Do you struggle to nail down a routine for your homeschool day? Does the lack of a routine leave you feeling anxious? We have a large family so I tend to find the idea of scheduling our day thrilling, but the actual application of it quite daunting. There are a few ways that I found, however, that really help to create and sustain an environment that welcomes joy into our homeschooling day.
What can a daily routine do for your homeschool?
- A routine will give you confidence that you are accomplishing all that you need to in a day.
- A consistent routine will give your students a sense of stability as they take comfort in knowing what they can expect from you and responsibility as they understand what you expect from them.
- A flexible routine will allow for grace when days are hard and things don’t get done as they should.
- A realistic routine ensures that anxiety will not be the enduring attribute of your day.
- A routine centered around God’s Word in the home will renew the soul.
I am coming to understand in my personal life, that just because something sounds idealistic, this does not mean that it should not be pursued. If it is a worthy cause, it is okay to fail a few times with the intention and prayer that you will achieve it one of these days.
What are a few steps that you can take to nail down a routine that will create an environment that invites joy into your home and homeschool?
Take time to organize.
Taking the time to organize your homeschool room and plan your homeschool days will reinforce confidence in you as a homeschool mom. Do you want to feel more in control? Organization is the first step.
An organized homeschool room does not mean spotless desks and perfectly aligned spines on the shelf. A planned homeschool day does not like every minute is planned. What this does mean, however, is that you have a method to the madness.
By keeping the clutter down and adding a plan, you will find that you feel more in control and your students are more productive. When you have an idea of what your children should be learning from day to day, you can keep track and feel confident that you are not forgetting something along the way.
DE-CLUTTERING TIP: Don’t have time to put everything in its place right now? Consider collecting your clutter in totes for another day. Put all the clutter in those and stack them. Each day take one tote down and put that away. This will keep the clutter from being a joy-killer, and at the same time it keeps you on track with your routine!
Consistency is key.
I find that when we detour from the set routine, I tend to become frustrated and anxious. My children see this in me and are not sure which mommy they are getting next … the friendly one or the crazy one. If a lack of discipline is causing chaos in your life, it is time to reassess and recharge. Ask yourself these questions.
- WHY is this a part of my routine?
- Does this invite JOY into my day?
- What will MOTIVATE me to continue to do it daily?
We all know that routines contain things that we don’t necessarily enjoy doing. Laundry is the bane of my existence, but if I do not keep on top of the laundry the anxiety I feel due to the piles collecting on the floors is far worse than the annoyance I feel just doing the laundry in the first place. Doing laundry does not make me happy, but having the laundry done creates an environment that brings me happiness.
CHALLENGE: Is time management a chronic disability for you? To-Do lists need to become your friend. At the beginning of each day make a checklist of those things that MUST be done. Mark them off as you go. At the end of the day when you revisit with your list you will have a sense of productivity and accomplishment.
Flexibility is key.
Now is a good time to answer the question what is the difference between happiness and joy? Happiness is something that can be demolished at any moment. Happiness is a wonderful thing, but it is an emotion that is a moving target. Joy, on the other hand, is not an emotion but a fruit of the Spirit. Joy is something that is woven into the redeemed soul and it grows through sanctification. We cannot generate joy, but as a Christian we can pray and pursue joy through Christ!
The routine that we institute in our daily lives will not generate joy, but it can create an environment that invites joy to thrive. A routine can either suffocate or liberate. Flexibility and grace is key to enjoying the freedom and joy that a routine and the Holy Spirit can bring to your home and homeschool. Please ensure that when you create a routine that you do not restrict your time or ability to recharge yourself and just enjoy your children.
SCHEDULING TIP: Do you often feel like there is just not enough time in the day for all you need to accomplish? Consider stripping certain things from your daily routine that could find a home elsewhere. Can something be delegated? Have the kids do the dishes or dad take over science class on a Saturday rather than stressing over it daily during the week. Moms, we need to stop sweating the small stuff and saying “yes” to everything. Your sanity is so much more important than being Super-Woman.
Keep realistic expectations.
Do you ever begin your day on what feels to be the perfect footing? You actually got up early, spent time in God’s Word. With a load of laundry already going, you feel like this is going to be a good day. As your children come bouncing down the stairs, you hear one of them begin whining. Not only did she wake up on the wrong side of the bed, but her attitude persists throughout the day interrupting the peaceful equilibrium. By 6PM when you husband walks through the door, you are no longer Miss Positive, but some version of his wife left angry and frazzled after a day-long battle with the resident three-nager.
This has been my story more times than I can count. I promise myself this day or the new week is not going to be like the last, only to turn around and see that once again my day has spiraled out of my control. “This perfect routine would work if I could just stick to it!,” I say.
Routines are subject to our environment almost as much as our moods can be. We must constantly draw these back in and recharge as we get off track. Just because we speak or write it into existence does not mean that it will work or that we will magically adhere to it. I find it much easier to just accept at the beginning that I am going to fail.
Where my perfectionist side wants me to master this routine thing from the beginning, I also must understand that as a human being self-discipline is a battle ground. My routine may seem foolproof but whether it is my own inability to conquer a day or my child’s ability to pitch a fit at just the right moment, I will find myself unable to meet my own expectations every time.
Each of us has in his possession an exceedingly good servant or a very bad master, known as Habit.” ~ Charlotte Mason
If we set the bar too high we will always fail, but if we set the bar too low we will not experience the joy that self-discipline can bring.
TIP: Do you struggle with creating new habits? Ask a spouse or a friend to help keep you accountable!
Abide in God’s Word.
Joy does not come to us because we create and follow the perfect routine. Our joy is made full when we abide in God’s Word.
8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
We must remember that our joy should be rooted in understanding not what we can do for ourselves, but what Christ will do through us to His glory.
CHALLENGE: If you do nothing else to change your daily routine, make Scripture reading and prayer a top priority. The joy that comes from bathing your soul in the Word of God will benefit the whole family more than any single thing you could change in your daily activities.
I have a tendency to be flippant when it comes to my lack of routine and organization. “It is just not my personality.” I use that excuse a lot. I do think that some personalities tend more towards order and some lean in the far opposite direction where the idea of planning anything makes that person breakout in hives. We may have a particular bent but this does not mean that the other side doesn’t have something of value to teach us.
Self-discipline is a great place to begin creating an environment that invites joy to thrive, but without grace for ourselves, for our children, and for others that joy will be suffocated. Habit can be our good servant or our bad master, depending on how we implement it in our day. Sisters, let the love of Christ liberate you to enjoy the one life He has given you to glorify Him in how you manage your day and educate your children.
There has to be a balance between order and chaos. Somewhere in the middle is the land of joyful productivity done to the glory of God. I am still on my journey there, waking up daily thanking God that His mercies are new every morning! Will you join me on the way? Where are you in your journey to inviting joyful productivity into your homeschool day?
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