Setting up a Homeschool Routine
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If you are a planner like me, then the answer is going to be a definite YES! When I first started homeschooling, I decided to try to plan out our entire day. So, I had a schedule from the time my oldest son woke up to the time he went to bed. I have to admit, but it was a bit much! I have scaled back since then, but I still see the benefits of having a homeschool routine. Here are a few things to consider when setting up a routine.

1. Keep a consistent start time. We usually try to start our day between 8:30 and 9:00 because this works well for us. What I noticed is that if we start later, my kids begin to feel rushed and hurry through their work. The whole day feels rushed to me, too. Even though we may have nowhere we need to be, there is still an unseen pressure making it feel like we are “behind” the whole day. There is more work to be done after lunch, and I notice my kids begin to complain more. So, for us, this is a big one. We try to keep a consistent start time.

2. Be flexible. Okay, I know this sounds like I’m contradicting my first point, but hear me out. Even though I try to be consistent with our start time, I also try to be flexible throughout the day. I used to plan out which subject we would do first, second, etc., but I quickly realized that there are days that they are not ready to start first with a test. They may need an easier subject first to “wake up” a bit. Other days, they may be wide awake and ready to tackle something hard first. So, the schedule of which class goes in what order usually changes daily.

3. Make time for a snack. This is really important with younger children, but even my 8th graders do much better when they have a mid-morning snack. There is something about the chewing motion that helps to stimulate the brain (or at least I think so…I’m no scientist though). A snack helps to curb any hunger and can improve their concentration.

4. Have built in breaks. It is important to have a break now and then. Schedule a time for your child to step away from their work and get out some of their energy or creativity that has been building up. Our favorite breaks are jumping on the trampoline or creating things with building blocks. Usually, our break is only 10-15 min., but when they were younger, we took many short breaks. Plan that time for your child to get away from schoolwork for a bit. If you find it hard to get your child’s focus back, set a timer. When the timer goes off, they need to come back to their work. For some reason, my children seemed to respond much better to the timer than to Mom saying it was time to start again. Also, pick a break that is more active. I would not recommend allowing screen time activities during their break. The idea is to get their bodies moving and blood flowing.

5. Decide when the end of your school day will be. There may be days that the work seems to fly by, and there may be days that drag on and on. Some lessons are much harder than others, and some days require more work than others. However, we set a limit for how long our day is allowed to go. If we are not done with our work by then, it will wait until the next day. I never want my children to get overwhelmed or frustrated with their work. If I know they have been working hard, but still have not finished an assignment, it can wait until tomorrow.

A homeschool routine can be very helpful because not only do you know what to expect each day, but so do your children. It can be as detailed or open as you need. Hopefully these ideas will be helpful as you set up your routine for your family.

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Heather Spencer - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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