You’re probably pretty shocked right now, homeschool WITHOUT a schedule! Is that even possible?
Look at the Week
In our family, a daily schedule would be pointless, wake up times vary depending on what we did the day or night before. The variation in what we do each day, including co-op and field trips, makes every day different.
However, we do tend to have a pretty set weekly schedule. Monday and Friday are our days out at co-ops, and it makes an excellent beginning and end to the week. That then leaves me three days to take field trips, catch up on laundry and housework, and do the more routine homeschooling tasks.
I tend to look at the week ahead and make a mental map of what I would like to accomplish. This past week was exceptionally busy with two days being filled with visits to the science and art museums. So by having this in my mind before the week even starts, I know that it will mostly be an experience week and not so much of the nitty gritty homeschooling. However, the week ahead is more open, and I envision us tackling some of those more mundane homeschool activities like phonics and math.
By focusing on the week and not a single daily schedule, I’m better able to manage my time and outlook surrounding what we accomplish and where we direct our energies.
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Look at the Month
So looking at the week is my more close up view, but I also take another step back and look at the month. October and November are always busy months with a break in activities finally coming around Thanksgiving. Fortunately, both co-ops we participate in take all of December off; this gives us time to tackle some of the larger homeschool projects we would like to complete. It also provides me the needed break I require to recharge my batteries.
So this year, I’m looking at our time between Thanksgiving and Christmas and planning where we would like to focus. At this point, I’m thinking maybe a Bravewriter project or two for the younger girls and some serious attention to math for the older ones.
Looking at the month is really about managing expectations. Is it a busy month where time at home will be devoted to life maintenance or a slower month where we can focus some attention on basic skills?
Look at the Year
This year I recognized we were taking on a substantial commitment by attending 5+ hours of co-op on Monday and another four hours of music on Friday followed by more co-op time. My reasoning was if we’re out of the house for three or fours hours, what’s one or two more? I also appreciate that both days have activities for all of my children. I don’t think I could manage different children with different activities every day of the week.
With our Mondays and Fridays already being determined, that left the other three weekdays to focus on those long-range goals. By knowing my yearly goal for them, I can make the best choice on what to do when we sit down together.
By knowing what they want to accomplish, I can better manage our time so they can focus on their goals. My oldest has set a lofty goal for NaNoWriMo, and I know that needs to be a big focus for her this November. If I had every day pre-scheduled for her, she would have a lot less flexibility to accomplish her goal of writing a novel.
What I love most about approaching our homeschool in this manner is that it gives me the flexibility to make adjustments. There is room for life and all it brings.
Maybe I’m just lazy, but I’m also realistic.
I can write down on a schedule that read aloud time is every day at 9:30, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen and when it doesn’t happen I just feel like a failure. Maybe it occurs at 9:45, 10:00, or even at two in the afternoon, but my bigger goal is that it happens, not the time it happens.
Don’t Feel Bad
All this to say, if you thrive and feel better when you have a daily schedule, then by all means do. However, if you feel like a detailed schedule turns homeschooling into drudgery and gives you a feeling of failure, don’t.
A schedule isn’t necessary to successfully homeschool.
Doing the time (180 days for 6+ hours) doesn’t guarantee an education.
Following a schedule doesn’t mean you’re doing it “right.”
Do it your way, that’s why you homeschool.
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