A. a plan for carrying out a process or procedure, giving lists of intended events and times.
B. to arrange or plan events to take place at a particular time.
A. a strong, regular pattern of movement or sound.
B. a repeated pattern of events marked by natural flow and regular reoccurrence of certain activities.
This is also about the time I ‘met’ Charlotte Mason and my philosophies on life, education really started to change.
I was actually a bit surprised to find out that CM advocated for quite a strict schedule for her students, even in the homeschool. It has made me question if we have been doing things ‘right’. I mean, why couldn’t I get my kids to just do what I wanted WHEN I wanted? Why wouldn’t they just follow the schedule? Why couldn’t they do Math when I said so and keep Drawing to the allotted time frame and move flawlessly through the tasks on my little checkmark system schedule?!
Instead of offering the structure, flow, and productivity I was hoping for, these rigid schedules brought frustration, burnout, and full-on meltdowns.
These days, we have an extremely simple Homeschool Rhythm. I spoke about it in my
and it is up on the kitchen wall, but more for decoration than anything.
There is no real time frame in terms of an hourly, time-slot type schedule.There are several subjects and tasks that we want to accomplish every day and we work towards accomplishing them. Period.
Every day, we wake up, we spend time together, we do Morning Time, the kids know what Individual Work they have to do, and will rotate through spending time with me to accomplish their Morning Rotation. Then, at some point, we will fit in our Family Loop subject (either History, Geo/Bible, Nature Study, or Hands-on Science). We have a daily pattern that is predictable and reliable.
The kids know what we are doing even though it is not rigid or tied to the clock or a checklist. They know what is expected and move freely within those expectations. We are pretty relaxed but have enough of a pattern that everyone still feel secure and productive in that daily ‘beat’.
Let me express to you some solid reasons why I strongly advocate for adopting a Homeschool Rhythm instead of a timed Schedule-
Rhythm leaves more room for God’s leading and life’s ‘divine interruptions’.
C.S. Lewis talked about this when he said:
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.”
Now, I don’t think all the interruptions to our days are unpleasant. In fact, many of these little interruptions are sweet and beautiful! But nonetheless, these unscheduled events and needs can often be seen as annoying interruptions if we are set on a specific schedule that runs in a minute-by-minute time frame.
Honestly, I desperately want to live with eyes wide open to where God is leading and what ways I can reach out to our children, love on them, love on others – family, friends, the children in our lives. If we are faced with the question of choosing between ‘doing homeschool’ or encouraging and helping a friend in need – I want to be the ones who choose people over tasks every time.
And the strict schedule makes choosing the unexpected very difficult – especially when you feel tied to the schedule, ‘or else’.
Rhythm allows for more play and more creativity.
I’ll admit it – there are mornings when we are barely starting Morning Time before 11am. It’s not because we’ve slept in for hours or watched videos or are just lounging around eating chocolate in our PJs. (I wish!)
If we’re getting a ‘late start’ to the day, it’s almost always because the kids have been completely engaged in something else that I deemed worthwhile to let them continue. Whether it is building with Legos, painting a picture, creating a play together, building a fort for reading, making something with the sewing machine, spending time with the chickens, nurturing relationships, etc.
When the children are happily engaged in productive projects, activities, and play, I usually leave them be. This is part of that space Charlotte Mason called ‘masterly inactivity’. Where the parent chooses to ‘let the child alone’. So she can create, imagine, dream, play, and grow in her own giftings, skills, and focus. This IS ‘school’, friends. It is the most profound type of education because it is that self-education we so desire for our children to grow into.
The minute-by-minute schedule would never allow for me to do this ‘letting alone’ as much as I do. I would constantly feel behind because we would NEVER be starting (or finishing) on time. I prefer to breathe deep and enjoy this time for them to just be children. We get to the ‘work’ eventually. Some days, it just takes longer to get to my plan because they are first doing some ‘work’ of their very own. *wink*
Rhythm allows for more Delight-Directed Learning.
Rhythm removes the pressure to blaze through things.
Rhythm gives children more say in how they manage their own time and tasks.
In fact, I feel so strongly about this, I’ll make it another point…
Rhythm helps maintain a peaceful and productive home atmosphere (at least in our home it does!).
Guess what? I’m going to let you in on a little secret – kids often have their own little agendas. They don’t always WANT to do what we want them to do, when we want them to do it. I know, right? Wait… you already knew that?
So, if I’m aiming for peace in the home and homeschool, I’m going to try my best to understand how I can structure our days for the most peace and productivity.
I work with how I function best and also consider how each of the individual little people in my home functions best. What makes them most capable of learning and absorbing these great ideas I want them to contemplate? What helps them thrive? What really frustrates them and hinders them from learning? What times of day or types of situations push their buttons? And what kind of atmosphere renders them incapable of learning (literally)?
Identify these things and don’t be afraid to work with exactly where your children are at. It’s OK. You are not being a push-over or overly accommodating to acknowledge their personalities, strengths, weaknesses, and unique learning styles. This is part of the whole reason so many of us chose to homeschool – to have the freedom to educate our children in an individual manner that helped them learn in the most optimal way.
I’ll tell you something – I write this blog usually between 10:30pm and 1am. Partly because that is the only time I have to myself (chuckle) but mostly because it is the time of day when I think, organize ideas, and write most coherently and effectively. It might sound absolutely insane to some people, but it is the way I’ve been since I was very young. I don’t think it could have been trained out of me – this is just the way I tick. (PS. It is 11:15pm as I type this…)Kids are no different than us. They have personalities and their own needs and likes/dislikes surrounding their work and their play.This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way through many, many months (years?) of tears, arguments, melt-downs, and complete frustration in our homeschool. I thought things should be done the way I wanted every single time, no compromises – and it caused so much upset and much of it was avoidable. It was simply a matter of taking into account my children’s’ personalities, abilities, and personal limitations.
“We should have a Method of Education not a System of Education. A method is flexible, free, yielding, adaptive, natural. A system is endless rules and very rigid. The system would teach the child how to play but then he has no initiative. A wise passiveness – let the children take the initiative; follow the lead of Nature.”
“That the child, though under supervision, should be left much to himself – both that he may go to work in his own way on the ideas he receives, and also that he may be the more open to natural influences.”
“We are very tenacious of the dignity and individuality of our children… Do not take too much upon ourselves, but leave time and scope for the workings of Nature and of (God)…”
Want more inspiration? Check out Julie Bogart (from Brave Writer) in this video about Schedule VS. Routine.
I do, however, I have friends who say they could not function any other way than on a strict schedule.
The hope is to encourage other Moms, like me, who feel pressured to adhere to a Homeschool Schedule when it isn’t working for their home and to express how Rhythm can bring rest and peace to the atmosphere of home.