It is the end of the day as I write this; I am in the office eating leftover birthday cake and I am counting down the minutes until bedtime. Mere minutes folks. The quiet is so close I can taste it! Bedtime is a favorite around here, at least for the adults. It’s when I can turn my brain off and just relax.
Daylight savings time has brought the dark much earlier than I like and for some reason 6:30 pm feels more like 10:00 pm. Does this happen to anyone else?
The perk to it being dark is that the little kids don’t realize the time and I can now put them to bed shortly after 7:00 and they still sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 am. So that’s AHMAZING! And I tell you what, with all that extra sleep we wake up happy and ready to start our day!
Anyway, enough about that. Let me tell you about the most unexpected and awesome outcome of homeschooling.
I think my biggest surprise since homeschooling is how absolutely freeing and calm it is. Not what you expected me to say was it?
Most moms I tell that too are often surprised. They usually say “I could never homeschool my kids. Summer is hard enough.”
Granted, not every moment is peaceful and calm but allow me to give you an example.
On a normal Sunday evening visiting with family or friends, there’s no rush to get home to have the kids in bed by 8:00 pm. We stay and enjoy the visit. We leave at a relaxed pace and have joy in knowing we built relationships.
Morning time: There’s no rush to get up and pack lunches, make breakfast, eat breakfast, get the kids dressed, gather the homework, finish homework that they forgot they had, grabbing backpacks, coats, finding shoes, and rushing to catch the bus by 7:30 in the morning. We get up at 7:00 am, make breakfast together, read our scriptures while we eat breakfast, clean up breakfast, exercise, do our morning chores, get dressed and are ready for our day by 9:00 am. It’s a calm pace which means less yelling for me and tension being felt by all the rushing around.
The rest of the ‘school day’ is 9-3 pm with lunch and a few breaks in between. Those hours are a calmer, relaxed time with learning activities, reading, textbooks, and arts or crafts. My children and I are bonding regularly throughout the day. I don’t have to worry if I spent enough time with them in that small window of time after public school was over.
After 4:00 pm, normally had crazy painted all over it when my children were in public school. We would rush to finish homework and then get them to the after school activities, music, dance, gym, sports, etc. Then it was rush home to finish dinner and eat, do reading time, bath, pajamas and bedtime. There was hardly enough time do anything beyond the essentials. Now I have all their music and dance lessons scheduled during the day and our evenings are usually free.
One of my biggest concerns was that I would get burnt out from all the pressure of homeschooling. Here’s what I decided to do.
I chose to do school year round. Why?
Because I knew myself and knew that I would put undo pressure on myself to keep up with the public school. Plus, the real world does not take 3 months off every summer. So I switched it up and I homeschool all year so that I feel ahead and I have time for a day off if I can tell the kids need to switch up the routine, it allows for flexibility when days are just not going to work to have a full school day. You know those days where you had extra appointments, meetings, sick kids, or the ” stuff happens” days.
I also arranged my homeschool schedule to have 4 weeks on and 1 week off. On our week off, I felt the best approach was to have a laid back or informal school. Those laid back weeks are mostly planned around holidays if possible and I allow the kids to do whatever they want as long as they are learning. Sometimes we go for hikes, we have read-a-thons, build with legos, go on field trips, play learning games, watch educational movies, bake and cook, play for hours outside, or go crazy with Pinterest projects, etc. We have SO MUCH FUN in those weeks. It is the ultimate bonding time. I am not worried about missing lessons in textbooks because I feel that learning needs to be fun and relaxed at times too. And they learn SO much on those weeks. I really feel like it rounds out our education. Plus it gives me time to plan the next 4 weeks and change anything that needs to be rearranged or adjusted. The break does all of us a world of good.
Life is incredible and I am so supremely lucky to spend this life with my children at my side. I am adoring these moments with my kids. Watching them learn and grow are moments I wouldn’t trade for anything. Homeschooling is not something to be feared but is something to delight in. In the world today, there are resources in abundance to help all those moms who are still on the fence. Homeschooling today is less daunting than it would have been 30 years ago. So if you are feeling like you should homeschool but are letting fear take over, I urge you to let the fear go and embrace the idea of homeschooling.