Did you have ideas about what homeschooling would be like before you started? Before your child was out of diapers? How about before you had a child?
We were married almost ten years before we were blessed with Caroline so I had plenty of time to ponder homeschooling before she was even born.
And the funny thing is that it doesn’t look anything like I imagined it would.
There’s lots of reasons for that. I’ve changed. She is very much her own individual person. Our life circumstances have changed. Our financial situation has changed. My professional life has changed. Our location has changed.
My homeschooling approach has been much more fluid and flexible than I would have guessed.
While some people latch on to a particular homeschooling approach and run with it for years, I’ve never found that to work. At all.
Even when I wanted it to.
The more I’ve gotten to know my child, the more it’s necessitated changes to how we do school. Here are three ways you might consider shaking up your homeschool routine if you feel like it is in need of being re-energized.
1. Embrace a Different Homeschool Philosophy
I know this might sound nigh unto heretical to those who hold strong views regarding which approach is the best, but it may be what your homeschool needs. There are families homeschooling successfully using a wide variety of methods. There is absolutely no one way to do this home education thing.
Ask yourself if you are more committed to your philosophy or to your child’s individual needs.
Maybe you really want to be a classical homeschooler because you wished you had that kind of education, but it isn’t the best for your child.
Or maybe you love the warm fuzzy Charlotte Mason blogs you read, but you’re an indoor person who can’t do nature study outside.
Maybe your family would thrive in a relaxed homeschooling approach, but it scares you to think of giving up that much control.
Maybe you need to embrace who your child really is and not what you wish she was.
And if you have been homeschooling for just a year, you will really want to allow yourself freedom to make changes based on everything you’ve learned and experienced this first time around.
Exploring a different homeschool philosophy and changing your approach might be a great way to re-energize your homeschool.
2. Change Your Homeschool Yearly Cycle
Unless you are in a state with very rigid laws, homeschooling allows so much freedom. There are so many ways to schedule your year and maybe a different yearly flow would re-energize your homeschool.
Some families go six weeks on and one week off.
Some families do school four days a week, but go all year.
Some families do school all year, but take off the time between Thanksgiving and New Years as well as the month of July.
Personally I’d like to try to do school from January through August and take off September through December.
Would changing your overall yearly approach help your family?
3. Change Your Homeschool Daily Schedule
I’m going to let you in on a little secret… Did you know you don’t have to homeschool in the morning?
Shocking thought, isn’t it?
Let me ask you this… How many people did you know who refused to take an 8:00 a.m. or even a 9:10 a.m. class in college? Quite a few, I bet. Especially the 8:00 a.m. classes. I didn’t know ANYONE who willingly took one. But I can’t think of a single person who failed to function in the “real world” after college because they couldn’t get up and get to work on time.
Taking an 8:00 a.m. class did not equate to success in the real world. Neither does homeschooling in the morning mean your child will be better prepared for the real world.
I think it is amusing how quickly people extol the virtues of homeschooling flexibility when it comes to curriculum, learning styles and yearly scheduling, but become almost legalistic in the adherence to schooling in the morning.
Have you ever seriously considered moving the bulk of your homeschooling to the afternoon? If you have night owls, it might make a huge difference in their enthusiasm and level of engagement. Research shows starting later might even be especially better for teenagers. Even if you don’t push it all to the afternoon, choosing to start later in the morning might be an improvement.
Unless the laws in your state require you to do school in the morning (and I’ve never heard of it being so), you can do your learning whenever it works best for your family. That’s why for quite some time we homeschooled primarily in the afternoon and not the morning.
Something to consider if getting everyone started in the morning is a bit of a battle.
So there are three ways you can consider shaking up your homeschool routine a bit. Which one would make the biggest improvement in your home? Is there any advice people could share with you in the comments to help you implement the change?
This post is part of my series 5 Days to Re-Energize Your Homeschool.