I’ve been thinking a lot lately about homeschooling. Even though I was homeschooled for more than six years, the idea of setting up my own homeschool is overwhelming. There’s a lot to think about and plan for. One topic that I’ve been researching lately is scheduling. One of the big benefits of homeschooling is flexibility in scheduling the school year. When you start and when you finish is completely up to you. But individual days need to be scheduled too if learning objectives are going to be met.
How much flexibility should there be in the daily schedule?
One homeschool blog that I have found particularly helpful is No Twiddle Twaddle. The author, Bethany, is a new homeschool mom, and she has blogged a bit about their first year. Her post “10 Tips for Starting to Homeschool” is a great resource for those of us who are just getting started. I love the way that she adds personal illustrations to each of her big ideas.
In this post, Bethany mentions the need to balance flexibility with structure. First, she urges her readers to take advantage of the flexibility that homeschooling offers.
I found that allowing ourselves the enjoyment of the flexibility of homeschooling helped keep our family from getting stressed out by the demands of homeschooling, and it also helps my kids stay on task when they know that working hard means extra time for play.
But she also mentions the need for structure.
It’s great to be flexible, but I quickly found out that starting lessons late in the morning meant school stretched forever into the afternoon (which is no fun when the sun is shining outside). I also found that I needed to be firm about making my kid use the bathroom and eat a decent breakfast before school. You really can’t learn anything when you are taking a gazillion breaks.
Bethany’s comments about the need for balance in every homeschool was a good reminder for me. I doubt my homeschool will lack structure—I tend to be a very task-oriented person. But I need to remember to pay attention to the needs of my students. Nurturing my children is infinitely more important than crossing off the items on the daily to-do list. I imagine that schoolwork may need to be put off some days in order to deal with heart issues. And that’s OK.
The tips in Bethany’s article gave me a lot to think about. Among other things, she talks about the need for a support structure, for organization, and for being teachable and learning from our own mistakes. If you are like me and are thinking about taking the plunge into homeschooling, I recommend that you read the rest of her excellent blog post.