Saturday, January 8, 2011

Traditional school schedule? Only when convenient...

It has been awhile since I participated in the Blog Cruise. Life got busy and then the Blog Cruise took a short break.  I've never been one to keep a consistent schedule either, and kept missing the post date.  So, what's the Blog Cruise question for this week?  Let's see...

Do you follow a traditional school day/time/schedule/year?

Can you guess my answer?  I'm not any better following a traditional school schedule than I am following the Blog Cruise schedule. And that's ok.  It works for me.

When we first started homeschooling, when of the big advantages I saw was that we didn't have to follow a schedule put before us by someone else. We had the luxury to take vacations in the fall or simply have a down day when we needed it. For the first several years, I took the whole month of December off.  I figured it would be stressful trying to get school during a busy holiday season, so why go there?  We don't take December off in its entirety anymore, since it no longer works for us.  We've been forced into conformity somewhat by outside classes. But, we had the choice to take those classes or not, and it is still a self-imposed schedule. During those first years, though, my kids didn't envy the kids standing at the bus stop on Dec 23rd one bit!

The other area in a traditional school schedule  that I can just not follow is waking up bright and early.  None of us are morning people, so why in the world would we get up at 6 a.m.?  Now, I do wish we'd get going earlier than we currently do, but I have no desire to get up at the crack of dawn on a cold Michigan morning.  I asked a friend what time her middle school daughter gets up for public school.  I was told she gets up at 5:30 a.m. to be ready for the bus at 6:30 a.m.  First hour starts at 7:19 a.m. (Don't you just love the weird times schools start in order to meet seat time requirements?).  I'm sorry - my kids aren't going to crank out too many math problems at 7:19 a.m. or any other time that starts with a 7 and ends in a.m. I used to feel a bit inadequate about this until I received a big stamp of approval from our very traditional and by-the-book pediatrician when she asked about my kids' sleep habits and I sheepishly divulged their resting hours.
"Growing kids need their sleep!  A big advantage you have as homeschoolers is that they don't have to get up early for school.  Let them sleep in as long as they like; they need it!"
There you have it, doctor's orders to sleep in! Now, I don't  follow that advice exactly.  I do have standards and would prefer to start school before noon, which wouldn't be possible if I let them sleep as long as desired needed.  However, it was good to hear the advice to embrace our laziness natural body rhythms in the name of health and learning!

We also school year round...sort of.  It is more of a must-do-math-in-July-to-finish-the-year than a we-love-math-so-much-we-want-to-do-it-all-the-time scenario.  Because we adapt our school schedule to suit our needs, we aren't always "done" in June.  There are certain subjects and material that I require to be completed each year, so in a sense we really do follow a traditional schedule for the year as far as material.  It is just a matter of "when" that is up for negotiation. Even if work is completed in June, we still do some formal learning throughout summer.  I don't want my kids to shut off their brains for three months, only to have to spend the first three months of the official school year turning them back on.  It is a hodge-podge schedule from June-August, but we just keep on keepin' on during the summer, while enjoying things a bit more relaxed.

Even though we take days off when we need them, stay tucked in our beds in the early morning hours, and dabble in summertime work, I find myself conforming more to a traditional schedule as my kids get older.  My oldest takes many online classes, which typically start in August and end in June.  The local support group I run also offers classes during a typical school schedule (though we do take all of December off!).  And while we aren't starting school at 7:19 a.m., we aren't getting done at 2:07 p.m. either. My kids cover just as much material, and likely much more, than traditional school students do in a day.  The only difference is mine are more rested!

As in real life, there are some things you just have to follow and stay on schedule. When I was working outside of the home, I had to get up at 5:30 a.m. in order to get my daughter to daycare and be at my desk at 7:30 a.m.  It certainly didn't follow my natural body rhythm by any stretch of the means (my co-workers knew not to speak to me for an hour or so), but sometimes you just need to conform in order to make it work best for you.  In this case, I needed a paycheck.  In my kids case, they need an education.

But if you have the flexibility to get accomplish what you've set out in a manner that works best for you, why wouldn't you?

Find out what my fellow TOS Crewmates have to say about this topic by clicking the button below.


Diane said...

We are not morning people either. Lucky if we get started each morning at 9:30, but with only one child to teach we get done by 12:30 each day. We also take days off when we want to don't worry to much about how many days we go over into the month of June (need 180 days to make the board happy).

alecat said...

I absolutely agree: growing children need their sleep!

We had very interesting routines happening here last year with one early bird and another late riser, which meant that essentially both children got 1:1 time with me while they were both fresh. :)

lexi @ pink and orange coffee said...

I am so glad we aren't the only ones who get up late!!!

Guiding Light said...

Sounds like we are a lot a like. :-) Blessings!