Welcome to Everyday Scholé! Everyday Scholé is a monthly link-up Tonia at The Sunny Patch, Chelli at The Planted Trees, and I run on the last Thursday of the month. We discuss practical ways to bring scholé into your homeschool.
Because classical homeschooling doesn’t need to be difficult, draining, or overwhelming. There are many tips and tricks to bring peace and an atmosphere of restful learning into the homeschool.
While we’re planning for the 2015-2016, let’s look at how to ensure we have a restful homeschool. One that doesn’t leave us drained by Christmas.
Planning for a Restful Homeschool
Busy Year or Full Steam Ahead?
The first point I consider is how busy do I expect the year to be? There are many life events that make for a fuller than average year. For instance:
- Junior and senior years of high school (testing, applications, visiting schools)
- First year of college
- Changing jobs
- Starting a new business
- Having a baby
When you’re expecting a fuller year than normal, don’t plan extra academics or activities! It isn’t time to jump into half a dozen wonderful volunteer positions. It’s a surefire way to burn yourself and your children out. If anything, back off and plan a lighter year.
By the same token, if you’ve realized your plate is empty go ahead and fill it up! This is time to try a new activity, add additional volunteer opportunities, or to learn a new language.
Each year brings a new season into our lives. Some seasons are chaotic and others peaceful. For a restful homeschool, carefully consider how much time and energy you have for schoolwork or outside activities and adjust accordingly.
Number of subjects and curricula
Don’t add and add and add subjects, curricula, and programs until the school day for your first grader is 12 hours long. You’ll wear yourself and your child out. Instead be intentional about the subjects and curricula you cover in your restful homeschool.
That doesn’t mean just stick to reading, writing, and math without covering Latin, fine arts, spelling, science, or history. It means be thoughtful about your time and energy. Every subject and curriculum takes time and energy. Are the benefits worth the expense?
For instance if you’re covering phonics while teaching a child to read, do they still need to be covering spelling this year? Spelling is simply applied phonics. Could you combine the two or skip spelling entirely? There are quite a few of us who begin spelling lessons after the child finishes phonics.
Do you need separate curricula for all of language arts, or can you combine several subjects? For instance Tapestry of Grace offers literature and writing lessons. Rod and Staff English combines writing and grammar. Many programs combine spelling, copy work, and dictation.
What about a rotating system? Some families hit history hard in the fall and then switch over to science in the spring. It cuts down on the number of subjects to be covered at any given time, allows for more depth, but keeps a reasonable breadth to your children’s studies.
Rotating through subjects on a loop or weekly schedule keeps everything covered without driving yourself crazy every single day. Write down your goals and the subjects you wish to cover this year. Then consider how you wish to arrange the subjects.
Not everything needs to be covered single every day, week, or quarter. You have a year to cover everything you need in a restful homeschool.
Number of Activities
The number of outside activities my family is involved in makes a difference to my sense of peace and rest. I’m a firm believer in children’s need for downtime. We need time at home to run, play, school, and create.
This downtime gives kids the opportunity to explore interests and passions. They create books, draw pictures, solve Rubix cubes, play chess, write letters, read novels, and run screaming around the yard.
Don’t skip outside activities though. Activities give children the opportunity to make friends, be exposed to new ideas and concepts, and explore areas of possible interest.
The number of activities we participate in as a family change. Some people need to be moving and active everyday. Others of us need regular downtime to sit, read, and think.
Adapt your activities to the level you and your children need to be sane and happy. A restful homeschool should be a happy homeschool.
Consider next year as a whole
Once you’ve sat down to think if it’s going to be a busy or normal year, pondered your curricula, and considered next year’s activities, meditate on how it will look as a whole. I like to fill out a weekly spreadsheet with all activities, volunteer work, meals, sleep, homeschool hours, etc. filled in. It gives me a birds’ eye view on how next year will run.
If we have so many hours of outside activities that we have no time for academics, something needs to change. If we have so little planned that the kids have days of free time, I’ll plan more activities or outings.
I like to aim for a schedule with regular activities outside the house but enough give-time for academics that we’re not rushing to finish everyday. The children have time to follow interests and passions.
I have time to relax and enjoy my restful homeschool.
Be sure to read Tonia’s and Chelli’s posts about planning for a restful homeschool next year.