Sometimes people think unschooling is a bit of a free for all.  Let’s do what we want! Anytime! Anywhere!

Of course, it may work for some, but most definitely not for us.  I mean, don’t we all have our routines and things we would really like to be a certain way?  And don’t these things change over time as we change and grow as people? And with a larger average family, and the type of people we are, we just need at least some kind of regular routine.  I hate the idea of not being effective with our time.

With a young family, we are currently trying to get back into some kind of a balanced routine. The past couple of years have been a bit mad, hectic and stressful.  Often it’s like 2 steps forwards, 3 steps back!  We seem to be making progress though!

And just to clarify, a routine for us is not about exact times and exact things to be doing (unless we have a scheduled appointment/class).  It’s more about working with our natural and daily habits and constantly tweaking things until we feel we have a happy balance.

The things that we are doing or trying to do:

  • Think About Work Less - we run a growing business, mostly from home.  I find it incredibly hard to switch off.  Then I end up feeling guilty that I don’t focus more on home, the kids and myself. Then I give myself a hard time and become somewhat unhappy.  I then kick myself in the butt to get positive again so I can restart the cycle.  I’m aware I need to think about it less, and I am taking action towards that.
  • Finding me time: I’m simply not good at this.  Though I’m proud at the fact that I’ve kept up my running 2-3 times a week.  That really is my only me time I ever get.  I hate it when I neglect my unschooling activities and research.  I desperately want to be doing more of it. It always inspires and energises me.  But other things keep pulling me away.  Now that I have childcare help on Mondays (#happyrosie!), I can spend time on my unschooling blog/writing/activities instead of working away into the night. Yay.
  • Finding one on one time: with each of the kids, and my husband. We spend alot of time together, but not always enough doing things one on one.  I have so many things I’d like to be doing with my children!  I often become quite unhappy with myself when I literally don’t get the chance to do things with them.
  • Finding childcare and home help: we’ve struggled with this the most. We’ve had let down after let down with nannies, it’s incredibly infuriating.  To the extent that we just gave up. We currently have a cleaner that comes once a week and now our youngest (not quite 2 yet) goes to a childminder for 3 days a week.  It’s hard to any get work done or spend any one on one time with the others when she’s around. We hope it is for the best!  In a year she will most likely start at a local Montessori nursery that all her older brothers have attended.
  • Defining our rules: we don’t sit down and say, ‘right, these are the rules!’.  It’s more of a case of working with each other as a family, adapt, growing and understanding each others needs.  Things are always changing. Kids start doing new things. Other things come to a natural end. Typically we draw the line somewhere when one of us gets stressed out about something 🙂

I don’t know how others feel, but during our almost 4 year journey of unschooling I don’t think we’ve ever felt like we’ve achieved a routine that we feel we will stick with.  It’s not because we are miserable failures (!), but it’s more a case of that life just goes on and our family, needs and desires constantly change so we find ourselves adapting in the forever attraction of happiness and balance!