So, if you have been following this series you all know I think the foundation of parenting and homeschooling consists of three things: inner work and personal development, a religious and spiritual life, and a healthy family culture. ( In Waldorf Education in the grades we lay eight artistic pillars through which we teach academics along with practical work on top of these three foundational things).
We have looked at the beginnings of establishing a rhythm by starting with ourselves. The other pieces of rhythm include a rhythm for the people and pets/livestock in your family, and then a rhythm of the care of the things in your home and environment.
I think the major piece of looking at rhythm for your family means pondering two important things:
1. Discerning the essential – does your rhythm reflect the values you hold for your family? And, if your rhythm does not reflect this for whatever reason right now but those values are still what you hold dear, how will you get there?
2. Balance. If you craft a rhythm based on your day and week and find, for example, that everything is geared toward your oldest child, then having your rhythm written down becomes a system of checks and balances; a starting point for change. Remember, there are all the children’s needs, the needs of the single adult or the need of the adult couple as well or the need of the extended family members in the home as well, along with pets, etc. All have needs.
Throughout the years, I have chosen different ways to keep track of rhythm. Sometimes I just wrote a list on the computer or in a day planner; one year I used mainly a paper teacher’s planner; lately I have taken to making a table for each day of the week in Microsoft Word where I could write a note beside each activity. For example, for today, my little notes looked a bit like this:
|Breakfast||I may jot down here what I will make and also what I need to do to get ready for lunch or dinner and what child is doing what to help with breakfast|
|Chores, Check Chores of older children||notes here may include what work little toddler and I will do, or what other children need|
|Prayers/Read Bible||notes might include what we are currently reading or special Epiphany prayers|
|Modeling||may include what exercises we are doing|
|First Grade Main Lesson
(usually I write here what other children are doing)
|I write down what we need to cover or do|
|Fourth Grade Main Lesson
(what will the other children be doing)
|what we need to cover or do|
|Outside Play||throw ball for dog, fill birdfeeders, sweep back patio|
|Lunch||see breakfast entry; how toddler can help|
|Singing for toddler, nap for toddler, quiet time|
|Read in Spanish||book title here|
|Drawing||drawing exercises or free drawing or practicing drawing|
|Free Play||have toddler help wash slide or brush dog outside|
|Dinner; mealtime chores|
|Clean up house, get ready for bed|
This is so individual to me and to us that I am not sure it will be very helpful to everyone else out there but some mothers really wanted to see an example. This table certainly doesn’t include many of the things I do for inner work or what happens at night,exercise time, etc…but those things are fairly well integrated into my life at this point… I wanted to show something simple. For us, each day of the week looks a bit different as well depending upon if we have activities outside the home.
Many mothers, especially those of you with really tiny children, have shared your rhythm on your blogs. If you have a blog entry regarding your family’s rhythm, please leave the link in the comment box below as I know mothers trying to get something down on paper would love more examples…
My only caution is: rhythm is specific to your family and your family’s values and life. Therefore, please don’t spend TOO much time looking. Get out your piece of paper and write down a flow to your day. Live with it, tweak it, change it, but start.
Next up : crafting a rhythm for caring for your things…and talk about chores…