If your days never seem the same and you are struggling to keep a homeschooling schedule, learn how to anchor certain homeschool subjects and be flexible with everything else.
My husband was a police officer when we first started homeschooling. He worked a 12-hour flex schedule and a lot of nights. He would work for 3 days straight, be home for 2 days, back to work for 2 days, and home for 3 days. Sometimes he was home on weekends, sometimes he slept all day, and sometimes homeschooling felt impossible because of his schedule.
Even now, 8 kids and 2 career changes later, I find that our lifestyle requires me to adapt to an ever-changing schedule. It’s how we roll as a family, but if I had not learned how to homeschool in a way that fit our life, it would have been my undoing.
If you find yourself in circumstances that keep your daily schedule in a constant state of change, here are my secrets for a happy and productive homeschool experience!
Step 1: Choose Autopilot Subjects
With a constantly changing schedule, you need to eliminate decision fatigue. The best way to do this in your homeschool is to build a backbone of autopilot subjects.
Math is an easy one to start with. A curriculum like Teaching Textbooks takes the lesson planning, teaching, and grading load off of your shoulders and creates a do-the-next-lesson daily plan that doesn’t require decisions from you or your child.
Reading assignments, grammar, and certain spelling programs can also be put on autopilot. Look for curricula that don’t require a lot of lesson planning and hands-on
Step 2: Anchor Seatwork Subjects
Seatwork subjects like math and phonics need a consistent daily time frame. However, when your schedule is always changing it may feel like you get those subjects done in the morning one day, in the afternoon another day, and not at all on the third day. By Thursday you are exhausted and feel as if you haven’t accomplished anything.
You need to “anchor” your homeschool day! Start by looking at your everyday life throughout the week. Is there a time frame during the day that is consistently open? That will be the anchor for
For instance, if your husband works nights and leaves the house around
During that anchor time, you ONLY do seatwork. Seatwork for your kids should only take 1-3 hours. To understand more about this concept, read: How Many Hours Does it Take to Homeschool.
Step 3: Fill in the Extras Where They Fit
In my book Flexible Homeschool Planning, I go through all the steps for creating a flexible schedule that allows you to get all the homeschooling extras in on YOUR time. You can find Flexible Homeschool Planning and other helpful homeschooling resources in my Shop!
Practically, this might look like watching a history video during lunch, reading aloud in the car, taking a nature walk after breakfast, or doing an art project during naptime. All the extras stay flexible to fit your day – only the seatwork is anchored to a specific time.
Step 4: Let Your Children Pursue Passions
Remember, children pursuing individual interests is school too! Not every moment of every school day needs to be filled with a scheduled homeschool activity. Make sure you give your children plenty of time and resources to pursue their passions. Budget their passions into your homeschooling resources, and start creating a Delight Directed homeschooling atmosphere! You will see your children soar to heights you never even imagined when you allow yourself to see their interests as part of the school schedule!
Listen to the Podcast Introduction to Delight Directed Homeschooling!
Step 5: Accept Change as Normal
Those of us who live in a constant state of flux tend to feel like something is wrong with us or wrong with our family dynamic. We look around at other homeschoolers (first mistake) and wish we had their steady and predictable lives (second mistake). We forget that God didn’t accidentally place us in the family we ended up in (third mistake). It took me a lot of years to accept that my life as mom to this clan of kiddos and wife to this adventurer was exactly where God had placed me. I wasn’t doing anything wrong that made my schedule ever-changing, but if I tried to stop the change, I would be tearing my own house down.
We homeschool moms have to come to the place where we stop looking around us and start tending to our own households in the unique way God designed for us. Accept the change as YOUR normal, and get on with the mission God has for you!