When is the Homeschool Day Over?
When is the Homeschool Day Over? Out of all the questions that people have about homeschooling, this one tops the list. As a new homeschooling mom, I wondered this myself. With all the wonderful plans we have for giving our kids the best education ever, we can sometimes lose track of time. Don’t let the day go on too long and face burnout. Learn from my veteran advice.
While the answer varies with each family, here are a few things to consider when it comes to setting a homeschool schedule, keeping on track, and knowing when the homeschool day is over.
1. Homeschooling doesn’t take as long as you think.
Unlike public schools, homeschool subjects take less time to teach. Instead of a teacher teaching and overseeing twenty-five or more students, you have far less. Even if you’re teaching multiple grades at once, you won’t spend time controlling a crowd, making sure everyone understands, and moving from room to room. For early elementary grades, homeschool lessons can be completed in 2-3 hours. Older kids take more time, but an added benefit is that when the homework is done, it’s done. Since schoolwork is done during the day, you don’t have to spend time on added homework in the evenings.
2. When setting your homeschool schedule, remember you can shorten your homeschool day by teaching kids together.
Homeschool would take more time if you were teaching complete sets of curriculum for all of the first grade, third grade, and fifth grade (or whatever ages your kids are). I’m currently homeschooling ages 12, 13, and 15. We do Bible Study together, and I read aloud missionary stories and historical novels to all my kids. This not only builds family bonds and saves money … it saves time too. I’ve learned to teach to the older kids and then add fun activities for the younger kids to help them understand the concepts at their level.
3. Start with the difficult and demanding subjects when setting your homeschool schedule.
If you do the fun subjects first, then the day can drag after you finally get to the hard stuff. Yet if you start with the hard stuff, then the day seems to go quickly once that’s done.
4. Don’t forget breaks!
Breaks are important, both for you and your children! Give your kids time to play outside, do crafts, or read on their own. So while officially you haven’t called the homeschool day over yet, you can schedule in time for yourself.
5. Don’t fill your day with so much that your schedule doesn’t end.
The curriculum is your guide, not your boss. The purpose of the curriculum is to provide structure and direction. Teacher lesson plans are lists of ideas. No one is expected to do it all! Not even private or public school teachers finish every lesson. (It’s true, they’ve told me!)
6. Know that even if your homeschooling day is officially over, every part of life can be considered “schooling.”
The way you shop, spend time with friends, and work, will change because you’re giving a large part of your day to your kids. That being said, there are so many aspects of everyday life that you can choose to be teaching times if you’re creative. Grocery shopping and running to the bank can be great lessons. You simply have to be imaginative and realize your lifestyle won’t look like those of most folks around you.
7. Capture the teachable moments.
I was leaving the doctor’s office with my three, young kids when a homeless man approached us. He was in a wheelchair, and he was missing a leg. I’d just gotten the kids buckled into their car seats when he approached asking for food. I “just so happened” to have a packed lunch that my Bible Study leader gave to us. I also had recently been to the bakery, and I’d picked up some donuts for my grandma for a treat.
I gave the man lunch and offered him the biggest donut. His eyes grew wide. “Is this cream-filled?” It turned out it was and the man’s face filled with joy. He ate it with pleasure.
It was only as I backed away that I realized my kids had been watching the exchange. Even though I never intended it to be, that was a teachable moment.
On the drive home, we talked about homelessness. We talked about caring for those who God brings in our path. We talked about sharing what we had. We talked about kindness. And that night—as the kids shared our experience with their dad—we talked about it again. And the next day we decided to pack up care packages with water bottles, snacks, and spare change to keep in the car. We also started reading a book for homeschool, Tales of the Not Forgotten by Beth Guckenberger.
Offering what we had to a homeless man, talking about homelessness as we drove home and later at dinner, creating care packages was schooling. Reading a book about needs around the world and those who are helping them helped us understand it even better, too.
8. Your kids learn just as much from real-life conversations as anything else.
I talk about real-life stuff during fun times, like when we’re enjoying popcorn or picking flowers outside. It’s then that kids are more likely to listen.
Ron Rose, author of Seven Things Kids Never Forget says, “Learn the art of meandering conversation. When you’re working a puzzle with your kids or riding in the car together, talk about worries or other crisis times. As a way to get started, use something you heard about, something you saw on TV, or something that happened to you as a child.” I especially love the idea of sharing stories from my own childhood. There are lessons each of us have learned that can be passed on to our kids.
9. And even when the official schooling day is over, be present.
Any time of the day, when my children ask me a question, I either answer it or let them know when I can answer it. Eye contact with my children makes a big difference. When I take time to focus on their faces and make an effort to smile, a connection is made. My children know I’m available and I care.
While a school-at-home day is done when the basic subjects are covered, schooling together also creates times for more connections and interactions during the day. Your daily school schedule will be different than anyone else’s, and that’s okay. Focus on helping your kids love to learn and enjoy time together, and you’ll go a long way!
Have you checked out my Homeschool Success Course yet?
Let me share all the practical tips and tricks I’ve learned to:
—Homeschool multiple levels in four hours a day.
—Understand the basics of homeschool laws and what your kids need to graduate and go to college.
—Discover your gifts as a homeschool teacher.
—Finding extra help for special needs kids.
…and so much more!
Here is my welcome module to give you a glimpse of this course!
YOU can give the gift of a homeschool education to your family by joining me here: www.homeschoolsuccesscourse.com