Change is stressful for everyone, especially children. If you are new to homeschooling, you might be a bit overwhelmed and confused as you look for options and information. Having a homeschooling routine in place will bring a sense of security, comfort and consistency to a child’s life.
Why Is Routine so Important?
A routine is the way families organize themselves to get things done, spend time together, learn and have fun.
Children thrive in a predictable environment where they know what to expect. It makes them feel safe, secure and looked after, especially in stressful times like this. If you build a routine around having fun and spending time together, it will also strengthen family relationships. Having an important job to do in the family routine (like setting the table) helps children develop a sense of responsibility which is an important life skill. Routines for children with development delays or disabilities are even more important because they find it hard to understand or cope with change. It takes a little bit of time for children to get used to a routine, but when they do, you can give fewer instructions as they get better at following a schedule.
Having a routine is beneficial for parents too even though it takes some effort to create a good routine. But when you have one in place, it helps you get through your daily tasks and free up time for other things. A routine can help you feel organized and in control and this is very important for reducing stress levels. You will also feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day because you followed a certain structure.
Homeschooling Preschool and Kindergarten Daily Routine
In early education the entire homeschooling routine should be based on creating opportunities for your child to learn through play. The most natural way of creating relevant opportunities is to start with observation. Take a day and spend it casually with your child. Observe what they play with the most, what interests them at this moment, is there something they need help with (maybe work on speech or vocabulary more). When you know what your child likes and shows affinity for, then you can build on that and learning will be more fun and efficient. For example if your child loves dinosaurs, use that interest and incorporate dinosaurs into literacy, math, science and art.
There are many themed activities and resources available for you to use on this theme and your child will enjoy this and learn much faster.
It’s important that you make your routine work for your family. Here is an example of a homeschooling routine we use and you can use it as a base and then adjust according to your needs.
07:00 am – Wake up/Get dressed/Breakfast
08:00 am – Storytime
We sit on the floor in a relaxing atmosphere, talk about what day it is, what the weather is like that day and they choose a story for me to read to them.
We spend a bit of time talking about the story – What is their favorite part/ characters? Did we learn a new word today? If they really like the story and we have materials, like relevant figurines or plush toys, we reenact the story together or they do it on their own. If they engage in free play, I will let them play while I tidy up or plan the next activity.
09:00 am – Songs/ Dance/ Movement
After they were playing quietly for a while, we have a loud activity like singing nursery rhymes, dancing to children’s songs or do some yoga for kids.
09:30 am – Literacy or Math
Now that they are fresh and awake from moving around, I like to do a short activity involving letters, numbers, shapes, or measurement. You can use printable worksheets, activity pads or play a game like letter hunt or sorting by size and working on patterns.
10:00 am – Snack time (fruit and nuts for healthy body and mind)
10:30 am- Free Play
It is very important to provide time for them to learn through independent play. All you need to do is offer open ended toys and resources like play food, old boxes, animal figurines, building blocks and similar.
12:00 pm- Lunch/ Family Time
1:00 pm- Outdoor Play (playground, backyard or patio)
If we can’t go out due to weather, then they either play on their own.
2:00 pm- Art/ Science
If we didn’t go out, I’d try to do more activities where they need to move or stand so we paint on the big art easel or do science experiments and they help prepare materials and clean up later.
2:30 pm- Snack Time
3:00 pm – Free Play
Most of the time kids are very good at finding opportunities to learn on their own but if you see they need a bit of direction, you can encourage some dramatic play. Give them some bandages, old syringes and let them be doctors and heal their dolls or maybe set up a grocery shop from an old cardboard box and food containers.
4:30 pm- Dinner Time
5:30 pm – Family Time
Playing board games is a fun way of learning and strengthening family relationships. Money Bags™ Coin Value Game is always a hit!
We laugh, tell jokes and try to have as much fun as we can together. Sometimes we also have a movie night at this time. If you choose to watch a movie, just make sure it’s short and appropriate for your child’s age.
6:30 pm – Bath time/ Getting dressed for bed
7:00 pm- Read a Bedtime story/ Sleep
Being flexible is the key to creating a good routine. Flexibility let’s us take advantage of those moments when children discover something that sparks their interest. This allows us to extend a play period so they can gain maximum satisfaction from their play and we can do our own thing in the meanwhile.
When you are creating a schedule, it is important to provide a good balance between quiet and noisy activities, solitary time and family/sibling play and outdoor/indoor play. And also don’t forget to allow enough time for a transition from one activity to another to avoid stressful situations. Warn them once in advance before a change in activity. For example, if you are planning to go out, give them a 15 minute warning so they can finish their play and prepare for what’s next.
Homeschooling should be fun and relaxing above all. Enjoy the time spent with your kids, be present and sneak little lessons while you cook and play together. If you keep the wake up/ sleep time and feeding time the same everyday, this alone will provide enough structure so that everything else can be flexible and enjoyable.