You know the saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat?” Well, that applies to homeschooling, too! There are many ways to do it, and what works for one family might not work for another. We’re happy not doing some of the typical things in homeschooling, and our kids are still thriving! Here’s a list of what we don’t do in our homeschool.
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We don’t do morning baskets.
In our homeschool, we don’t do morning baskets. Even though this is a popular practice in many other homeschools, we have found that it doesn’t work for our family.
For one, we all wake up at various times in the morning. I believe that letting my kids get the sleep they need makes for a better homeschool day, so I don’t wake them up unless we need to be somewhere at a certain time.
This means our group work happens in the afternoon rather than the morning and doesn’t happen daily. We have certain days of the week when no classes are scheduled, allowing us to spend more time on family subjects on those days.
However, we do have a basket where we keep our current homeschool books. 😉
We don’t homeschool in the morning.
Riding on the morning basket wave, we don’t homeschool in the mornings.
We believe starting the day too early can overwhelm kids and parents alike. It’s also important to give ourselves time to enjoy breakfast together, chat about our plans for the day, play (and, for me, write!), and get into a relaxed learning mindset before diving into lessons.
We find that taking it slow in the morning helps us all stay calm and focused throughout the day – which is essential for creating an enjoyable learning experience! Plus, having some free time in the morning gives us more flexibility when scheduling activities later in the day.
We don’t have a schedule.
In our homeschool, we don’t have a strict schedule. Instead, we prefer to follow the natural rhythms of the day and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
This approach allows us to be more flexible and responsive to our children’s needs. We find that not having an overly structured routine helps keep everyone in our home relaxed and happy – which is important for creating a positive learning environment!
We believe this approach encourages creativity, exploration, and curiosity within our kids – all things essential for fostering lifelong learning habits!
But this is not to say we don’t have structure. Instead, we use a checklist system to help us complete important tasks at our own pace throughout the day.
We don’t follow the scope and sequence of a curriculum.
In our homeschool, we don’t follow the scope and sequence of a curriculum. Instead, we use it as a reference or resource for our homeschool. It’s a jumping-off point for us when we dive deep into topics.
We believe that following a rigid scope and sequence can stifle learning and creativity. Too much structure for us limits exploration, curiosity, and experimentation – all essential for fostering lifelong learning habits!
Plus, using the curriculum as a reference or resource allows us to travel down various rabbit trails as we discover content that interests our children or ourselves. This encourages exploration and experiential learning, which can be incredibly rewarding for all of us.
I don’t use a teacher planner.
In our homeschool, I don’t use a homeschool or teacher planner. I know this aversion to using them stems from when I used to teach in the public school system.
I have always found them too stifling and anxiety-inducing, and I prefer using a cheap college-ruled notebook, colorful pens, and a checklist system for myself and my kids. It’s easy to use and keeps all of us organized.
This method allows the day to unfold naturally. It gives us more flexibility and allows us to take advantage of opportunities as they arise throughout the day.
We don’t homeschool five days per week.
In our homeschool, we choose to homeschool just four days per week instead of the typical five. We believe that having a 4-day school week (akin to the 4-day workweek) allows us to get more out of our learning and have a more relaxed time on Fridays.
For example, on Fridays, we often go on nature hikes, visit museums, take a trip to the library, visit with friends, or stay home to pursue our interests. These activities allow us to explore new topics and learn more about different subjects in a non-schoolish way.
Plus, having a 3-day weekend every weekend is pretty spectacular! My husband is quite jealous of us! 😂
We don’t do all the subjects.
Our homeschool doesn’t cover all the school subjects every day. Instead, we focus on a few core topics each day and spend more time exploring those areas in depth.
We find our deep dives more rewarding than skimming over many topics daily.
Additionally, having fewer topics to cover daily helps keep everyone in our home relaxed and happy – which is important for creating a positive learning environment!
Plus, spending more time on fewer topics gives us more flexibility when scheduling activities later in the day.
We don’t do copy work & dictation.
In our homeschool, we choose not to do copywork and dictation.
I’m unsure why, as I had my students do copy work each morning when I taught middle school. So why not do the same with my kids? Perhaps I just haven’t gotten into a routine to do so and need to spend more time on how we can incorporate it into our homeschool that feels natural and enjoyable.
We don’t do crafts.
In our homeschool, we choose not to do crafts, mainly because I despise them. I feel like crafts create clutter; my mind and mental health work best with less clutter in our home.
However, I’m all for creating art and useful handicrafts!
Art is an outlet for self-expression and creativity. It helps you to develop problem-solving skills, as there is a certain process involved in making art.
Handicrafts are also practical and can help hone fine motor skills and dexterity.
Furthermore, art projects can be very rewarding when done with family members! Creating artwork together creates shared memories that last a lifetime.
We love working in our art journals together as a family, and my kids enjoy spending time with my husband building things. Currently, they are working on a Little Free Library!
We don’t do nature journaling.
In our homeschool, we choose not to do nature journaling. Not that we haven’t tried! I personally find nature journaling fascinating, but my kids aren’t that into it. So why force them to do something that they don’t enjoy?
Instead, my kids want to enjoy and play in nature, and if they happen to find something interesting, we’ll use an app like Seek to help us identify it…and then we move on!
Sometimes, my kids will add what they’ve observed to their art journals, but that is their creative choice.
I don’t make everything fun and Instagram-worthy.
In our homeschool, we choose not to make everything fun and Instagram-worthy. For one, doing this would put unnecessary stress on me. And for us to have a relaxed homeschool, I need to NOT be stressed. Plus, life isn’t always exciting and fun, and having a picture-perfect homeschool is completely unrealistic.
Instead, we value learning for its own sake, and although we ensure our children enjoy the process, we also strive to instill in them a love of knowledge. We want them to understand that learning is a life-long habit that will serve them well now and in the future.
Plus, having a realistic outlook on learning and life, as opposed to an idealistic one, can help a lot in general life.
Remember, our visions don’t always align with our reality. We must allow ourselves the grace and flexibility to adjust expectations daily; there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, and homeschooling can be an ever-shifting journey. If everyone involved enjoys learning from home, that’s a win in my book!
We don’t do co-ops.
In our homeschool, we choose not to do co-ops. Mainly because I do not find it appealing and feel it would become an added stress to our relaxed homeschool.
I know that finding a co-op that works well for my kids and me will be challenging. We’ve already had challenges in the past when looking for a Wild + Free group and would prefer a homeschool group that focuses more on play and socialization than academics. Plus, we need a flexible group that doesn’t have strict guidelines or a commitment to faith.
In addition, I’ve heard stories from friends where they have put in a tremendous amount of effort when it was their turn to teach, and then in return, the other parents would put minimal effort when it was their turn in the co-op. And then there is the reverse, where it almost seems like a competition to host the best co-op day.
This is just something I don’t want to put myself in the middle of. My mental health is more important, and my kids are not lacking in life because they are not in a homeschool co-op. They are thriving, and that’s good enough.
Overall, there are many alternative ways to homeschool, and everyone’s experience looks different. Through trial and error, we’ve discovered what works best for us, but every family is unique and should pursue what resonates with them.
By foregoing common homeschooling methods such as morning baskets and copywork, our children continue to learn while taking a less structured approach. Doing what feels right with gentle guidance is the key to relaxed homeschooling, and I’m proud of our journey so far.
I invite you to join us in this liberating learning adventure by sharing strategies you don’t use within your homeschool! What works for you? Comment down below and let me know!
Xuan Klevecka is a Southern California-based homeschool mom, wife, and Holistic Homeschool Mindset Coach. She’s an Enneagram 5w4, a lover of good food, and a former middle school history teacher. You’ll either find her looking at road maps and daydreaming about her family’s next epic adventure or perusing recipes and cooking up a feast for the brood.