Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Real Homeschoolers May Not Be At Home!

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the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

It's Day 2 of the Schoolhouse Crew's Real Life Homeschool blog hop, and I'm going to come clean on what Tuesdays are really like in our homeschool. (This isn't the first time I've confessed though - see: 5 Ordinary Homeschool Days - Tuesday)

Fellow homeschoolers usually know this particular truth about homeschooling, but I've found that "outsiders" often don't. Here it is. Brace yourselves... Real Homeschoolers don't necessarily stay at home. It's true. We do not hole up in a schoolroom in our basement all week long plugging away at the books, and emerging only for Sunday church service and the annual homeschool convention. (We don't even have a schoolroom! Sometimes I'm the teeniest bit jealous of those that do.) Okay, that is an exaggeration, but it IS true that people assume we're home and basically have time on our hands on the weekdays. There is no other way to explain the number of times that well-meaning folks at church suggest that something-or-other could be done by the homeschoolers without checking with the homeschoolers in question about their actual availability and interest in the project. No other way to explain the surprise I've seen on someone's face when they've invited me to be part of a weekly something-or-other (like a women's Bible study or something really awesome like that) that happens during the weekday and I decline because "I can't fit it into my calendar".

The truth is that homeschoolers tend to have a full calendar, and the education of our children takes a pretty high priority on our agendas. When students are very young and daily schoolwork can be done in a couple of hours a day, there is a lot more free time available to be out and about, depending on the family's preference. But I've found that as my kids reached the higher grades, it became more important to dedicate our days to their studies and not be running hither and yon every day of the week. I've decided to decline various fun activities, worthwhile extras such as Bible studies or co-ops, and field trips when I've considered the cost in terms of our homeschool schedule. We need to limit our outside activities so that they don't take away from time we have decided to spend at home working on school.

Wait... didn't I just say homeschoolers aren't always at home? And then I said there are lots of things we won't do because we need to be at home. What gives?

I'm still very much in control of our calendar. Far more than families with kids in brick-and-mortar schools. So for the last couple of years, I have decided to try and do all of our "running around" things on one day. Tuesday.  It's worked out so that most of our regular outside activities happen on Tuesday, so that is the day I plan as if I will not be at home at all.  Here's what a typical Tuesday looks like:

Every day starts with coffee, and Tuesdays are no different. Besides, I'm going to need the caffeine, because shortly after breakfast, the crazy begins.
the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

I take Kennady to her piano/guitar lesson mid-morning. Fortunately, it's a very short drive away. I usually take along something I can work on - like balancing a checkbook - or a book I can read.
the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Back home, we have a little time for schoolwork before lunch, which is almost always rushed, no matter how much I've planned ahead. That's because we need to be out the door to gym class by 12:15. And that is a bit of a drive - about 40 minutes or so.
the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Whenever possible, I try to get errands done while the kids are at gym. It's a perfect time to get groceries, IF I've remembered my list. I don't always. After gym class is over, good luck trying to herd the kids back to the vehicle. This is their weekly time to catch up with their homeschool friends, and they want to stay and hang out for awhile! (Don't even worry that we don't socialize!)

the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

But we haven't got time to lollygag because we've got that 40 minute drive home - well, now it's more like 45 minimum because traffic is heavier - plus we'll probably need to make a couple of quick stops on the way home. If all goes smoothly, we have about two hours at home before we hit the road again. During those two hours, both kids need to shower and change, and we need to slap some dinner on the table. Tuesday is a good night to have leftovers. Or hot dogs. Sometimes a bowl of cereal, if I'm completely honest.

Back in the van, and we stop to pick up Landon's friend who is also in Civil Air Patrol. I try to drop these guys off around 6:45, because their opening formation is at 7pm.

the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Once a month, it's PT night, so it's sort of a second gym class.
the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Those CAP pictures are not actually of opening formation though, because I almost never stay for that. Instead, I drop the guys at the door, and head downtown to drop Kennady off at chorus rehearsal.

the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
They work hard practicing for a concert that looks like this:
the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

I do have to sign her in, and make sure I've got any information they're handing out that week, and I usually double-check with the mom that is gracious enough to sign Kennady out and meet us at the Civil Air Patrol location afterwards. Why don't I pick her up? Well, I also have choir practice on Tuesday evenings, and mine runs 15 minutes later than Kennady's. This other mom also has a son in Civil Air Patrol, so this arrangement has been SO helpful to me! I scoot out of my practice promptly at 9 and hustle over to pick the kids up. Once a month, they are in dress blues and do promotions, so if Landon happens to be promoting, I do my best to get there early enough to see closing formations and see the promotions.

the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

the Real Homeschoolers series - We May Not Be At Home! @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

CAP meets in a church multi-purpose room, so after their meeting is over, they have to put all the chairs back, so even though the squadron is dismissed very shortly after 9, the young men are there cleaning up afterwards until at least 9:30 most weeks. After we drop Landon's friend off at home, we are lucky to be back at our house by 10:30. Straight to bed, especially for Landon, because he will need to be up early for work on Wednesday!

The other reason we may not be home during the day is because I can schedule things like doctor's appointments almost any time - we don't have to work around the public school day and calendar the way so many families do. When I called the eye doctor, for example, needing to make appointments for the kids, the receptionist was concerned that they were booked up quite far in advance, until I assured her that any daytime appointments (except Tuesdays!) would be fine since we homeschooled. They fit us in less than a week after my phone call. That happens all the time. It's tremendous.

My students have also had the opportunity to participate in activities that they do enjoy because of the flexibility of our schedule - Landon has been available to start a Civil Air Patrol activity in the early afternoon, while most of the other cadets were still in class and couldn't arrive until later; and Kennady has been able to help with decorating at the church when her mentor decides to do it during a weekday. My boys have been able to work part-time jobs during the weekdays because we can rework their school schedule to accommodate. And of course we are willing to change things around when a field trip or other opportunity show up that we do consider worth our while.

How often do you get out of house? Do you carschool? Leave a comment and let me know!

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7 comments:

Lisa Rupertus said...

You are so right! Everyone assumes we are always home but we take lessons, have therapies, and volunteer! Our schedule is very busy!!

Emily Copeland said...

Wait, if you're not at home, does that mean, gasp, you might be "socialized?" Sorry, couldn't resist bringing up the "s-word." :)

I can totally relate. Thursday is our only day we're guaranteed to be home. We're usually running so crazy that some of our homeschool plans even get shifted to weekends so we don't fall too behind and get overwhelmed.

Jen Altman said...

I'm in Carroll County too! Seems like you do as much running (probably more ) than I do. Home school doesn't mean at home :D

Christy Schaefer said...

I actually look forward to the very few days we don't have to leave the house. And isn't it great to get into doctors during the school hours. My daughter's specialists are always so happy to hear we homeschool and I won't be requesting an after school appointment or needing a school pass.

Charlotte said...

Carschool! Yes, we have done that. I have narrowed it down to only one day a week in the car, but that seems to change. Loved reading about your day!

Kym Thorpe said...

I KNEW we couldn't be the only homeschoolers that are on the go all the time! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Emily - yes, it's true. We're quite "socialized", but in the best sense of the word!

Jen - I think we're on opposite ends of the county, but I think we need to meet up sometime. Perhaps at the curriculum fair?

Monique said...

We got to involved in the beginning and had to step back and see what we needed. The kids and I were miserable being away from home so much. No that they are older, we have figured that out and are ready to get back out there.

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