A few posts back, I shared the daily planning form that I am going to use this year. Several folks wondered about that all important movement that children need and that I keep talking about, and also about chores. So here are some of the ideas that work for me personally, and maybe some of it will resonate with you. Take what works for your family!
- Playing outside before school starts is just a natural way to start the day, especially since in the climate in which we live we can eat meals outside most of the time.
- Our gathering time and main lesson time always has movement. If our toddler needs a playmate during school, you can bet the children are running around the yard. We also take a good number of movement breaks. Movement breaks enhance learning!
- I put our major walk/eating picnic at the park in at lunchtime, because for my children, it is always easier to not have a major long outside playtime or walk before we start school, simply because we need to get a few things done in the morning. This is mainly because I have a toddler who needs to nap around noon and I would like some rest and time for myself during at least part of his nap. If I didn’t have a toddler, I might put in the movement first, then school, then more movement or a walk, then lunch and then quiet time. Please do consider the ages of your children and the needs of your family.
- After “school” we have a whole afternoon (so at least three hours) of movement, and sometimes sports activities for our oldest around the dinner hour.
- We often don’t walk after dinner since my children still go to bed early, but a walk after dinner is always lovely.
- There are many days we ditch school and go to the lake, the river, or hiking. So sometimes we have whole days of moving outside, which is wonderful. Don’t let your schedule be a noose around your neck!
I have written before about my love of Flylady: www.flylady.net. I know it doesn’t work for every family, but it sure has helped me to integrate that into our homeschooling rhythm. We do many of our chores first thing in the morning whilst we are getting ready for school and after eating breakfast (like I tend to start a load of laundry almost every morning during the school week). Some chores fall in naturally when you are doing something functional in that space: why not clean the bathroom whilst your toddler is in the tub? Here is a back post on homeschooling and housecleaning from 2009: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/05/11/housecleaning-and-homeschooling/
Be sure to work with your children to help them perform tasks well. You cannot expect your ten-year-old to clean a bathroom if you have never demonstrated and the never followed up by working consistently with that child, then having your child perform the chores with you available and checking their work right then (not three hours after they finished!) Chores are really important to work on with children!
I think the other thing is to have a major de-clutter time over the summer, and get as organized as you can. This really helps the most with cleaning during the school year!
Please share your ideas and what works for your family – your answer may be just what another family needs to help solve their challenges!