Something I keep hearing in some of my groups and on blogs is home school families talking about how they left public school so they could just do whatever they want, then a few months later the same parents are back and asking why they can’t get their kids to cooperate or pay attention for very long, no matter how much fun they try to make the lessons. They want to know how the rest of us manage to get any actual learning done.
I tell them, “routine, routine, routine”.
Some people in the home schooling world gawk at that. They rebel from anything that reminds them of public schools and such. Have a basic routine doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I am not talking about making things feel like public school or Army boot camp. Just a very simple routine for your day (or part of your day).
Having a routine doesn’t have to be a rigid as getting up at 6:00am, getting dressed, having breakfast, brushing your teeth and everyone being sat down and ready for school by 7:15am. Many home schoolers do not have a set wake up time, but still have a basic routine of how their day goes. Wake up, eat, maybe play a bit, do school work, have lunch, read, do more school if needed, chores and so on. No set times. Generally as long as they get their goals for the day done, they are happy. Doesn’t matter if it is done by noon or 4pm.
There is not one set way to do it. A routine can be as lax or rigid as you want it to be. It is just a basic way to keep things on track and give the kids an idea of how the day will go and what is expected. One of the many perks of homeschooling is that if you have to change it up, you can! No busses to catch, no tardy bell to beat, and no one is going to report you if you one day you decide to let everyone sleep past 8:00am! You can tailor your day and your routine to your kids and your families’ plans.
Having a home daycare means that I may have a tad more rigid routine than many home schooling families because I do have state and federal regulations to follow, but I still have quite a bit of flexibility. Our routine even varies by the day of the week. I have gotten all of us, daycare parents included, used to what activities we have on what days. All of our classes, activities, and events all work around of basic daycare routine. I try to make sure that we eat and nap the same time every day, no matter what. Even if it means we have to miss out on some of the home school group events. My charges needs are just as important as the needs of my kids while they are in my care.
My daycare parents love all the fun activities that we do. Their kids get all the perks of my family homeschooling without their own parents have to do much or spend any money. It is a win-win for all of us. Daycare families and my family have both learned that a basic routine is key to everyone being able to participate and enjoy all the fun things we do. My own kids, who are too old for naps now, understand that the daycare babies have to have their naps or they get very cranky and that can ruin the fun for everyone.
Unless we have some place to go, my own kids do not have set wake up times, but they do get up and do the same basic routine every morning. Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and see what school work we have to do for the day. We work our school around whatever classes or events we have planned for the day. For now, we have the flexibility that it doesn’t matter whether school gets done in the morning or the evening. As long as it is done, everyone is happy.
So relax. Enjoy your children and remember a basic routine is doesn’t hurt anyone. Kids do well when they know what to expect of their day and what is expected of them. No drill sergeant needed. Just a very basic routine so everyone is on the same page.