We talk a lot at L+L about the importance of finding your family’s homeschool rhythm. But what does that mean? And why can finding it lead to less resistance and more homeschool joy for you and your child? Read on for more about the value of your rhythm, plus a free downloadable homeschool rhythm chart that can help you find yours.
What is homeschool rhythm?
A homeschool rhythm is not a rigid schedule. A schedule is a strict plan for the day, a timed to-do list with specific things to do or places to be at designated times. It may be that, on your own, you love living by a schedule, but they often don’t work as well for children and homeschool because, well, life happens! Children are still learning to self-regulate their emotions and feelings. Lessons take more or less time than we think. We discover we need to take more breaks for our child to truly absorb what we’re teaching. One child is ready to learn…but the other isn’t. Getting to a field trip or eating lunch takes longer than we anticipate.
On the other hand, you may be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person, but your child might crave a plan! A predictable rhythm might be just what that child needs.
Instead of living by a strict schedule (and feeling like we’re failing if something gets in the way of doing it perfectly), embrace a homeschool rhythm.
A homeschool rhythm allows for freedom and flexibility to respond to whatever life throws at you. Your child knows what to expect, but you have the ability to adapt.
How to find your family’s homeschool rhythm
The best thing you can do to find your family’s homeschool and sensory rhythm is to spend time simply observing your day. (Not sure what a sensory rhythm is? Check out this post from a pediatric OT for more on finding your child’s sensory rhythm.) How does your child like to start the day? Which mornings go smoothest? When are they usually ready for more intentional learning? Is it first thing in the morning when they’re well rested, or do they need time for free-play before they’re ready for lessons? Do they need a lot of breaks between activities? Do they need a lot of physical movement in the afternoon? Note what seems to make the day go better for everyone.
Next, start planning your day around these blocks of activities or practices that you notice are working. Aim to have intentional lessons when your child is best able to absorb them, and look for ways to give them some ownership over choices throughout the day so they feel empowered.
Download the Learn + Live Letter rhythm chart
A visual representation of your rhythm can help everyone find some consistency and help your child feel more confident because they know what’s coming next. Click here to download the Learn + Live Letter Homeschool Rhythm Chart for your family!
To put it together, print the pages on cardstock or other thicker paper (and laminate, if desired) and cut out each card. Next, use magnet strips to display the cards on a magnetic white board or your fridge. Another option is to use Velcro dots if you are posting them on another smooth surface. (Note: The Velcro dots work well on a laminated paper.) Alternately, you could use a pocket chart like this one or this one to display the cards.
Each morning, display the plan for the day for your child, possibly also giving them the option to choose between two choices for some activities or blocks of time. This way, you’ll both know what to expect. Don’t get to every card on your rhythm chart? It’s fine! That’s what makes it flexible. Make a note about when your family has hit their threshold and use those learnings to adapt your rhythm moving forward.
We hope this chart and guidance is helpful as you find the homeschool rhythm that works best for your family!
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