A homeschool rhythm that works

Early in our homeschool days we tried to follow a set schedule rather than a general homeschool rhythm. You know, the kind of schedule that outlines exactly when you wake up, when you eat breakfast, and when you start math lessons. The problem with scheduling every aspect of our lives was that no two days are the same in our house and we were often behind, or “off schedule” before we even got started!

So, a few years ago we switched it up and introduced a homeschool rhythm. A rhythm, rather than a schedule, was perfect for our family. Here’s why:

  1. It’s a list of what we need to do, in the order that works best for our family, and it keeps everyone on the same page.
  2. It’s flexible! If we need to “skip” something, we can just move onto the next thing without feeling like we’re “off schedule” because we don’t work off arbitrary times.
  3. It can easily be altered for the season that we’re in, adding and taking away as needed.

Our homeschool daily rhythm

Every family is different and what works for us, may not work for you. But, sometimes its helpful to see what others do as you start to think about your own daily rhythm.

Breakfast

I *try* to get up before the kids, drink my tea, and make breakfast. But, now that the kids are getting older they’re waking up earlier and earlier. My goal is to have breakfast on the table by 7am.

Get ready for the day

After breakfast, we get ready for the day (if we’re not already). Get dressed, brush teeth, skincare routine, whatever it may be. This usually doesn’t take too long.

Animals + quick clean

Next, we feed and water the animals (our golden retriever, Maverick, has usually been feed before we eat breakfast). This currently includes making the rounds between the barn cats, chickens, and dogs. In the spring when we introduce sheep (and maybe even a milk cow) to the farm it’ll include them, too. We split up this chore as needed based on the day. We also quickly clean up – dishes, wipe counters, sweep, pick up around the cabin, whatever needs to be done to quell the chaos. Everyone is expected to help.

Tea + riches

Somewhere along the way we became serious tea drinkers. We constantly have a pot of boiling water on the stove. We love to add honey or maple syrup and frothy raw milk to our tea. After everyone has made their drink, we gather around and do our “riches” for the day. This includes reading the Bible, Shakespeare, Plutarch’s Lives, hymns and folk songs. It’s a great start to our studies!

Studies

Next we break into our individual studies. Each kid has their own setup to help them work independently, and it includes:

  • A folder with planning sheets, book lists, and lyrics for our hymns and folk songs.
  • A journal for written narrations, timelines, and map work.
  • An essay book where I give them a weekly topic and they perfect their essay writing skills.

We do short lessons (often self-led with help from me when requested or required) that normally range from 15 to 30 minutes per subject. This keeps everyone on task and focused, so they’re able to retain the new information that they’re taking in.

Lunch

I’ll typically start making lunch around noon. The kids know that when I start making lunch it’s time to start wrapping up their studies. They’ll find a stopping point, put their materials away and help me put lunch together. We eat together, talk about interesting things they’ve learned, and discuss plans for the remainder of the day.

Projects

We have two types of projects happening at all times: 1) individual projects, and 2) homestead projects. Individual projects can be anything that has a tangible outcome such as writing a book, sewing a book bag, obtaining a certificate in CPR and first aid, or whittling a spoon out of wood. Homestead projects are hands-on activities that usually involve the whole family. We’re currently finishing our bath house for the cabin, building our main house, and prepping the land for animals and a garden so we have no shortage of homestead projects.

Flex Time

This is the time when we get to take care of our responsibilities, spend some extra time on studies if needed, do some more work on an individual project, go for a walk, play some airsoft, write a blog post, edit a video, or just sit around reading or playing board games.

Dinner

I usually start on dinner after some “flex time” of my own so that we’re ready to eat around 6 or 7pm. This changes during the summer when we can easily stay outside until 10pm without realizing it. (Another reason why time-based schedules don’t work for us!) A couple times a week Hudson or Briana will take over dinner – they’re great cooks and it’s such a pleasure to always have great home-made food on the table. We pray, thank Elohim for all our blessings, and eat around the table together.

Animals + quick clean

After dinner it’s time to do our rounds with the animals again, providing food and water as needed, and securing them for the night. We also do another round of quickly cleaning up our messes that inevitably happen during the day.

Get ready for bed

Exactly as it sounds. Once we know we’re done with chores and tasks for the day we get ready to call it a night by showering and getting in comfy pajamas.

Tea + relax

Depending on what time it is when everyone is ready for bed, we’ll spend some time together winding down after the day. This might be a family board game, reading a good book, or breaking out the projector for family movie.

Bedtime

We’re currently living in 500 sqft so everyone has the same bedtime. We usually get in bed around 9 to 9:30pm in the winter and 11pm in the summer (it doesn’t get dark until 10:30pm!). We say our prayers, do a devotional and then it’s lights out.

That’s our homeschool daily rhythm! It’s a tool that we use to stay on track and productive during our “normal” days. We have many days where we don’t follow this rhythm, such as ski days when we spend almost all day on the mountain, the sabbath rest when we don’t do any work, and Sunday which is the day we make progress on the really big homestead projects.

It is important to remember that it exists for us, not us for it. Let me reiterate, the rhythm that we set should be enjoyable not stressful. It is for us! If at any time it feels stressful, incomplete, or inconvenient then we will change it up.

Your homeschool daily rhythm

Speaking of changing it up, you can create your own homeschool daily rhythm. In fact, you likely already have the makings of a daily routine even if you haven’t written it down yet. Here’s a few tips to help you get started:

  • Think about those key activities that you do every day and write them down.
  • It can be helpful to break your routine down in sections separated by meals. What do you do before breakfast? Before lunch? Before dinner? After dinner?
  • What are the things you want to do, either individually or as a family, that never seem to get done? When is the best time to work those into the rhythm? Is there something you need to make sure gets done first?
  • Get the kids to help you! If they’re expected to feed and water the animals, do they like doing that before breakfast or directly after? Ask them their preferences and get them involved.

If you like the look of our homeschool daily rhythm, you can download the editable printable for free right here! To edit, you can simply type in the boxes and then print.

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