I believe that having a flexible homeschool routine is the key to a much more relaxed and joyful homeschool.
The culture of busyness we are living in is robbing us from fully enjoying our lives and our families. Two years ago I burned out… and then said goodbye to a busy and hurried homeschool schedule. And today, I’m reaping the fruits of my choice. My goal is to make memories with my children as we learn together. I realize that kids grow too fast and they will soon be gone. I want to enjoy every moment my kids are still home and make our homeschool years the best years of our lives.
We have enough stress in our daily lives without adding more, so why make homeschooling stressful? In these past two years, we changed radically the pace of our homeschool. We now do less and learn more. We take our time digging deeper into the subjects we enjoy the most. Less distraction, less noise, less hurry, less pressure equals a much better and joyful atmosphere.
I am pursuing a more relaxed, joyful and full of good memories homeschool.
Here are 3 Keys to a More Joyful, Relaxed & Flexible Homeschool:
1. Become a Flexible Homeschool Mom
“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” – Anonymous
I wasn’t always a flexible homeschool mom. Flexibility was not even a word in my dictionary. I had to break free from the natural demands of my type A personality. I was a workaholic, always overscheduled and stressed out. A successful day for me was having all the items off my to-do list before bedtime or I was a failure. I worked full-time and homeschooled my children.
Sadly, this led me to burn out. And I wasn’t any different when it came to our homeschool. It took me almost three years to realize how much pressure and stress I was putting on my young children by overscheduling and overworking them.
As a result, I made my kids hate homeschooling. Our homeschool was overwhelming, frustrating and there was no joy in it. We were not making many good memories together. Perhaps my Instagram pictures portrayed it in a different way but, in reality, everything was rushed and stressful.
Thankfully, I realized my biggest mistakes in time to save our homeschool. I wasn’t allowing my children to learn at their own pace or to master a subject before they moved on. All I wanted was for them to follow my jam-packed schedule and for every item of our daily checklist to be checked off.
Finally, after I burned out, I had to learn to become more relaxed and flexible, for my children’s sake and my own. The reason I started to blog about homeschooling was exactly to help moms not to burn out like I did. I knew others could learn from my mistakes and not repeat them.
Today we love our homeschool time together. We look forward to exploring new things, reading new books and making special memories.
2. Plan for a Flexible Homeschool Year
I don’t use a homeschool planner and I honestly don’t feel the need for one. Every time I tried to plan and said to myself, “I will do this on this day”, I failed. Life happens and we need to allow margin and flexibility during our homeschool year to deal with more urgent matters.
When I became ill two years ago, I couldn’t stand up or even hold a glass of water. I was in and out of the hospital and I couldn’t homeschool my children on my own. Because of our Instructor Guide, my mother-in-law and my husband were able to carry on from where I left and my kids could continue their studies. Having it all laid out for us was a huge blessing.
This year, we moved from one coast of Canada to the other. We did not plan this move in advance. It took us by surprise. The whole moving process took us four months, three temporary houses and a month delay of our container with our homeschool books and resources. This was not part of the plan when we started our homeschool year.
Flexibility is key in homeschooling.
I don’t have to stress out planning, spending hours every week putting resources together on my own or spending my precious summers trying to figure out what to do for the next year.
Less planning, more pool time.
We can enjoy more field trips, swimming days, walks in the woods and camping trips because I am not trapped in the house my whole summer planning my homeschool year.
Surely, a flexible homeschool year gives me room to breathe and to enjoy more.
3. Adopt a Flexible Homeschool Schedule
Since having a flexible homeschool year brings our family more rest and joy, we choose not to follow the public school calendar. Instead, we homeschool year round. This allows us to slow down in the summer and take several breaks during the year.
Therefore, we are able to stretch out the 36 weeks in our Instructor Guide to fit our family rhythm. This way, we can take more or fewer days to complete the assignments for each week in the Instructor Guide. This allows us to follow our children’s own pace of learning and curiosity and not to miss any opportunities to explore a subject in-depth.
We enjoy taking our time and digging deeper into subjects we like better. We create lapbooks, look for documentaries to watch and additional books to read, not that we need to, just because we are enjoying it. No rush allowed.
A flexible homeschool schedule gives us margin to enjoy each moment more. If the kids are enjoying a read aloud, why stop? We can read enough chapters or pages to check a few days off in our Instructor Guide. Are kids loving the science lesson, don’t stop. You can do two or three days’ worth of reading in one.
Also, readers can be read before bedtime, on weekends or holidays. We have built a culture of love for reading in our house and reading happens at different times for each child.
If your homeschool schedule is too busy, try simplifying it by using a 4-Day schedule or a loop schedule. We don’t do every subject every day. Some days we do history and others we do science. Some days we do music, others we do poetry, nature study or French. 4-Day schedules and loop schedules are great to add flexibility to your homeschool.
Ready For a More Relaxed, Joyful & Flexible Homeschool Year?
No doubt, having a more flexible homeschool will take a lot of pressure off your shoulders and allow you to enjoy more your learning time together. We need to slow down in this fast-paced busy world and be intentional about creating memories with our children. Today is all we have in our hands, so let’s make it memorable.It's time to bring back joy into our homeschool days and this is not hard to achieve.
First, becoming a flexible homeschool mom can help us see the wonders in our children’s eyes when they marvel over a subject and dig deeper into it. We have the power in our hands to turn a hard Math day into a fun zoo day or a trip to Narnia.
Secondly, planning for a flexible homeschool year allows margins to deal with unexpected events. Also, to take brakes when we need and to enjoy opportunities to travel, go on field trips or simply have more fun days year round.
And finally, a flexible homeschool routine does not lack structure but respects the God-given curiosity of our children, their own pace of learning and the natural rhythms of our home. If you homeschool with Sonlight, your instructor’s guide is a great flexible tool in your hand.
Certainly, having a flexible homeschool year-round helps our family to be more relaxed and joyful.
Want to experience how a Sonlight Instructor’s Guide can help you create a more flexible homeschool? Get 3 weeks of any Sonlight Instructor’s Guides FREE!Create a more flexible homeschool. Open-and-go every day—no fuss, no stress. Get 3 weeks of any Sonlight Instructor's Guide FREE!
Ana Willis is a proud Sonlight Curriculum ambassador and a messenger of the Good News. She’s a wife and mom to three amazing mission-minded kids. Ana is also a pastor and certified health coach who loves to encourage other homeschool moms at They Call Me Blessed and on social media.