It Takes All Kinds
So what does this have to do with homeschooling, anyway? Adults come in different varieties. Some are early morning birds, getting up at the crack of dawn and cheerfully beginning the day’s tasks. Some struggle to get out of bed, even after hitting the snooze button four times; these are the night owls who think best when the rest of their world has gone to bed. And there are still others, who snatch catnaps at every possible opportunity.
And, no surprise, our children are the same way. Some prefer to tackle their hardest subjects in the morning when their minds are freshest, saving their easier subjects for the afternoon. Others like to get through their simplest subjects in the morning and feel a sense of accomplishment, which propels them to undertake the material they find more difficult in the afternoon.
The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men…
When I first started homeschooling, I was very intent upon creating a schedule. I was going to work with this child on this subject at this time, while that child was going to be working simultaneously on that subject at that time. The timer was going to ring, and we were all going to happily move on to the next subjects just as Mommy had planned.
Then reality set in. The more I came to know my children as they grew, with their strengths and weaknesses — and through that, came to know even better my own — the more I was able to give them freedom within limits in homeschooling. Does it really matter that this child does math in the morning, while that child races to finish the day’s math assignment before coming to set the table for dinner? It certainly doesn’t matter if the goal is simply to make sure that learning takes place.
Bringing Order from Chaos
Yet there are definitely limits with consequences. A principle that my husband and I strive to instill in our children is that work must be finished before play. I had to deliver that consequence once for a child…I discovered on the way to a fun (and optional) activity that the assigned work had not been completed by the aforementioned child. Well, I dropped off the child’s siblings at the fun activity…and brought that child home to finish his work. And as I noted – it was once. This did not happen with that child again.