Sunday, January 15, 2012

Roll with It

One of the best things about homeschooling is the flexibility it offers.

If your child is an early bird, you can get school underway at 7am and finish by noon, leaving the rest of the day for whatever you want. Afternoons could be spent on field trips, hanging with friends or just goofing off.

Conversely, if your child is a night owl, you can sleep in and start when you feel like it. This seems to be the course of action around our house, and as long as we get our lessons in, I don’t mind. Drew wants to sleep until 9am or so, take some time waking up (read: play Wii or other handheld game), and then start school around 10am. Most of the time, the entire day is accomplished in pajamas! Of course, starting later means you finish later. Recently, my son lamented this fact when we were sitting on the couch reading social studies and the school bus drove by. "Hey, it's time to stop! The other kids are done!" he tells me. I replied "Yes, but they started when you were still sleeping. And, they didn't get to play Mario Bros. today either...."

This flexibility offers other bonuses, too. Earlier this week, my son and I were both sidelined by sore throats. If he were still in public school, I would have kept him home for a sick day. This means I would have had to call in to the school and report his illness, answer the 20 questions that go along with calling in, and discuss the list of symptoms with the school nurse. I would have also played the mental math game and thought about how many days he's missed so far, how many days are left in the school year, can we "afford" to take a day, are there any tests or important lessons he would miss, etc. For some reason, this usually results in my feeling “guilty” for keeping him home for "just a sore throat." Fortunately, I didn’t have to do all this. I could concentrate on what mattered most - getting him well.

While we nursed each other back to health, the day was not totally lost from a schooling standpoint. Certain subjects were still accomplished, albeit more relaxed and with a slower pace. Reading was done while curled up with a blanket on the couch.

Obviously, the flexibility is a plus. However, it can also be a curse... from my son’s viewpoint, anyway. Our homeschool does not take days off for “professional development” or “teacher planning” (something our public school district does at least once per month). We also don’t follow the public school calendar when it comes to holidays. (Unless you have a federal job, MLK and President’s Days are work days for most everyone.) And lastly, we are still in session when everyone else has a “snow day!”

However, we do get to count sledding as physical education! :)

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