Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 10- Following Your Own Schedule

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Image courtesy of Baitong333 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I think I’ve made it abundantly clear so far in this series that I don’t miss a single thing about our public school days. Not one. Today’s topic will uncover one of my biggest pet peeves about those days- having to follow their schedule.

I realize that to most people this isn’t a big deal, and they pretty much accept that this is the way it’s supposed to be. However, adjusting a crew of kids as large as mine to the school schedule was more trouble than it was worth.

There are two aspects to the school schedule that just didn’t work for us- the set-up of the school year and the hours required to be there.

Deciding the Homeschool Year Based on Your Needs

When we began homeschooling, I had no idea what I was doing, so our school year mimicked the public school calendar. I soon discovered that it just wasn’t working for us. It was difficult to go for long periods of structured school without a break, and when the breaks finally came, they were often too long and ended up setting us back.

Around this time was when I discovered homeschool blogs and found one, in particular, that talked about the six-weeks on, one-week off homeschool year. I thought it was positively brilliant and immediately decided that that was the schedule for us. And, indeed, it has been a blessing. We all get a break every few weeks and our Christmas and summer breaks are long enough to count as “vacation time” but short enough that we don’t forget everything we did.

As my older kids have, well, gotten older, however, they began to express displeasure at the fact that their breaks didn’t completely coincide with their public schooled friends. Since they work primarily on their own, I agreed to let them follow a school year that more closely resembles that of our school district’s.

As of this moment, I have three kids who homeschool from August to May, and seven that homeschool year-round. So far it’s worked out amazingly well for us. The older kids are able to make more plans with their friends, while my younger kids have the structure that we all so desperately need. It’s a win-win situation.

Homeschooling allows us the opportunity to decide what is best for our family based on our needs, and our needs alone. No other choice of education can offer this.

 

Choosing Your Own Homeschool Hours

I positively detested getting up in the morning when my kids were in public school. The kids were cranky- especially the older kids who require more sleep- and the entire morning was a mad rush to get out the door on time. It never failed that no matter how diligent I was about getting everyone’s stuff ready the night before, we would inevitably wake up to missing shoes, missing homework, a missing hairbrush, and missing toothbrushes.

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Image courtesy of Bill Longshaw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The house would be a mess from frantically searching for everything we needed, and, shamefully, I walked the kids to school more than a few times feeling completely overwhelmed from an already horrible day and guilt-ridden for all of the shouting I had done.

Looking back, I can’t imagine how my kids must have felt being dropped off at school after a morning like that.

Then, after being in school all day, the kids would be expected to complete hours of homework on top of the seven hours they had spent in school. All too often our after-school time would be a replay of the morning.

Since homeschooling, we haven’t experienced anxiety even close to what we used to feel on our school mornings. Our mornings are laid back. The kids often watch Netflix for a little while in the morning, after which we straighten up together and have a leisurely breakfast. Our homeschool activities don’t start until around 10am (in our pajamas) and rarely last longet than 3-4 hours total for the seven youngest kids.

My teens typically wake up much later, unless it is their week to be my homeschool helper. As long as they’re awake to eat some lunch and help with our after-lunch chore time, I’m okay with that, since their school work is usually completed at night.

This works well for them because my older kids have always been night owls, especially my oldest daughter. When she was still in school, she would often only get about two hours of sleep at night because, try as she might, she could just never fall asleep until around 5am.

Our homeschool hours would probably horrify some parents, but that’s perfectly fine. As with choosing our homeschool calendar year, this aspect of it can also be completely molded to fit the individual family.

Every family is different, and there is no one right way to homeschool. As long as we keep that in mind, we’re bound to discover the homeschool schedule, approach, and routine that is right for us.

And if you ask me, that aspect of it (actually, every aspect) beats traditional schooling every. single. time.

 

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Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

21 thoughts on “Why Should We Homeschool?- Part 10- Following Your Own Schedule”

  1. When I think about the possibility of my children having to go back to school, I immediately think about mornings. Now, when we have to get up and be out of the house early, I make serious efforts to keep stress at low levels, even then, sometimes it just all explodes. But I still have time to apologize, reboot, turn it around. If I had to drop my babies off immediately after such an upsetting morning, I’d feel like such a failure. Not to mention kids circadian rhythms can fluctuate throughout their lives, but school hours don’t. So this is a big reason to homeschool in my book. Sleep is the most important thing we can do for our health and happiness. If we were institutional schooling, I know my night owl children and I would be sleep deprived and miserable.

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  2. I am so glad you are able to find two schedules that fit your children’s needs. I was an elementary school teacher before I had children, so it was extremely hard to break the traditional teacher/student scenario. I also had to break away from the expected education calendar. I think we have to break away from that to help us get out of the public school mindset. I have found that if you explore your kids’ interests as much as possible, that they get a thirst for knowledge, which is point, right? Thanks for sharing your journey, Shelley.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you read Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before? She explains there are 4 types of people, those who follow their own and other’s expectations (upholders), those who follow inner expectations but not outer (questioner), those who follow outer expectations and not inner (obligers) and those who refuse to follow any (rebels). It was after reading this that I realized I was a rebel and that was part of the reason I despise having to follow a public school schedule. And we only did every other day schooling for one year, for one child!

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    1. I’ll have to see if our library has that book. Our kids do some sort of work everyday. It’s the unit studies that we only do every other day. But I have heard of people who do it like you, too!

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    2. Yes! Love this book. She also has a youtube video explaining the book, if you can’t find it in the library. I didn’t want to link youtube on your blog, not sure the etiquette on that. Just search Gretchen Rubin. She also covers a lot of other subjects that I have found really helpful. Great suggestion!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Many years ago we used a six (or was it five?) weeks on and one week off school schedule. We didn’t stick with it, but we still spread out our school year quite a bit and keep doing some during the summer. We also start school pretty late in the morning and with a relaxed daily schedule, comparatively speaking. It is RARE that we start school before 9am, and fairly common to start around 10. Thanks for sharing this in the High School Lesson Book link-up!

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  5. I love our relaxed mornings together and being on our own schedule and time-frame. I never liked all the school rules and I never felt like I was respected as a parent. Great post as usual, Shelly.

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    1. I used to get really irked when my kids would miss school, and the schools wouldn’t accept the reason and would mark the absence as unexcused. I used to want to say, “These are MY children, not yours, and I will be the one who decides why my kids should stay home.”
      I will never forget when I was pregnant with my 6 yr old. My amniotic fluid was high,so I used to have to go in for monitoring twice a week. I used to take my daughter who was in kindergarten with me because she went in the afternoon, so I would drop her off afterwards. During one of the monitorings, the baby wasn’t reactive and they were concerned, so I had to stay for a while until the baby’s heart rate was satisfactory. I was all worked up and called the school. I explained that my daughter wouldn’t be in school because she was with me, and I explained my situation. The secretary just replied, “Just so you know, this will be an unexcused absence because the reason she’s missing doesn’t have to do with her.” I was fuming.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was so wrong! Of course the reason had to do with her. It’s called FAMILY! But government schools don’t respect parents and they don’t respect families. I just wish other parents could see what we see. So glad I woke up!

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  6. We too love the flexibility that comes with homeschooling! Living overseas, we often need to travel for visa purposes or conferences and I’m always so glad that I don’t have to juggle school schedules when those things come up! Thanks for sharing this at Lifelong Learners Link-Up Party at DesperateHomeschoolers.com!
    Tina

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