Every family has a unique approach to homeschool planning, and busy couples are no exception. But if both parents are working, how can you possibly schedule a homeschool day? I work from home, and my wife does private music tutoring at her students’ homes, at music studios, and local primary schools. Since her schedule changes every week, our homeschool scheduling is also flexible. Our approach might work for you as well.
My wife and I plan for homeschooling based on JIT principles. That's right, “Just in Time” (JIT) homeschool planning. There are plenty of hours during the week to finish our lessons. We know which subjects we have to get done at home and which classes or activities are outside. At times we follow a normally planned schedule. However, we can switch it around to accommodate either of us. That’s what we call JIT planning—as long as we get it done sometime during the day, we are on schedule.
One key is sharing homeschool responsibilities. Normally, we aim to complete language arts, math, and handwriting every day before noon—that's my part. My wife follows those core subjects with either music, Mandarin lessons, or other activities with our son while I work in the afternoon. Then, depending on the week, either one of us may take him to daily afternoon soccer practice while the other one works. (When I take my son to soccer practice, I will stay nearby at a coffee shop and do some work on my laptop.) My wife handles a weekly Lego class, every other week I take him to a joint science class, and Friday is drum class outside.
Plan B: Homeschool on the Go!
Sometimes though, we both have to be somewhere. What then? Although it’s not always ideal to take a child and his homeschool assignments with you, there are times when it’s going to happen. The first time we did homeschool on the run, or Plan B as we call it, we realized that it works! Just this week, we had to switch to Plan B: I had an appointment elsewhere, so my wife took our son with her to Bible study. He prepared to take his independent study math and language arts with him. When he got back home, we completed the lessons that I needed to do with him. Plan B works when you are in a jam.
Along with our JIT approach come teaching moments from our home-based leather business. If we need to do something urgent for our business, we reschedule classwork for another time during the day or weekend. This approach gives us many opportunities for our son to learn how we create and produce our products. Like most children, he is happy to take an unexpected break! We find that by having our son observe us doing our work—sometimes even helping—he can learn what life is about while he is being educated.
As working parents, we are certainly busy, but we have learned to schedule (and reschedule!) homeschooling in line with the rest of the family. When our son was in kindergarten all day, we didn't know what he was learning, he had no idea what we did, and we were together for a few hours before bed. Now, thanks to JIT planning, homeschooling has allowed all three of us to enjoy something that truly fits into our daily life!
Photo credit: Featured image from iStock. Other images courtesy of author.