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The term homeschooling seems to infer that we, as a homeschool family, are at home during traditional school hours toiling away at our studies. And, because our kids don’t go to traditional school they have no friends or life outside our family. You know, the whole unsocialized homeschooler thing, sheltered from the real world and the normal childhood activities. Some days I wish that were the case!
The truth is that our home educated kids are so busy with their lives that I have to schedule actual school work into their days to be sure it gets done. This is one of the beauties of homeschooling. Children can find themselves and explore their interests freely. This is just part of their education.
Our Busy Kids
What makes our kids so busy? Each of our kids have definite interests and passions. We have found that they are happier kids and better students when we let them follow those passions.
For our daughter, figure skating is a passion. She has skated on and off since she was 6 and competitively since she was 9. She is now 13. We have never pushed her, only encouraged.
Working together with her coach, she figures out how much practice and lesson time she needs each week and then schedules it herself. She’s an early riser who likes the ice to herself, so this means 5:30 am rink times a couple days a week and early afternoons when the other skaters are in school.
My son is the hockey player. He would play every day, all day long if he could. In the winter, he usually plays 5 days a week and sometimes twice a day. He’s insane.
He played on a travel hockey team this year, so we had official practice twice a week and games on the road each Saturday and Sunday from about October or November to February. Then, on Friday mornings at 8:15am a group of homeschool kids who play hockey get together on practice ice to
beat the crap out of each other play a pick up game. The whole group is insane.
Outside of the ice rink, our kids enjoy gymnastics, art classes, woodworking, knitting, and…gasp…spending time with their friends!
We, also, volunteer at our church’s food pantry and various other places when needed. Add hair cuts, doctor appointments, dentists visits, and the orthodontist, and you’ve got busy kids.
How To Schedule Busy Kids
I know that we are not alone. Most families are busy. I’m not even sure how traditional schooling families fit in sports and other activities after a full day of school and then hours of homework.
There are so many planners and scheduling systems out there. None of them are better or worse than the rest. There is not one that works for everyone.
The method that works for us is scheduling in chunks. Hour by hour scheduling is too restrictive and making a big task list to work on all day lacks the urgency and push that my kids need. Scheduling in chunks lets me be flexible from day to day since our activities are a little different each day.
Here’s how it works. These are my time chunks and examples of what might be in those time slots depending on the day.
Early morning (before 9am)
- Get ready for the day
- Eat breakfast
- Check emails
- Start a load of laundry
- My daughter usually starts her independent studies
- If it is a figure skating practice morning, my daughter and husband are up at 4:30am to get to the rink at 5:30am. I pick her up at 9am.
Mid morning (9am-noon)
- School work
Lunch Break (noon-1pm)
- Check emails/blog stuff
- Switch laundry
Early Afternoon (1pm-3pm)
- Figure skating practice
Late Afternoon (3pm-5pm)
- School work
- Blog work
Early Evening (5pm-7pm)
- Hockey practice
- Softball practice (kids don’t play. mom coaches)
Late Evening (7pm – bedtime)
- Dinner if a hockey night
- Family time
- Finish school work/projects
- Kids to bed at 8:30pm
- Blogging and planning after the kids go to bed
- Bedtime for mom and dad 11pm
- Softball practice
Planners For Everyone In The Family
Keeping up with our busy schedule is a lesson in logistics itself. Each one of us has a method that works for us. Like I said earlier, there isn’t a method or a planner that works for everyone. Here’s what we are using right now.
General family calendar – Google Calendar on my phone
- My 10 year old son uses a planner from A Plan In Place
- My 13 year old daughter uses a simple Mead student planner
- For years, I used the weekly homeschool planner from Homeschool Creations. It has tons of great planning pages for homeschool families.
- Homeschool Planet is a great online homeschool planner that lets you plan every facet of family life.
- Homeschool Manager keeps track of your children’s lessons, assignments, grades, transcripts, and volunteer hours.
More Tips For The Busy Homeschool Family
What does your homeschool schedule look like? What do you use to plan?
Want to know what a day in the life of other homeschoolers looks like? Check out the What My Schedule Really Looks Like blog hop or the Day In The Life link up from the bloggers of the iHomeschool Network.