When I wrote about my unexpected journey into life as a home-schooling mum a few weeks ago, never could I have imagined that so many others would be following suite so quickly.
As I write, schools across the UK have been asked to shut down indefinitely. In the space of the last few days, a few friends have been in touch asking about what our home-schooling day looks like as they look to shaping their own. I imagine many more might thought have similar questions, so I thought it best to write our family rhythm up so it’s easy to point people too.
So, here it is:
As I wrote about on this post, I break our learning time into three chunks over the course of the morning:
- Breakfast Time: for bible reading, devotionals, hymn study and memory verses
- Morning Time: read-aloud time for all the girls that includes literature, poetry, history, geography, music appreciation, picture study
- Table Time: maths and language arts.
For the most part, save for age and stage disciplines like maths and language arts, I teach all the girls the same thing at the same time, accepting that the littles will take in less than their older siblings, but will still benefit in their own little ways. This both saves time and reinforces the idea that we are in it together.
But the deeper we find ourselves in this unexpected season of self quarantine and social distancing, the less inclined I feel to keep calm and school on. These are strange times, and our heads are full of more than usual. Whatever your circumstances, normal has shifted. And with that shift comes a need to extend grace and simplify expectations.
I find myself increasingly drawn to what connects us over what busies us. Games, read-alouds, playing in the garden, baking, sewing. Being together. I know well from taking time out around life with a newborn that learning continues even when academics do not, and that in times of increased stress or uncertainty, something has to give so that mama can best love and focus on the task at hand – being a safe, consistent place for her family.
My children need rhythms, reassurance, time, connection. So we will still stick to a rhythm of sorts not unlike the one pictured, but I foresee it simplifying. Again. And again. And again. Because my time home-schooling little people has taught me that life shifts, challenges ebbs and flow, and we can choose to lean into them and flourish, or ignore or run away from them and flounder.
My girls are used to extended time at home. But like their mainstream educated peers, they are adjusting to the idea of daddy working from here, to not being able to see friends and enjoy their usual clubs and meet ups, and to washing their hands lots more than usual. They need more of me than they might usually as they adjust to that.
I need to dial down the noise in my head, and focus on creating an atmosphere of peace. I have been less kind lately, more consumed by the noises and news from outside our four walls that pull me out of my present tense and into thoughts and fears and uncertainty’s that I am unable to properly foresee or control. That stops today.
Today I remember that I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. Today I remember that the same God who flung the stars into being and holds the whole world in His hands holds mine. Today I remember that I can do all things through Christ who loves me. Today I will overcome, and not be overcome.
Yes, I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus. And in this time of uncertainty and change, I have never been more grateful for a loving, loving hope and Saviour that I can cling to and know, for the unshakeable peace that He offers, and the reassurance that comes that I am safe in Him, no matter the circumstances, changes or changes that life presents.
So as you work to map out your own family life rhythm in this unusual season of staying at home for extended periods, might I encourage you to think connection first, curriculum second.
- Connect with your Creator. He is not surprised by all of this uncertainty, and wants to help you through this.
- Connect with yourself. Make time for activities that nourish and refresh your own soul. Read more. Bake more. Scroll less. Reach out to a friend. Have a real conversation instead of bartering a flurry of texts.
- Connect with your kids. Sit on the carpet with them and play. Listen, really listen, to the wonders and funny little things that come out of their mouths. Run around the garden and let the happy hormones flow as you chase them and enter into their world. Plant seeds. Dream dreams. Let them take the lead sometimes.
Think about what awakens wonder in your hearts and minds as a family. Think about the things that make you laugh, that bring you together. Be together. For when we look back on these times, it is this sense of togetherness we will remember. Not whether we kept pace with maths and phonics.
You can do this mama.
And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.Colossians 3:15