Homeschooling doesn't always fit in a cookie cutter.
Neither does life 😉
An erratic schedule can cause your homeschool adventures to bounce all around. Find out how you can still make homeschooling work (and enjoy it) despite an erratic schedule.
Homeschool Erratic Schedule Defined
What is an "erratic schedule"?
An erratic schedule may be something like not doing homeschool the same hours every day. Or maybe doing your homeschool work on various days of the week (like Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday).
For example, you may have homeschool hours on Monday this week from 10 am until 2 pm. But, next Monday, you need to switch up Monday from 3 pm to 7 pm.
Or maybe this week, you plan to homeschool Monday through Friday. But next week, you need to shift your homeschool days to Tuesday through Saturday.
In a nutshell, you homeschool when you can or want to, according to the needs and demands of your family life. Your life doesn't revolve around your homeschool but your homeschool revolves around your life.
Why You May Need or Have An Erratic Schedule
There are a number of reasons why you may need or have an erratic schedule for your homeschool. Your family may have one or more of the following situations:
- Work: You work from home or outside of your home and need to homeschool according to your work schedule. Or perhaps your significant other does shift work or travels. Another possibility is if you have an older child who is eligible for employment and works.
- Extracurricular Activities: Music, theater, and other extracurricular activities may have requirements, travel, or practices that make an erratic schedule a necessity for your homeschool.
- Competitive Sports: If you have kids who participate in competitive sports (like my older boys with soccer), travel for games and tournaments often creeps into the week. Practice times may also vary and cause you to shift your homeschool hours.
- Therapy Appointments: Speech, occupational, visual, and physical therapies can take time, especially if you need to travel.
- Sleep Differences: Some parents and/or kids are night owls and prefer to do homeschool work at later times. Or maybe you have an early bird like my oldest who prefers to get up between 5:30 and 6 am (for real, a 15-year-old boy!) and start work.
- Choice: Some families just love the flexibility! They prefer to wake up and let the day unfold.
For example, we have an erratic schedule for a few reasons. My older two boys participate in competitive soccer that requires travel. Also, our youngest started speech therapy and appointments are in the morning. My oldest is an early bird and my 13-year-old is a night owl.
Instead of freaking out and getting myself into a tizzy trying to make homeschool happen that way I thought it "should" from 9 am to 3 pm, I've learned to take a deep breath and take it day by day, week by week. By using the tips found below, I've been able to relax and enjoy our homeschooling adventures. And with that relaxation, our family thrives.
Tips for Making An Erratic Schedule Work for Your Homeschool
If you find yourself needing an erratic schedule to make your homeschool work still happen, no worries!
Every homeschool is different. Your homeschool doesn't have to look like anyone else's. Make it your own and your homeschool joy will flow 🙂
To make your erratic schedule work for your homeschool, here are my tips to help you and your kids maintain your sanity and enjoy homeschool life:
Letting Go of Expectations: My #1 tips for homeschool moms! And I know it's a lot easier said then done 😉 But, it's super important to take all those irrational thoughts (should's, have to's, must's, etc.) and kick them to the curb.
Clear your mind of what homeschooling is "supposed" to be. When you embrace what is, you're gifting yourself and your kids with acceptance and opening your homeschool space to learning enjoyment.
Setting Priorities: When your schedule shifts around, it's vital that you have clear goals and priorities for your homeschool. You don't want to waste time nor energy. Priorities help you accomplish what you need and want to do for a productive and enjoyable homeschool day.
K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Sweetie! Again, time is precious. There's no need to overcomplicate or overthink. You'll feel more accomplished and confident with simple goals, lessons, and activities in your homeschool.
Ask for Help: It's okay to ask for help. Really. Help can be in the form of asking a neighbor or family member to help teach a subject. Or it can be outsourcing a homeschool subject or two to a tutor or online class option.
Year-Round Homeschooling: This type of homeschool scheduling approach pairs well with an erratic schedule. Instead of being confined to a traditional public school schedule, you have much more flexibility to choose what days, weeks, and months you homeschool.
Build In Fun Days: A busy, erratic schedule can make you feel like you have no time for fun. The solution is to build those fun days into your schedule! Plan a field trip or day at the park for some homeschool fun. When you make that time a priority, you all have something to look forward to and enjoy.
Build In Flex Days: Life happens. Emergencies pop up or someone gets sick. You'll feel a lot less stressed if you have a few extra days scheduled for homeschool work. If you need them, cool. If not, well, you can use them as homeschool work make-up days or extra break!
My friend, Misty at Finding Joy in the Journey, shares why she loves Flex Fridays.
Build Flex Time into Your Day: Buffer or flex time is key to helping your homeschool flow with an erratic schedule. Again, life happens. Or something you think will only take twenty minutes takes over an hour. Put an extra fifteen minutes at the beginning and on the end of your homeschool day to give your kids and yourself some wiggle room.
Combine Subjects: Some families with erratic schedules find it helpful to use unit studies or project-based learning. Save time, money, and energy! Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus shares some ah-mazing homeschool unit study resources.
Combine Ages: If you have more than one child that you're homeschooling, combining ages can be such a huge help! Kids who are close in age can work on subjects like history, science, and art at their own level. Younger kids benefit from soaking up information. Older kids learn to be patient and often have the opportunity to teach.
"Morning Time": The practice of morning time can be done any time of day. This special time is when your homeschool gathers to talk about your day, calendar, weather, current events, read-alouds, and more. A variety of subjects can be covered at one time and with different ages. Fabulous for homeschooling with an erratic schedule!
Homeschool or Work Buddies: If you have a large family or gap in ages, pairing an older child with a younger child can save you precious time. If you homeschool on-the-go like we do, older kids can be younger kids "helpers" to get out the door on time. And, sometimes the younger kids step up and give important reminders. Great way for your homeschool to work together and develop life skills.
Chores & Responsibilities: When you homeschool with an erratic schedule, you need help getting stuff done around the house. And your kids are perfectly capable of contributing 😉 Take some of the stress of yourself by using a kids chore app like Homey to help you assign and track responsibilities.
Awesome Resources to Boost Your Homeschool Despite An Erratic Schedule
So, you might have an erratic schedule for your homeschool but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it! With a bit of outside the box thinking, you can still have easy homeschool fun with activities like:
- Brain Breaks
- Conversations Starters for Fun Chats with Kids
- Homeschool Fun (celebrate fun holidays)
- Chalk Pastels
- Educational Videos
- Virtual Field Trips
Homeschool Mom Help to Thrive Despite an Erratic Schedule
I know how easy it is to feel like you're losing your mind when trying to homeschool with an erratic schedule. To help you preserve your sanity and continue to enjoy your homeschool adventures, give these tips a try:
Find a Planner that Works for YOU!: With an erratic schedule, you need to up your planning game. There are so many kinds of planners out there that range from free to expensive, paper or digital, and pocket-sized to bigger than printer paper! Taking time to find a planner that works for your homeschool and life will help you stay on top of it all.
Flexibility in Your Planning: As you up your planning game, make sure to stay flexible. Because life happens 😉
Learn to Be More Patient: Patience isn't always a natural thing. You CAN learn to be more patient and that will help you deal with an erratic homeschool schedule.
Cultivate a Growth Mindset: Seeing the potential in your day and optimizing your opportunities in your homeschool can truly help you successfully deal with an erratic schedule. So much power resides in your thoughts!
Affirmations for Homeschool Moms: Use these powerful "I"-statements for a boost to your positive thinking.
Brain Breaks for Moms: Because you work hard and deserve a break, too! Great ideas for quick and easy self-care to keep you groovin' as you rock your homeschool.
Reframing: This powerful technique can help you shift from a negative to a positive approach to your homeschool, especially helpful when you're having one of "those" days or dealing with a persistent issue.
You CAN have an erratic schedule and still enjoy your homeschool life. These tips and resources will you get you started. With the right planning and preparation, you'll be able to shift your thinking and help your homeschool thrive.
Do you homeschool with an erratic schedule? What challenges do you face?