One of the larger challenges I have found so far in homeschooling my six-year-old is how to establish a routine. All children thrive on routine, on knowing expectations and knowing when they are going to do what. As my little guy has some special needs, this is even more apparent. We have had some harder homeschooling weeks where our schedule hasn’t gone to plan and it definitely has affected our school work. Some of the reasons we have gotten off of our routine this quarter :
- Contractors coming in the house and displacing us for a couple days (hallelujah, central air! But little access to our house.)
- New Years. Enough said there.
- Me deciding to take a mission trip and grandma taking over homeschool duties (not cooperating for substitute teachers is apparently universal.)
- One of us not feeling well and needing to work later in the evening rather than in the morning.
- Last minute changes in scheduled appointment times: unavoidable, but difficult.
- Begging me to stay at grandma’s house and then refusing to do schoolwork in a new environment 🙂
Life happens. We have a general routine that we stick to every morning, we begin our school day with a weekly bible verse, devotion, prayer, and a ten-minute meditation practice. Then we do two subjects of work and take a break, followed either by special therapies at school or two more subjects of work. “Gym” in the depths of winter takes the form of playing outdoors, playing indoor games with friends, and of course chasing Uncle around. Shortly we will have swim classes and indoor soccer to look forward to. But there are plenty of days when our routine does not go as planned, and it is hard to get all the work done that I had expected. But I have come to the realization that “life happens” in traditional school settings too!
Teachers are absent, recess is moved inside due to weather, some students are having better days than others. There are distractions often, snow days and holidays throw everyone off their routine.
We have our general routine in my house and I have seen as I fill out his first quarterly homeschool report that we have made so much progress in his schoolwork, despite the interruptions. We have a lot of freedom in making up assignments throughout the day without it feeling like “homework.” My son is trying to convert his friends to homeschool because he loves it so much. He loves learning, which was my main goal in homeschooling.
So if you find yourself stressing over establishing a routine and sticking with it every minute of every day, take heart! Your students are learning. You are all growing and learning more about how to make this homeschool life work. Each day you will make progress, even if it doesn’t adhere to your carefully planned chart!
Planning your new homeschool year? Check out great online curriculum!
Melanie Ollett is a mom of one joyful little boy whom she adopted from foster care in 2018. She lives on Long Island with her son, dog, and two cats who all insist on sleeping in her bed more nights than she really prefers. Melanie is the solo pastor of a United Methodist Church in the New York Annual Conference and loves working back home close to where she grew up with the support of friends and family to help support her crazy schedule.