Embracing Homeschool Flexibility

One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility. I’ve homeschooled through four moves, several pregnancies, health issues, vacations, family emergencies and more. It seems like a lot of people view these types of things as obstacles to homeschooling but I view them as situations in which homeschooling is an extra blessing.

Tips for feeling blessed instead of stressed while homeschooling through life transitions.

In the last few months, our life has been crazy and chaotic and it is probably going to remain that way at least another month. The majority of our belongings were picked up mid-October to be shipped from Germany to the U.S. The rest of our belongings and our car was shipped Mid-November. We spent a week in a cabin over Thanksgiving before flying to the U.S. ourselves. Our belongings arrived here in Kansas between Christmas and New Years and we are still waiting on our car.

We did continue to homeschool through some of this but we were able to take off or adjust to a more relaxed schedule as needed. We didn’t have to worry about transportation to and from school when we only had one car or when we were in the cabin. We didn’t have to rush to enroll our kids in school despite jet lag. I honestly don’t know how people navigate a move like that with kids in public school. 

I have found three key mental shifts that you have to make in order to relax and really enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling:

Note: With all of these tips you will need to keep your state’s homeschool laws in mind. Most states require around 180 school days a year, some have specific requirements for hours/day or hours/subject and a few require school to be conducted during specific times.

Key 1:

Get out of the August through May school mindset. School can happen in the summer too! We find that taking off 2-3 months in the summer just causes struggles for our family. My kids do better with structure and mental stimulation so it works better for us to take off small increments of time throughout the year when we need the break. One week is usually enough and two weeks seems to be the max we can take off before spiraling into chaos!

Key 2:

Let go of the idea that you must cover every – or even most – subjects to call it a school day. Learning happens all the time. Visiting the zoo or a museum is a learning experience and that counts as a school day! Traveling can even count as a school day (geography, social studies, etc). Some days you may just cover English, Math, and History, the next you may cover Science and Writing, that is simply block scheduling! Also look into loop scheduling which is a really great idea for organizing subjects that don’t necessarily need to be done daily. Expand your idea of what a school day is, not every day has to look like sitting at the table checking off all the subjects!

Key 3:

Drop the idea of “school hours.” School can (and does) happen in the evenings or on weekends. Learning isn’t limited by the clock or calendar. Maybe you have a discussion about photosynthesis at dinner or watch a documentary about World War 1 on a lazy Saturday. All of that is learning-count it!!

Tips for feeling blessed instead of stressed while homeschooling through life transitions.

I find that the people who are feeling stressed and doubting their ability to homeschool through a life transition (or just through life’s unpredictability) are still trying to fit homeschool into the public school scheduling model. It is ok to do school outside of normal school hours/days/months. This is one of the biggest blessings of homeschooling – you can make it fit your family. Stretch your idea of what counts as school and learn to love the flexibility of homeschooling. Not only does it make life circumstances and transitions less stressful but vacationing is way more fun when you aren’t fighting the rest of the world during school breaks!

The other biggest source of stress and doubt for homeschool moms is the idea of their kids being “caught up” or “doing enough.” But that is an entirely different discussion for another day!

Have you homeschooled through major life transitions? Have you learned to be flexible in your school scheduling? Share what works for you in the comments!

This post is included in the Review Crew round up Things To Love About Homeschooling:

The things we LOVE about Home Schooling

Comments

  1. Wow! I found this post via the Grace Girls share thread and I am SO glad I stopped by!!!!!! I just started homeschooling this year and was a public school teacher before that. Getting out of the “school hour” schedule and expectations has been really really really hard for me. I’m wondering about doing school all year too now that we are homeschooled. A week off here and there instead of a huge break. Or after finishing a big unit I will definitely be thinking and praying about that over the summer!

    • Hang in there, it is a tough transition and I haven’t ever had kids in public school nor am I a teacher (but my mom is). And it was STILL hard to get out of that mindset (still is sometimes). I know families who school for 4 or 5 weeks then take one off or something similar-whatever works for them. I just know our life is chaos if we take off more than a couple weeks! But we make lots of adjustments for things like weather (quite frankly sometimes in the summer it is just too hot to send the kids outside, so we take advantage of lovely spring and fall days), trips, etc. I set some very basic goals for the year but we mostly just move through our curriculum at our own pace and try not to stress about it! Good luck figuring it out, just know it changes and adjusts throughout phases of life too, don’t feel like you can’t continually make tweaks!

    • Thank you!! Yes taking away the stress of the hard and fast schedules gives the freedom to be happier and more relaxed!!

    • It is great that we can taylor school to fit our kids! Mine generally like to imerse themselves in one project for a short time. We don’t always do that but I try to cycle things a bit.

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