Are you ready to dive into how to reset your homeschool schedule for the New Year? We are about to cover why this is a good time to take a deeper look at our homeschool days. We will also go into some fun ideas to implement.
HELLO, WINTER SLUMP
When January gets here, we will have made it halfway through our school year and survived all the holiday planning, parties and making of magical memories. And it will have been a blast. But when we are finished with all the celebrations, we must keep moving forward without letting ourselves hit burnout.
You’ve heard of the winter slump? Rumor has it that this slump likes to creep in around about February. This is when homeschool families are getting tired of being cooped up due to cold weather. It also happens to be that point in the school year where things begin to feel redundant and mundane.
At this point our school year is no longer new and exciting. We no longer have a looming holiday season full of fun staring us down.
It will all slow down a bit and we will likely realize just how tired we really are.
This is a good time to remember that we, the moms, won’t be the only ones who are tired. Our children will have lived some very full months since the beginning of the school year too.
LET’S PLAN FOR IT
One of my best defenses for this slump is to proactively anticipate it and plan for it. By refreshing our daily schedule for our homeschool, we can slow down our pace while protecting the things that must get done.
We can even celebrate all the time together indoors by incorporating some new things into our daily lives while we have the time. I always have big plans for lots of baking during the holidays, but our schedule is always bursting at the seams. For this reason, it becomes just one more thing for me to remember and orchestrate. This is the time to do more of that and let ourselves sink into the slower days and colder weather.
Ready to walk through the process of auditing the things we have on our plates and design a routine?
WHAT MUST BE DONE
The most obvious place to start is by taking a good, long look at what is necessary. My kids are in pre-k, kindergarten and first grade, so in our house language arts, math, handwriting and Bible are our “must haves.”
I like to make sure I keep in mind that these are still generally done one-on-one because my readers are such new readers. I like to make sure each kid has time to move through his/her work thoroughly without the pressure to hurry or get everything correct on the first try.
This is the hard part for me. I want to do all the things, but I know better. We need a good balance of margin and structure. Our family is enrolled in Classical Conversations. I also tutor in the program, so that is certainly a factor in our time. We generally run through the memory work each school day and can usually get it done in about twenty minutes. In the beginning of the school year, I also included one day of fine arts, two days of history and two days of science. However, this is where I think we may pause a couple of these things and pencil in more life skills, baking/cooking, and read aloud time. Click here to dive into setting reading goals for your year. This is a great time to set those up and make time to establish good routines for them.
LET’S THINK THROUGH IT TOGETHER
We are going to move through this by eliminating our days that are already scheduled, so bear with me. This is a great time to grab your free printable and start filling things in.
Thursdays are our community days for Classical Conversations. We are usually very tired by the end of our day there, so I leave plenty of margin on Thursdays. We don’t usually do anything outside of CC except spend some time reading aloud and going to extra curriculars in the afternoon.
We are currently using this bundle from Learning With Friends that guide us through science experiments. These all correlate to our weekly science memory work in Classical Conversations. Friday is my favorite day to do these. This will give the kids a good grasp for the memory work before seeing it illustrated.
Tuesday is the best day to go to the library. We will make this our library day and then come home to do book club. During book club, my kids and I have some yummy snacks and drinks while I read aloud to them. I have some plans to have specific goals for each of us for reading in the New Year. I will cover outlining those goals for you in an upcoming post.
So, now our Tuesdays and Fridays are covered.
MONDAY & WEDNESDAY
That leaves Mondays and Wednesdays. One thing I want to do is get my kids in the kitchen to begin learning to cook. They help occasionally, but not nearly as often as I would like. Our fall semester was far too busy to do this consistently. I will prioritize it now because time in the kitchen growing up created such a passion for cooking in me. It’s a great way to instill those deeply rooted connections and teach priceless life skills simultaneously. I realize not every family loves cooking as much as I do. So, this is a great time to look at things that your family likes.
I will plan a day in the kitchen for Wednesdays because Mondays are typically cleaning day after a busy weekend.
At this point we have science, cooking/life skills, and a book club day. I know my kids would love a day devoted to art. I use different resources that correlate to the fine art we are studying in Classical Conversations. It’s decided. Mondays are for art.
HOW LONG FOR THIS ROUTINE?
I plan to keep the art and science days pretty solid until Classical Conversations finishes for the year. We start back the second week of January and typically end in April. Our family accidentally became year-round homeschoolers last year and loved it so much that I’m doing it by design this year. That means I have plenty of time left in our school year after CC ends to rearrange our schedule again.
WHAT ABOUT TIMING YOUR NEW ROUTINE?
Well, I’ve learned a couple things about our schedule. The first is that we all do better work if we do our work at the same time every day. I have to schedule our tasks by priority in case anything happens that rearranges our plan.
My kids are still pretty young, so I don’t wake them if they are sleeping. I like that they are able to get what they need in the way of good rest while they can. This is something I will likely change in the next few years as they grow. They are usually up between 6:30 am- 7:00 am, but I leave margin for waking up slowly and coffee.
BREAKFAST & BIBLE
The goal is to be eating breakfast by 8:00 am. While they eat, I read their Bible, a short devotional and a picture book from our library to them. Then we all go get our morning chores done. I reset the kitchen, move the laundry to the dryer and work on my daily tasks. School starts at 9:00 with the nonnegotiable subjects. I pull my oldest in for his language arts and math one-on-one. Then he switches with my middle son. I pull my daughter in for her work last and we finish up with everything by 10:00 or 10:30.
At this point, if we don’t get anything else finished, we have at least covered the important stuff. This means I can feel confident pivoting if we need to for the rest of the day.
SNACK TIME & CC REVIEW
From here we grab a snack and then move into reviewing our CC memory work. We do all the games and songs that I do with my class each week, so this feels more like playing. This takes fifteen to thirty minutes and finishes our morning segment of work.
HEADING INTO AFTERNOON
Now we have time for free play, chores, lunch and/or dinner prep and work for me. This is also when we might go run a couple errands if we need to. We eat lunch at 12:00 and I read aloud to the kids a little while they eat.
Then we do a quick home reset to make sure everything is tidy again before we move to quiet time. Quiet time starts at 1:30 and lasts for around 30 minutes. The kids go to their rooms to do quiet things. They can draw, listen to an audio book, read books, or anything else that is calm and quiet. While they rest, I like to make myself a hot tea and get our afternoon work set up.
AFTERNOON SCHOOL SUBJECTS
After quiet time, we work on our afternoon school. This consists of doing the subjects we just planned for each specific day. Then they go play outside or move to the parts of their chore charts that include practice. That can be guitar practice, reading practice or working on their current sport for just a little bit. This is nothing crazy. I simply want them to establish the habit of practicing their extra curriculars more than once a week. I’m hoping this teaches them to steward their time well and work diligently.
Now, they can free play or have a small amount of screen time. Our school day usually wraps up by 3:00. At this point, I like to do some work, workout and begin to prepare dinner.
OUR SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
5:00-7:00 Mom works
7:00- Slow morning with kids
8:00- Breakfast at the table with Bible
8:30- Morning chores
9:00- Individual lessons start
10:30- CC review
11:00- Free play, errands, chores…
12:00- Lunch with read aloud then quick tidy
1:30- Quiet time
2:00- Afternoon school
3:00- Free play, mom works out
4:30- Dinner prep
6:00- Kitchen clean up, evening tidy up, then family time
7:00- Showers and set up for next day
8:00- Kids to bed
9:30- Parents to bed
THAT’S A WRAP
Now, that was just a brief deep dive into my thought process for setting up our days in this specific season. The needs of our family are still changing as the youngest kiddo continues to work toward dropping her nap and ages into being ready for more school activity.
I must do this process for each semester at this point in our homeschool journey. I will revisit it again as we head into summer to reset our schedule to fit those needs too. I hope that as you watch me work through how to choose what we are doing and when we might do it, you feel inspired to look at your own family and apply what will work best for you. Refreshing your schedule and routine can be a simple way to keep your days fresh. It also keeps you on track with your core curriculum schedule.