Most homeschool days follow a typical routine. These semi-predictable routines keep the lessons moving forward and help parents maintain their sanity. This is a good thing.
But it’s far too easy to fall into a routine trap and allow things to become boring and mundane if we don’t flex our homeschool freedom muscles every now and then.
Remember that you are an educational innovator and there are so many options at your disposable when the drudgery of the routine is bringing you down.
If you want to flex your freedom muscle this week, I’ve got a few reminders for you.
1. You are free to leave the workbook or textbook unfinished. I promise that no one will get hurt. If you are done, then be done. No one will check to make sure you completed every single page of the entire book.
Maybe it just stopped working effectively. Maybe your child got bored with the system. Maybe you found something new and exciting to replace it. And maybe you just got tired of that topic. Whatever your reason, you do not have to finish everything.
2. You are free to play games and call it school. It could be a math game or another educational game, or it might just be your favorite board game or a fun card game. It doesn’t have to tie directly to a school subject. You can still play it during the school day and call it school. Your kids are learning because they are always learning.
3. You are free to stop reading a book that no one is enjoying. There are too many books in the world to spend precious time on a title that no one likes. Even if it is a classic. Even if it is “part of the curriculum”. There are enough good books in the world that you can find a replacement to communicate the same themes or ideas.
4. You are free to take a field trip and just enjoy the ride. You don’t have to schedule an official tour or complete a worksheet for your trip to count as school. If you need proof for your state records, then take a photo. At the end of the day, check the box on your attendance sheet (if you have one) without guilt and without doing any math that day.
5. You are free to watch TV during lunch. The kids will survive the screen time and you might just find that it is fun. As my kids have gotten older, we love to enjoy a show at lunch.
6. You are free to leave the house for lunch or breakfast. Go on a picnic. Grab lunch at a local restaurant. Do whatever works for you. Take a card game, a good read aloud, or a few workbooks. Or leave school at home and enjoy great conversation or quiet tablet time while you eat.
7. You are free to travel anytime. all the time. and what it is less crowded and less pricey. Take advantage of Disney in September or the beach in late May. You are not tied to a traditional school calendar.
8. You are free to go to the movies in the middle of the day. Save money. Make a memory. Enjoy your time. And it doesn’t have to be an educational movie.
9. You are free to study any topic in any area that interests your children. There is no rule that requires your child to study a particular field of science or history. The world is wide open to you. Explore it!
The public schools may have selected Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics as their standard high school courses, but your child can study Anatomy & Physiology, Marine Biology, Ecology or even Astrophysics.
*There is typically plenty of flexibility even when you read your local requirements for homeschooling, but be sure to follow the laws of your state.
10. You are free to skip a math lesson because your kid already knows it. Just move on. It’s OK. That math police won’t show up.
11. You are free to assign fewer problems or questions than the assignment includes. Complete the odd-numbered problems. Answer the first three questions. Pick your five favorites to work on today.
12. You are free to do school anywhere you like – at home or elsewhere. We often homeschool on the go and take our books to a local coffee shop or bagel place, but you can also change the location right in your own home. You are free to do school on the porch, in hammocks, on the trampoline, or sitting upside down on the sofa.
13. You are free to do things differently. You are allowed to homeschool differently than your neighbor, your mentor, your best friend, or the curriculum guide. Make it your own. Make it work for your family. Most of all, make it fun and memorable when you can.
14. You are free to do things exactly the way the curriculum states. Save time and energy and just do it the way the guide lays it out. Save your energy for a subject that stimulates you.
15. You are free to follow the homeschooling philosophy that works for your family. There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” philosophy. Perhaps you tend toward a Classical Education. Maybe you feel more like an unschooler. Follow the philosophy that appeals to your heart and works for your family.
16. You are free to eliminate aspects of any homeschooling philosophy that doesn’t work for your family. Borrow the aspects that work for you and eliminate the ones that don’t. My friend Alicia reminds everyone that you don’t have to be a complete purist about any one philosophy.
17. You are free to plan a professional development day. Give the kids unlimited screen time or a babysitter so that you can dive deep into planning, learning, or reading. Do what makes you a better person and refreshed homeschool parent. Teachers have professional development days, so why not you?
18. You are free to “do school” at any time during the day. There is no rule that school has to be done in the morning. Regular school hours do not apply at your homeschool.
19. You are free to write your own high school graduation requirements. In many states, you do NOT have to adhere to the local high school requirements though they are a handy guideline.
If you have a college-bound student, then the college admission requirements are an important guideline. The college admissions requirements are not the same as the high school graduation requirements. For example, Physical Education is required to graduate high school, but it is not a college admission requirement. Is it required for your high schooler? That is up to you!
*Again, be sure to follow your state laws, but you might be surprised at how flexible they are.
20. You are free to head outdoors. Bring the workbooks or just leave them at home. Enjoy the lake, the trail, the breeze, the playground, or the porch swing.
21. You are free to take care of anything that is distracting you first. Are the messy bedrooms driving you mad? Is there a bathroom that needs attention? Is there an email that has to be sent today? Go take care of the thing on your mind (or ask children to help) and then move on with the day.
22. You are free to call it a day when it everyone is just done. You don’t have to finish the entire plan to call it a day. There might be school work left undone, but if everyone feels done, then you are free to end the school day.
23. You are free to have fun. So go for it Have some fun with your crew tomorrow.