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Homeschool schedule





When this homeschool year started, I was excited. Our first "real" year of homeschooling! I opened up my calendar and my feelings shifted slightly, "Oh no! There is nothing on our calendar!" So I started adding things to our calendar.

I continued our piano lessons on Wednesdays. He is really interested in music and learning piano.

I found a fun ASL co-op class on Thursdays. He likes sign language and I thought he would enjoy doing it with other kids-- just for fun.

I found a storytime on Fridays. This is really our only "toddler-friendly" activity.

Fall started. We enjoyed our schedule.

Then we found a fun co-op class on Wednesdays after our piano lessons. We joined that.

Then one of our toddlers needed speech therapy on Mondays.

Plus we go to church on either Saturday night or Sunday morning.

Plus we still had to go grocery shopping...

...and I joined a mommy meet-up group that I never had time for.

...and a homeschool field trip group that I never had time for.

...and friends that I was having a hard time finding room in our schedule just to hang out with.

...and a house to take care of.

...and toddlers that were still napping.

...and a newborn.

Oh, yes. And homeschool to actually accomplish with our kindergartner.

Suddenly our schedule was not fun. How had kindergarten become such a chore?

At a park playdate I opened up my calendar to a homeschool mom currently homeschooling her 4 children. I figured that she is wise at planning her family calendar since her oldest 2 are teenagers. I asked her, "What am I doing wrong? We are stressed and fighting every morning when we leave the house and we are homeschooling kindergarten! I don't think it should be this hard." Bless her she went through my schedule and helped me cut it down. {Side note: be thankful for honest friends!}

We dropped piano lessons and ASL co-op to free our schedule and because winter break was a good point to drop the classes before we move.

We obviously kept church and speech therapy.

The Wednesday co-op stayed since it was one of the things that our oldest loved and really wanted to keep on the calendar, plus it wasn't too stressful to get to or be at especially after our calendar was cut way down.

Friday storytime is drop-in and so on Fridays when we are looking for something to do, we go. On Fridays where we are way to busy after a hectic week, we don't.

I dropped the mommy meet-up group and the homeschool field trip group. Even being part of them online was stressful. I never had time for the playdates, even the ones that I wanted to go to. It feels so much better not having that "failure" hanging over me. I figure that if our schedule ever dies down, then I will consider joining again, but first I want to get in the swing of things.

After such a busy schedule, I wanted to give us a chance to breathe and regroup. Our co-ops and commitments ended in December then we hit the winter holidays. I gave us the freedom and flexibility to let school happen or to take a break. We ended up doing more no-school days than school days over Christmas, which was fine. We started school early this year and have plenty of days we can take off for moving, if we need to. As we get ready to start school again post-holiday, I'm keeping in mind the lessons I learned this past fall.

Don't feel that homeschooling means open schedule.

Don't fill up each day with an out of the house activity.

Don't make it harder than it needs to be.

Since I've cut down our schedule I'm being far more discerning as I put things on our calendar, especially weekly commitments:

1. Does it include all the age groups of our children? Finding activities that all our boys can participate in is wonderful, specifically our oldest 3. If I have something interesting for them to participate in, it is so much easier to get us out the door. "Let's all put on our shoes for our nature explorers park trip!"

2. If it doesn't, do I already have several things on the calendar for that age group? For instance, my schedule was very heavy with activities for our kindergartner, our "official" homeschooler. Even though we were doing things for him, I was still bringing his 3 younger siblings to all those activities and they were getting bored and tired of hanging out in the car or lobbies or sitting quietly on benches watching their brother. While I do think that some activities geared toward a particular age group are great and fine {storytime for our toddlers, co-op for our oldest}, it is important to balance how often I put things on the calendar for one age group.

3. How busy will I be? Over extending myself on weekly commitments meant a lot of the other daily tasks became much bigger chores, such as grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry, and the kitchen. As a family, we love cooking together and eating dinner at home, but we were short on ingredients and short on time. Our dishes were stacking up. Our laundry was piling up. It was stressful because each day we had too much going on. With young children, leaving one day {Tuesdays, in my case} open wasn't much help because I couldn't count on that day being a good day to get chores done. What if the boys came down with colds? Or our toddlers were exceptionally uncooperative that day? Or the baby was up all night and I was feeling sluggish?

4. Do we have free time? I love free time. The best things happen out of free time. Our boys invent a wild game to play together. We bake together. We do crafts together. We snuggle up and watch movies and eat popcorn together {we love watching movies together!}. When our schedule was so full, free time was miserable. The boys were tired and always fussing at each other. I needed a break and didn't feel like engaging when I finally had a minute to myself. Free time gives us the chance to let our math lesson run over because we are having fun. Free time let's us read just one more book together. Free time allows us to throw on shoes and take a walk. Free time let's us say "yes" to our neighbor that wants to come over and hang out for awhile. I am a firm believer in free time.

What lessons have you learned regarding your family calendar and homeschooling?

Comments

Spring said…
I get overwhelmed with our once a week commitment (speech therapy for 2 of our 3) It's just hard to get cooperation out of 3, 3 year olds & the stress of a morning appt & getting everyone to eat in a timely manner & dressed without getting undressed again is too much sometimes, lol... We do it though, even if we are running in 5 minutes late & the boys are wearing whatever I could get them to keep on just to get out the door, like flip flops, tie dyed t-shirt & sweatpants on a 40 degree morning 😜
Kimber said…
Spring, I thought of your comment the other day when we were leaving the house and our 6 year old was wearing play clothes from LAST YEAR {picture holes in jeans and ankles hanging out}, a toddler was wearing shorts in 40 degree weather, our baby was in footie pajamas, and-- strangely-- our other toddler was dressed handsomely in appropriate shoes, clean well-fitting jeans, and a nice clean button-up shirt {thereby making everyone else look more out of place!}. Sometimes it is best just to get everyone out of the door! lol! :)

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