Flexibility: A Key to Homeschool Success

Father and son taking a break outdoors
While all homeschool parents would love for every day to run smoothly, we all know this doesn’t always happen. Our schedules are often interrupted due to unexpected circumstances, and sometimes we encounter illnesses or simply have a bad day.

Remember that one of the keys to successful homeschooling is FLEXIBILITY.

Here are a few ideas from our Education Counselors on how a flexible approach can benefit your family:

Observe Your Students

Throughout the school year, it is important to continually observe your students’ academic progress, along with overall mood and motivation levels. If your children are groggy upon waking or need some quiet time after breakfast before starting school, try making a small change to your schedule and then observe the overall effectiveness.

If you find that your older student does his/her best work in the evenings, there’s no need to require an early morning start. Middle and high school students often need extra sleep and have improved brain functioning later in the day.

Also, be sure to note any subjects where your students struggle. It is sometimes best to start with the most difficult subjects. Many students are also more energized and focused after a lunch break or some outside physical activity.

By observing your students daily, you can apply small tweaks and adjustments to your daily schedule to help your children be more successful.

Invite Feedback

Be sure to regularly ask your students how homeschool is working for them. This is particularly helpful for older students. Listen to your children’s feedback and consider implementing some of their suggestions.

Do your students have suggestions on ways to improve their schedules? Is their schooling space comfortable? Do they need more supplies? Do they have suggestions on ways to work more efficiently?

Remember that one of the great benefits of homeschooling is that students are not required to sit at a desk for 5-6 hours a day. Be flexible with your homeschooling location. Children can do schoolwork outside at a picnic table, at the park, or curled up in a beanbag chair in the living room. Ask your students what works best for them and remember that the preferred location may depend on the type of activity (ie., reading vs. doing a hands-on project).

Allowing your students to provide feedback on the homeschool schedule and environment gives them a sense of ownership and allows them to suggest alternate ways of doing things that promote productivity.

Flexible Calendaring

Another benefit of homeschooling is the ability to plan your own school calendar. You are not required to follow a traditional school year schedule.

Some Calvert families take a week off from their studies to visit relatives or have some family bonding time at home. These schedule modifications are perfectly fine.

Also, remember to be flexible when you have planned activities or days with busy schedules. If you have a long day of appointments or activities on a Monday, there is no need to rush to finish all school work. It’s perfectly fine to adjust the work week and do lessons Tuesday-Saturday or to work only four days a week.

Remember that when students are rushed to complete their school work in a short amount of time, the added anxiety can negatively affect their performance. Don’t be afraid to modify your schedule to meet your child’s needs.

Dealing with Sick Days

Unfortunately, sick days are inevitable, particularly during the winter months. Use your best judgment. If your child has a high fever or nausea, it might be a good idea to stop working for the day. Remember, you are a parent first. Complete the assignments when your child is feeling better.

If your child is feeling slightly under the weather, but well enough to attend school, modify some of the lessons. Focus on light reading, watching educational videos, or listening to a parent or older sibling read. Forgo more difficult content and assignments for subjects that are less challenging for the student. As your child’s condition improves, steadily increase the amount of work until he is ready to resume the normal schedule.

Pack it Up, If Needed

Finally, if you’re having a very unproductive day, it’s okay to occasionally pack up the books, call it a day, and start fresh the next morning. Sometimes going to the park for outdoor time or spending time watching a family movie provides a much-needed mental break for students (and parents). Start over the following day and you’ll notice increased focus and motivation.

Calvert Families: If you need assistance with planning your homeschool schedule or help with teaching concepts or strategies, please do not hesitate to contact our team of experienced Education Counselors. Email us at EdCounselors@CalvertServices.org or call us at 1-888-487-4652 (option 2).

Thinking of Homeschooling? Calvert has a team of trained educators who can help you build strategies that will improve learning and productivity for your daughter or son. It all begins with a phone call. Call us at: 1-888-487-4652.