I wanted to have a picture of this beautiful rhythm written out on a gorgeous wet on wet watercolor painting to share with you today.
Hmm. Well, that didn’t happen (at least not yet). Let me share with you my secret: I have planned, written, scratched out and re-planned my own rhythm for fall schooling at least six times now. It didn’t seem as if it had enough time and space in it, and I felt it was so difficult to attain a balance the main lesson needs (and extra lessons! Extra lessons? ) that my grades children need along with the outside time I think they need, along with the needs of a toddler. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
One of my other challenges for my fun-loving and active children is that we will be moving to a new house in the fall that sits on a greenway – one of those paved paths that goes on for miles through nature preserve. Our subdivision, in fact, will be over fifty percent green space and have another nature preserve right in it. This is so exciting and wonderful but leads again to that question of balance: how do we balance the joy of being outside, taking in nature, and movement along with that idea of “getting something done?”
It can feel frustrating to try to craft a rhythm to encompass all of these things. Every family has constraints and priorities and you absolutely cannot do it all. You have to pick and choose! Yet, despite all the challenges, I feel so fortunate that I can take the lead in this. I can really take the time to make something that is not perfect but is serviceable, and something that will help us enjoy our time together (which a rhythm really affords you as a family!)
Space and time are the great concepts in making a rhythm that works for your family. The smaller your children are, the more space and time there should be.
So, let’s get out a piece of paper and let’s start planning:
- Are you up before your children? If you can’t be up before your children because you co-sleep, what is the earliest time you could have everyone up and be sane?
- What can you do for yourself in the morning before the day gets going? Pray? Read the Bible or text from your religion? Do yoga or stretch?
- What do you do now? Breakfast? Who helps? Who cleans up?
- What now? Do you make beds, and get dressed? Do you get everyone to the bathroom and get them dressed? Remember, the smaller the children, the more time this takes. Time and space.
- When everyone is dressed, what happens now? Do you go outside every day? Or do you start some kind of work in your home that the children can help you with?
I think you get the idea….start small, go through your day, through your “ideal” day and plan plenty of time and space into it…If you have small children, your day will be diapering and the potty, preparing food, cleaning up, outside time in nature…these things are the fabric of daily life, of the sacred ordinary. Why try to short change or rush through this?
And practice your rhythm for at least 40 days. When you get ready, write your rhythm on a beautiful piece of watercolor paper and hang it up (now there is a good use for those old paintings!). If you get off track during the day, look at your piece of paper and jump back in. Don’t get discouraged. If you have a whole day off, jump in again the next day. If you get off for a whole week, jump back in the next week. Just do it, and keep moving!
So, I will just end this post by sharing my “rhythm in progress” with you all for a fifth grader, second grader and two and a half year old for Mondays through Thursdays, with Friday being a co-op and errand day.
8:15 – Outside play/walk greenway, especially for the DOG. LOL
9:00 or so “All” -Opening verse, prayer, seasonal songs and singing, circle for toddler with older children helping, poetry recitation, mental math (have snack tray out)
9:30 Main Lesson Fifth Grader (Second grader has things to do, like help to get snack ready and help with her brother or she can sit at the table)
10: 40 Saints and Tea - Biography of a Saint or Missionary or Read Aloud
11:00 Main Lesson Second Grader (oldest child has things to do, like help get lunch ready!)
12:00 Finish preparing lunch, eat lunch and clean up
12:30 Nap/Quiet Time
1:30– 2:00 – Extra Lesson – will vary depending upon block. Envision my fifth grader having some extra lesson time M, T, W and my second grader having an extra lesson period on Thursdays
2:00-2:45 Mondays – Handwork, Tuesdays – Handwork or Crafts/Festival preparation, Wednesdays and Thursdays – Religion — 2:45 – Ending Verse, End of School
I urge you to get out some paper and play with the idea of what your day would look like.
Many blessings, happy planning