Saturday, September 3, 2011
Inspired by the Waldorf notion of daily, weekly, and seasonal rhythms, this chart shows the typical pattern of our days. The kids and I begin most days with reading books, playtime and baking. Then we get ready for our morning activities, including getting dressed and packing snacks. Each morning consists of some activity, usually loosely-structured and involving family members, friends, and the outdoors as much as possible.
Midday brings lunch and then nap time for my toddler and quiet time for my older daughter -- and mom! Then we usually read or play.
After quiet time and nap, we have a snack and prepare for an afternoon activity, followed by unstructured outside time for as long as possible, often including dinner outside. Finally, it's bath, books and bed.
Now, not every day moves this smoothly and we sometimes have hiccups or interruptions to these rhythms, but I find the most successful days for all of us follow the natural ebb-and-flow of calm periods, followed by active periods, followed again by calm, and so on. This allows for ample rest and reflection for all of us among the busy pace of our days.
These homeschool rhythms provide a sense of flow to our days and weeks, but we also do not feel fettered by them. For instance, if it's a rainy day on homeschool park day, we may go to a museum or the library or just stay home and do crafts. If we've been especially busy and I can sense we all need a break, we may skip a planned activity and recharge. Often if we seem a bit out-of-sorts, it can usually be attributed to a mixed-up rhythm without the calm-active-calm-active-calm cadence.
There is something comforting about these rhythms as we move from one season to the next, incorporating seasonal festivals and holidays into our weekly plans. They help us to capture the city's vitality in each new season, but remind us when to slow down too.