When starting out homeschooling, finding an ideal routine can seem like a daunting task. I lamented over how to craft our days in an efficient way. In a short time, I found that nothing works better than a flexible homeschool routine. As a working homeschool mom, adopting a flexible mindset was the best thing I could have done to save our family’s sanity and keep homeschooling fun.
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Starting out with Homeschool
Our family officially began homeschooling after the birth of our third and youngest child. I had planned to be on maternity leave for almost 5 months, which aligned with the start of the new school year.
The first few months were a little rocky, but we decided to start slow. We focused on the core subjects for young learners; math, reading and lots of handwriting activities. This, we hoped, would give us the energy to transition to life with our new baby, while still teaching our preschooler and kindergartener the foundations.
We survived the first half of the school year and got into a really good groove.
By early November, we had reintroduced science and sprinkled in history. We felt like we would really be able to do this. We did class most days and had lots of time for cuddles and fun.
Then came the end of my maternity leave.
Hubby and I had planned for me to go back part-time (for the first time ever) to allow me to continue to build my career as an engineer, but also focus on the kiddies’ education. It sounded great, but I had no idea how this would affect our homeschool routine.
Finding a Routine
When I returned to work from maternity leave, I knew that there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAY our family was going to be able to maintain a rigid homeschool routine.
I had read a bazillion books, watched a trillion YouTube videos and single handedly reached whatever quota Google has for searches per year trying to find examples of schedules that might fit our needs as a working homeschooling family. Most of the resources I found had neat and tidy schedules that my work schedule would blow to smithereens.
So what did I do? I made a neat and tidy homeschool routine.
What a colossal mistake. The only thing the schedule did was waste my time and ink while I typed it up and printed it out for display in our homeschool area. A reminder of the perfection that would never be able to attain.
Our schedule consisted of blocks where we would cover certain subjects and when I planned to have work calls. I was still working outside of the home a few days a week, so we tried to carefully craft the days that we would be doing lessons.
The problem was, my work schedule, no matter how I tried to schedule my meetings, always threw us off. Impromptu meetings and deadlines, made it too hard to adhere to the schedule I’d created.
Throwing Out the Rigid Routine
Eventually, I had to cut myself some slack. No schedule is perfect and whatever we did while working full-time would be far from it.
I had to measure my expectations, which was super hard. I can be a perfectionist, especially with homeschool.
Failure means I’ve failed my children. Pressure much?
So, instead of starting with a nice neat little block schedule including the list of lessons to complete, I started with my work Outlook calendar. I had to start with whatever mommy would be doing on any given day.
And you know what we ended up with? A huge flexible block of time to get the core work done by noon and any work left over would be done in the late afternoon when I finished work. That’s it.
Bare bones and way less pressure.
I decided not to even create a master block schedule, and instead I keep track of our plan and progress in my A Simple Plan Homeschool Planner. Then I just write what we have planned for the day on our white board.
Our oldest, now a second grader, can follow along, crossing off or putting a smiley near her completed tasks. Our youngest, now in kindergarten, is able to keep track, as well, since his daily list is fairly small.
Never Going Back
I say we’ll never go back to a rigid homeschool routine again, but realistically we might. My plan is to stay flexible and adapt to whatever needs our family has at the time.
That’s the beauty of homeschooling. We are in charge of it all; as scary and empowering as it may be.
Right now, our flexible homeschool routine is helping us get the job done and I’m so happy we made the switch.
What routine do you follow with your family? We’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for hanging out!