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Homeschool: Not Falling Behind

Will your kids “fall behind” if you do not follow a strict schedule in homeschool?

     My dentist asked me a question he thought I could just nod “yes” to while I could not reply. He said, “I would not be able to do that, because I would not be disciplined enough to stick to a schedule, and you have to stick to a schedule, or they’d fall behind, right?”

     I thought it was interesting what he thought of as a given. He thought it a given that if we as homeschool moms are not able to stick to a strict, public school like schedule in our homeschool, that everyone learning here, would “fall behind” for sure.

     I have home educated my kids for 3.5 years and, having met over 300 homeschool moms, and have never known of a homeschool family, not using public charter school programs, who follows a strict schedule. In fact, from talking to the ones I have met, most, I see, do more unschooling style than school-at-home style. Yet, even then, official affidavit (legal) homeschooling vs. public schooling statistics show that homeschoolers who take tests do better on the tests than public schoolers, if you figure averages for both sides.

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   In short, no schedule is necessary for success in home educating a child. I do not follow a schedule. I do like making schedules on my iPad. Doing it serves the purpose of helping me see how much time I actually have in each month and week. It helps me to block out proper amounts of time for teaching what I wish to teach, because, with time, I have learned how long things take. After doing it, I do not obey it. I just use ut ti put into my brain, what I have time to teach this week and this month, realistically. This way, I can focus on my goals and on where my kids need to improve, knowing that we cannot fit the impossible into our day.

     For example, this summer I am focusing on each child’s greatest weakness or needs in our homeschool. I am sure most public schooling moms do the same. Perhaps they see that their child needs to read more, so they focus on reading. Perhaps they see that their child is just rude and disobedient, so they will focus on the behavior issues and relationship this summer. Maybe the child wishes he or she had more time for science, so the focus will be science field trips this summer. I do this in our homeschool. 

     Even then, I do not follow a schedule. I do not say, “8:00 Learning Item 1, 9:00 Learning Item 2.” How do I do it, with no specific time or schedule? Whenever I feel like it, I work on this with this child. Whenever I feel like it, I work on that, with the next child. There are some days we just relax. Some days, we do a lot of housework. Most days currently, in the evenings, we are almost constantly at a ball game. You can say for sure one of our focuses now is sports. It is just time for that now. One of the things we do a lot of now is gardening and yard work. I bet a lot of people do a lot of that now.

     Do we even get to enjoy summer? Yup! The difference is, we also get to really enjoy the fall, the winter and the spring, while publilc schooling families only have one season to really enjoy life. It makes me sad seeing people having to stuff every happiness and joy into 3 months in one season of the year. 

     This is what I mean. In the fall when the public schoolers are sitting in a classroom for the majority of the day, my kids still get to go enjoy the outdoors a lot during the day, and not just in short bursts at a recess time. This is when the weather is cooler. It is just right outside. The fall leaves get to be enjoyed more. In this past winter, we spent a lot of time working in the garden in January and February. We had no snow stick on the ground until about April. It was a crazy year. We got to enjoy this bonus season which was a little like fall and a little like spring, more hours of the day. It was nice to have it.

    I hope thinking that you are not a disciplined, schedule-driven person, would not keep you from home educating your kids! Please, try it! ADD and ADHD moms can do it, too!

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