January 20, 2017

When can I homeschool? Anytime!

When can I homeschool? Anytime!
Yesterday, Tina spoke to you about "required hours".  Today, I want to speak to you about when you can homeschool. Do I have to follow the (public) school calendar? Do I have to do school from  9 am to 3 pm? Do I have to homeschool on Monday -Friday; or can we homeschool on Saturday and Sunday too?

Homeschooling is a lifestyle choice and like all lifestyle choices there is no right or wrong way. It's about doing what works for your family and your personal philosophies. For some, like Tina, that may mean homeschooling on a 12 month schedule starting in January and ending in December. Others might choose to do a 12 month schedule, but instead of going by the calendar months they choose to do something like Aug to July. Then you have homeschoolers, like me, that choose to follow a more traditional school schedule were we homeschool Aug/Sept to May/June and take a couple of month off in the summer.

Seeing homeschooling is a lifestyle you will also find that some homeschoolers are on a very strict schedule were they get up, do these subjects during these hours. Some are more the go with the flow type -- we school when we school -- the free going type.  Others choose to not have a rigid schedule  or be whatever man, but more of a routine type. Where they have schedule they follow, but it's not linked to specific times, and they change things up based on what's going on.

Many choose to homeschool around their husband's work schedule -- so while they may homeschool all 12 months they do school only on Tuesdays - Saturdays, because their husband is off of work on Sundays and Mondays. Or they may choose to have a schedule where they are up as a family until midnight, often doing school work in the evening, because hubby works 3rd shift and it's better for the household to be sleeping when daddy is home sleeping too.

I already mentioned I am an August/September to May/June homeschooler, but I have not been a just between the hours of 9 am - 3 pm homeschooler or just on Monday-Fridays.  My husband for the majority of our homeschooling career has worked for the same company, but he has not always worked the same hours/days.

There was a period of time where he worked from 11 am to 7 pm (gone form 10 am to 8 pm). You guess it: we did school after dad left -- which meant often not starting school until after noon or 1 pm.  We sometimes would do something right at 10 am, but often we found it better to wait until after lunch.  Dad didn't always leave right at 10 am, sometimes it wasn't until 10:30  and by the time he left we were looking at 1-2 hours before lunch time (11:30/noon) so instead of starting and breaking so soon for lunch we just waited until after lunch to do school work and maybe spent that hour doing some chores.

Then there was the period of time when hubby worked from 7 pm to 3 am.  We didn't wait until 7 pm but we did wait until late afternoon for school. The kids during that time would go to bed about 11 pm and would wake up, with me, at around 10 am.  We spent the morning just chilling, watching TV, maybe some chores. I would cook a large dinner type meal -- so I was using that time to prep for the meal, cooking so that by the time 2 pm rolled around we would eat.  My husband would get up around noon to 1 pm. We would eat as a family and the kids would spend a little bit of time with him, before they went to their studies.  They did their studies, we would eat a light late dinner -- watch some TV and they would go to bed.  The later bedtime and later wake up time help the house be quieter for hubby -- seeing the whole house was sleeping the same time as him.

Besides working school around my husband's work schedule I also went through a period of time, when my husband worked first shift hours (9 am - 5 pm), where I schooled one child in the morning and one child in the afternoon. The kids needed more one on one with me and I was tired from bouncing back and forth between them both. While we used much of the same materials they didn't work on the same subject at the same time. Sometimes they shared the text so that meant one was working with it while the other worked on something else. Or they didn't want to do that right then.  Even though I have been more of the type where we school during these hours, even if they are not traditional hours, I am not the micro manager type were we do English from x to y or math from a to b.  I'm more of the type school needs to be done, here is your list of what needs to be done, you choose what to do. As long as it get check off and is completed I don't care what order you do it in.

The point is that when we do school it's flexible and I have found that many homeschoolers hold to that same flexibility. Yes, I have a general routines and general rules that are followed even to this day, but I am not strict about time and maintaining a strict schedule.  We roll with life.  I will assign task based on what I know is going on that day.  For example days we go to homeschool group or have doctor appointments most likely will have less book work assigned then days we are staying home.  I plan our course work around activities: homeschool group, field trips, play dates, doctor appointments, grocery shopping, etc.  (And remember even if no book work was done it often still counts as school)

We also don't always stay home! Sometimes a change of scenery is good too. Granted if you have a lot of children it might be more difficult to take school on the road.  However, there is nothing wrong with taking school to the park.  Nice weather days -- that's a real treat -- especially if you have younger ones. They can play on the play ground while your older ones do school work, or your older ones could even get a break from the books to play a bit.  Or bad weather days and indoor play place. Even if your kids are passed the age of playing a change of scenery is nice: coffee shop, fast food joint, library, etc. It's nice sometimes to just take school on the road.

In closing, homeschooling is a lifestyle. There is no right or wrong way to do it and no right or wrong time to homeschool. It's about figuring out what works for your family. Establishing a routine, schedule, or habits that work for your family. Do what works for you! What works for you, might not work for others and that's okay! 

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