We don’t have a school day schedule.
Sometimes people find that weird.
It doesn’t make sense in my head either, but in real life it unfolds well.
Why doesn’t it make sense in my head?
Because I am a time manager. I’m mediocre skilled at it.
I even factor in cushion time for the inevitable meltdown, drink spillage, or broken dish.
Just ask my husband. He’s undoubtedly always late, while I just sit there and silently solve all of this late-induced problems with a sharper schedule. Shower takes 12 minutes, getting dressed and grooming, 4 minutes, walking the dogs takes 5 minutes, put your shoes on for a minute and allow yourself 3 extra grace minutes and he just needs 25 minutes of getting ready time before he needs to leave the house. Easy-that is if you follow my schedule. (Also if you can find your shoes, because sometimes that’s the spoil to perfectly good time management. Good places to check for a missing shoe is known to be: the boy’s toy box, under the couch, the linen closet, and occasionally in the dog’s kennel.)
Us on a school schedule should work.
But it just didn’t.
And this is where we take the freedom of homeschooling into our own hands and mold it into what will work for us. I laid down my mental picture of what I thought our teaching and learning should mimic and really fine tuned it to the dynamic of our family. We have four children ages 2, 4, 6, & 8. The wildcard in there at present is going to be my 2 year old, although we are growing into a season where he is slightly more tamed and predictable than he has been. He is a high maintenance baby (and now toddler) and requires much of my constant attention. All. day. long. (Really though last week he baby powdered himself, my Labradoodle, and entire bathroom, wrote on the walls with an ink pen, broke into the pantry to feed the dogs an entire loaf of bread, and spilled a container of coffee grounds onto the floor all in one day.) Mommas schooling with babies, I know you feel me. It is difficult to teach on schedule and simultaneously prevent these things from happening.
Scheduling produces thriving for some families, but I’ve found at this stage in our learning it just produces pressure.
I think a strict time format is an incredibly fruitful, well-disciplined practice, and I would love to better revisit it when my children are of older ages.
For now though, if lunch time comes and we haven’t squeezed in all of our normal routine subjects, I don’t feel like a failure. I feel normal. I feel like someone somewhere along those lines needed my attention somewhere else besides teaching, and that’s a beautiful part of home learning. If someone scrapes a knee and needs a cuddle for 20 minutes, I’m here. If a couple of them are struggling with conflict, we make time to figure it out. If we get an invite to bring four wild children and two wild dogs to a dog park, I get to say yes. When my sister needs help with her newborn, we get to run on over. The books will wait. There is so much freedom for me in not being a slave to a schedule right now, and it makes the moments even sweeter for us.
We get to explore so much child led learning this way too. So many times a Geography lesson turns into an Art lesson which turns into a Science lesson which tip toes over History and ends up in Dictation. These snowball learning days are free to come whenever they might because we’re so liberal with the whens, wheres, and hows.
I like that- being free. I want my kids to feel that way while they still very much are.
We are busy people. I have a little calendar in my bag with things jotted on every single day of the month, but I like not having to turn over my school hours that way right now. They get to learn and play and snack and nap and read this way at a much more organic pace.
Years ago when we first began homeschooling I had an hourly schedule something like: breakfast at something o’clock, free play for thirty minutes, clean up for ten minutes, math at something o’clock, art at something thirty, lunch no early or later than noon, etc. It put so much pressure on me-on us, that I was a nutcase by the afternoon. If the youngest wouldn’t go down for a nap on time, or someone threw a tantrum somewhere it threw our whole game off and just stressed us all out.
When people come to me for homeschool tips and advice this is usually among the first thing I talk about especially to those teaching with babies and toddlers in the mix. I understand this just doesn’t work well with some families, and that’s okay. The rad thing about learning at home is that you get to format it to what fits your family best. If your school flourishes by scheduling, then you get to implement that how you like. If the clock brings you stress, you get to throw it out. No one way is the right way, and sometimes the right way shifts.
Right now, for us, we are thriving in the freedom of having ditched the o’clock boss.