believe there are two keys to successful long term homeschooling. They are: a
well thought out Australian curriculum that is followed logically year after
year and a routine.
dictionary defines routine as “a regular course or procedure.” Routines do not
have to be rigid although, once established, they should be followed fairly
rigidly for the first year so a habit is established. Once routines become
habits, life become much easier since everyone knows what to do.
routine may be as simple as on Monday to Friday: getting up; getting the
washing on; eating breakfast; having the children dress, make their beds and
clean their rooms while you tidy and then beginning the academics for the day.
The academics may vary between an hour for a child learning to read, to three
hours for a year 10. During that time it is best if friends and relatives are
asked not to call and the phone is answered by a machine.
afternoon routine will vary, as the activities will change from day to day.
Some activities may necessitate leaving the house, e.g., swimming and music
lessons or library visits. We suggest you schedule only one afternoon activity
are routines important? Children thrive on routine. They know exactly what will
happen and what is expected of them. It makes them feel secure and aids
learning. I have asked my generation—the baby boomers—and our parent’s
generation, what they remember about the routine at school. Even my
mother-in-law, who was 90 at the time, remembered when lessons for math’s,
english and writing were scheduled. Why? There was routine. Life was ordered.
We felt secure because we knew what was expected of us and when. I believe that
without order, both in curriculum and in schedules, nothing is accomplished.
are also important for the mother. It helps organize her day as well as that of
her children. Mothers have a lot more to do than just homeschool. Without a
routine nothing gets done. There may have been no academics covered or the
housework may still be waiting when Dad returns.
course, there will be days when a child is sick or some domestic disaster
occurs and the routine will fly out the window. That is life! It’s messy! But
the routine should be returned to once the disaster is over.
is also important to take the individual child into consideration. You will
have days when you have spent twenty minutes to half an hour on a subject and
the child has not understood. Simply leave it until the next day. This gives
you time to think of another way to help the child understand and does not make
the child feel stupid. However, in our house, if the child was messing around
and simply not completing their lessons, then they stayed at their books until
they completed the work and the rest of the family did other things. When their
work was completed they ate lunch. Children become adults, and adults have to
work whether they feel like it or not. Work doesn’t go away if they don’t
complete it. It just mounts up. Learning this as a child saves a lot of pain
bring order. They establish self-discipline and habits. In an ordered
environment children learn well. They feel secure. No-one can learn in the
middle of chaos.
establish a routine, set aside a time for homeschooling. Then work out what
other tasks are essential and plan how you will fit them in. Some things will
have to be sacrificed. Houses are never as tidy when children homeschool as
they are when children are at school for six hours, but lives are richer.
Children do make a mess but, as even my one year old grand-daughter knows, you
have to at least help clean it up. Meals need to be cooked, shopping needs to
be done and husbands need time spent with them. Hopefully too, there will be
sometime for yourself—even if it is only 15 minutes in the bath. (Providing of
course your husband doesn’t decide to strip the baby and give him to you to
have found that lists help me. I worked out a timetable for academics. With the
shopping, the list was, and still is, written on a board. My children have
always known that if they finish an item or take one from the cupboard, they
write it on the board and it will be replaced when we shop. If they didn’t write
it on the board they had to wait another week before I bought it. My mother
taught me that if you have at least two of each common item in your pantry
then, when you use one, you still have another in the cupboard if you need it.
This saves having to run down the shops all the time and saves a lot of money.
Rarely do people go into a shop and buy only one thing.
use lists for other things too. I will generally have a list of what are the
key things to be accomplished for a day. I list things in order of priority.
Sometimes the list is written on a piece of paper and sometimes it is in my
head. I tick off things as I go. If I can’t complete something important then
it goes to the top of the list the next day. When we first began homeschooling
I had a cleaning and changing bed list on the fridge. This helped the children know
when to change their beds and helped me know which room I was cleaning that
day. It also left our weekends free for relaxation.
you can establish a routine that works, you need to be organized. You need to
know which jobs you consider essential. These need to become priorities. With
six children, getting the washing done and out on the line was my top priority.
you need to decide what hours of homeschooling suit your family. This will vary
from family to family. All my children were early risers—never later than six
a.m. and often earlier. This gave us plenty of time to get the basic jobs
completed before we began homeschooling. We often began at 8.00 or 8.30 am and
never later than 9.00am. This would not suit all families as some children require
need to be reviewed and changed regularly. When David and Peter began
homeschooling I found that we could not begin the academics until we had gone
for a “nature walk”. The boys couldn’t concentrate until they had run off some
of their energy. I made it a nature walk so that I didn’t feel we were wasting
time. Don’t be afraid to change you routine as long as it doesn’t become a
daily habit. If the routine is being changed every day you don’t have a
am personally very organized. It came from having so many responsibilities.
Some people are less organized. Your routine does not have to be the same as
mine. It has to work for you but it must be a routine, something ordered
that happens on a regular basis. To be successful at homeschooling you can’t
just decide that morning what you will do. You need to plan.