Open any book on habits and sooner or later (sooner, in most cases) you will come across the admonition to “be consistent.”
Then will follow reminders to wake up earlier and “eat that frog” earlier in the day. And perhaps a reminder or two to join an accountability group to stay on track.
There’s only one problem with this advice: it may not work with your personality. But that’s only a problem if you let it be one.
Consistent doesn’t mean daily
When scheduling our homeschooling, I make sure to leave time for goofing off. I do this because I know I need it as much as the children do. And even with that we find ourselves dumping the schedule and running off to play on some days.
When I check out books from the library, I include some that look interesting, but I do not put restrictions on myself to read them all. I know I will quit some after the first fifty pages because they don’t hold my interest.
At any given time, I have about five or six obsessions running through my head. My current ones are writing, frugality, reading history, brushing up on the two foreign languages I know and working on Latin.
But I don’t practice these daily. In fact, the moment I try to establish some sort of a schedule to be able to “be more consistent” with these interests, they become a little tiring.
What I’m Not Saying
I’m not saying everything in your homeschool has to be the result of passion. And I’m certainly not mouthing platitudes such as “follow your bliss.”
But I am making the point that it’s okay to relax a little when it comes to scheduling your children in their endeavors. Consider longer timelines – weeks, months, years. Not days. As long as something gets done over a month, don’t worry about the day to day work.
Most interests tend to be cyclical. Your desire for consistency does not need to take on the mantle of a dictatorship to be fruitful.
My daughter will eventually come back to cartooning and writing, even if she takes a break from it for a few days. I’m certainly not going to ask her to do it everyday. Yes, she loves it, but if I force her to pursue that interest in a top-down way, she might just grow to hate it. I know I would.
While scheduling for passions and interests, be sure to leave room and time, not appointments and programs.
Consistency doesn’t always look consistent. And it certainly doesn’t have to be daily to be effective.