Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Power of Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the greatest benefits homeschooling has offered our family. Here are some wonderful points to consider regarding the ability to change that are not offered with other methods of education:

Late night event? Go ahead and sleep in the next morning. Family crisis? Put lessons on the back burner and take care of each other. Exciting opportunity? Take it! Lessons will be waiting for you when it's finished.

Someone needs help? Offer. Or better yet, do it without even asking. You can work your lessons around assisting your friend or loved one. And take your children with you - they can learn compassion by seeing yours in action.

Gorgeous day? Head outside right away. Have lessons when it's darker/hotter/colder. Or take your lessons outside with you! New learning opportunity presenting itself? It's not part of the planned learning for the year? Who cares! Let your children follow those interests and passions.

Is your child struggling? Slow down. Does your child already know this? Skip ahead. Is your child uninterested? Drop it and brainstorm a new approach. Your child isn't ready? Wait. Is your child a slow bloomer? Allow the time needed to mature. Is your child a fast bloomer? Allow them to forge ahead at their pace.

Do you or your child hate the program you are using for math/science/phonics/reading/spelling/history? Stop using it and look for something else. Have a hard time mastering something this year? Put it on the schedule for next year. Is your child particularly interested in any topic at all? Tailor your assignments to include it.

Everyone having a bad morning? Drop everything and do something fun as a family. Pick it back up another time. Is your child experiencing a strong emotional reaction to something? Allow them time to talk it out with you and sort through their feelings. Is your child ill? Lessons can continue, and the sick child especially will enjoy reading together and quiet activities to give them interesting things to do other than lay on the couch and watch television.

Plan your family vacations, well-child checkups, physicals, dental appointments, and field trips during the regular school year in your area...when those places are the least crowded and most pleasant. Didn't have time to read that history lesson together yet? Do it in the waiting room of those places, or while waiting to pick someone up from music/sporting activities, or at bedtime, or during supper.

Are you and your children morning people? Night owls? Freshest after lunch? Good, because that's when homeschooling takes place. Not finished in May? Keep going. Need a break in February? Go right ahead. So excited to start you can't imagine waiting for August? Don't wait!

Are you type-A, super-organized, laid back, plan every detail, just want a general framework, want someone else to do most of the planning, need to map it all out yourself, rely on advice from those with experience or prefer to research everything yourself type of person? Excellent, because that's how homeschool planning works. You have the opportunity to tailor your school to your own individual family, and even to the individuals within it.

What is an aspect of the flexibility of homeschooling you enjoy or are looking forward to?

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