Developing more consistency takes time. But after we start with the proper framework, we can build the habits and routines we need to be more consistent in homeschool.
In How to Conquer Homeschool Consistency with a SIMPLE Framework we discovered that we need to have these principles in place first in order to build the habits and routines we need:
- Saturate yourself in God’s Word.
- Individualize the education you give your children.
- Minimize in the other areas of your life as a homeschool mom.
- Prioritize your non-negotiables.
- Limit outside commitments.
- Equip your children to know how to learn.
Why You Need Habits and Routines for Homeschool Consistency
No one will argue that kid’s don’t need consistency. It helps them know what to expect each day.
- Inconsistency in discipline makes kids feel frustrated and insecure. They don’t know what the boundaries are because those expectations are constantly changing.
- Inconsistency in homeschool invites the question, “Are we doing school today?” or “Do I have to do_____?” Children ask the question because there’s a chance you’ll say “no”. And like inconsistency in discipline, boundaries are constantly changing.
Let me add one thing here. I’m talking about the normal life, day-to-day homeschool thing. I’m not talking about when a family is going through a crisis or extenuating circumstances beyond their control. Those can be powerful times of learning too, just not in the traditional sense.
The Relation Between Consistency and Habits
Consistent means “acting or done in the same way over time, especially so as to be fair or accurate.” And I believe the best way to be consistent is to get into good habits and routines so we don’t even have to put thought into whether it will happen or not.
Charlotte Mason wrote about the importance of parents laying down tracks for their kids “locomotive” to run on. Habits are the tracks she is referring to.
Just as it is on the whole easier for the locomotive to pursue its way on the rails than to take a disastrous run off them, so it is easier for the child to follow lines of habit carefully laid down than to run off these lines at his peril. It follows that this business of laying down lines towards the unexplored country of the child’s future is a very serious and responsible one for the parent. It rests with him to consider well the tracks over which the child should travel with profit and pleasure; and, along these tracks, to lay down lines so invitingly smooth and easy that the little traveller is going upon them at full speed without stopping to consider whether or no he chooses to go that way (Vol. 1, p. 109).
But here’s the deal. You can’t lay down tracks for your children if you haven’t laid down any for yourself. Our kids learn best by example—by the things we do and not just the things we say.
So Dear Mom, if we want our kids to form good habits we have to start with our own.
The Relation Between Habits and Routines
Look at the definitions of habit and routine:
- Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
- Routine: a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program.
Notice they both have to do with regularity. It all goes back to the ability to set up expectations for kids so they will automatically know to do them. It’s about setting up expectations for yourself too!
3 Tracks We Can Lay Down to Be More Consistent in Homeschool
This picture is the perfect image to think about for the tracks you will lay down for yourself when it comes to becoming more consistent in your homeschool. You’ll notice she walks with her Bible clutched in her hand 💛 It starts with our hearts, Dear Mama. The first letter in the SIMPLE framework we set up is saturating ourselves in Gods Word—in our relationship with Him!
Then we are ready to lay down those tracks.
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1. Lay down the routines track to be more consistent in homeschool.
Establish an evening and morning routine. And your time with God can be included in one of these routines (I suggest your morning one, so you can start your day off right). You’ll find help for setting up both when you become a member of the Heart-to-Heart Homeschooling community. If you don’t have the guide, you can get it here:
Set up a homeschooling routine. If you’ve put the SIMPLE framework in place, you’ll know what your non-negotiables are. Be sure to schedule those each day so you know the most important things will always be done.
2. Lay down the planning track to be more consistent in homeschool.
Homeschooling isn’t the place to “wing it” 😉 Whether you do this weekly, monthly, or quarterly, by the semester, or by the year, you need a plan. That doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible! But as the saying goes, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Our goal is to give our kids an education—heart, mind, and soul.
How much time you spend doing this will be up to you. Pre-made curriculum where plans are laid out for you, or piecing together your own curriculum—the choice is yours. We did both over the years and there are advantages and disadvantages to each of them. But the beauty of homeschooling today is that there are enough resources out there that you can choose what is best for your kids and you!
3. Lay down the focus track to be more consistent in homeschool.
We live in an incredibly distracting time in history. So many things vie for our attention. But we can choose to focus.
Focus on Christ. Like Martha, we can become distracted from the most important thing. Get the free Bible study (you don’t have to sign up to get it), Mary, Martha, and Me. This 5-day study will help you think through where your focus is and how it can affect your life and your homeschool.
Focus on those right in front of you. It’s easy to let technology get in the way of fully being with our kids. We can start phoneschooling instead of homeschooling without even realizing it. But it IS possible to overcome distraction.
From Homeschooling Moms Like You!
I asked other homeschooling moms what their best tips were to be more consistent in homeschool. They had a lot of great responses!
Practical Tips to Be More Consistent in Homeschool
Miki understands the importance of routines. She said,
Routine! Set a daily routine that works for your family! I repeat YOUR family! Also make your school time a priority. Often family and friends can take advantage of you being home all the time. Babysitting, visiting, and so on. Guard your learning time! —Miki
She’s right. Although they don’t mean to, friends and family will ask you for favors since you are “home all day” (a common misconception!). Natalie has some great advice about that, too…
I’ve found that telling my friends and family that homeschooling is like a full time job has helped. That way, they are not calling to chat during school hours and they understand that I am unavailable before one or two o’clock in the afternoon, or whenever our usual time of school is done. Also, it helps to make appointments in the afternoon instead of the morning hours. The kids are more settled if they know that we do our schoolwork first each morning and that they will have time to play later in the day.—Natalie
Ronella gets something often overlooked about consistency. The importance of . . .
Sleep. without our sleep everything goes to pot. We actually have a rigid bedtime routine bc we have a child with a handful of disorders and if we don’t do that the next day is way off. —Ronella
Plan less things that take up your time. —Jeriann
Have a must do list that you do even on the crazy days. Then build a plan for each day around that list. We meet as a family every morning to create our plan for the day and that helps so much! —Lisa
The Role of Our Faith in Consistency
Based on what I read in [How to Conquer Homeschool Consistency with a SIMPLE Framework] it helps me most to give myself grace. If we didn’t make it through forgive and try again tomorrow. I love loop scheduling which helps if you miss a day. I want to do more of it this year. My motto is “some is better than none” 😂 with a large family sometimes that’s all we do. Some. —Charlotte
I agree with all of these comments.
I’m not saying I do this perfectly, but last Sunday I heard my pastor say ‘Don’t be the wife your husband deserves…be the wife God deserves.’ If you change out the words wife and husband with homeschool mom and kid(s) it’s the same idea. Everything we do should be unto the Lord.I believe that if we’re diligent about committing our days to Him and relying on His strength that we’ll stay consistent.
It’s all for Him. —Suzi
It’s all for Him and in Him! I love that Suzie! I spend time praying about the next step to highlight with my kids… phrases, scriptures, focus’ discipline goals. Then I depend on Him to remind me. I also stick scriptures on my fridge and have a family book in view where I write ideas and visions for my family… His family! He will help us run this race! —Catherine
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My best tip is to set manageable expectations for you and your kids. It’s nearly impossible to be consistent if you pack too much into your plans for the day. —Emily of Table Life Blog
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Let’s learn to be more consistent together!