Updated: Nov 19, 2022
This is one of the most important things in my personal experience homeschooling. A rhythm works well for us in our home because of the freedom it provides the adult and the sense of control it simultaneously provides the child. Enough of the, "Mom, what are we doing next?" questions and pestering. There is a chart on the wall or in your planner that explains what we are doing all day, most days or every day. All you have to do now is reference it, point to it, or apply it while patiently explaining for the thousandth time that you'll be having a snack after you're done, not while you're doing an activity.
If that is what applies to your home situation. As an added bonus, you can include chores and cleaning of the home in your rhythm, as these are life skills part of each day and as we each do them everyday we are reminded that we can take on bigger tasks. Even I impress myself with how little I run away screaming from house chores if I have them scheduled for around(ish) a certain time of day.
Music is integral to life for me and our math lessons always have some form of music with them. My little one has loved playing flutes of all kinds. :)
9 Books of all kinds
Despite popular disagreement, it doesn't matter what books you start with. Now if you are a Charlotte Mason homeschooler or a Classical Conversations homeschooler that may be an abhorrent statement to you. You may think 'But what about all of the twattle?' There is room for that discussion another time, to clarify on this you don't need fancy books for the kids when you're just starting. You need books that speak to you mama. Books that will help you gain whatever it is you feel you need to take home education on as a real and tangible thing that will aid your kids and their futures. Read up on your local and state legalities and do your best to stay focused on the end goal, to make sure they have a life rooted in love towards service to all.
This table is where I set up all kinds of books until we got a nature table. I still have the wooden bookholder that's off to the right in this photo and still use it. This is from our second year homeschooling.
8 Writing supplies of all kinds
Again, I will go against many things I have read to say it really doesn't matter what supplies you have here. Anything from the ol' no.2 pencil to a pack of markers will cut it. If you have a preschooler or a high schooler all the better. Creativity takes necessity in order for the inventions from creativity to make sense. If your family 'only' has a few writing supplies, throw it all in an old mug for an Instagram worthy shot of awesome innovative things coming soon. You don't need non toxic beeswax crayons made from only the happiest female bees, you don't need non toxic watercolors and the best possible watercolor paper for your 2 year old. Is there anything wrong with providing those things if that is what you think is necessary? NO! Just like there is nothing wrong with not having them, or just plain not wanting to include them. Your family will be well accepted into homeschool co-ops regardless of the art supplies you use.
This is a basic gouache kit, watercolor paper from walmart and oh yeah those are dollar store paintbrushes.
7 Paper, plain paper will do
Again this is a time when brand names do not matter. As an artist if I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea (I call these art attacks) and I MUST draw and get it out of my system, I am not scouring the room looking for my most prized bristol paper because every pencil stroke must be perfect, comparable to cheribum skin painted in the late 15th century. No. I am looking for whatever paper I can find to get the idea out from my heart to the page, whatever that idea is. I don't judge it, it just needs to come out. After years of doing this I thought of something, what if this is the way young children and toddlers produce art? What if this is how they paint? When they want to create something they just let it out and they express without self judgement? If we took it in from that perspective I guess it would never really matter if it was a canvas or a peice of cardboard we were creating art with our child on. What matters is the time we are spending with our child and the ways in which we allow them to be themselves. Can we hold ourselves in a space of non judgement long enough to be abstract, and cultivate a positive inner judgement for them?
Form drawing to make writing 10,000x cooler in my sons opinion. That's a Crayola crayon in his hand and I dont think he stopped his work to ask me if I was 'on brand'.
As a homeschooler you're going to hear this one a lot. Ready? Okay here goes "Oh I could never homeschool. I don't have the TIME or the PATIENCE." Firstly, we all have the time. How are you choosing to spend it? That's usually a question we will avoid answering with just one more episode on a Netflix binge or just one more quest on a video game. We dont associate time with productivity if we are tired, and unsatisfied with what we are doing. I get that every situation is unique and has many factors but we can MAKE time happen if we aren't filling our time with things that do not serve our highest good. We already know what those things are, and that doesn't make them easier to cut out. It does make them easier to discern however, and that is something.
Feeding the sheep and playing in the woods at the same time.
4 and 5 are kinda the same on this list but there's a little blurb on patience I wanted to share. as a homeschooler you learn that patience isn't bought in a curriculum, sadly. Patience isn't a 'gift' that some of us have and some of us don't. Patience is a practice that is deeply cultivated over many years of going toe to toe with your perceived limitations, and beating them. It comes from deep places you didn't know you had until you challenged yourself to do this and confront all the things that come with centralizing education around the home rather than around a school.
This picture is from the animal rescue we took a yellow bellied sapsucker to. We found it in a field across from our house. It was a 3 day adventure!
4 A heart of service
I am so honored to be a part of an online homeschooling community, some of the moms out here who are really incredible and have changed me by what they share have said this before in their own ways. In light of their wisdom I will shoot this one to you straight. If your parenting sucks and your patience is down the drain because you've taken no time to love yourself, then your homeschool will also suck.Check yourself and keep yourself feeling good and loved. Do what you need to do to fill your cup and treat as INTEGRAL to your childs happy development. If homeschooling is to keep them happy, they wont be happy if you're waking up at 9:30 am, grumbling and stumbling for another cup of coffee, barely getting going.
When our son started to show a love of dinosaurs at 3 we took him to Colorado. He loved it, now we have more places we want to go. :)
3 Self love and trust
Isn't it so interesting that the ones you speak to the least, the ones you are the most quiet about seem to have the loudest opinions of you? Its weird how that works out. Nonetheless, their judgements don't mean anything. In fact, they only show that the person who spends so much time discerning, judging, and talking has poor time management skills because they are caught up in making up a story. You know that what you are doing is right for your kids and for your family....right? Well, theres no one out here who can answer that for you. You have to KNOW what the heck you are doing, WHY you are doing it, and that you DON'T need anyones advice unless they are trusted and you know that they can share something of significant value with what you're doing. Don't expect everyone to understand why your winter break was extended 2 weeks to make sure that every lesson plan was understood by you. Most people will laugh. Continue anyway. You aren't responsible for the versions of you made up in other peoples minds.
I didn't know the first thing about chalkboard drawings when I started homeschooling but I did my best to really give my little one awesome pictures to wake up to. All that you see here was done with dollar store chalk.
I meticulously plan out homeschool lessons to the letter. I usually have 2 paragraphs written for each day with detailed reminders for myself to make sure I understand fully what I am doing. The reason I do this? So I can deviate from the schedule and pick up what's there another day. Not even kidding, this is what I have found works well for me after years of trial and error. There are no shortcuts to learning what is best for your family. Now don't get me wrong! The majority still gets crossed off and I approach each day with dedication. Yet if my plans go awry of if there is a lesson that takes more time due to deep interest, if there is a break because a certain subject is frustrating and it feels better to play so the brain can process what was even being said, I can do that with ease knowing what is on the list for the next day. It helps me to be flexible. If you plan out a day like that and it feels like you've just put yourself in a tiny jail maybe that is not the right way for you to ease stress from it all and stay flexible.
Scoping out the bigger picture.
1 Listening with your heart
When you can listen with no intent to change the other, no intent really at all. No over judgement or harshness towards yourself or the other who is speaking their truth. No want to jump in right away and speak your peace, no rushing. When you can hold your tongue and provide a space for someone to really ramble on if they need to, of course while respecting your own time and needs then you are listening with your heart. You are discerning with your heart. You are really being a part of yourself but you are also doing something all of us are capable of yet surprisingly few take the time to practice. It can be an easy, lazy thing to hate and mis-judge another. Yet to love and to take your time takes no money, and usually only minor challenges within to offer this gift to others or to yourself.
Spread your wings and know that you can do anything you set your heart on doing! Strategize then execute, rinse and repeat!