by Paul King
The tool unused lies lost in dust,
The sword unused turns dull with rust,
The path unused grows clogged with weed,
The crop untended goes to seed.
Skills unused will soon decay,
Talents wasted, fade away.
I will work with a wish and I’ll work with a will,
And the task that life brings me I’ll gladly fulfil,
And unfolding new skills, many joys shall be mine.
Away dull rust! Let me shine!
Amy Fredland, one of Oak Meadow’s well-experienced k-4 teachers, offered her enrolled families some valuable guidelines for naturally fitting homeschooling into a family’s daily routine. The information is so well presented and seems befitting to share with all of you. Below is Part One of Amy’s advice:
During my 5 years of working with OM, I have heard many families express great concern about how to start and how to fit homeschooling into “life.” This particularly comes at the beginning of the school year, as there are so many variables to consider, plan and prepare for, and mull over. Some find this inspiring, while for others this can be intimidating.
I hope that you and your child/ren will take this time at the beginning of the school year truly as a period of transition. Keeping in mind that transitions are not static points in time, but are dynamic processes, I encourage you to consider that many times the first few months of the school year end up focusing on getting into and/or remembering habits and strategies for school related tasks. This can be true for returning homeschoolers, as well as those completely new to homeschooling.
In order to support this transition I often recommend that you take time at the beginning of the school year to map out the activities and tasks that you need to do each week, both for your home and for your school, and that you want to do each week. In this way you are crafting a rhythm to your days and your weeks. Although this doesn’t need to be followed exactly each moment, it is a wonderfully supportive framework into which you can immerse yourself and your children. It allows you NOT to have to “recreate the wheel” each day. Phew! Much time and energy is saved this way!
This is particularly helpful when things get hectic or stressful, and you find that your creative energy is being directed towards other pressing needs. When this time comes around, you’ll find that your weekly rhythm is there waiting for you, and you can simply allow it to guide you and your child through the day.
You can begin to create your weekly/daily rhythm by first identifying important aspects of your days. You might choose to make lists, a sketch or brainstorming map, or a spreadsheet. You can really utilize any method of organization that helps you become clear about the things that are necessary for you and your child to meet the goals you have in mind for the school year.
Examples of things you may want to include for your school activities are:
Language Arts Social Studies
Circle Time Snack/Meal times
Field Trips Nature walks
Sports/Social activities Rest/Quiet time
Reading time Free play time
Baking Woodworking, etc.
In addition, it can be helpful to include regular household tasks/activities that will need tending each week. You may or may not include these on the actual schedule your children see each day, but it can be very helpful to give these activities a specific place in the overall family rhythm. You might find it useful to make a small schedule for yourself to refer to throughout the week that includes both these activities and the ones listed above.
These household activities may include such things as:
Meal preparation/Clean up
Tidying up (dusting, mopping, vacuuming, etc.)
Specific chores your child might be responsible for
Parent work times
Once you have identified the areas that are important in your week, you may want to include your child/ren in on this conversation. What do they want to make sure there is time for each week or each day? You may be surprised to hear that they really want to have time for baking each week, or that it’s important that they have time for playing outside each morning before school begins or right after your first lesson of the day.