Homeschooling Rhythm

Rhythm is weird word. I have to think about it every time I spell it. But it’s crucial to living the good life.

Earth, nature, and even our own (often) artificial lives need rhythm. The seasons move. Appetites and activity levels wax and wane with the weather.

It can be easy to find yourself out of whack when you homeschool. There’s no forced schedule. If, like us, you aren’t part of a co-op, there’s precious few points of reference to use as a progress meter. New days bring new opportunities, but I find it’s important to develop a core rhythm. You can improvise or syncopate but you need a base melody to work from.

I was scared of winter. Every homeschooling parent told me February was the test of homeschooling. They had horror stories of being sick, cooped up in the house, and perpetually at each other’s throats. It was hard to keep their kids motivated. Our house is small. The kids and I use little more than 300 sqft of living space 99% of the time. Could we really survive when that was it and I couldn’t send them outside? (Despite being hardy Wisconsin stock none of us have particularly relished snow sports this year.)

Surprisingly, February has been our best month of homeschooling so far. The girls don’t grumble over math time. In fact, they’re kicking butt on their worksheets and we’re almost ready to move on to a new unit (multiplication). We’re having fun learning about 19th century life with the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I’m not sure how much soaks in, but they ask enough questions that I’m hopeful. I feel like we accomplish a little bit each day and in a short enough time that they get free play and I get writing time.

I’m looking forward to warmer weather when we can get our first vegetable garden in, but I’ll make sure to keep the core rhythm strong even when there’s a need to get stuff done. I don’t want to lose the routine just as we’ve gotten it.

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