Setting our own schedule

by threegirlpileup

It’s 8:53 p.m.  Maggie and Anna are playing a game in the family room, and the main sound I hear is laughter.  Peals of laughter.  My favorite sound in the whole world, I think.

I have found that one of the things I like most about homeschooling is that we have the freedom to set our own schedule.  The most obvious way this has manifested itself is that we tend to stay up later and get up later than many of our in-school peers.  Because we (usually) don’t need to be anywhere early in the morning, this has worked out well for us.  In fact, we’ve found that Maggie in particular has a time of calm, focused attention during the evening.  There seems to be something magic about that interval between bath and bedtime, and often Anna and Maggie settle into some of their most inventive and interesting play at around 8:30 in the evening.  Or their bodies are tired and settled enough that they feel ready for some paper and pencil activities, which happened last night.

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I wonder when I’ll stop trying to fit our life into the many parameters that are imposed by my own school-driven view of the world!  Although we are certainly homeschoolers of the unstructured and unschooling variety, I still find myself using a regular school program as a point of reference.   It’s hard to let go of that school-based developmental trajectory of everything from math facts to social development, although I instinctively know that the path we’re following is entirely different.

As in so many aspects of family life, when I can let go of the models in my head of what things *should* look like, there is an opening to a surprising breadth of new possibilities.  Math problems at 9 p.m.?  Sure!  Snuggling in bed together until 9 a.m.?  Sure!  Spending two or three or seven days playing and playing and never picking up a pencil?  Most definitely!

Every day we make choices to put living first, trusting that all the learning will come along the way.  Sometimes that means that it happens as we go; other times it means carving out surprising niches of time and space for learning.  And though the path is not always direct or harmonious, it certainly is rich.

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