One of my favorite homeschool sayings really applies to all moms.
“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not break.”
~ Heidi St. John
Oh so true! We’re undergoing another change in our homeschooling. We’ve found that a morning-only schedule doesn’t work right now because of commitments during the first half of the day that we’re unwilling to give up at this point. So I must sit down, pray, and brainstorm with hubby a loose schedule and strategy that will better serve our needs.
It’s ok. We’re flexible like that. (As Heidi would say.)
Being too rigid in your homeschooling is sure to lead to burnout and frustration. And you just might break. How can you be more flexible?
Don’t try to lock yourself into a public school schedule. One great thing about homeschooling is that you can tailor the schedule to fit your needs! Here are some things to try:
- Year-round homeschooling
- Sabbath schedule (6 weeks of school, seventh week off)
- Afternoon school work
- Block scheduling (a topic or two assigned to each day of the week)
I’m talking about daily and weekly routine here. What your family does each day as their morning, afternoon, and evening routine should complement their needs and fit your rhythm of life.
We have breakfast, Bible time, acts of service, and lessons (or an outside commitment) in the mornings. Playtime and other tasks happen in between, and then we break for lunch. Every. Single. Day.
Weekly routines can help you make sure you’re doing all the important stuff instead of getting distracted. For example, we have date nights on Mondays, Mom’s work nights on Tuesdays, hospitality night on Fridays, etc. Homeschool should work around these routines or become a part of them.
We often go into a new school year with super high expectations, often set by looking around and seeing what others are doing. I don’t know many homeschoolers who don’t fall into this trap early on. But as each year passes, I’m learning what reasonable expectations look like given my personality, my kids’ personalities and needs, our family priorities, etc.
Some days (weeks, months) we need to relax our expectations and remember that the key to successful homeschooling is really a focus on Christ. If I’ve done that for the day, everything else is gravy.
Flexible Definition of “School”
Sitting down at a table, doing a unit study, going on a scheduled field trip, a well-planned and successful science project… the things a homeschool mama’s dreams are made of. *snicker*
But there are days (weeks, months) where our personal definition of “school” should change for the sanity and benefit of all.
- Field trip = Grocery store, library, park, walk to the mailbox
- Music/Bible/Memory Work = CDs in the car
- Life Skills = Chores, problem solving, biblical character and relationships, money management
- Everything = Read read read!
- Unit study = Don’t waste water (stewardship), standing in the bathtub is foolish (gravity), soap stings the eyes (chemistry), violent splashing is inconsiderate (character), how many bath toys are not chewed up (math), how people took baths on Little House (history, literature), not bathing is gross (hygiene).
Flexibility is good! It’s a major contributing factor to the sanity I still have. And yet, we do need to have some kind of structure and predictability. At least, I do! I can be so fickle sometimes, flitting from one curriculum or idea to another, that using my planner as a flexible tool and not getting too lax is something I am always working on.
So mama, how can you keep your homeschooling flexible?