A flexible homeschool schedule (sometimes thought of as a hybrid of eclectic homeschooling and relaxed homeschooling) is one of the biggest benefits of a homeschool program and learning at home because a homeschool curriculum and homeschool students are not one size fit all the same! Homeschooling flexibility will differentiate your at home education from public school and help you balance real life with learning at home, which leads to success!
USING A FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE
How is homeschooling flexible?
Homeschooling is flexible because you don’t have to follow a particular curriculum or courses for a specific amount of time. Homeschool parents have the ability to choose how and what their children learn and create custom schedules that will work for their kids and within their family’s lifestyle. In flexible homeschooling, you look at the tasks for a child and not due dates or calendar-based deadlines or goals.
What is relaxed homeschooling?
Relaxed homeschooling takes advantage of a flexible homeschool schedule. Relaxed homeschooling doesn’t see learning as “school,” but instead uses different learning resources to meet the needs of the family. Some people see relaxed homeschooling as unschooling, or child-led learning.
READ THIS NEXT: Relaxed homeschooling vs unschooling
What is eclectic homeschooling?
Eclectic homeschooling is homeschool method or model where a family uses multiple learning learning tools instead of one homeschool curriculum to accomplish their educational goals. This can include multiple homeschool classes, online courses, and even outside of the home courses and activities. Eclectic homeschoolers often follow a relaxed schedule.
How do I make a daily schedule for homeschooling?
Every homeschooling schedule is a customizable homeschool schedule! You can create flexible homeschool programs simply by leaving open time in your schedule or even blocking out time in your homeschool planner and not being bound by calendars and strict deadlines.
To make a daily schedule for homeschool:
- Review the subjects that need to be covered for each student and plan what subjects will be covered on which days.
- Group subjects for all ages when you can (Bible is a good example).
- Add in your outside the home classes and extra curricular activities.
- Don’t pack an entire day with 8 hours of sitting at a desk and working on a workbook!
- Work on your children’s natural time clocks. If they like to sleep in, get started a little later in the day!
- Block out free time on your schedule to allow for flexibility.
If you are not utilizing homeschooling flexibility, you are missing out on one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling! It could be the key to your homeschooling success!
Before we get into creating a relaxed learning environment, I want you to hang tight a minute while I tell you a story of something that happened to show me the importance of homeschool flexibility.
PIN TO SAVE FOR LATER
How we started flexible home school (and a mix of eclectic homeschooling / unschooling)…
One cold homeschooling morning we woke up and turned on the TV.
It was during the winter Olympics and the first thing we did in the morning was catch up on what we missed while we were sleeping.
But, in the process of scrolling through the channels, we ran across a documentary on Abraham Lincoln’s lifeand my daughter said, “Oooo! Can we watch this?”
We had slept in a little (because we HAD stayed up late watching the ice skating competition).
We planned to spend a few hours at the library, not only on books, but also on a big writing project we’re working on together.
Then, she had Spanish.
On top of that, it was raining, which adds a little more challenge some days to everything outside of the home.
I hesitated some more.
How would we watch this documentary AND get her other items completed AND spend an extended period of time at the library working on the writing project AND get to Spanish on time (with possible rain traffic delays)?
And then it hit me: Where’s my flexible homeschool schedule?
Wasn’t my whole goal of homeschooling to encourage a love of learning and add a homeschool curriculum that fits around our schedule?
What I was doing was the thing I do occasionally when the house is a mess and I have work project deadlines hovering and I feel like my kid isn’t schooling enough.
My control freak self feels control slipping away and I start to tighten my grip and freak about, well, everything.
So what if we didn’t make it to the library?
(There are five other days we can go and it’s only 10 minutes from our house.)
And, that writing project?
What if we miss our (self-imposed) deadline?
What if we skipped a Spanish class this week?
Would it be devastating to her educational experience?
I was missing out on one of the most important advantages of this lifestyle:
THE ABILITY FOR A FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE.
And, I’m telling you today because I don’t want you to make that same mistake!
We homeschool because we want to learn, not because we want to school (on a schedule).
And, for us, part of that educational process is allowing my daughter to learn about things that interest her organically.
A documentary about Abraham Lincoln that piqued her interest?
That was learning (not schooling).
That documentary prompted a discussion about the Underground Railroad and to plan visits to those historical sites that are in our state, along with a visit to Lincoln’s boyhood home.
This flexible homeschool schedule facilitates LEARNING. This is interactive and engaging homeschooling, which should be one of your home school goals!
That day after the Lincoln documentary, she finished a book she loves so much that it prompted her to research when the next book in the series would be out.
Then, she spent time drawing each of our dogs while they were sleeping.
(Did you know that art not only helps with motor skills, but “the experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life”?)
Being flexible in our homeschooling allowed her to do all those things because she followed her interests in what she wanted to learn.
And, she didn’t just DO those things and learn about them, she was EXCITED about them!
A FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE CREATES A LOVE OF LEARNING, which carries through an entire life.
Let that sink in for a moment…
All of that impromptu learning took place because I allowed homeschool flexibility and was willing to let go of schooling and instead allow learning.
All of this because I was willing to embrace one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling instead of seeing it as one of the disadvantages of homeschooling.
We never made it to Spanish that rainy day, but we do know more about Lincoln.
And about a book series that she loves.
And, we also have some awesome art to show for that day.
PIN TO SAVE
HOW TO ALLOW FOR MORE FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOLING
I see some of you pearl-clutching and hand-wringing.
How can I let go of my homeschool schedule and still balance homeschool and home and work?
I get it.
It can be scary.
If you run your days by a strict homeschool schedule, allowing some homeschool flexibility and unplanned learning might make you feel uncomfortable. (That’s normal!)
I’m not telling you to get rid of your homeschool planner and record keeper. However, you need to remember that children learn naturally and it’s your job to allow them a room to learn that is not based on a calendar or deadlines. You can use a homeschool tracker or planner to keep track when you complete specific lessons or goals.
So, how do you create a relaxed homeschooling schedule?
Here are some ideas for a more flexible homeschool schedule. Just replace some of your scheduled lessons with some of the ideas below.
IDEAS FOR CREATING A FLEXIBLE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
10 FUN WAYS KIDS CAN LEARN WITHOUT EVEN REALIZE THEY’RE LEARNING
- HISTORY: Watch history documentaries. (We Recommend: The Who Was? Show on Netflix)
- MATH: Play Lego bricks. (Read this article on how playing with Lego bricks may be more important than learning geometry.)
- ART: Make art supplies readily available and don’t put limits on what the kids can/can’t make.
- CRITICAL THINKING: Allow your kids to get bored (and learn why it’s so important).
- MANY SUBJECTS: Cook with your kids. (Learn how even if you hate it!)
- PE/ART/NATURE STUDIES: Take a nature hike and journal/draw what you see.
- ENGLISH/LANGUAGE ARTS/MUSIC: Create, write, read, or tell a story. Use musical instruments or noisemakers to create sound effects during the story.
- CREATIVITY: Watch a movie and then do some fun activities associated with the movie.
- Ask your kids what they want to learn about and then help them do it! (Novel idea, huh?)
ALSO, give your learning space a facelift (on a budget!) and add a reading corner (with lots of books, of course!) or a fairy door that promotes imagination and creative play or let them decorate their desk or study area to their liking. All of these things are easy ways to get your kids excited and become motivated learners.