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?

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?