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.
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.