Sunday, August 3, 2008

Homeschool Can Take Place Anytime

One of the great thing about homeschooling is that we can set our own schedule. We can have school any day of the week and any time of the day that works. Some choose to work their school time around dad's work schedule, especially if dad works an unusual schedule. Some take advantage of their children's sleeping/waking personalities and teach the morning person in the morning and the night owl later when they are ready to face the day. Many chose a four day schedule, saving the fifth for errands, play dates, co-ops, and field trips. If it works for you, you can do it.

Up until this year, we have followed a somewhat traditional schedule of doing school during the day Monday through Friday. The biggest difference between what we did and what public schools do is that we usually started late as neither my daughter nor I are morning people. We also dropped school anytime we wished to run errands or enjoy a field trip. In the past, we took part in a co-op that was more a giant play date than a learning opportunity. We enjoyed the flexibility.

As my oldest gets older, however, I feel a stronger need to get more serious with our studies. The material is getting harder, there's more to cover, and we need to start getting used to having a schedule. High school, while still four years away, feels like it is just around the corner. I'd rather transition slowly than have the shock of going from super relaxed to oh-my-gosh there's so much to do. With that in mind, I've created a schedule where certain subjects will be covered on certain days rather than haphazardly like it has been in the past. In the past, the only thing we were guaranteed to do on a regular basis was language arts and math; everything else was fit in whenever we happened to have time. We are proof that you don't have to be organized to begin or to succeed at homeschooling. But like I said, that needs to change eventually; at least, for us it does.

So, I've been trying to create a schedule when exactly when these subjects would fit into the day. I read Managers of Their Homes. Much of it made sense; some of it I ignored because it just doesn't fit in with our beliefs. I created a schedule and put it on the wall for when school began. And then I began to doubt it. I wasn't happy with the schedule I created. The kids didn't have enough play time for my tastes. I felt stressed just thinking about how my day was going to play out. It was doomed before it began.

Then I came up with an idea. It is this idea that we will be testing out when we start school this week. You see, I had planned a traditional school day leaving all of my kids' play time for the evening hours. I don't like that for many reasons: in Washington days are very short in the winter meaning they wouldn't have much time outside, my husband needs quiet time to work in the evenings so the kids can't really play indoors either, and we usually don't allow them much computer time that close to bed so they can't do that either. So what can they do with their play time but sit and be bored watching TV or do some reading? That's a problem for a mom who wants her kids to have time to be kids

So, what are we going to try instead? We are going to try doing half of our school work at night after dinner. That will give daddy some quiet time to do work he needs to do and will occupy those evening hours for the kids. It will also leave most of the day free for playing indoors and out without concern about the volume level. We will also be free to run off and enjoy an outing without worrying about getting behind in their book work. I'm also scheduling a very light day of nonessential subjects on Monday so we can have that day free for errands and grocery shopping. It sounds wonderful. I'm hoping it works out.

So, how do you schedule your school day? Do you follow a traditional schedule or do you something different?

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Angela DeRossett said...

I love the flexibility of homeschooling. Sounds like you've got something that will really work well for your family. I always love it when local schools reconvene and we have the local pool all to ourselves for at least another month! We do schoolwork in the hottest parts of the day.