Wednesday, February 18, 2009

HomeSchool and Schedules

Years ago, when my oldest homeschooled, there was a mis-conception that homeschoolers slept all day and did half the amount of work of a private or public schooler. I can't tell you how many people used to call me in the middle of the day to talk, or suggest that I change my plans to accommodate theirs because I was a homeschooler. "Well, you homeschool, you're available."
While some home educators are more "relaxed" in their scheduling, the majority are up to their ears in activities and other commitments. Moms who teach their children have less time than the Stay-At-Home-Moms who kept house when we were children. They are working from home, volunteering in the community, taking turns with their spouses working outside the home and taxi-ing children to homeschool groups and community sports on top of that!
Misconceptions may exist on either end of the spectrum. Ideas about needing to hold classes from 8am-5pm run both among home educators and the public. "The world runs on a 9 to 5 schedule. Children need to arise early and work all day in order be prepared for adulthood in the real world."
While this idea holds some weight, we must remember that the world runs on three shifts and if all were morning people, no one would run the hospitals or provide safety at night as security personnel or police. Restaurants and businesses would be filthy and the stores would not be stocked when we arrive at 8am to shop.
While some type of a schedule is necessary, homeschoolers need not feel condemned if their schedule does not match the ideals of others. As long as there is some type of consistent structure, their children will be able to survive in this world as long as they have a good work ethic. Remember, one of the reasons homeschooling works so well is it's flexibility to meet the individual and family needs, making it possible for everyone to be successful.
Structure is important in life but flexibility is crucial. The world is full of unhappy people who do not know how to be flexible. One minor change throws them into a "tizzy" and stumps them. Teaching your children to be consistent and to persevere through interruptions is a more balanced approach.
Find the schedule that works for you, but be able to work around it, if changes occur. Your children will learn how to be successful and develop a winning attitude by watching your example.

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