Are you looking to change things up in the new year?
I thought I’d do a series of posts on organization since this topic comes up a lot. This week I’ll focus on how I come up with each year’s routine, because I often re-evaluate during Christmas break!
I say “routine” because while I do make up a schedule, I use it loosely, as a guideline. I’m not a strict clock-watcher–I like to follow a general routine instead.
Over the years I’ve re-evaluated our schedule. What works well one year doesn’t always work well the next, so I find that each year I do just a bit of fine-tuning. Some things stay the same: We always start with Bible, and we always do literature read-alouds before bedtime. These habits I started when the kids were very little, and they still enjoy read-alouds at 12 and 14. It sets the right beginning and ending tone to our day.
When I think about how schedule everything else, I look at a few things:
1, What’s my focus for the next year? What subject for each child needs to be the highest priority? Where do they need the most work? I make sure that I focus my time and energy here first, and give these subjects priority in the schedule. (But priority doesn’t mean “first” necessarily–it just means that if other things need to be dropped for that day, the top priority subject still happens almost every day). In different years, the priority has been reading, writing, math, grammar, or spelling.
2, What is each child’s passion? Or, what topic would each child really like to study? My daughter loves the science fair, so I always make sure we can work that in. One year my son wanted to study sharks, and a local children’s museum was actually going to have a class and disect sharks–yes I’m serious! The timing was incredible! So I made sure to work that in. My son always enjoys history, and I look to capture his interest there (Sonlight curriculum has really helped with this).
If you make sure the priority subject happens, and you make sure your child has time for their passion–then on those crazy days when something has to give, you can let go of the guilt. You know you are getting to the things that are most important.
As a side note, I like to say that sometimes God’s curriculum isn’t my curriculum. Pray over the priorities, and ask your children about what they are interested in. Be a student of them and discover their passions. But if God has different plans for a day than you do, that’s ok. Sometimes life is the lesson. Sometimes learning to help someone in need, care for someone who’s sick, character training with your kids, or answering a question that has nothing to do with school but your child really needs to discuss–sometimes these things are just more important than our plans. So…I try to hold plans lightly.
So, if you are looking to reorganize this week, spend a few days praying over your kids’ subjects and activities, decide your priorities and their passions for this spring.
Next week: Organization: Creating a Workable Routine