Here is Part Two of Crafting Your Homeschooling Rhythm, written by k-4 Oak Meadow teacher, Amy Fredland. Read Part One here.
Now, here comes the fun part! There are so many ways to create a physical representation of your weekly rhythm. For the youngest children (kindergarten and grade 1), it’s wonderful to make a picture based chart that they can refer to each day. When I was teaching in the classroom, I made pictures for each subject/activity (ex: a book for reading time, numbers for math time, a jump rope for outdoor time) which I drew upon large circles that I then covered with contact paper. I kept all the circles in a folder and each day I’d help the children arrange them in the correct sequence for that particular day (based on the schedule I had written down in my planning book.) We hung them on a clothesline using clothes pins, but there are numerous other ways to display yours.
My students LOVED putting up this morning schedule; it was one of the most sought after chores of the day. Not only did it give them practice with sequencing and tracking, but it allowed them to gain connection with the rhythm of the day and of each week, thereby supporting their growing awareness of time.
For older children, you may decide to have them paint or color a piece of poster board upon which they could help you write out a weekly schedule. This would then be displayed in an area of your home that allows it to be viewed and referred to easily throughout the day. If you have a chalkboard in your home, maybe you could write the schedule there. As the children learn cursive, they could be invited to do the writing on the board themselves.
Including the children in this process will allow them to begin taking more responsibility for the course of their days, and this goes very far in helping them know what is coming next. For many children this “knowing” allows them to relax into the activity at hand, thus offering them the chance to explore their learning deeply.
When crafting your weekly and daily rhythms, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Children tend to be supported when their activities alternate between things that require them to bring very focused intention and attention to a task, and those that are more relaxed.
Some describe this as a rhythm of “breathing in” and then “breathing out.” Placing an art activity or time spent outside between a math lesson and a reading lesson is an example of a rhythm that allows a student to “breathe out” between the more intellectual/cognitive experiences (math and reading.)
- Activities that require concentration are not the same for all children.
For instance, for some children learning to knit would not be seen as relaxed at all, and can require an immense amount of concentration and focus. For this student, knitting might be an experience of “breathing in” and might need to be supported by following the knitting session with something that allows the student to literally and figuratively exhale. Perhaps reading or listening to a story would offer this chance.
- The art of education has much to do with how we can meet our children each day both with the fruits of our preparation AND with a flexibility to let go of our plans and do what seems necessary to meet our children in each moment.
Although children thrive when surrounded by a predictable rhythm to their days, there are times when all your senses tell you that what your child needs is something other than what you have planned. In these moments, I encourage you to listen to that instinct and let the freedom of homeschooling support you and your child as you find out, together, what your day needs to look like.
- Each child is different!
I encourage you to spend time observing your child and how is activity is received. Over time you will become much more in tune with what allows the out-breath, and what offers the chance to breath in. (Both are necessary, right!?) Using this information you can further sculpt your homeschooling rhythm, and in doing so you are creating something quite unique for your child. Enjoy!