Welcome to the world of homeschooling, where an average day is as varied as the families who homeschool. Your day or week will not look exactly like anyone else’s. That is one of the greatest blessings–and curses–of homeschooling.
We homeschool because we enjoy both the freedom to teach as we see fit and the flexibility to arrange our days according to our desires. But that can also make it difficult to know where to start, as it is hard to find a template to follow when considering a homeschool day. Fortunately, there are ways to build a good foundation.
Points to Ponder
Although your average homeschool day will be unique, here are a few common factors.
Some states have requirements about hours. Others require a minimum number of school days or specific courses. Once you know these minimum requirements, you can then establish a foundation upon which all other daily activities are built. Remember that each subject will probably not take the 45-50 minutes needed in a classroom setting because you will be able to make more efficient use of your time. You will spend the first week or so feeling out how much time each subject typically takes, then adjusting your days accordingly.
Routine of Life
Whether you plan it that way or not, your schedule will revolve around the ebb and flow of life, not the other way around. Too often we are tempted to plan our school week in a vacuum, filling the schedule with idealistic plans. Accepting on the front end the reality that school and life go hand in hand helps greatly with the balance of both. Many families consider ways to work lunch preparation into the school flow, incorporate laundry folding into read-aloud time, or find the school subjects that most easily fit with time in the waiting room of a doctor’s office.
When considering an average day, it is tempting – especially when just getting started – to create a schedule with time slots for every subject and activity. Unfortunately, those schedules break down more often than not. One subject flies much more quickly than expected while another takes a little longer on that particular day. While it is great to have time blocks set aside for school, a flow chart routine often fits more naturally than a schedule. Many home educating families determine what order of completion works best for each child and for the family overall, then flow through that order, taking as much time as needed for each subject or activity.
Whether you have been doing this homeschooling thing for a month or ten years, a typical week is full of readjustments. Today, this assignment needs to be changed, that one needs to be skipped, or more assignments need to be added to keep an enthusiastic child busy. Tomorrow, you will discover that what worked for the first child does not work at all for the second, but needs to be revisited with modifications for the third. A subject that seemed like a great afternoon fit really needs to be moved to morning. Emotional and physical needs also call for daily adjustments. As you step into each homeschooling day anticipating the need for little tweaks and adjustments, you learn to think outside the box and explore creative ways to tackle whatever comes your way.
A Few More Thoughts
Thanks to the flexibility of homeschooling, the open nature of an average day may leave you with some uncertainty about homeschooling. Combat this by getting to know a few homeschool families. Ask to be a fly on the wall for an average homeschool day in each home. See how they differ or are similar. And rest in the assurance that you know your family’s needs best and that the flexibility of an average homeschool week is, in reality, one of the great blessings of homeschooling!