Rhythms of Our Day

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There are certain habits that make homeschooling or running a home daycare easier, and one of those things is using daily rhythms to structure our day for success.

Different than a schedule, a daily rhythm flows and is easily adjustable based on that day’s interests, unexpected events, and everyone in the home’s temperaments. While I share our daily rhythm here, this post explains why you should implement a daily rhythm.

Why you should implement a daily rhythm in your home for the kids, rather than a schedule for kids - insights from a psychologist and Montessori teacher

Rhythms are a concept taken from the Waldorf philosophy; the day is structured into periods of “breathing in” and “breathing out,” meaning that there are times that the child is encouraged to participate in a structured activity or routine, such as preparing lunch or listening to a story, before being encouraged to then have unstructured playtime (or independent work time) in his or her prepared environment.

Focusing on rhythm, and not a strict, scheduled structure, can allow for days to be creative and distinct, without creating upset or unpredictability. Rhythm can be integrated into travel and special events to ensure a more positive experience for parent and child.

The transitions between breaths are gentle and should follow the child’s cues whenever appropriate – watching for non-verbal communications from the child to either prolong, change up, or end an activity can help ensure that rhythm guides the day. For example, if your child is wriggling and not engaged in story time, we should reflect on what is missing for the child: is the tale of interest to the child? Are you simply reading or actively creating the story? Is there something in the environment that is distracting the child? Is there an activity the child would rather be doing, that would allow them to later focus on the story?

Rather than using a clock or timers (which, though they may have their place, many educators believe create tension in the room as both parties wait for the abrasive intrusion to jostle them to attention), instead we can use a subtle indicator such as a transitioning song, lighting a candle, or, using a gentle instrument such as wind-chimes to help change the mood and ease the transition.

Breaths out are equally as important as the breaths in, as it is during “rest” that we can really absorb and reflect on the information that we received during the activity, and because play in a prepared environment allows for sensory exploration, creativity, and engagement, amongst other benefits. If self-correcting learning materials (such as Montessori materials) are provided in the prepared environment, the child can freely explore those items as well.

Also, focusing on rhythm allows for parents to build homeschooling into the day, as a natural occurrence. Learning is spread throughout the day, allowing the child to recover and engage as desired, while still ensuring that learning objectives are achieved within a realistic timeframe. This wonderfully allows parents to not feel that they must transition between “roles” during “homeschooling hours,” and instead just allows parents to facilitate learning activities just as they would facilitate bath time.

Why you should implement a daily rhythm in your home for the kids, rather than a schedule for kids - insights from a psychologist and Montessori teacher

What do you think? Do you use rhythms or schedules in your home?

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    1. Thanks, Tia! We have several Waldorf books plus the K-gr3 curriculum if you ever want to look through them. Its based in the anthroposophy movement, and the founder is Rudolph Steiner — if that helps with the search results 🙂

  1. Great post, I really agree. The breathing in and breathing out activities are so important to understand as they are very different for children – i.e. what adults perceive as a breathing in exercise is often more of a breathing out for children.

  2. This is a great concept. When I was a new Mom, we had a definite schedule and it flipped our world upside down when something went off track. Now I have definitely relaxed into what you call a rhythm, and life is so much easier all around!

  3. This a great way to look at the flow of activities in a day. Thank you for linking your post to the Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop! 🙂

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