Recently, a young friend stopped by and we began visiting about how our homeschool days are going. As winter begins to leave us here in Michigan, and Spring starts to arrive, it can be a challenge to keep students focused on the academics of their education. So, my young mom friend, asked me how I do my schooling days and keep my students on task for the book learning part of the day, and keep frustration and discouragement at bay. I told her for me it is important to keep a routine verses a schedule.
So, I thought I would blog about the difference between a routine and a schedule. I have and do use both a routine and schedules in my life. But, routine is more of a developed habit, and a schedule is more of strict timely guide. When we begin the new school year in the fall, I make a schedule, I want my students to know when to get certain things done, and how long those tasks should take. Here is a sample schedule for our school in the fall and winter months.
7 am quiet time
8 am breakfast/morning chores
9 am Group Learning
(Bible, Story Time, Calendar, History, Science, Hebrew)
11:30 Independent Learning
Copywork, Grammar, Math, Etc.
2 pm-4 pm
(Resource, Art, Shop, Farm, Etc.)
(Chores, Housekeeping, Etc.)
Family Bible and Current Events
Free Time, Showers, Laundry, Etc.
During the colder months in Michigan, we focus on book learning and academics. So, I set a schedule for us all to know when we do what subjects, and we don’t do every subject everyday, but the schedule reminds us when each subject is to be done on each day. I also usually post the weekly schedule to remind them of which subjects are done on what days. The older students obviously need more time for their lessons than the younger, so when the younger students complete their assignments each day, they either are free to play quietly, do a project with me or another sibling, or do a chore or task they may not have completed earlier in the day or week.
As Spring comes on here on the homestead, we begin to switch gears. The older students have more farm chores to attend to, and they also have jobs they need to go to when the weather permits. All my students are required to work with a master gardener for two years minimum, so she needs them to be available when the weather is cooperative. We have live animals giving birth during the Spring, so this interrupts our school day as well. As summer roles in, our days become super packed with hired jobs, and gardening. So, how do we do all these things and school, and keep peace and calm in our home? I have found that routine is the key.
The difference between routine and a schedule is routine is doing the same activities in a similar order each day, and having set staples at certain intervals each day and week, that ground the family and maintain the security and peace of the home. So, here is how our routine looks. You will see that our routine fits into our schedule above, so the routine remains the same all year long, even though the schedule changes.
Hirn Homestead/Homeschool Routine
Breakfast, Chores, and Quiet Time Done on own by 9ish
Everyone who is home gathers in living room
for morning calendar review, story time, Bible reading, and prayer.
Students are to do copywork and Summer assignments on their own.
Lunch is around 1 pm,
it is eaten together by everyone who is home.
The Lord’s Prayer is recited in English and Hebrew,
and any Bible memory work is reviewed together at lunch.
Dinner is around 6 pm, everyone is expected to attend dinner that is home.
Bedroom by 10 pm, Lights out at 11 pm.
These required activities each day, along with our weekend routine of Family dinner on Friday night with family worship, and our Sabbath routine of Torah Time every Saturday at 11 am, and weekly fellowship attendance from 2-6 6 pm, bring order and comfort to our home. Some days are busier than others, and so there is flexibility in the day. If we have a lot of rain and no appointments, we can spend more time in our morning learning together time, reading, discussing, and growing in God’s Word and other academic knowledge, but if we have a day with lots of appointments or farm work, we can still have a quick Bible and story time, grounding the whole family and preparing the children for the day to come. A routine offers a great deal of flexibility, but it also requires you to be disciplined to not neglect the routine.
A schedule with times and specific activities in each time slot offers the security of those parameters. Both a routine and schedule can be a blessing to running a smooth homeschool. For our family it works best to do a hard core schedule and really push the academic learning in the fall and winter months, and in the spring and summer months have a more flexible routine. The great thing about homeschooling is you are the one, as the teacher/parent, who gets to decide the best way for your family and home.
You do not have to do your school like anyone else, you can make it work for your life style. So enjoy the journey and learning with your children each and every day.