Are you using a flexible homeschool schedule?
(If not, 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 all of that, 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.
DON’T MISS OUR AWESOME IDEAS FOR CREATING MORE FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOLING (& FUN!) LATER IN THE POST!
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Here’s what happened:
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 life and 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?
BUT . . .
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.
And, I slip back into what I grew up knowing about schooling and forgetting all about the benefits of a flexible homeschool schedule and how one little switch over can make a big difference!
BEWARE FREE ONLINE HOMESCHOOL THAT PROMISES FLEXIBILITY!
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!
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.
Flexible homeschool schedules.
What a concept a positive concept.
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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?
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.
However, you need to remember that children learn naturally and it’s your job to allow them a room to learn
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
- Watch history documentaries. (We Recommend: The Who Was? Show on Netflix)
- Play Lego bricks. (Read this article on how playing with Lego bricks may be more important than learning geometry.)
- Make art supplies readily available and don’t put limits on what the kids can/can’t make.
- Allow your kids to get bored (and learn why it’s so important).
- Cook with your kids. (Learn how even if you hate it!)
- Take a nature hike and journal/draw what you see.
- Create, write, read, or tell a story. Use musical instruments or noisemakers to create sound effects during the story.
- Watch a movie and then do some fun activities associated with the movie.
- Give your learning space a facelift and add a reading corner (with lots of books, of course!) or a fairy door that promotes imagination and creative play!
- Ask your kids what they want to learn about and then help them do it! (Novel idea, huh?)