When I was a school girl and I returned home in the afternoon, my mom had the house tidied up, a plan for dinner and sometimes laundry was still drying in the Yakima, Washington sunshine. I envisioned something similar to occur with my own family. Then it dawned on me, my mom had eight uninterrupted hours to take care for the family and home while someone else educated me and my brothers. My tidy house – well educated children quickly began to fade. Now what I wondered?
I wasn’t sure at the time, but I did know, I just needed to start homeschooling my five-year-old. I began with one subject. Reading. Phonics. Letter games. Things like that. We’d begin school after breakfast was more-or-less cleaned. And we were dressed and pressed, as Mary Poppins would say. And yet, if the seagulls were calling, we’d disembark off of our boat (we were bonified live-a-boards back then) and go for a walk. Sometimes we’d end up at the Marine Life Touch Tank, or out on the spit.
Once I had that subject down, I added another one. Math, she needed to be able to count, add and subtract, and measure out the correct amount of flour for baking bread. We played numerous math related games, too many to count (pun intended). Math always followed reading. I don’t know why, it just happened to turn out that way.
Combined, these two subjects took up roughly an hour and a half of our day. That left me with plenty of time to tidy up, plan dinner, and hang laundry on the boat railing (unless the Bellingham, Washington drizzle was visiting). Mind you, my five-year-old had a three-year-old sibling. And I discovered, a three-year-old can cause a wide variety of unplanned interruptions, especially if her one-year-old sibling was awake from a nap. Our hour and a half of school ended up not being ten-minutes here, twenty-minutes there and seven-minutes somewhere. But we got it done.
Over time our homeschool operated three-days-a-week. Never or rarely on a Monday or Friday. Each day lasted three to five hours in duration. Five hours being the exception, not the rule. New subjects were added only when the previous subjects were well in hand, i.e., how the curriculum worked was figured out. There were years when only four subjects were being taught.
This approach that blended well with our family’s natural rhythm. Our homeschool week was unhurried with many Margins built in (Margins is discussed in another blog article). I discovered I became burnt out when our family’s natural rhythm was encroached upon. This usually happened after reading a homeschool book, and the family in the book seemed to have it all together and I wanted to have the same achievement for my family.
So, a good way to create a successful daily homeschooling schedule is one subject at a time. Add a new subject after the other subjects are well established. And when your family’s natural rhythm goes jank or wonkie, remove a subject or slow it down.
Because we all know, Home is Where Wholesome School Begins