(Last Updated on November 4, 2021)
WARNING: Homeschooling may cause your schedule to look different than the rest of society. This can lead to serious side effects such as nasty glares from strangers, self-doubt, and upheaval of existing routines.
When you have the freedom to tailor your routines to the unique needs of your unique family, your schedule begins to look… well… unique.
In many ways, my family’s daily and weekly routines are backward from our non-homeschooling friends. And guess what?
At first I felt guilty when, after a full day of mom-kid school day interactions, we went to the park and I caught up on emails while the kids played. Other moms were catching up on what happened at school that day, laughing, and engaging with their kids. I just glanced up every few minutes to do a head count and make sure no one was bleeding.
I noticed the same thing with our weekends. As a new homeschooling mom, I no longer had daily commutes on the train or even a lunch hour to recharge or get some “me time.” My kids were young, so I was lucky if I got a bathroom break to myself. While other parents cherished their weekend family togetherness time, I found myself wracked with mom guilt because I wanted my weekends to myself.
Over time, I began to recognize that comparing myself and our schedule to others was holding us back from embracing the true freedom of scheduling that homeschooling offers.
If you find yourself in the same situation, or if you’re just starting out, try thinking about your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly routines with blinders on. That is, temporarily ignore what other families do and just think about what would work best for YOUR family.
If this means your family…
- has lunch at 2:30pm
- wakes up at 5am…or 10am
- schools for six weeks on and one week off, even through summer
- plays at the park at 9am and learns math after dinner
- takes weekend breaks during the weekdays
- studies one subject in depth each day of the week (instead of a little bit each day)
- or any of the other infinite possibilities
…then so be it! The key is to find what WORKS for YOUR homeschool.
Once you’ve thought things through and worked out your household routines intentionally, then your confidence will increase. You’ll be able to stand firm against pesky parent guilt and the temptation to compare. After all, there’s no need to feel guilty about your “me time” if you know you’ve got plenty of times for “family togetherness” and “quality one-on-one bonding” accounted for in your big-picture schedule.
So, yes, maybe your family’s schedule is reversed from the norm or “backward” from the rest of society. But who says backward is a bad thing?!
Even if you live in a place with very strict homeschooling laws (each state and country’s homeschool laws vary), there’s still great freedom! You can tailor your routines to maximize your kids’ success not just in academics, but you can improve your family’s overall wellness in many other areas of life, too.
For example, it’s no small thing to be able to manage our moods with breaks as needed and regulate our sugar issues with frequent small meals.
We also regularly save time and frustration by avoiding peak times at stores, at theme parks, on field trips, at doctors’ offices, and on vacations. And we have a lot of flexibility to work our schedule around museum free days, store and restaurant discount days, and other budget-conscious opportunities in our area (like movie matinées or discounted non-peak-hour classes).
Most importantly to us, we’ve had more time for visits with grandparents and other extended family. We’re free to adjust our schedule if it means we can make it to a family reunion or see grandma regularly on her day off – even if that day would traditionally be a school day.
In my book, Think About Homeschooling, I talk a lot about how freedom is one of the main benefits of homeschooling. Don’t let parent guilt or comparisons stand in your way!
You chose to homeschool because it was, for one reason or another, the best choice for your family. Make the most of your choice by taking full advantage of the freedoms available to you!
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