After more than twenty years of homeschooling, I’ve learned a thing or two about the best homeschool routines. Sometimes our routines are dialed in, and it’s smooth sailing in our homeschool. And, of course, sometimes our routines need adjustment.
What do I do when the homeschool schedule needs review? Google it, of course! And there are plenty of resources for all stages, seasons, and homeschool styles.
So how will this post offer anything fresh that you can’t find by putting “homeschool schedule ideas” in your search bar? I hope you’ll keep reading and discover I’ll offer a slightly different take. I will provide five tips for a homeschool routine that will work no matter what and when you employ it.
I won’t discuss sample homeschool schedule templates or the different schedules like loops, checklists, relaxed, or blocks. They all have merit and will serve you well based on your style and preferences. To be frank, I’ve used them all for different purposes with different kids, and they all work. And that’s one of the reasons I’m a lifelong fan of Classical Conversations® curriculum guides. Flexible, comprehensive, and thoughtfully curated, the guides all work with any homeschool schedule approach, helping to make homeschooling doable from kindergarten through college credit.
How to Create Your Ideal Homeschool Routine
So, how did I find a homeschool routine I could stick with? Time, trial, and error were my tutors. Having used multiple approaches for our homeschool plan, I hold loosely to the “how.” Instead, I try to use these five principles as the foundation for our homeschool plan.
1. Keep the Long View in Mind.
I hope I never forget the Classical Conversations Practicum when I heard Leigh Bortins, Classical Conversations founder and chief visionary officer, lay out the charge that homeschool parents must understand we are raising humans for heaven, not Harvard.
In the long and daily obedience of parenting and educating our children, we must remember that a “perfect” homeschool schedule of our creation is but one tiny fraction of what God is orchestrating in our child’s life. Although our reasons for homeschooling will vary, Christian parents must never forget that discipleship is our privilege and responsibility. Heaven is what we’re aiming for as we shepherd our children toward Christ.
2. A Homeschool Routine Is a Rhythm, Not a Rule
Maybe you have a spontaneous chance to visit with family, you’ve lost power, a kid needs extra snuggles, or in my case, I must slip into my work boots because my cows have pushed past our homestead fences and are eating my neighbor’s garden—again.
Life is full of the unexpected. No template or loop can fully anticipate the opportunities or interruptions you will undoubtedly encounter. Routines are guidelines, and protectors of time, energy, and attention. They are in place to serve you rather than rule you. If you must make a shift, a routine is flexible. If you want to make a shift, a routine will accommodate it.
3. First Things Should Always be First
What has the highest priority in your family life? In our family, it has always been relationships. We’ve put our keenest focus on learning to relate first to God and one another and be appropriately oriented toward ourselves.
After that, attention and energy are negotiable, but we do have a personal list of our top five in order of importance. Our homeschool schedule usually conforms to our list. Order of importance will differ from family to family, so evaluate your daily routine and homeschool schedule according to what comes first for you.
4. Body, Mind, Soul
Over the years I found myself in a place where my schedule was “perfect,” but nothing worked. How could that be?
The solution, I’ve learned, is often something that the “perfect” morning routine can’t fix. The humans in my care are whole people who are sometimes impaired by hunger, fatigue, or, to put it plainly, sin. The homeschool plan doesn’t work when humans are hungry, thirsty, sleep deprived, or acting in rebellion. This doesn’t really qualify as a tip for your homeschool plan, but it is a reminder that we need to keep the whole person in view more than adjusting a spreadsheet or revising a checklist.
5. Don’t Lose Sight of Your Mission
I read a blog post some time ago that challenged me to consider what kind of person I hoped my child would be in twenty years after they completed their homeschooling. The answer will guide the type of homeschool culture and daily plan we establish. Routines, schedules, homeschool templates, and scheduling loops don’t produce character. They are one set of tools in a wide array of instruments we use to accomplish our mission.
A morning routine cannot make a student who learns to conduct themselves virtuously, with civility and humility. But an effective schedule can create opportunities for me to cultivate a capable learner who can integrate content and ask sound questions.
God Will Direct Your Steps in Creating a Homeschool Routine
Whether it’s the beginning of your day or the sun is setting on your to-do list, you have the freedom and responsibility to set the course for your homeschool schedule. I take great comfort in the many Scriptures that remind me that although I may make a plan, God establishes what each day will hold. His purposes will be fulfilled for His kingdom, for my student, and for the day. So if you keep your schedule the same or decide to change it, He will direct your steps.
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