It’s About Time is a blog series on time management. Join us as we take a peek into the lives of different homeschool moms, all with a unique approach. Today, let’s meet Alison as she talks to us about rhythm over schedules!
How to Homeschool and Still Have Time Freedom
From the time I can remember, I was playing school any chance that came my way. When it was time to choosing a career, I naturally went straight into education. As soon as I graduated, I was in the first-grade classroom and loved it. Soon after, I had an urge to help children with reading, so I trained to become a Certified Academic Language Therapist. I worked with students for 6 years doing dyslexia therapy.
During this time, I had two of my children. My ultimate dream was to be home with them, so when they were 4 and 6 I retired from therapy to be a full-time mom. I have homeschooled my children, ages 6, 11, and 13, on and off for 5 school years.
Soon after I started staying home, an opportunity to work from home came into my life. Now I am running a community of women and men working towards a more natural lifestyle. I also run a new community that is helping homeschool moms live a life of joyful intention while they still find time to take care of themselves.
Rhythms over Schedules
We don’t really run by a schedule. I have found schedules to make us feel overwhelmed, so for a while now we have been living in weekly and daily rhythms. I have found this to be the beauty of homeschool for us. It gives us complete freedom to ebb and flow. I wake up about an hour before the kids to do my devotions, and then they naturally wake up to get the best rest. That works for us right now because we have a bedtime routine that is consistently the same time every night. After a healthy breakfast, making beds, and getting ready for the day, we meet to start our day together. Each day is different, but most days schoolwork takes place between 9 and 3 with an hour lunch break. Everyone helps with the mealtimes so we can work together.
When I’m not helping the kids, I get my work done. I usually work about 2 hours most days, but it’s very flexible. I also lead a book club every month. The kids attend a co-op that meets twice a week, and my two older kids take dance once a week.
When I first started homeschooling my main struggle was trying to stick to a schedule. It exhausted me. I would feel overwhelmed when we didn’t get everything done, so I have found sticking to rhythms is where it’s at for us. I also use a paper planner to block the day with our priorities. This keeps me on track.
The best tool I have implemented has been the daily rhythms of chores and getting the kids to help. These are incorporated into our homeschool day, so I usually don’t feel behind on them. Also, if you are just starting out, remember that all kids learn differently. So, figure out your child’s style of learning and teach them that way. This will save you time and frustration. When you teach to their learning style, you maximize your time.
There is no way I could homeschool without time in my day to breathe, so I do not give any exception to this, really. There are certain seasons and circumstances where I may have less time but even if it is 10 minutes, I use it. If I need to, I will involve my children in it to get some downtime. For example, we often have tea together. They know I do my devotions in the morning before anything else starts. Lunch is an actual break with 30 minutes after to do what we choose. When they were little, we had quiet time and I would read and have a cup of tea.
The sooner you start this with them, the better. Kids need to learn how to have downtime too. One of my favorite ways to breathe is to go outside and read or listen to music. My 6-year-old plays while my older kids will usually end up reading too. Taking the time to teach your children that you need breathers and training them from the start is one of the best practices you can bring into your homeschool day.
So, if you are contemplating homeschool, you are already in the throws of it, or you are about to start; ask yourself:
- What is my mission for homeschooling?
- How do my children learn best?
- How do I want our days to look?
- What am I willing to keep, and what am I willing to change in our day?
- What are my priorities for the family?
Many blessings to you as you start your homeschool journey or for your school year!
Alison is passionate, and she’s on a mission to help other mamas empower themselves with the knowledge and resources she’s worked so hard to uncover and use.