Is Homeschooling Hard: Inconsistency
I like schedules. I follow plans. I work best with an agenda. Lists rule my world but with the ability to structure our time however we see fit, no two days are ever alike. This can be frustrating for someone like me. It can also be hard on young kids who inherently prefer structure and routine because it helps them to better understand their world when their expectations are met consistently. You'll find many homeschooling families that combat this inconsistency by developing schedules and faithfully sticking to them. I have found for us, however, that the discipline it takes to maintain a schedule and the stress it can causes to have to get back on track when something disrupts it, simply isn’t worth the effort. It's a lot of work that in my opinion, too closely mimics the confines of an institution and frankly, I’m just not up to. And so...
The Silver Lining: Flexibility
I am not a morning person. While I am grateful to wake up each day, the act of getting out of bed and getting my day started is just hard for me. I love being able to take my time waking up, not feeling the pressure to rush somewhere. If one of the boys needs to catch up on sleep, it's okay if he doesn't get out of bed until 8am. If the first thing the kids decide to do in the morning is go to the playroom and build with Legos, there's no reason they can't. We can read Life of Fred after breakfast or while dinner is in the oven. If a cool opportunity presents itself in the middle of the week (I don't know maybe like a total solar eclipse) then we can pick up and go. We can go to the ice rink at 11am on a Tuesday, practically have the place to ourselves, make it back home before rush hour and still have time to do a science experiment. Our days are ours to do whatever we want. Yes, I like schedules, but the ability toss the day's agenda out the window is one of my favorite things about homeschooling.
What I have found works best for us is following routines rather than schedules. Instead of writing out the time each activity will take place in the morning, we all just know that after breakfast we clear the table, get dressed, make up our beds and brush our teeth. Brushing our teeth doesn’t have to happen at 8:45 every morning because sometimes breakfast isn’t on the table until nine and that’s okay. With a list of tasks that need to get done and a general idea of when things will happen throughout the day, we are able to be successful without being stressed. In this way, we are able to embrace the inconsistency and relish in the flexibility.