My Life as a Homeschool Parent (every day is different)
Plan your day to day homeschool life to be as flexible as possible.
The vast majority of homeschool guides and blogs tell you to start the day early. Do not make homeschool every day; Make sure you incorporate plenty of activities, quiet time, and family time.
.. But what happens when this does not work for your family?
I usually have multiple appointments throughout the week, each with a commute time between five minutes to one hour, and my husband works very long hours. If this is the same for you, you have to accept that a conventional "early start to the day" is probably not what's best. For us, no two days a week; or even a few days look the same.
There are many families out there who can start the day early, with every day following the same pattern and the errands quickly incorporated into the homeschool curriculum. While I would love this for my situation, it does not.
Time for change
It was not until after a very sudden, very chaotic move to another state due to my husband's job that I had no choice but to re-evaluate things.
Shortly after moving, I was able to attend my first homeschool convention. I found myself talking to a vendor who was also working as a homeschool parent. I did not know what made me open to her and confessed all my stresses and concerns, but I did, and it was the best thing. She too had been through a multitude of changes. She looked at me and asked me why I thought I should do it like everyone else?
She further explained that we all have the flexibility that we allow ourselves, and that we have to find what works for us. I knew this for a while, but having another homeschool parent tell me this is what finally broke into my head and made me realise that not only could I change but that it was okay to do so.
Education around family working hours
Today, I do what works for my family, because of our non-school related life is often varied. Learning at home should be flexible enough to work around employment schedules and doctor appointments. Our plan is vastly different than it was when we started, and everyone is so much happier for it.
My son gets up around 11 am to start his day. He still gets all his work done and has the energy to participate in many more activities than he was when we were starting early every morning. He does sometimes go to bed later than usual to be able to spend time as a family. To me, this is extremely important.
Do what is right for you!
Next year will be our first year using a purchased curriculum. We will also be in a new state with different subjects and stipulations required. But, now that I'm over the theory that we have to start our day early, I feel we better prepared for the new school year and our family is much happier.
Being flexible means planning ahead
Here are my go-to topics when planning for the week ahead. I generally use a traditional approach. Preparing for the week ahead is an incredibly individual task, and comes down to your personality and style. It helps to form the basis of my planning.
Nature study - we're currently dissecting a dead bug.
Reading and writing - reading time to stop, pause, reflect and write.
Music - My son loves time signatures, counting the beat with a consistent pattern.
Numbers and games - next week our focus is money (physical and digital cash).
Art - painting and drawing to express movement and emotion. We love getting creative.
Technology - incorporating technology into learning is excellent. I'm planning to include YouTube to help research pig facts next week.
Festival and seasonal crafts - this works well with art. At least once a week I plan to embrace different cultures around the world.
Cooking and eating - once again this blends in nicely with cultures and races, and this especially works well when connecting food to different countries.
Physical Education and Science - we are currently exercising to make our heart stronger.
Recording and reflection - taking time to reflect on learning helps reinforce knowledge and understanding.
What works for me is to incorporate many cross-curricular activities into one session. It helps to achieve learning goals in a very relaxed but flexible homeschool environment.
My situation has changed and evolved as a parent, and as my son grows, I've become more comfortable as the facilitator of learning with more experience. I hope you find strength in experimenting what works for you.
Rory is an experienced full-time educator. She's passionate about learning, often networking on social media to help others.
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