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How to Create a Sustainable Homeschool Rhythm

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I'm Ashley

I’m a mama to three kiddos, wife to Phil, and lover of Jesus! I'm passionate about finding, creating, and celebrating beauty in the everyday. So happy you are here, friend. 

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Before we dive into creating life-giving homeschool rhythms, be sure to check out the previous posts in this series:

5 Things to Help You Prepare Your Heart & Home For an Intentional Homeschool Year

How I Loosely Plan Our Homeschool Year (Part 1)

How I Plan Our Homeschool Week (Part 2)

All caught up? Perfect! Today I am so thrilled to share a few tips to help you establish your own family rhythms and anchors as well as share a glimpse into our homeschool rhythm. Plus, I’ve got a free editable printable for you so you can easily display the flow of your day in your home.

Whether you are aware of it or not, your days are most likely already filled with some sort of a rhythm. Rhythms give your days a familiar cadence, flow, and movement. They also allow for flexibility and the unexpected, which is why I particularly love having a rhythm vs. a schedule. Personally, I feel like a rhythm is far more sustainable than a schedule because it isn’t so rigid, but still gives sequence and pattern to our days.

According to Merriam Webster Rhythm is defined as:

  • a regular repeated pattern of beats, sounds, activity, or movements
  • a characteristic rhythmic pattern
  • movement, fluctuation, or variation marked by the regular recurrence or natural flow of related elements

How to create your own family/homeschool rhythm:

1. Jot down what a typical day and week looks like in your home.

In doing this, you’ll most likely see activities that are repeated throughout the week. Begin with these already established anchors and then expand from there.

2.) Next, jot down what an ‘ideal’ day might look like in your home.

What things would you love to incorporate into your days? What really matters to your family? This is a great time to review what you wrote down on the homeschool culture planning pages.

3.) Write down your family rhythm.

You most definitely don’t have to follow this step, but I do find it helpful to physically write down your rhythm on paper and then make changes as you see what works and what doesn’t work as you’re living it out in an actual real life week. Remember, you aren’t married to the rhythm that you wrote down. You can change it up and figure out what works best for your family in the particular season that you are in. Two important things to remember:

  • Seasons change, so don’t be afraid to adjust your rhythm accordingly.
  • Your family is one-of-a-kind, and your rhythm reflects that. Please please please give yourself the freedom to be yourself and don’t try to fit inside the box and follow someone else’s rhythm if it honestly doesn’t jive with your family. Pinky promise? There’s so much beauty in letting go of expectations you’ve placed on yourself and embracing your family’s unique wiring.

Love the look of our daily rhythm? Download the editable printable for free right here. To edit, simply type in the box and then print. Still not sure how to edit the file? See the bottom of this post for some tips.

4.) Reevaluate your rhythm seasonally

Like I mentioned previously, the beauty of rhythms is that they will naturally change with the ebb and flow of your family seasons. Your life doesn’t look the same from season to season (or even month to month) and you can adjust your rhythm accordingly.

5.) Jot down your family anchors (weekly, monthly, and seasonal)

As you walk through this process, what you’ll probably find is that even though your rhythm might change, there will be several things that don’t. These are what I like to call family anchors. An anchor by definition, serves to hold an object firmly. Anchors are things that your kids will come to appreciate and remember fondly because they stand firm throughout the seasons of life and often happen week after week or year after year.

Your family most likely has anchors that are completely unique to you. Maybe it’s family movie and pizza night on Friday’s, pancakes on Saturday, or tea time on Sunday afternoon. You may even have seasonal anchors (or traditions) such as apple picking in the fall, reading a certain chapter book in January, or camping every summer.

This is also a good time to write down ideas that you would like to become anchors in your family. Anchors give rhythm to your weeks, months, and years. And those little repeated anchors just might add up to be the memories your kiddos will cherish forever.

Alright! So now that you have a better idea of how to create your own sustainable homeschool rhythm, I’m going to share with you our fall rhythm. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t love sharing our rhythm because I’m regularly adjusting it as necessary. We have landed on this flow through a lot of trial and error and figuring out what works best in our current season.

P.S.— You might notice that I don’t have times listed next to these rhythms. My reasoning is two-fold. First, no two days in our house are ever exactly the same because, rabbit trails. Second, an hour-by-hour breakdown feels so restrictive and makes me feel like a failure long before the day even begins. I know that I would never realistically be able to follow this to the hour without being a drill sergeant, so why set myself up for failure before I even begin? Again, we each have unique personalities so if an hour-by-hour breakdown helps you and allows you to be a more life-giving parent, then by all means go for it!

Our Homeschool Daily Rhythm:

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Breakfast and Morning Time

While we are eating breakfast, we try to begin the day with prayer, reading the Bible, and talking through a short devotional (currently we are using Our 24 Family Ways). During this time we also work on the current verse and catechism we are memorizing.

We then transition to calendar and weather. Each day the girls use their tracing calendars to practice writing the day, month, and year. I place their calendar in a reusable sleeve and they use a dry erase marker to trace all of the days up to the current date. Then, the meteorologist (we alternate this role each day) turns the weather wheel and shares what the weather is like that day. Finally, we end our morning time with a daily poem. We are using Sing a Song of Seasons this year and it’s made it so easy because there is one poem per day for each day of the year.

All of these items are in our Morning Basket (I’ll share more about what’s in our basket soon), which makes it really easy to pull from.

High 5 + Chore Loop

After breakfast, the girls help clean up their dishes and then they work on their “High 5.” We established the High 5 last year and it has helped SO much. Their High 5 includes five things they need to do each morning to be ready for the day. Currently, the five things include: eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, brush hair, and make bed. Once they’ve completed all five, they come downstairs, we go through each of the items on their ‘list’ to make sure they completed them, and then I give them an actual high 5.

After their High 5, they typically play for a bit and then we begin our chore loop. Each day I like to devote a little bit of time to give the girls practical life responsibilities that help our home run more smoothly. This little window each day is where I am slowly working on training them in each of these tasks. We loop our chores, because realistically life happens and some mornings we leave the house and miss this window. The beauty of looping is that we just pick up where we left off on the loop the next time we are working on chores.

Our weekly tasks include: washing sheets + towels, cleaning bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming, and washing floors. Within each of these categories, I am slowly working on training the girls and showing them how to do certain things. Sometimes them helping me with the chore of the day simply means them watching me do a particular task and then the next time we do it, they gradually begin helping.

Tip: Clean Mama has been an incredibly helpful resource in figuring out how to keep up with our home especially while educating at home.

Coffee + Books

It’s really as simple as it sounds. I pour myself a cup of hot coffee and the girls and I each pick three picture books and then we head outside on our front porch to read.

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of our days. Coffee + books + being outside = life-giving way to start the morning. I have a goal this year to prioritize reading aloud and this is one of the main ways I hope to accomplish this goal.

Play Outside

Once we have finished reading, the girls play outside in our backyard while I gather the resources we’ll be using for their individual learning time with me. Sometimes this lasts 30 minutes and other times it lasts much longer than that.

Individual Time

After they play outside, we usually grab a snack and start our individual learning time. During this time the girls take turns to have one-on-one focused time with me.

Whoever is not with me is welcome to play, read, create, or listen to an audiobook. During this time we usually work on math and language arts. These are our sticky note subjects and where I use a timer to keep our time short and focused. Once the timer goes off we move on to the next subject. Once we are finished, the girls switch places.

Lunch

The girls play while I am getting lunch ready or sometimes they are eager to help make their own lunch. When we are home, I like to take our lunch outside and have a picnic. Once I’ve finished my lunch, I usually read a chapter or two from our chapter book read aloud while the girls are finishing up.

Quiet Time

After lunch, we all pitch in to clean up and then the girls choose what they would like to do for quiet time. Quiet time for us is basically one hour each afternoon where the girls can choose something to play with or an audiobook to listen to in their room. I highly recommend this, especially for introverted mamas who need a little time to decompress.

During this time I usually make myself a cup of tea and sit down to listen to a podcast or read a book. Some days I just sit, stare off into the abyss, and enjoy a moment of quiet. It’s a great time for all of us to be still and recharge for the afternoon.

Together Loop

After quiet time, we will work on the next subject in our together loop, with the exception of Tuesdays. On Tuesday we have poetry tea time where we enjoy tea, look at our weekly art piece, and I read aloud poetry. We are currently reading through Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne.

Creative Free Time

After our together loop the girls are welcome to play or work on a creative project. Usually we head out to our backyard and the girls will either work on an art project of their choice, a Primerry Art video, or I’ll set out miscellaneous supplies and let them be creative. We also sometimes will use Exploring the Math in Art during this time.

Dinner + Family Time

The rest of the afternoon is lots of free play while I get dinner ready.

Once my husband gets home we usually eat dinner and then the girls will play or we’ll do something together as a family. Each night really looks different as far as family time goes. Some things we enjoy doing are: playing games, putting together puzzles, going on a bike ride, reading aloud, etc. On Tuesday nights my husband and I have an at home date night, so the girls usually go to bed a little bit earlier on that night.

Bedtime Routine + Lights Out

It probably goes without saying, but this is really just the bones of what our day might look like and not every day looks exactly like this. Some days we read before chores or skip loop time in the afternoon. Each day is unique, but it has been so helpful to have somewhat of a flow to our days. I find that the days that we follow a rhythm are the ones that the girls are happier, because they know what to expect. For days that we are out of the house we simply adjust the rhythm. The rhythm isn’t our boss, but a helpful tool to guide our days.

I hope that this has been helpful to learn some tips for creating your own homeschool rhythm and see our rhythm more in depth. Be sure to download the homeschool rhythm printable by clicking the button below so you can jot down your own daily rhythm.

Note: The free daily rhythm PDF is editable, so if you open the file in your browser (or Adobe Acrobat) you will be able to edit and add your own rhythms before printing. The font used in the file is Futura PT Book, so be sure you have that downloaded on your computer before you try to edit the file if you want to use the same font. Once you have typed out the rhythms you’d like to include, simply print and you’re ready to hang it up.

Happy homeschooling! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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  1. Emily Wood says:

    Hey Ashley!!!! I desperately needed this blog post!!! THANK YOU!!!
    I have a random question, though…Where are those clear bins from and the clear supply holder??? I need those in my life! LOL!

  2. Lauren says:

    I just discovered your blog and I am freshly inspired for our home school journey. Thank you for taking time to share your ideas. I look forward to learning more and using several of your tools.

  3. Lauren says:

    This is amazing! Thanks for sharing! Your day sounds lovely. 🙂 Saving for when my girls are older.

  4. Mel says:

    Thank you for a beautiful, easily editable daily rhythm form. It’s practical and motivating.

  5. Jessica says:

    Hi Ashley. I just have to tell you how grateful I am for your blog. I’m 24, single, no kids. My siblings and I were all (or are currently) homeschooled and it is something I’ll be grateful for for the rest of my life. I have a desire to have kids and homeschool them, if the Lord allows. I have a lot of opinions about homeschooling based off my experiences and having read SO many blogs, but I just wanted you to know that your blog is a breath of fresh air. I appreciate your humble, simplistic, Christ centered approach to life. Should I have children down the road, I hope your website is still around! Blessings on you and your family.

  6. Kelly B says:

    This is seriously so amazing and inspiring! I love the no times. I’ve been already feeling like a failure just READING so many posts about timed schedules etc. I think it’s helpful to do chunks for me personally but the kids should be free to explore if they hit on something really interesting and then I have somewhere to lead them next once they’re finished. I also love the morning basket idea! Great approach and so loving and well rounded. Looking forward to reading (catching up on) way more as I consider this choice for my family.

  7. This! This is what I need! I am the very worst at schedules and creating consistency or routines for my kids and I.
    I’m taking your rhythm and trying it out this week, with a few tweaks for our lifestyle. Thank you for the goldmine of a post!

  8. melinda says:

    Thanks for the free printable! It’s so helpful! Btw, where did you get the prayer that’s clipped on your fridge ? I’d love a print!

  9. Hailey Bagley says:

    I have to say I just wandered into your website this morning and have only read two posts. I am already overwhelmed by grace and resources that I am so excited to introduce into my family. God is so good (:

  10. Kristen says:

    I just found your blog and it’s like I finally found someone who “gets me” and my style for life and applied it to homeschooling. I totally appreciate your posts on it and would love more! What does your new year coming up look like? Anything you are changing or doing differently? Thank you for sharing!!

  11. Melanie says:

    I would LOVE a copy of the homeschooling planner, but the link isn’t working. Is there any way you can share it with me?

  12. Jessica McCravy says:

    LOVE this!!!! Thank you for the download AND the run-through of how y’all do things. This is my first year homeschooling (and first year my son is doing school) so having something to start with is a big help!

  13. Tiffany says:

    Thank you for this! Where did you get the printed prayer?

  14. Bethany says:

    this is exactly what I was looking for!! thank you!
    are you able to also share where you got the morning prayer that is on the fridge by the daily rhythm? thanks!

  15. Nina says:

    I just found your blog on Pinterest and I am loving it! Thanks for sharing all your tips! I have three little girls, and I’m just starting 1st grade w the oldest, so I’m trying to find a rhythm that works for us. I love your printable! It’s beautiful!

  16. Steph says:

    Hi! I love this so much! Do you by chance, have a printable for the Morning Time Rhythm? I’m loving this printable and want to make one for Morning Time and Individual Loop!

    We just started homeschooling last year (three little girls!) and there’s been a lot of really overwhelming information (especially since most have older kids and grew into it) but this blog has been super helpful and encouraging! It really helps that we are already doing a lot of this little stuff on our own (timer, sing a song of seasons, etc) and I love seeing how someone else puts it together! Thanks so much!!!

  17. Sara says:

    I love your prayer printable on your fridge! Do you have a download of it?

  18. Brigitte says:

    Thanks for the printable, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to set up up and this looks great! I also LOVE the prayer above it on your fridge! Did you make it too?

  19. Jen says:

    This is pure gold! I’m definitely going to give some of these tips a try, you might have just saved my sanity! 😍

  20. Jenna says:

    I absolutely love this! Your wording and everything has just lifted stress off my momma shoulders. Thank you for telling it how it is and making things seamless.
    Question: Do you have an editable printable for the “our morning time rhythm”, “high five and chore loop”, “bedtime routine”

  21. Amy says:

    Where did you get the prayer print that is on your fridge and also the prayer print by Sir Francis Drake. I searched the internet high and low and found nothing. I would love this for our homeschool space!!!

  22. sonia says:

    I would love to know where you got those clear bins for individual time?

  23. Natalie says:

    Love this! It even works with my family of littles. I replaced “individual time” and “together loop” with “free play/outing” and “preschool activity” 🙂 The kids get a kick out of the “High Five” chores and mom loves the looping housework. And Books and Coffee is a win for all! Thanks for the flexible, sustainable routine!

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