I was going to name this post how to homeschool when you have a million and one other things to juggle.
Because let’s face it. That’s most people’s reality.
But then I decided to be more specific.
What you need to know is how to homeschool for 3 days a week.
And not feel as though you are letting anyone down.
And I’ll tell you how, but before we go into that, why don’t you tell me why you’re here?
How to Homeschool Part-Time. Why Do you Need to Know That?
I’m guessing there could be two homeschooling scenarios going on here.
(I don’t know you remember, so I’m going to be taking a wild guess).
You’ve always wanted to homeschool your kids and now you have finally been given the push to do so.
While doing your research on if and how to start homeschooling you must have missed the (very important) paragraph that said: ‘at first, you will feel as though you have absolutely no time to yourself. Zilch’ and now you need help to juggle it all?
This time last year you had never even heard of homeschool (and thought that it was something that only weirdoes did) but hey ho, here you are doing it anyway but christ almighty…you had no idea that it would be quite so hard and so damn time-consuming.
Especially when you’re trying to juggle both homeschooling and working full time?
How did I do?
Thought so. Ok then, now that we know each a little about each other, let’s get on with the job.
Why Homeschool 3 Days a Week?
There is no way I could have lasted ten years of homeschooling my kids had I not had some significant chunks of time out. To breathe.
Before we go any further with this conversation, I need to make something clear to every new homeschooling mom out there.
And dad’s too, but I’ll be honest, not a lot of dads seem to read my homeschooling posts.
I probably scare the hell out of them.
But for those dad’s that are around you might like the post and podcast that I made for my husband – homeschooling tips for dads, what every wife needs.
Back to you mama, and what I have to say before I go any further into the subject of homeschooling:
You rock because you are stepping out of the box that is traditional education and you are giving homeschooling a go.
You Are Amazing
You are amazing because rather than think yes there’s a pandemic, or yes my kid doesn’t like school, but I don’t have any other alternative, you are giving it a go.
And that is worth a million dollars.
That alternative which is labelled homeschooling does NOT mean that you suddenly have to become wonder woman or turn into Mary Poppins.
You are still you.
You are still working, you still have a home to run, a marriage to participate in, a mother to phone twice a day, friends to message on Facebook, and a dog that needs to see the vet about her paw.
Being a homeschool mum does not mean that you must now neglect these duties and instead dedicate every single minute of the day to teaching your kids adjectives and algebra.
But how to do it all? How to homeschool when you have a zillion and one other things to do?
Well, one option is you that you could homeschool for three days a week.
There are many pros and cons of homeschooling and one of the pros is that you get to choose how and when you homeschool your kids.
Benefits of Homeschooling 3 Days a Week
I don’t know if you are aware of the education system in Finland?
If not, let me give you a speed lesson.
This Nordic country is often cited as having one of the best education systems in the western world.
Three of the main attributes that the Finland schools cite as the key to their success is:
- Shorter school days and hours (school begins at age 7, kids only go to school for 190 days per year)
- No homework
- Students are free to choose their educative path
Homeschooling with this data in mind
I found that if you can work it right (keep to tight homeschooling schedule), then three days of ‘formal’ lessons is more than enough.
I am currently homeschooling my daughter who is 16 and studying high school, and still, she does no more than 15 to 20 hours of head down serious studying per week.
And she’s just passed all of her first set of exams.
So I feel passionate about this stuff—I like to think that I have some knowledge of what does and doesn’t work.
What Lessons Can you Drop?
The first thing that new homeschoolers say when you suggest that they cut back and fit all of your homeschooling into three days a week, is how?
How is that possible? What lessons can I drop?
The ones that aren’t currently serving you.
Let me give you an example
As I have already mentioned, I’ve been homeschooling for ten years. I have tried homeschooling and working and have experimented with many schedules, routines and timetables.
Some homeschool schedules worked, others were a complete disaster.
The times when my kids were the most unhappy (and I had regular dates with a box of kleenex), was when I was loading them with too much stuff.
Lessons that I thought they needed.
Let me share with you some of the lessons that I worked tirelessly to teach my kids but that turned out (my son is now 19) to be a bit of a waste of time.
(Disclosure. Any education boffs out there, please don’t take this the wrong way and start messaging me with abuse. This is MY experience and as such, I am sharing with you what worked and what didn’t for ME).
Back to the post.
Homeschool Lessons That (I found) to be a Complete Waste of Time
I spent f-o-r-e-v-e-r teaching my son cursive.
Because I love to write, I wanted him to be able to do so beautifully. And he could. He cracked it. He was writing like Shakespeare, but ten years on and …
What a waste of time.
He never writes anything on paper, and when he does, he prints. Grrrr.
I once spent an entire term forcing my kids to sit through typing ‘games’ that were supposed to teach them how to get across the keyboard faster.
It turns out that when they get to be 13, they can type faster than J.K Rowling.
I hated teaching chemistry; the kids hated learning chemistry, so all in all, no chemistry was made.
You could argue that I should have sourced this subject out, but why?
My kids have only ever wanted to go down the creative route so I was pretty much wasting my time. And I’m sure that if my kids did suddenly decide to become doctors or chemistry people, they could go somewhere and learn about the elements of the periodic table.
Again, I was convinced that my kids needed to know a second language and set about making their lives (and mine) hell with songs, poetry, and fill in the blanks workbooks.
They learned absolutely nothing of another foreign language until years later when my husband and I took them on a year-long backpacking trip around the world (that’s another story for a glass of wine), where they were encouraged to speak Japanese with the people we were staying with.
So in answer to your question, which lessons should I drop? Pick the ones that are important and then add extra bits and pieces here and there.
How do you do that?
Take One Subject & Turn it into a Mass of Lessons
Let’s say that your child is asked to creating a writing assignment on the Californian Gold Rush.
Fabulous topic, I highly recommend it.
What at first looks like one subject (language arts) your child, in fact, can learn many other skills given the opportunity.
- Writing skills.
- Or typing.
- Research skills.
- American History.
- Art (have them illustrate their work)
- Music (have them learn a piece to perform or resource a piece of music from that period).
- Geography (where is California, where was the gold?)
- Science (learning about the elements of gold )
- Economics (how the Goldrush affected the local economy)
- The list goes on.
One topic. 9 subjects covered.
That’s one of the benefits of homeschooling. Being able to teach in a different way.
So the next time you are trying to get your head around how you will homeschool for three days and fit everything in, don’t focus on what you are taking away from your child.
Instead, celebrate the different opportunities you are presenting to your child. The options to learn in a variety of ways.
Homeschooling is a Lifestyle, Not a Life Sentence
There is nothing more boring and tedious than waking up on a Monday morning and knowing that you have a long, hard slog of five days homeschooling ahead of you.
This is NOT how homeschooling should feel.
I’ll admit, in the beginning, it did for me. This was because I was clueless, scared of failing, and not confident in my decisions.
Then I got wise and realised that it was ok to be me. To be a homeschooling mum who could still like wine.
Set the rules straight from the start, and I promise you, you will love homeschooling.
One of the many for’s when you compare homeschooling vs public schooling is the flexibility.
You get to choose.
You’re the boss.
Well, at least you can pretend you are – until your kids get to be teenagers and then you might have to fight them for that title.
- If homeschooling for three days a week doesn’t suit you, then do four. Or two. Or three and a half. Or weekends and one weekday.
- If you have the kind of kids that are happy to get up at 6 am and work until 1 pm then do that.
- If you have teenagers that can’t open their eyes until 10 am and so don’t start work until 11 am (but know that they have to work through until necessary) then go with that.
There are no rules when it comes to the way you choose to homeschool.
Yes, you may live in a state where the law requires minimum this and that, but that’s ok too. Work your schedule and your days to accommodate the minimum requirements.
On the days and within the hours that suit you.
This is your shout.
Do what works best for you and do NOT compare yourself to what everyone else is doing.
Homeschooling is About You Too!
The problem with homeschooling is that it can tend to focus solely on the kids.
Kids this, kids that, kids needs, kids wants. And of course, yes, the kids must get the education that they deserve.
And they will – and then some.
But don’t ever forget that you are the key to successful homeschooling. The parent.
Your health, both mentally and physically, is what needs to be optimised if this lifestyle is to be what you envisaged. You get extra points if you can say that you homeschool and also practice some self-love exercises.
A happy homeschooling parent creates beautiful, memorable experiences for their kids.
A tired stressed, and worried homeschooling parent burns out by year one.
This will not happen to you. Not on my shout.
How to Homeschool for 3 Days a Week. A Schedule Example:
I have told you many times in personal homeschooling blog posts, I always prefered to create a homeschool schedule that allowed me to teach the kids for four half days and keep one day free.
But if three full days and two days free suits you and your family better then I have created an example of what a typical homeschool schedule could look like.
*Please note, the project/current series section would be anything from a read-aloud book for younger children or the Goldrush project that we discussed earlier in the post.
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Rounding up How to Homeschool For 3 Days a Week
I am writing this post with passion. You can probably tell.
I feel very strongly about homeschooling, about remembering that it is a lifestyle and moving forward without fear and guilt.
Life is too short for that.
Your kids will be wonderful. They will.
They will be wonderful because they have the person that brought them into this world standing right there beside them saying ok, let’s see what we can do to help, shall we?
Homeschool YOUR way.
If at first what you are experimenting with doesn’t work, then do what you would do if you made a meal for the family and they didn’t like it.
Change the recipe.
Want More Honest & Down to Earth Homeschooling Tips?
I have loved talking to you about homeschooling.
If you would like some honest, down to earth tips on how to homeschool and succeed (without ever feeling guilty or doubtful again) then drop your email below and I will send you my three times a week homeschooling newsletter. It is filled with freebies, videos and common sense.
I look forward to seeing you on the other side!
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I am a great grandmother with full custody of my 8 year old who has many challenges and although he loves the idea of school is unable to cope. Too many people in the room and closed doors making him escalate. My only hope until he can cope with these is to home school.qmp
Sending you lots of strength Eleanor – if you need any further tips please sing out. What a lucky boy to have such a caring Great Grandma. My advice would be to do lots of reading, lots of talking and as many walks as possible (not easy in these times I know). Stay positive and keep strong. All the best, Liz
Thanks for your encouragement!
I work full time outside of my home and because I am sick of the local public school here, have decided to homeschool! My son will be going into 6th grade. My job is great and he can come to my office for a few hours a week. And his grandmother said he can go to her office a few hours a week. Sooooo we are going to have a super, relaxed, non traditional homeschool experience. I figure on Sundays, I will do my main instruction, and depending on what’s going on at my office, will determine what days he will be with me or his grandma. When he’s at our offices, he can do the things that are easier for him. And all the other things that he may need more help with, we will do in the evenings. I know it doesn’t sound very structured, but with his extreme ADHD self… split schedules and mixing things up will be more productive for him anyway. Wish us luck. I’m scared to death lol