I had just come away from using public school for our daughters when we began our journey as homeschoolers. School was from 9 am to 3:30 pm, and then there was another hour or two of homework that had to be done–even in kindergarten. So when I heard all the talk about being finished with all homeschooling instruction by noon, that sounded great! It seemed so logical since clearly I didn’t have a class full of 25-30 kids.
However, another homeschooling mom and friend told me to forget it! That getting everything in by noon may happen some days, but on the whole, that probably wasn’t realistic. Well, instead of listening to that nugget of wisdom, I tried to fit everything in by noon. . .not accounting for many things that would make this a nearly impossible feat. For starters, it was my first year and I was six months pregnant with my fourth child when school began. That alone should have been a clue to me that noon may have been a high hurdle to clear.
Eventually I had to ask myself what I was trying to prove (and to whom) by trying to squish everything in by noon. Why? To say, “See! I did it! I beat the public schoolers and their schedule. So, look at us; we’re already finished!” Really? Are we in a competition? Honestly, public schooling doesn’t even compare to the love and attention that is weaved into every line of instruction in the home, so why bother? In the bigger scope of things, what does it matter if you are finished by noon or not?
As time went on, the Lord continued blessing our family by adding more children. I quickly realized that many things won’t be completed before noon. I am now a mom to 7, with a wide variety of ages and stages. To try to squish all of our learning into the morning hours would be setting up unrealistic time constraints, which would ultimately stifle my children’s growth and learning. By no means am I suggesting dragging things out, nor am I suggesting not to have a routine to set the rhythm of your day. However, I am suggesting giving your children adequate time to complete assignments so that you can accomplish your goals.
The point is that sticking your homeschool in a we-must-be-done-by-noon box is actually an attack on your flexibility–the homeschooler’s beloved gift. I have found that some things are more efficiently learned in the afternoon, especially when my little ones are napping. Occasionally, we may complete a project in the evening or even do math on the weekends when my Husband is home. The time is yours to spend in the ways that fit your family.