Finding Rhythm in Homeschooling

Remember the little ditty from Little House in the Big Woods?

Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday.

I sometimes yearn for the simplicity of life in the late 19th century.  I yearn for it, but don’t actually want the hard labor that washing clothes or cooking meals entailed back then!  Life without a washing machine and a crockpot? No thank you.  What I yearn for is really the rhythm of their lives.  Life for the pioneers was a life of rhythm.  They had the rhythm of the days of the week, but also of the seasons to guide them.  Planting in spring, harvesting in late summer, hunting in fall, indoor handicrafts in the winter.  One of my absolute favorite picture books, The Ox-cart Man, illustrates that beautifully.  Although modern day homesteaders probably feel the ancient rhythm more than their urban counterparts, it’s more likely that the treasure of living such a rhythm is lost to the majority today.

finding rhythm for your home.jpg

However, there is rhythm to all we do.  The key is finding that rhythm and not fighting against it.  Rhythm is different than a schedule, though a schedule can sometimes help you figure out a rhythm.  You know, for instance, that you are fighting against the natural rhythm of your family, when your schedule always fails to be executed, or when your schedule leaves everyone feeling frazzled and irritable.  You also know you are close to finding a good rhythm if keeping your schedule creates harmony and peace in your home.  We’ve had instances of both sides of the spectrum as I try to find the rhythm for our season of life.  

I am still figuring out a rhythm for our family and for our homeschool days, but I have learned a few things about what keeps peace in our home while trying to figure out our rhythm.

Our weeks go by serenely when… 

1. …we have very little on our schedule beyond Bear’s and J-jo’s gymnastics, soccer, and piano.  Really, three days of gym, one day of piano, and two of soccer are enough.  This means I say no to many homeschool group field trips and activities and have a strict limit of no more than two per month, unless they are scheduled after our school work is done.  Although Bear and J-jo love the time with their friends, they are indeed the best of friends and prefer each other’s company anyway.  Days at home are welcome and desired by both of them.  I do know kids who thrive on being outside the home and need the constant companionship of friends, so you have to know your children and evaluate if you need more at home time or not.

2. …the kids get plenty of time to play outside in the yard or go on nature walks/hikes.
3. …the kids have had a creative outlet via art or nature journaling.

4. …My husband and I individually connect with each kid at some point in the day.  Bear likes evening bed chats and J-jo likes morning time.

5. …
we do lots of read-alouds snuggled on the couch.

6. …school finishes no later than 1:00pm on gym days and 2:00pm on stay-at-home days.

Knowing this, realizing it, and understanding it, is the key to finding the rhythm to our days and weeks that will bring us a feeling of satisfaction – more rest and less frenzy.  Moreover, with this information, I can proceed to make better choices about curriculum and what to do with that curriculum.  I’m finding this now, but still have to put it into words to describe the process to you.

Have you found a rhythm that works?  Please share!

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8 Responses

  1. Phyllis at All Things Beautiful
    Phyllis at All Things Beautiful at |

    This is a great post and is how I feel, too!

    Reply to Phyllis at All Things Beautiful
  2. Michelle G.
    Michelle G. at |

    I, too, long for the beauty of simple rhythm in our home. I’m still seeking that rhythm, though, so oved peeking into yours!

    Reply to Michelle G.
  3. Erin
    Erin at |

    rhythms fluctuate and change here due to seasons. But what I’ve found brings the most sense of peace is the inner me. we might be busy but if I just focus on the now, not what we have to do this afternoon I feel far less frantic and at peace.

    Reply to Erin
  4. Min
    Min at |

    Ever since I let go of the need to do everything, life got simpler. Basically, we do as much as we can and save the rest for the next day. Our priorities have been finding our tribe and building a community. Once the physical and social needs are met, I’m hoping finding a rhythm for academics will be easier. Because I want K to be happy with homeschooling, we’ve been out more since she needs to be with other people. We do carschooling and homeschooling in between activities.

    Reply to Min
  5. Katie
    Katie at |

    This is reminding me of a post I wrote years ago on my old blog about the things that work for us. The craziest part for me is how obvious these things are when you think them out and how easy they are to forget when you are in the middle of a day that is just not going well. I’m glad you reminded me of my original post. I’m going to have to bookmark it to read again on those bad days. (Here it is, in case you’re interested:

    Reply to Katie
  6. Janet Howard
    Janet Howard at |

    You said you read a lot to the kids. How much is lot? Some tell me 10 books are considered a lot, some say tha5’s too few. I am so lost with this one. Just trying to get a sense what this quantity generally means… thanks!!

    Reply to Janet Howard