When we decided to homsechool, we had to figure out what does a preschool homeschool schedule look like? The easy answer is that it looks different for every family and every child, but I understand that isn’t very helpful for a parent that is looking for ideas and advice on homeschooling their little one. Planning Preschool Homeschool with our daily/weekly rhythm is largely influenced by work schedules, seasons in the American south east, preparation for meeting homeschool law standards, and our family’s Pagan Polytheist worldview.
Its a lot to take in, I know. How on earth are you supposed to look at schedules, expectations, seasons, and religion and make up a homeschool schedule? Its a question I had to consider, take a deep breath, and play with. Yes, play with. As homeschool parents to little ones, play is how we get things done.
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Homeschooling the Wheel of the Year: planning around holy days
I encourage every parent, no matter their homeschooling style or thoughts, to look at the big picture then narrow down. By looking at the whole year, you can better assess how your homeschooling will look. Plan around the seasons and holidays and holy days. Some of these will look the same for every child in school or homeschooled in the same region because seasonal weather and national holidays does have its effects.
Other things, like religious holidays, will look different for each family. For us, we are Pagan Polytheists and honor seasonal holy days (equinoxes and solstices) as well as days specific to Deities, spirits, and ancestors. We also live with Catholic family members and have decided to celebrate some of their holidays with them like Christmas and Easter.
Look at the calendar and decide when you will be schooling, when you will be taking breaks for seasonal events (summer break for instance) or holidays. This creates the boundaries for your scheduling.
On top of that, you might want to focus your curriculum for your homeschool to celebrate and teach about these seasons and holidays such as reading books like:
Elsie and Pooka Stories: Spring
Rupert’s Tales: The Wheel of the Year Samhain, Yule, Imbolc, Ostara
during the spring equinox holidays and doing activities and crafts around them.
Family and Work Needs
Next, look at the needs your family has. Work schedules and medical needs must be considered when planning a homeschooling schedule. Things that effect even one parent will effect the whole family.
For us, we factored in Damon’s full time, Monday-Friday work schedule and its times. This effected any scheduling of homeschool activities we wanted to do as a family like visiting the science museum or going on hikes – we’d have to schedule those when Damon was off work either on weekends or during national/bank holidays when his work often closed.
Rhythm vs Schedule
One of the first things I did when I decided to homeschool was investigate homeschooling styles. I fell in love with the softness and color and whimsy of Waldorf as well as its quick integration with Pagan worldview. Waldorf is the brainchild of Rudolf Steiner who, in his anthroposophy, borrowed a lot of magical concepts including his connections of days of the week with magical correspondences like color, planets, and other attributes. A concept I borrowed from Waldorf was the idea of rhythms.
The difference between rhythm and schedule is all about restrictions and guilt when things are not met on time. Its easiest to express my example:
Our morning rhythm involves getting up, potty and wash up, a snack/coffee with a book or toy. A schedule would be to get up at 6am, wash, breakfast at 6:45. While a schedule might be necessary for families that have both parents working or have other needs to meet, our family does really well playing by Pumpkin’s natural rhythms – he wakes up between 6 and 6:30 almost every morning and we go from there.
By sticking to a rhythm – doing things in a relative period of time consistently – we give our child the structure he craves but aren’t stressing about putting the times together to form the puzzle of our day. I like to think of it as a home garden vs a farm. In big agriculture, things must be planted and harvested at specific times to meet the needs of a demanding population. In a home garden, food is planted and picked when it is best suited for the family and their world view (we plant by the moon).
Other Miscellaneous Factors
Lastly, I factored in some other things we wanted to do. For example, something I want to start keeping note of us meeting the state’s attendance criteria. We do not yet have to turn in homeschool attendance, but the state of Tennessee requires it for homeschooled children ages 6 and up. Their attendance must be turned in at the end of May. To make sure we can met the mandatory 180 days with ease, I’m keeping track of them and factored that into my homeschool planning.
I also like to manage Pumpkin’s sensory issues which includes avoiding large, loud crowds so if we want to go anywhere, we try to do it during times when there’s likely to be less people. Things like the science museum, park, etc that might have major events for the public, we schedule around those times.
Fitting the Schedule Puzzle Together
After contemplating seasons, holidays, work schedule, and the rhythm that works for us – it was time to start scheduling preschool homeschool. Grabbing a calendar, bullet journal, and my homeschooling notes, I began to figure out our months, weeks, and days.
Our Average Homeschooling Day
Pumpkin wakes up between 6 and 6:30
Basic hygiene is seen to then I make him a snack and something to drink while I have a cup of coffee and wake up.
We have Coffee and a Book together – reading a story that is often either in line with the week’s lesson or a book from the library that he has chosen.
Breakfast with Granny
The Day’s lesson.
At 10:30 we have lunch so he can have a nap around 11
After nap, we revisit the lesson casually, sometimes incorporating it into play.
Damon is home for dinner at 4pm
Pumpkin shows Daddy his lesson and they sometimes do something with it together and sometimes they chill and Pumpkin helps his dad do some work or they watch a show.
Bed time is at 8pm where we read another story.
Our Homeschool Wheel of the Week
Pumpkin kept asking me over and over what day it was. I told him but it wasn’t clicking. I decided to make him something that would encourage his making a connection about days of the week as well as independence.
This wheel of the week was inspired by some Waldorf rhythm designs I saw on Pinterest.
I cut the background out of a cardboard cereal box and glued one of Pumpkin’s watercolor pictures onto it, writing Today Is with an arrow pointing down.
From 2 pieces of card stock I cut and glued together a circle. On this I colored a rainbow using watercolor pencils.
I assigned each color a day of the week according to Waldorf and Pagan day correspondences:
Monday – Purple
Tuesday – Red
Wednesday – Orange
Thursday – Yellow
Friday – Green
Saturday – Blue
Sunday – White
Under the day of the week I put an activity based on our homeschooling schedule. I decided on the days for these activities according to Damon’s work schedule, when the library was open and not busy, and according to daily correspondences to certain energies and deities.
Monday – the start of our week and a new lesson
Tuesday – art
Wednesday – Odin’s day, a mercurial day for communication so a great day for puppets and story telling related to our lesson
Thursday – the library is open late and not busy
Friday – Frigga’s day, a day for domestic duties like baking.
Saturday/Sunday – Daddy is off work and can be included in homeschool lessons and hiking.
Monthly and Season Homeschool Rhythm
Our calendar shows the monthly rhythm more than our daily routine. We start our homeschool year in September and end in May, allowing me to submit attendance records in a timely manner if I were to have to do so.
We make time to do seasonal events from Pagan Pride in September to Beltane celebration in May and everything beyond and in between. I incorporate this into our lessons even in simple ways like doing Pease Porridge/Goldilocks and the Three Bears in winter when it will be a good time to eat oatmeal porridge for breakfast with our books.
How do you plan your Homeschool?
I hope sharing how I put this planning preschool homeschool puzzle together has inspired or helped you in some way. Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences with this task. I’m always looking for more ideas.