Ask Donna Vail: How can I schedule outside activities without interferring with my child’s core academic studies?

Donna Answers This Week’s Question:

Q: How can I schedule outside activities without interferring with my child’s core academic studies?

A: Activities outside the home can be a great distraction and take time away from daily habits of study. However, don’t isolate yourself for fear of losing ground. There must be a balance between academics and the rest of life, be it fun things to do, or errands like shopping or a doctor’s appointment. You’ll need to create boundaries.

When considering an outside activity weigh out the pros and cons. Ask yourself if this is really necessary. Remember homeschooling offers you flexibility but with that comes accountability to yourself and your children. Their education is on the line if you’re not 150% dedicated to the process.

You may want to create an environment that supports your children learning every morning, My kids complete their academics usually by 12:00 PM and they’re free for recreational activities. We make it a practice to always do our studies in the morning then schedule anything outside of the house for the afternoon. By doing the academics in the morning we are creating a habit to get our minds working and set ourselves up for thinking logically and clearly throughout the day. This also sets a tone for the day. I’m sure you have noticed if you do something for yourself like read, take a walk or have your own personal quiet time it can make all the difference in the way the day unfolds.

If you have an activity that requires you to leave in the morning when you would normally do studies you can do the studies upon your return home that afternoon or you could add another day to your plan by doing those studies on Saturday morning.

Remember, it’s your schedule. You can be as flexible or rigid as you require, so long as you’re not sacrificing the children’s academics by being too “free” with your time. Some families with younger children school year-round and only do academics 4 days a week.

As you have more children that means more places to go for each child. Are there any activities that can be combined? Three of my children are taking classes at the local zoo this year so I have scheduled them to all attend during the same time even though they will be in different classes. This means the trip to the zoo will only be once per class instead of one per child per class. If you can’t narrow it down then you have to weigh the benefits against the sacrifice.

Today, more than ever before opportunity abounds for homeschool family wanting to be involved in extracurricular activities.  Remember to find the balance between home and being on the go. When children are living a balanced lifestyle they get more satisfaction out of their learning whether it’s at home or in life. Choose responsibly.

I urge you to try a couple of different scenarios to see what works best for you and your family.

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” -Gandhi


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