Good morning dearies! I just got an email from Mary Beth asking me to share this article. She remembered reading it before, but couldn’t remember where to find it. She asked if I could post it here. YES! Hope all of you enjoy! This is an oldie. Fun to read now that my crew are grown and graduated. I could not recommend better tips today. This one is timeless. Enjoy….
Homeschools come packaged in all sorts and types. Homes all have their own atmosphere…their own discipline…and their own life. What will make for happy homeschool days? My vote goes to routine!
As we look at different homes, we find that many people use many instruments to establish discipline. In our home, we have used primarily two tools–instruction and routine! You can probably see the need and benefits for instruction but why routine? Routine is the means by which we lay down the tracks of discipline. In our family routines, we take away much of the pain of who does what, when they are to do whatever, and how much they are to do. It has become part of our character to do all that we do with excellence…diligence…and of course, speed! So, what are some ideas for bringing routine into the home? The following thoughts are a hodgepodge of my thoughts on routine and form that I have jotted down as I studied this month…
• When planning routines, priority is given to the most important things. The most important thing is the spirit of the person! We all need our time with God primarily. If nothing else is done each day, why not the quiet times? However, often I myself find the struggle is more for the to-do’s than for my relationship with God OR with the children. If we value the person the most, we find that our priority becomes that time to talk, read, relax, and even work together. Yes, there is always more work to do than there is time to do it. We must accept that reality while planning the time that we devote to that work around time with God and each other!
• Use lessons to establish habit and discipline. Lessons are the perfect means to establish habit and discipline in the child. Lessons are perfect time to lay the lines of good habits and correct the harmful habits. Through their lessons, they learn skills, practice godly character, learn that there are “musts” in life, and learn to use all of the faculties of their minds.
• Feel free to alter any given routine! As we go through life, we find that life is so short. The sunny moments simply must be snatched along the way. Even in Charlotte Mason’s schools, she would ring a bell on nice days and set off for an all day expedition! Can we be this spontaneous? Yes, duty calls and responsibilities should be accepted habitually. BUT, all the duty and responsibility is out of balance without the liberty to enjoy life and its spontaneity!
• Remember that it is not essential to have a developmental program for the child. Instead of trying to teach each child on his/her own grade level, we all share in life together. We all learn from life together as fellow students. We are constantly establishing good habits, good priorities, and good routines! We use REAL LIFE as the curriculum! Because of this, we can relax knowing that real life is the perfect teacher. It will be as we go along the way that we will teach the most to our children. If we base what we teach on “grade level,” then we find that our children simply do not thrive and learning becomes artificial! Instead, let’s look at what life can teach us. An example from our life was just this past week. We were in Mississippi for our Homeschooling Seminar. Almost all of our family lives in Mississippi. As we were getting ready to leave from the Rushton’s home to go visit my Daddy, my son was only listening to a conversation between his great-grandmother and I when God brought forth a natural lesson from life. She was commenting on Matthew’s new book Fearless Warriors, when I shared with her that his next book was to be on the Great Men and Women of the Civil War including our family. As she said, “Well, you know that both my grandfathers were in the War!” Matthew darted across the room to sit at her feet and glean from her stories of long ago! He was able to jot down two more stories for his book…and where did it come from? LIFE! It is not essential or even recommended to limit your child to what is learned at their grade level! Let your time with them be your curriculum! You will find that the results will influence their routines, priorities in life, and habits for all of life! You will find that they will be able to learn MORE than is possible following a typical scope and sequence! You will find your homeschool more fulfilling while you are juggling less!!
• Use home as the atmosphere for teaching! Our homes are a perfect “growing ground” for children. As mothers, we can view our children as our little plants that will have to be nurtured in our homes. We will have to pour into them. We will have to devote ourselves to their constant care. We will have to be the ones to snatch up those weeds (harmful habits, attitudes, and ideas) that will quickly grow to hinder or possibly cut off their growth. We are their caretakers. In being their caretakers, we have to devote all to instructing them at all times. It may mean that for a season, we just stay home and pour into them… but the results are worth it. We will find our homes bearing great fruit through our children!
• Accept that we are never perfect or there! It is often so hard to accept our own weaknesses, needs, or limitations. We want to be perfect BEFORE we start teaching our children, yet God’s plan entails walking alongside of one another as fellow students in HIS classroom of life! In our routines, we must operate with what IS possible. We are not perfect, but also our feelings or the circumstances all around us do not sweep us along! We are free to grow and learn together throughout all of life!
A Typical Day at the Rushton’s…
So, wondering what our routines look like? Would you like a peek into our typical day? Join me as we wake up at the Rushton’s….
Wake up…Quiet times.No one is allowed to interrupt quiet times. Matthew studies on his own in several of his favorite study guides. (Plants Grown Up by Doorposts, Christian Manhood By Gary Maldaner), Elisabeth listens to the Bible on audio-cassette, and I spend time in study and prayer. SOMETIMES I take my prayer walk if the weather permits…judging by my weight this time, you can tell it has been sweltering hot lately!)
Chores… The Children have to do the majority of the housework…kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, feeding animals, cleaning their rooms… This is done EVERY day. We usually can get most under control pretty quickly so we can settle down for our table time. This helps get us going for the day while helping to keep our concentration on our skills not the undone work around the house!
Table time… This is our formal study time for our skills. It is a given” for every day. It is not altered because we use our table time to establish our routine in our home. The children work on their Bible Study (right now we are studying through the Old Testament with our Greenleaf resources), Copywork (they select their own selections to copy into their notebooks), Math (we are working through Making Math Meaningful on each of their grade levels), and Language (Alphaphonics for Elisabeth. She is still struggling with her reading, BUT getting better every day…it is finally clicking! Greek for Matthew. He is still working on his Greek Alphabet which is typical for his age, 11.)
Time with Dad… My husband works 2nd shift, so he wakes up around the time that the children have finished their table time. We schedule our day like this for a reason: Dad is TOO much fun! He used to distract the children from the time he woke up because they much more preferred to be listening to Dad…or helping him with his projects around the house. So, I try to finish their disciplined time by the time he wakes up so they can have the next few hours with him! They may work on building something (garage right now), or fixing something (the story of our life!), or going somewhere (they love to ride with him on his motorcycle…yes, we are Gold Wing people!), or just talking with him! Harold has this time to pour into them just “who” he is. He does not teach them Language or even Algebra…he teaches what is most needful…about himself!
Productive Free Time…We usually all do our own thing in the afternoon after Harold goes to work. This is the time that I work on any writing projects…or paper work…or return any calls…or prepare our next meals. The children spend this time on pursuits that they enjoy. It may be playing, observing nature, reading, working on projects of their own, practicing their instruments, writing, working on the computer…so on. We try to limit what is available in our home to only educational pursuits. Actually, even their playtime is narrating what they are learning in their history read alouds!
Dinner…Baths…More Productive Free Time
Bedtime…Read Alouds… This is our best time to read from the Bible, or our school Read Alouds. We are currently reading through the Bible in a year. This time is spent in prayer, narrating from the previous day’s reading, reading our new selection, and praying again for each other’s requests. We choose our read alouds from a variety of subjects. It may be a classic in literature or a biography or a mission story or a living science book…we swap up so that we read different books together as a family
Well, this is a look at our routine…how is yours? Is there a routine to your day? Is there enough margin in each day to allow for ministry as it comes up? To allow for spontaneity? Is there enough time that is unorganized by you so that the children can learn on their own? My prayer is that this issue will encourage you to develop a routine in your home that will give you the peace and fruit that comes only by walking each day in God’s plan for your homeschool! Happy Homeschooling!