Family Rhythms: The Instrument to Support your Self-Directed Learner at Home
In the past months, I got deep into a couple of topics. I’ve been reading about connecting and family relationships.
If you’re like me, you are fascinated by all the nuances of family life and raising kids. You might also be interested to learn how these relationships impact our passion for learning.
Ultimately, I want to ask...
...Can we build a family rhythm that supports and encourages self-directed education?
How to foster life skills for self-directed learning
Establishing a family rhythm provides opportunities for connection and closeness.
In these changing times, it's increasingly important to create anchors for our children. We need to provide them with moments in their days that bring them comfort and reassurance.
A rhythm is a simple way to share your interests and passions and to learn more from each other. (And when I say family rhythm, I don’t mean everything set by the clock.)
The family rhythm is unique for every family. It starts with your favorite things to do together that bring you joy and inspiration.
We are raising learners, who are in charge of discovering and organizing their own and unique style. With the mindset for self-directed education, it is important to include everyone. Everyone gets to choose the activities that go in the family rhythm.
How to build a family rhythm with self-directed learners
A fun way is to bring the whole family to the kitchen table and jot down how often you would like to do certain things. Every member gets to share what they want to do with the rest of the family and how often. Like this, you all create this unique plan for connecting and learning.
Here are few ideas to consider:
- Having a meal together every day
- Sharing reading time: read aloud or independently
- Having a family movie night
- Writing evening journals together
- Working on your weekly schedules together every Sunday
- Going out on an adventure every Saturday
- Cycling/ swimming/ running every morning/evening
- Poetry time
- Discussions on a topic over dinner
- Pancake Saturday/Sunday
- Project time
- Board games evening
- Time for arts
- Checking the news together
When you are ready with your list, start by choosing one activity. You don’t want to have too many things to fit in your days and schedules. Once the chosen activity becomes part of your daily routine then you can introduce the next one.
Two instruments to help you navigate your self-directed days
In my family, we use few tools that help us plan our days and share our plans with the other members. I find these instruments great for supporting the self-directed activities of my children. Now they’re also part of our daily rhythm.
The first strategy is our morning meeting. We have a chat every morning over breakfast, and everyone gets a turn to share their plans for the day.
The kids share...
- work and study plans in their schedules
- any planned activities
- any need for support or materials
- chores or preparing meals
It is a great way to start our day and also a great way to connect. We all know what the others will be doing during the day. Usually, writing down our plans on a sticky note and putting it at the fridge door acts as a reminder too.
With the morning meetings for us adults, it’s easier to navigate and plan our work. For the children - it’s an excellent opportunity to learn how to plan their day, listen and support each other, and follow up on what they have planned.
The second instrument is the community board. We use it when we have challenges in the family - something that needs discussing or we need to make a decision. The community board is a tool that helps everyone to feel listened to and their opinion respected.
Once a week, on a set day, we get together. We share if we have a problem that needs to be resolved or any challenges that may come up, and work out how to deal with it. Popular topics have been:
- Screen time
- A child wanting to learn something and not sure where to start
- Work versus family project time
- The best time for reading aloud
- Working out holiday plans
We all share our thoughts on the discussed topic and write down all the ideas that come out. Then we agree on one or a few things that we can try and set a time for the trial period if one applies.
In the next meeting, we discuss how things are going and if we are all happy with the idea in practice. If things aren’t working, we go back to the brainstorming session. When we have an approach that’s useful for our family, it becomes part of our routine.
Using this tool has equipped my children with skills that support them while they self-manage their learning. Skills like:
- thinking outside the box
- knowing that there is always a way
- respect for other people’s opinions and thoughts
- reflecting on emotions, decisions, and actions
- presenting their ideas
- supporting and understanding each other
So if I have to put it in a nutshell: building and supporting a family rhythm helps practice self-directed education.
It encourages connection, sharing, learning together, reflection, thinking forward, and so much more.
The rhythm you create as a family will be your unique daily plan. It will change often so that reflects your new practices, interests, and values.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to self-directed learning. It is personalized and perfect for your specific needs or lifestyle.
Bobby is a Galileo Parent and seasoned in the self-directed lifestyle. She and her family live in Bulgaria and practice SDE at home to complement their children’s education with Galileo.