I sincerely believe, somewhere deep in my heart, that routine is best. I can actually remember where I put things when routine is followed! To start the school year, or get us back on track after a break I keep us on schedule almost rigidly. But after about two weeks of that kind of schedule minding, we settle into a rhythm that helps us get most of the things done that we need to do. The one thing that I feel we don't do enough of is a regular family Bible time, to really study God's Word together. We're still trying to figure out what works best for us in that area.
This will be our 4th year of homeschooling. As the big kids are older, I'm enjoying the fact that they can work more independently than ever before and I'm challenging them in that more this year. The two year old can really throw a wrench in any plans I make. One thing that I gleaned from the Heart of the Matter's Online conference was from 's seminar- about trying to make the day more toddler friendly if said toddler is interrupting frequently! So our routine will be undergoing changes in that regard very soon.
My husband and I pre-record an 8 hour radio show for the ministry which has a low power FM radio station (also streaming online here). It takes about 2 hours to record the short music announcements, ministry announcement and Scriptures that we share on air. We also get a little silly sometimes and it is lots of fun. It is so far outside of my comfort zone and definitely is one of the things that I am relying on God to do!
This is a glimpse of our current routine:
So from 6:30-8:30am we are in the studio recording our radio show. Our eldest is responsible for the toddler at this time and has been proving himself to be so responsible.
I'm trying to remember to have something to read to the kids while we prepare breakfast, or just after we eat together. A scripture, an encouraging quote or a bit of our history lesson.
Around 9 we get started with academics, after a prayer together. My 9 year old has Tot School time with the youngest for about 15-20 min. I try to have a simple activity planned for her to do with him. I'm not so good about having these organized, but getting better. While she is with the toddler, I'm discussing the math instructions with the 6th grader. After about 15 minutes the toddler gets to watch a video while I help her understand the math instructions. We move on to Bible, Language Arts, Science, Art, Music-whatever is in our school planner for the day. We do not do all of these things everyday. Sometimes for science we have to use language arts skills. Sometimes in music we take note of math concepts. We're challenging ourselves to memorize lots of Bible this year, but Bible discussion might take place while we look at a work of art. We have discussions about what we think about certain verses while we practice sketching protists for the science blog we'll be starting soon, or coloring a picture for our history timeline.
Usually lunch is around 12:30 and then the toddler naps while we read history and the kids write their summaries of what we read. The kids can finish any of their independent practice for math, science or language arts. I'd love to be fitting in more read-a-loud time with them and more science activities. They will be starting a foreign language next week and hopefully we'll be getting a piano soon.
At any point in the day I am going back and forth between my two students and the toddler as well as switching out laundry, starting meal prep, or doing some work on Photoshop for ministry events announcements so all in all I feel like every day is non-stop!
Sometimes I wonder if there is anything I could simplify- something I could stop doing so my days would be calmer. But I think that right now I'm supposed to be doing what God has placed in front of me. He's calling me to work hard right now and that may look completely different from what He has called someone else to do. They may be working hard for God and for their families in a totally different way. I'm content in knowing that I am following Him and knowing that He gives grace for even the craziest days!