Homeschooling changes everything. Somehow, in the two years I was away from home education, I forgot just how much it changes our lives. Homeschooling creates a unique rhythm, and this rhythm guides us through our days. Most of the time, these days include mutual respect, a joy for learning, and plenty of room for creative exploration and imaginative play.
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Two years ago I had to learn to let go as our lives changed dramatically and I gave up homeschooling and returned to work full-time. During this time, our lives revolved around school and work schedules. We had a predictable schedule we followed of when to wake, when to eat, and when to sleep. But there was a dryness to our daily routine.
But we recently made more changes, and my husband and I have reduced our work to part-time so we can devote more time to family and our growing homestead. While my oldest two children have made the decision to attend public middle and high school, our youngest is starting her first year as a homeschooler.
I admit I feel a little anxious at the idea of taking on this huge committment once again. But today, I felt myself quickly slipping back into the role of homeschooling mom, and it felt good.
Schedule versus Rhythm
Homeschooling requires hard work, planning, and self-discipline. But it is amazing way to connect the family and to live mindfully. I felt more present today than I have in a long time. Time slowed down, and there was a lovely flow to our day that felt nurturing – for me as the mother and household manager, and for my daughter who craves meaningful work and to feel like a contributor to the household.
Today, we created our very own rhythm, one that will repeat itself – not with a planned schedule of time slots, but with a fluid grace as we move through our days and the changing seasons.
We use a Waldorf Education-influenced curricula, one that emphasizes the whole child – head, hands, and heart. Rhythm in Waldorf education is considered vital to the child’s development and learning.
When my three children were younger, and I first started homeschooling while managing a toddler, I created daily, weekly, and monthly schedules to follow. Naturally, with three young children, the schedule rarely went as planned, creating stress and anxiety.
Now, years later, I finally realize there is a huge difference between living according to a schedule, and living with the fluid grace of a rhythm.
Rhythm is very different from routine – rhythm supports our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Schedules dictate. Rhythms flow and breath, schedules are tight and strict.
As adults, we cannot always control the outside responsibilities that fall us on and demand we follow a strict schedule – we have specific hours to get children to school, ourselves to work, appointments, and deadlines. But we can create a daily rhythm in our lives, one that follows the seasons and supports us rather than hinders us.
And if you are homeschooling, you are fortunate to have the opportunity to explore the rhythms that work best for your family. I encourage you to stay flexible – we may find a rhythm that flows beautifully for weeks or months, and then find ourselves struggling through our days. Perhaps a change in rhythm is needed?
Here is how our first day of “school” went:
- Alina was able to sleep as long as she needed. Fortunately, she is typically an early riser, and was up by 7:30 am.
- Dad got ready for work while mom went for a run
- Shower for mom, then breakfast at the table with the family
- 8:30 dad leaves, and mom and Alina clean up
- 8:45 “school” starts and lasts for two hours
- 10:45 “lessons” end, we clean up, and head to the kitchen for cooking and baking together
- 12:00 lunch
- 12:30-1:00 house cleaning
- 1:00 head to the river
- 3:00 home again and time for friends while mom has some alone time
This was a good start on our homeschooling journey. Of course I know there will be hard days, and yes, even some terrible days. But the work of homeschooling is a lot like the pain of childbirth – looking back you forget the worst of it and focus on the wonder and magic.
Do you thrive on a rhythm, a schedule, or do you prefer freedom from predictability?