “how do I help them know what’s next?”
The answer over and over again seemed to be rhythm.
Or even when I thought about “how do I even remember what I decided I was planning to do?” The answer: rhythm.
Or “how can I feel both prepared and flexible?” The answer: rhythm.
Rhythm is Always the Answer
Gradually, I began to understand this bold idea ~ start with rhythm rather than curriculum.
I knew from my years as a classroom teacher that there was no such thing as a perfect curriculum. (Seriously. Not in a classroom, not in a homeschool. Not anywhere!)
But still, it took me a long way into my 25+ years of homeschooling to realize that just doing the next page of the curriculum wasn’t bringing me the sense of freedom and flow that I was looking for.
Now that my three kids are grown, I can look back on my homeschooling years and say without a doubt that creating an intentional daily rhythm of activities that flow from one to the next is the very best starting point to bring a sense of order and peace to the homeschool day, and help children know what to expect.
Here’s how you can plan a simple daily rhythm for your family so that you can simplify your homeschooling and help your days flow more smoothly no matter what curriculum you use.
3 Ways to Plan a Simple Daily Rhythm for Your Homeschool
1. Create a Simple Sequence of Activities
Map out a list of activities you do each day. Put that list in a certain order so that you have a pattern or a sequence of activities that you do in the same order every day, or most days. Don’t make it too complicated.
Your list might look something like this:
- Wake up
- Go outside
- Do lessons or learning activities
- Practice skills like math or writing
- Read a story
- Ready for bed
So that’s step one. Make a list of daily activities in order and hang it up where everyone can see it.
2. Prioritize Yourself First
Choose a few activities that you want to do on your own in the mornings before you start engaging with your children. Activities just for you to help you stay grounded and focused. Things to help you prepare for your day.
I like using acronyms to help me remember my simple plan! And my favorite over the years has been ME, which stands for meditation and exercise.
The trick to this is to keep these activities so incredibly short and simple that you can actually achieve them the majority of the time. So this might mean a 10-minute guided meditation using an app on my phone and then 10 minutes of exercise on my indoor bike.
In the early years of homeschooling, I would go out for a quick walk around the block first thing. All by myself. My husband is self-employed, so I could head out before the kids were up. And even if they got up while I was out, they could simply play until I returned.
3. Create Time Buckets
The final step to creating a simple daily rhythm for your homeschool is to think in terms of time buckets and have a handful of possibilities in mind.
You can go back to the list of activities you made in Step 1 and think of what I like to call “time buckets” in the day that need to be defined a bit more. For me, that would be the lessons and learning activities, outdoor time, skills practice, maybe even playtime.
I suggest you make a list of 3-4 possibilities for each. I kept lists of story ideas, artistic activities we could do, and where each child was with skills practice.
For outdoor time, that list might include a walk around the block, a hike at the Nature Center, or a trip to the park. I even liked to keep lists of possible read-alouds on hand for our family couch time.
That way, when I would feel like “wait, what are we doing next?” ~ I could look first at my rhythm chart list that I had hung up on the wall, and then at my time bucket lists for possibilities and just choose one.
Start with Rhythm Rather Than Curriculum
Whatever curriculum you have can also inform what you do during your lessons or learning activities. But as you can see from this approach, it’s easier to start with rhythm rather than curriculum.
Create your rhythm first. Make a daily rhythm chart and hang it on the wall. Then use your curriculum as a resource to inform the activities you do during different time buckets throughout your day.
I love helping homeschoolers start with rhythm and create rhythm charts. If you want more help with daily rhythm and want to see lots of examples, grab a copy of my free guide, Save Your Homeschooling Day: 3 Steps to Rescue Your Rhythm for a Simple Happy Homeschool.
Starting with rhythm can really transform your homeschool. Your days can flow more smoothly from one activity to the next bringing a sense of order and peace to your homeschool. And more learning and growth take place when children feel secure and confident, knowing what to expect.