Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Homeschooling: Flexible Scheduling

I love having a flexible schedule in my home school endeavors. There hasn't been too much in the way of school going on at my house for the last couple of weeks due to us taking a mid-winter break and then sickness set in with all of my kids. I have decided to just take an easy this week and allow the kids to heal and just relax, hopefully we will be able to get back into the full swing of things next week with a renewed excitement for school! Having this time off has reminded me of a post that I wrote as a contributing article at Happy to be Home, enjoy the following post of how I work my homeschool with flexible scheduling.

As parents, we should be raising and training our children every day, and for my family that also includes making sure that they are learning the 3 R’s. So when I am asked about my yearly school schedule, my reply is that homeschooling occurs every day of the year, whether we are using curriculum books or not.
When I first started homeschooling, I tried to follow the local public schools’ schedule because my hubby wanted me to emulate at home what the area schools were doing every day. However, following that schedule didn’t leave any room for days to run errands or to just have a break from the daily grind. I even found that it was a bit awkward to follow with our way of life. So after the first year, I decided that I would do my own schedule and include some of the same days off as the public schools so that my kids were able to play with their friends in the neighborhood as well as provide plenty of days of actual school-based learning.
My schedule became very different from the public schools! We went to a four-day week of actual school work. We did our school work Monday through Thursday and that left Friday as “life skills day” or “home ec day” or take daddy to work so that we could have the car; in other words housecleaning, errands, and appointments got done in one day with the kids’ help whether they wanted to or not. We started at the beginning of August and went until Memorial Day with several breaks along the way.Our start was a slow one! I started with a couple of subjects and worked up to the full load by the end of August. This way they could still play outside with friends in the nice weather.
After that second year, I learned that flexibility was the key in schedule making. Now before we start a new year I take the time to tweak our schedule. Each year’s schedule gets tweaked just a bit differently based on what that year might hold for us! For instance, the years that a baby was born into the family look very different from when there was a toddler running around! During those “baby school years” there is an earlier start date to make up for the six weeks (at least) around delivery dates where there is no school work done. Six weeks is about what it takes for me to get back into the “groove” with a new baby in the house!
This year’s schedule is different from last year’s in that there is no baby being born. On the other hand, I do have a toddler in the house and I have my oldest doing junior high level work which he can, for the most part, do independently. I have made our schedule such where we have 6 weeks of school and then a week break from the school books. This schedule has allowed us to do other fun activities like crafts that we would normally not get a chance to do otherwise. At Thanksgiving time through January 5th, we had a 6 week break which was considered half of our summer break. We will take the other half of our summer break starting in the middle of June.
I also adopted a five day school week with 4 hours per day of actual school work for this school year. I have found that this method has helped me to get household chores done with the kids’ help. Having this schedule has also helped in being able to choose which day to have appointments and do my grocery shopping—I don’t have to feel pressured to have it all done in one day! I can choose to spread out the appointments over the week or have them all on one day. I really have enjoyed this schedule so much that I might try it again for next year.
I found that my approach to developing my schedule is that schooling my children is much more than getting through curriculum books. It is also growing our relationships, training them God’s way, learning life skills, and even having some fun. So if we get behind in the school work there is always another day to pick up the book and do the work.
And I always remember that flexibility is the key to success!

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1 comment:

Erin said...

I love the flexibility that homeschooling allows, in so many ways. Its a beautiful thing! :-)