Today is the second day of September, one week since we started our first-ever homeschool year, and two weeks since we have adopted a new rhythm for our days.
Summer was wonderful, but I was so ready for Fall. I was craving more routine and structure. My house felt like it was a mess all the time, I was staying up way too late every night, consequently sleeping too late in the mornings, and things kept being put off because there was no rhythm to our schedule. In fact, there was just no schedule.
I know this may seem a little over the top, but I’m IN LOVE with our new routine. Like any good routine, it serves our family well and has given life and motivation where there was fatigue and apathy.
I’m also IN LOVE with our new homeschool nook, and I’m excited to share both with you today!
Our New Routine
During nap time on Sunday, and then on into the rest of the evening, I plan our week and record everything on a large whiteboard. School plans, house chores, every meal of the week, blogging tasks, and more goes on the board.
This is now one of my favorite parts of the whole week. Chiefly because it’s quiet, it’s usually sunny in the spot I sit to plan, and this week there were brownies involved. It also helps me get my head around all that needs to happen.
Waking Up While It’s Dark
My quiet Sunday afternoons might be one of my favorite parts of the week, but the habit of waking up early is the most important.
I use the one or two hours I am awake before the kids to read my Bible, write for the blog, and generally use the quiet solitude to charge and prepare for the day. I feel the effects of missing this time keenly and so I’m trying to make it a priority even if I do stay up too late.
In the past, I’ve tried to schedule my day by the hour or into chunks of time, but it just doesn’t work for me. I have a post working itself out in my head about grace for the type-B planner and maybe I will write it soon. For now, I’ll just say that I’ve learned what works for me and it’s not a fixed schedule.
Instead, I am aiming for a regular pattern to our days that allows for both predictability and flexibility.
Mondays are reserved for most of the house chores. After-weekend straightening up, laundry, and so on. It’s also the day to do projects and errands as needed.
Tuesday through Friday will be our school days. Since my eldest is just starting kindergarten, school does not take us very long to finish. We are averaging about an hour to an hour and a half of structured school time.
While I’m not fixed on starting at a certain time everyday, I am adamant about starting as soon as we clean up breakfast. Otherwise, corralling the kids to sit down and listen after they have started playing is exponentially more challenging.
After we finish school, the kids have a little free play time. Then lunch, read-aloud time, and nap time.
I use the time during nap time TO DO WHATEVER I WANT. Haha. More like, I do what I need to do, whether that’s resting, writing, prepping dinner, or mindlessly scrolling on Facebook. It depends on the day.
Keeping Things Tidy
A final routine that we are returning to is the routine of cleaning up. We were pretty lax over the summer and the clutter and mess accumulated all day. We are getting back to practicing these five steps to make it easier to keep the house neat and, as a result, a much more peaceful space.
Where We School
I dream of one day having a dedicated school room in our home. Where all the school things live and poster hang on the wall. Where the rest of my home can be decorated without the help of ABC banners or types of speech charts.
But for now, we school in our dining room.
It took some rearranging of the furniture and a little creative thinking, but I am quite happy with the end result.
Almost everything was repurposed from another area in the house, which means that after buying a couple more frames from Goodwill and buying wood for a small shelf, the whole project cost about $5.
The table is an IKEA coffee table without the lower shelf. The chairs are from the IKEA kids’ table sets we have elsewhere in the house. I like the coffee table because it’s larger than the kids table and all three kids can work at it together.
Shadow box display showing off the kids’ collection of bugs, feathers, shells and more. It’s one of my favorite recent projects and you can find an easy tutorial here.
I have had this IKEA chalkboard since college. Now it’s being used to display our memory verse and catechism question of the week.