With our flexible homeschool schedule, we’ve had the time and space to achieve a perfect rhythm for our days. A schedule has not been imposed on us by public school, and we’re reaping the rewards! Life is much more relaxing, and the kids are learning more, too. Flexible routines and schedules are another reason why I say homeschooling is the best.
The Science of Routines
Science backs the importance of routines for children. Psychology Today spoke about the comfort that children receive from having a predictable routine. When they know what is happening, they feel safe.
A study found that a fixed family schedule can actually help children with behavioral issues such as oppositional defiant disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder and hyperactivity/impulsivity. I can attest to this! Our son has both ASD and ADHD he benefits from knowing what is going to happen during his day. When he has a routine, he has far fewer meltdowns and is much more willing to learn and to stay engaged. Based on the data, it would seem that a rigid public school routine is the ultimate comfort. I have found the opposite to be true and I’m not the only one! The distractions in the classroom and the constant changes to the schedule for specials and assemblies are a constant attack on the predictability of the schedule.
Rigid Public School Routines Are Old School
In his TED Talk from 2010, Bring on the Learning Revolution, the late Sir Ken Robinson explained that the current public school system is based on an old model from the 19th century, “We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people.” In laymen's terms we are putting our kids into an assembly line with no room for individuality or slow down for kids whom learn differently.
The public school schedule is an example of this conformity. While children do thrive on predictability, they are often forced into a learning routine that does not work for them. All of this is done so they can be batched and managed being taught how to think, what to think, and when to think it.
My kids did not thrive with this one-size-fits-all timetable of public education. In fact, this early, rushed start caused them a huge amount of anxiety.
Some kids are better later in the morning or in the afternoon some thrive in the evening. An article in TIME says that teenagers are actually better suited to staying up later and sleeping in, so a more flexible school schedule could lead to more motivated teens. I know that my 10 and 13 year old, who do love a set routine, benefit from a later start.
The Beauty of a Flexible Homeschool Routine
Schedules and routines are great, but I don’t think the public school ones should be forced on everybody. Thus is where the beauty of the homeschool schedule comes into play. There are so many ways that you can mold your daily schedule to best suit your child. Especially for kids who are not considered neurotypical. Here are some of the freedoms we’ve discovered in our years of homeschooling:
Kids can actually get enough sleep and be rested and ready for the day. They can then start the day when they are ready to learn.
Kids can have a peaceful morning routine instead feeling stressed and rushed.
You can decide if you want to follow a year-round homeschooling plan, take breaks periodically or use a 4-day schedule. You have the flexibility to decide what works best for your family and to be able to change your mind whenever you like.
You can homeschool on the road and take holidays whenever you want to. Kids can experience the world, without having to wait for designated periods in the year to go on vacation.
Kids can have a break if they’re sick or even just having a bad day and not become behind. We do this a lot! It’s difficult to expect concentration and engagement from kids when they don't feel their best.
You can dive deeply into child-led learning, letting children focus on what delights and engages them. A flexible schedule means that subjects can easily be moved around to accommodate these interests.
There are no timelines on when a particular concept has to be taught or mastered. If your child is struggling you can slow down until they get it. On the flip side if your child is ready to move on you don't have to continue the lessons for a predetermined amount of time. You can go at your child's pace.
The world is constantly changing, and education needs to change too. Even though public schools are improving, they are not doing so quickly enough. For special needs kids the changes and improvements are even slower. The old way of managing kids is still prevalent in most schools, yet this way of teaching is not going to prepare all of them adequately for the future. That’s why homeschool is the best!
When you school at home, you can adapt learning, content, and schedules to give your children the best education possible. Then they can be ready to face a changing world that needs people flexible enough to navigate its complexities.
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