Monday, January 24, 2011

Shake-up Time

Routine is a very, very good thing. Without it, I’m pretty much lost. I may not have a color-coded flow chart to follow each day, but there is always a schedule, a routine, a way-things-have-to-work. I consider routine to be a powerful educational tool—for learning new skills on the violin, for teaching my kids how to read, write, and do math, for keeping us on track with school and chores. Routine is how I carve out time to read and write, as well as make meals and do laundry. If you interfere with my routine, I get twitchy, and grumpy, and rather difficult to deal with.

But breaking routine is powerful, too. I don’t do it easily, but I’m usually glad when I give in and let it happen. Friday was a day we found it necessary to throw out our schedule and devote to getting ready for the Science Fair the next day. Even though we had had it on our radar, and even though we worked and prepared steadily towards that day, things did not go as planned. We needed a cram day. And it was beautiful! It was an amazing day—relaxed, but focused, full of good, hard work and inspired learning. We even had an extended read-aloud, lingering over lunch to finish an amazing book before getting back to work. I can’t tell you how much I wish every day could be like Friday. If every day were like that, I wouldn’t ever pause to weigh my answer when people ask me why I homeschool, or if it’s going well, or how long I will do it.

This time of year, when it’s cold and gray and stale-feeling, strikes me as a great time for shaking things up a little. So I’m curious—how do you break up your routine? What do you find refreshing, or inspiring, or just plain necessary for your family or your violin studio or life in general?

For our part, I love deciding to devote a bigger chunk of time to a read-aloud. Or doing a big, messy art project. Sometimes we dance. Or drop everything to read the magazine that came in the mail. I’m looking forward to making valentines this year, and decorating cookies. What about you?


  1. Once in a great while, for my violin students who are able to, I break our routine of scales, etudes and hearing their main repertoire to sight read fun, usually sight-readable violin duets, or something else fun for violin and piano (since I accompany all my students on piano, usually). I love seeing the look of relief on their faces (haha) when I suggest this on occasion, and they have so much fun doing it, too. I'm amazed, too at how much harder they try for a good sound when I sit at the piano to accompany them--accompaniment is a powerful thing!

  2. Yes--that's a good one I need to pull out more. It can be easy to spend a lot of time working and drilling, and just playing sometimes is so much fun!

  3. I keep coming back and re-reading this post. I'm a big routine person, too, (even to the color-coded schedule! ha!) and I'm thinking we need a little shake up over here! Thanks for the reminder. . .


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