Yesterday we talked about how to overcome our fears so we could make the good stuff a priority in our homeschool. Now how are we going to make sure this actually happens? Today I’m going to go over a few scheduling tactics to ensure our homeschool priorities are being met and that the good stuff is happening. Regularly.
The best trick I know is to start the day with the good stuff.
That’s right. Before anyone has a chance to crack open the maths book, we are going to enjoy some of the finer things in life. Music. Poetry. These are easy to add into our morning time. In our home, we start each day with morning circle. Our circle time changes over the course of the year but it always includes singing and poetry recitation at the very least. If your style is less Waldorf and more CM, you could try starting your school day with a morning basket and include poetry, artist study and composer study here.
We read aloud a lot in our home. That said, sometimes it feels so much easier to just ask Nikolai to read a book himself so that I have more time for other things. But children get so much joy out of being read to. You can read books that are meatier than what they could get through on their own, or on topics they wouldn’t gravitate to without a little push. You can have interesting conversations and make connections. If you’re struggling to fit this one in, try reading aloud while your kids eat their lunch, or while you all snuggle on the couch of an evening. Not all ‘school’ activities have to happen during designated hours.
Speaking of school hours, please schedule in art, music, science experiments and the like. I admit, I am terrible at making sure science experiments happen. They just feel like so much work when we could open up a book and read about a topic. But the brain makes different connections when the hands are involved. If you schedule these subjects in to your week, you are making sure you have time but you are also making sure you are prepared with materials. There’s no excuses left 😉
If you are following a Steiner-inspired model in your home, you are probably (hopefully) teaching creatively and involving the arts in your main lessons. Again, planning helps here. When you plan out your week, make a note of any blackboard drawings you want to do, as well as what you would like your kids to draw in their main lesson books. It can be hard to think of something creative on the spot, which leads to half-hearted MLB drawings. Or no drawings at all. Plan ahead and you will notice the books becoming more beautiful. Which is exactly what we want! Planning ahead also helps to make sure we aren’t just relying on the MLB as our only means of conveying information. Don’t forget painting, modelling and dramatising, just to name a few.
Try taking your lessons outside. You pictured sitting under a tree (well I did), so go and sit under the tree! Start your day with a nature walk around the block. Just get outside.
If you can, and I think you can, schedule your days so you have lesson times only in the morning, or only in the afternoon. Try a four day week. Leave plenty of unscheduled hours in your week for playing, reading, cloud watching, tearing around the yard on bikes or cooking in a mud kitchen. Don’t schedule all of their hours. You want to leave time for spontaneity and time for being bored. All of the best ideas when you’re a kid come from boredom.
Join, or start, a nature studies group. It doesn’t have to be formal. Make a time each week or fortnight to get together with a bunch of other homeschool families and spend hours in the bush, just walking or playing. Take along sketch books, pencils and watercolours. When you stop for a picnic lunch, lay everything out and let the kids see you journalling and they will eventually want to as well.
Let’s just boil it all down.
- Start the day with the good stuff
- Use family time to read and talk together
- Plan ahead and be prepared
- Teach creatively, utilising planning and practice
- Go outside
- Rethink your weekly rhythm
- Start a group and lead the way
These are just a few ideas to help you start making the good stuff happen in your home. All it takes is some planning and prioritising. And a little faith that it’s worth it.
Do you have any tips for including the good stuff in your day?