Your school days are a perfect blend of academics and hands-on fun, spontaneity and organization… right? Yeah, mine either! Since we welcomed our 7th child into our family, it seems the only thing I can guarantee about my perfectly planned homeschool days is that they’ll be interrupted!!
Crazy happens! After more than a decade of homeschooling, I have a few crazy-day hacks up my sleeve. School can go on when I am sick, a pre-teen is emotional, baby 7 needs nursing or a long phone call can’t wait. Here’s how:
Preschool: Go Fish
Years ago, I realized I couldn’t spend an hour reading & playing learning games with my littles every day. But they still wanted “school time” so I planned ahead for crazy days. I was realistic- nothing that took 20 minutes of prep or a trip to the craft store made it on my list. Instead, I gleaned from blogs and books like The Preschooler’s Busy Book and Slow and Steady Get Me Ready for fun-but-realistic ideas.
Since my littles love fishing (thanks to their Daddy), I cut fish shapes out of construction paper and wrote one activity on each “fishie”. On busy days, I let them “go fishing” for the day’s school project. 12 years later, my now sixteen year old lays those same fish on the rug and lets his little sisters “go fishing”. We make time for whatever activity they choose. (confession: On busy days, I just lay the 3 fish I can do on the rug and let them choose from those!)
Elementary: Buy Supplemental Materials
We studied American History this year. At our homeschool convention, I stocked up on Your Story Hour audio dramas about American heroes, Drive Thru History DVDs that span from the 1500’s to the American Revolution, Civil War era Dover Historic Coloring Books, and paper dolls. On days that I can’t teach, I pull out one of these fun diversions that pack a healthy dose of instruction.
Middle School: Homeschool Manager App
Since we are very much a one-room-schoolhouse family, we study history and science together. While my middle school child benefits from the above ideas, I also expect her to finish her core subjects without supervision.
To stay on top of school, our family uses a planning/tracking app. Homeschool Manager helps our kids see the week’s assignments at a glance and they check off tasks as they complete them. This notifies me that I need to grade and simplifies record keeping. In the past, school screeched to a halt if I wasn’t present each moment. Homeschool Manager helps me pass the responsibility for completing assignments to my kids.
High School: Make a List
Our high schooler’s biggest challenge on crazy days is staying on task with school instead of putting on the “parent” hat. My homeschool hack to solve this is making a list of what has to happen and letting him handle those items. I make it clear that his school is one of those items and give him the freedom to structure the day as he wishes. Real-life learning!
If you’d like more tips on homeschooling across multiple ages, read this post: How to Keep Littles Busy while Schooling the Big Kids
About Allie O
Homeschooling gives Allie O the flexibility to keep her family first while also pursuing her dreams of food & travel writing. She keeps up with life + homeschooling their 7 children with the help of their family’s scheduling & tracking software: Homeschool Manager. Allie blogs about their adventures in sunny St. Augustine, Florida, on her site Simply St. Augustine. Give her a tweet at @SimplyStAug and @HomeschoolMgr!
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