After I shared our Family Planner with you I got quite a few emails looking for more information. How do we organize our day? Where does "schooling" fall into our schedule? When do I have time for play?
I thought I would share our daily rhythm with you to give you a feel for how we organize our weeks for the most relaxed, joyful, natural learning experience we can. For me removing distractions (telephone and computer specifically) is critical for me to be present and available and in the flow of our rhythm.
Developing a family rhythm is not just for homeschoolers. A rhythm is helpful for transitioning your children in and out of their school day as well as for parents home with babies and toddlers. We all thrive when we have a predictable, comfortable rhythm.
There are of course many exceptions every week. Field trips, appointments, errands, play dates, and gatherings all pull us joyfully from our routine, but it is the springboard for our days. Here is how we roll (most days anyway).
7:30 – 9:00 Early Block
First thing in the morning we get ready for our day. Each child has their own checklist that contains tasks like "hang up your jammies, make your bed, and put away laundry". (Little ones like Lupine initially require hands-on assistance and a picture checklist, while Sage can go it alone with a written checklist.)
We wash a load of laundry, cook, eat, and clean up from breakfast, and begin our day together. I check email and do a little computer/LuSa work during this early slot.
9:00 – 11:30 Morning Block
This is our inside learning time. As unschoolers I believe it is more important to simply be available to my kids rather than schedule specific lessons, but this is the time so much of the learning happens here. While we don't follow a curriculum there is learning happening at a startling rate – much of it before lunch time. We read books, play games, work in the kitchen, do projects and experiments together. We play with numbers, blocks, the microscope, puppets, art supplies. It is our "school" time.
11:30 – 2:00 Mid-Day Rest
After our morning block we prepare, eat, and clean up from lunch. We take some time as a family to tidy up from our morning and also all do our housekeeping chores during this time. (I clean a different room each day (in a perfect world anyway), so this happens during this slot. The kids also take a bit of quiet time to be alone, playing quietly for Lupine and reading or drawing for Sage. During quite time I can tend to some LuSa business and check emails.
2:00 – 4:30 Afternoon Block
This is our ideal time to get outside and play. In the summer we hike and forage, bike and swim; in the winter we walk the dog, sled, or ski. In the winter I need this block scheduled because (like Lupine) I could easily stay in all winter. Sometimes the outside time is just a few moments, sometimes most of the day. There is flexibility and flow in our rhythm.
4:30 – 6:30 Dinner Time
We fold and put away laundry, cook and eat dinner, and tidy up from our day. The kids often play alone while I cook or stand beside me and help.
7:00 – 8:00 Bedtime
Our kids have a fairly early bedtime. It works so well in our world, as regardless of what time they go to sleep both will rise with the sun. Lupine is lights-out by 7:00 or 7:30 at the latest, Sage an hour later. We read lots of books to unwind for the hour before lights-out, then the day is closed for our kids.