Homeschooling as a Night Owl

Owls

I thought perhaps it was just me that was a raging mean person in the morning, thereby making waking up early and homeschooling by 8 am a virtual impossibility.

After a quick Google search, though, I found that I’m not alone.  I was actually surprised at the depth of some of the discussions I stumbled upon on the subject.

In my ongoing quest to bring attention to the road less traveled, I decided it was time to discuss homeschooling when you’re not an early riser.

Here is a rambling of a few things I’ve found helpful in our situation.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A “FLOW”

Each day has its own progression.  Soccer practice and getting the neighbor’s children from the bus stop always happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Most of my “day job” is done Monday-Wednesday.

There might be a few more things, but basically this means that everything else flows around these things.

Babydoll knows that in the mornings on my workdays she is to do all the schoolwork she can do on her own until lunch.  After lunch, we come together to finish those things we must do together.

There is no set schedule for any of these other things, just a general outline for when they should take place.  Add my husband’s crazy work schedule to the mix and we just don’t live in a house where we can always do math at X time and science at X time and so on.

We all know the flow.  We all know the must-do items.  Other than that, we kind of fit it all in as each day requires.

How do I keep myself on track?  I have a digital Post-It on my Chrome home screen.  I *heart* Incredible Start Page for Chrome.

The yellow Post-It is where I record the must do things for each day.  This isn’t the note where I list “clean the bathroom.”  That doesn’t have to be done.

Picking the neighbor’s kids up from the bus stop has to be done.  Paying a bill has to be done.  Getting certain work done by a deadline has to be done.

Another colored note will hold the “I’d like to get this done” things.  Another holds the blog to do items.

This has worked amazingly well at keeping me organized.

THE IMPORTANCE OF A SELF-SUFFICIENT CHILD

I am one of those mean mothers that forced my child to learn to fend for herself as soon as she could.

Of course, I take care of her generally speaking, but if she happens to wake up before I do, she knows how to get her own breakfast, do her chores, and get herself ready to start her day.

I’d admit: I wasn’t into this idea when Vince first suggested it, but it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

She doesn’t need me to take care of her, she knows how to get herself started each day.

Heck, even if I am up, I don’t do breakfast for anyone…

This also helps me get the stuff done each morning that I need to, and then we come together at lunch.

RECOGNIZING WHEN YOU NEED TO MAKE A CHANGE

This is a huge one, and one that I’m still currently fighting.  I despise waking up early, I always have.

I remember the first thing my baby sister would tell people about me is that I was a cranky person in the morning.

She was four.  That’s how bad I am in the morning.

Add to that the fact that we go to bed anywhere from midnight to 3 am every night, and I’m on a crazy schedule.  Rolling out of bed at 5 am just ain’t in the cards.

And this wasn’t a problem, until I started working from home.  In addition to the “fun” of my blog, I’m working as a social media maven and trying to write books, start e-courses, and other awesome stuff.

There’s only so much time in the day.  There’s only so much time left after working and homeschooling and soccer and…

I’ve started thinking of ways to tweak the flow a bit.  If I want to achieve all my goals, I might need to wake up earlier, which means going to be earlier.

It’s a sacrifice and I have to figure out if it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR HOUSEHOLD

I realize quite a bit of this may apply mainly to my household and our unique circumstances, but the meat of the issue can apply to anyone.

If you’re a night owl, you can make it all work, it just takes some out-of-the-box thinking and an open-mind toward adjustments that may need to be made.

Remember that you don’t have to do what everyone else is doing in their homeschools.  Work at what’s right for your family.

Now let’s chat: what type of risers do you have in your home? How do you make it all work?  Have any secrets to share?

Awesome Archaeology: Lesson Plan #1

Arch Image

Last month I mentioned that we’d be doing a full-on archaeology dig for science this year.

I’m terrified, but it’s time we dig in.  As we dig in, I thought it would be great to share my archaeology lesson plans and printables and other fun stuff with you guys!

THE BASICS

Our text will be Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for Kids by John White.  It is an insanely great book for teaching for-real archaeology to kids.

The book provides quite a few worksheets, but to make it more colorful and fun, I decided to make a few printables to go along with each lesson.

Each lesson is primarily put together by Mr. White, but I’ll be providing some filler and extras.  Some of the lessons might not make much sense until you get the book.

The lessons I’ll be doing are designed to be used with this book.

LESSON 1: BUILD A CONTACT LIST

The overarching purpose of this project is to do an actual archaeological dig, complete with real tools, forms, and other supplies.

All the while, your child is practicing math, geography, grammar, handwriting, and tons more.

Before you can start hacking away at the earth, Mr. White recommends building a list of archaeologists your child can consult as they begin their project.

You never know what kind of helpful info they’ll provide.

For this lesson, I’ve designed a fun little printable to help Babydoll flesh out this list.

She’ll determine the types of contacts she’d like to have {professors, local archaeologists, etc.}, where she can find info about these contacts {phone book, website, etc.}, what questions she might have for them, whether she’d like to email or call, a deadline for answers to her questions, and then the final contact list.

You can download the printable here.

Be sure to have access to the internet, phone books, and any other resources available.

This information will eventually be used to contact the list and get tips and ideas for the dig.

If you have a child who would love to do a dig or learn more about archaeology, download the printable and purchase the book now so you can follow along throughout the year!

A Homeschool Parent’s Guide to Traditional School Parents

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I’ve seen several guides written for public school parents meant to help them understand homeschoolers.  These are generally meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but amidst all the hilarity is a genuine desire to really open the eyes of “the other side.”

These guides can actually be quite helpful, especially for those who have only been on one side of the fence.  As I read, I began thinking to myself: “What about a guide for homeschoolers? Surely they should have a guide too.”

Before we started homeschooling, we sent our daughter to a private Montessori, and if we still lived in WA, she’d still be going there.  We absolutely loved her school, and she did too.

I’ve been on the other side.  While I’ve never sent her to public school, I have been a “traditional” school parent, and I myself went to public school.

So here, my homeschooling friends, is your guide.

THE VAST MAJORITY OF US CARE DEEPLY ABOUT OUR CHILD’S EDUCATION.

I didn’t spend months going from school to school attempting to find the best for Babydoll because I thought that would be a great use of my time.  Just because folks don’t homeschool doesn’t mean they don’t see the value in a great education for their child.

ENJOYING CHILD-FREE TIME DOESN’T MEAN YOUR CHILD ISN’T LOVED.

Yes, as a homeschool mom, I think it a little odd to hear the sighs of relief once kids head back to school each year.  I enjoy the company of my daughter, and I missed her when she went away to school.  I did enjoy the time to myself I had, though, and all the things I could get done during that time.  That didn’t mean that I couldn’t stand being around my daughter.

WE DON’T ALL SIT AROUND AND TALK ABOUT “THOSE CRAZY HOMESCHOOLERS.”

Frankly, many of us have better stuff to do with our time than to spend copious amounts of it concerning ourselves with what you do in your house.  While I didn’t really know anything about homeschooling before I started, I didn’t think they were freaks at all.  Well, not most anyway…

ASKING QUESTIONS DOESN’T MEAN WE THINK YOU’RE A COMPLETE LOSER WHO CAN’T POSSIBLY EDUCATE YOUR CHILD.

I know many folks only “know” about homeschoolers based on what’s in popular media.  A genuine curiosity about the process doesn’t equal a disdain for the process.

MANY OF US SPEND QUITE A BIT OF TIME ON OUR CHILD’S EDUCATION.

I was up at Babydoll’s school every single week.  The first year I volunteered to be the mom who sat with each kid as they read to me for fifteen minutes.  At first, I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t a fan.  But after each kid became comfortable with me and I was able to see the progress they made, it was one of my favorite things.  I helped out at her school, I was involved.  Many parents do the same.

SOME OF US MIGHT WANT TO HOMESCHOOL, BUT WE CAN’T FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS.

Just because someone isn’t homeschooling doesn’t mean they don’t want to.  Just because you can handle being a single mom, working, and homeschooling doesn’t mean that someone else can.  Sometimes it’s just not someone’s time.

SOME OF US WOULD STILL LIKE TO SIT AROUND AND TALK TIME MANAGEMENT, CURRICULA, AND MORE WITH YOU.

Just because we don’t homeschool doesn’t mean that these things aren’t important to us.  I think any mom can benefit from the sharing of these ideas.

YOU KNOW HOW YOU DON’T LIKE FEELING YOU NEED TO EXPLAIN YOUR DECISION? NEITHER DO WE.

Sharing of ideas, eye-opening information, and a genuine desire to learn more are one thing; that uncomfortable judgmental silence is another.

WE DON’T ALL THINK YOU’RE FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIANS.

Sure, that’s the image that many people have in their minds of homeschoolers, but that doesn’t mean that we automatically assume that about all homeschoolers.

JUST BECAUSE WE DON’T AGREE ON SOMETHING DOESN’T MEAN WE HATE HOMESCHOOLING.

As long as their are parents and children, there will be differences of opinion on how to raise them.  That’s OK.

I just can’t get behind your desire to only expose your daughter to the wonders of housecleaning, child-rearing, and being a subservient wife.  Homeschooler or not.  My stating so is in no way a slam against homeschooling.  I hope it works for your family, but it definitely doesn’t work for mine.

This list doesn’t apply to all people, of course, but it’s a good digest of things I remember when I was “over there.”

What would you add to this list?

 

Homeschooling and Rotating Shift Work

Homeschooling and Rotating Shift Work | @SweetPhenomena | #Homeschooling #HomeschoolScheduling

Last year I wrote a post about homeschooling while also dealing with a rotating shift work schedule.  It contained links to other posts that touched on this unique situation as well.

You see, if you have a family member that works this type of schedule, you have a unique set of circumstances.  Your week isn’t divided into weekdays and weekends.

I outlined Vince’s schedule in that post, but I’ll explain it again here:

4 days of 12 hour nights
3 days off
3 days of 12 hour days
1 day off
3 days of 12 hour nights
3 days off
4 days of 12 hour days
7 days off

After the 7 days off, you repeat from the top.

This type of schedule can be good for several things, like Daddy being home during the week at times.  If there’s a field trip, appointment, or some other event that necessitates Daddy, we’ve got him.

It also means that if we want to have family time, we can’t do school Monday through Friday, taking off Saturday and Sunday.

I tried to fight it for the longest time; I felt school had to be done Monday through Friday.  Once I let go, things really started falling into place.

I’m a visual learner, so I wanted to revisit how I work this type of schedule into our homeschool.

Once you consider field trips, baking projects, reading, and plenty of other learning opportunities, we’re well over 165 school days for the year.

I’d like to take a moment to touch on something:  we decided to school year-round so that our school days were able to match up nicely to my husband’s work days.  If we tried to do fewer months, we’d need to do more school days per month, meaning we wouldn’t be “off” when my husband was off.

That’s a sacrifice we chose to make.  We also like to take the month of December off.

The month above is a bit different than normal because they have an adjustment for work that needed to be done.

You might need to do more documentable school days?  Is the number of school days each month more than what your family member will be working?

That’s OK!  The focus of this type of homeschool scheduling is not fitting it all together perfectly, but striving to do as much of your schoolwork during their work times as possible.

This way, the family doesn’t feel like they’re giving up family time.  The family member working those hours feels like they can actually be a part of the family during their time off.

I find that by outlining school days in this manner, I know what days are non-negotiable.  I build everything else from this foundation:  field trips, errands, extracurriculars, etc.

It’s not easy, and it takes a bit of playing around with a schedule, but it can be done.  And I promise you, once you’ve made it work for your family, things will start to feel a bit more natural.

How do you deal with “strange” schedules in your homeschool?

 

August was Stellar

HSMJ-wideIHN

In my life this week…

This week was kind of a blur.  I believe I spent part of it continuing to work on my new site.

I also continued reading The Year of Living Dangerously: Adventures in Homeschooling.  I am in love with this book.  It’s hysterical and actually has quite a bit of information about homeschooling that I’ve never known.

Oh, and then there was Family Game Night.  So. Much. Fun.

We purchased Wits and Wagers Family and let me tell you, that is a fun game.  If you have a family game night, it’s a great choice.

It appeals to a wide variety of ages, it’s fun, and it’s quick.  We played three times that night.

In our homeschool this week…

We wrapped up this year’s first month of homeschooling this week.  I have to say, fourth times a charm.  At least for us.

This is our fourth year homeschooling, and this was the most successful first month we’ve ever had.

We pretty much finished everything we needed to, and Babydoll couldn’t stop going on and on about how fun school is.

Score one for the mommy.

Questions/thoughts I have…

Can I really create my own archaeology curriculum for the year?  Can I really do an archaeological dig with Babydoll?

Sure, I’ve got the help of a book, but I really wonder if I’m cut out for this…

Either way, we get started this month.

I’m cooking…

Well, I’m not cooking this right now, but I’m on a quest for the best short ribs recipe ever.

The braised ones at Cafe Dupont were delish, and I must make them!

A quote to share…

I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now? – John Lennon