One of the hardest things about homeschooling on the go is keeping your child or children on a schedule. Hundreds of other things demand their attention. It’s hard to set aside a particular location that is just for school in a space that is not your own. Worst of all, you can’t always know ahead of time what your personal schedule is going to be, which means that you can’t guarantee that you will be able to give them your undivided attention.
However, there is hope! Homeschooling can occur any time, anywhere, as long as you’re willing to employ a bit of creativity and flexibility.
Plan ahead. Know what you want your child to have accomplished by the end of the month, the end of the week, and the end of each day. Be willing to be flexible with this plan; but be sure that both you and they understand what must be completed—and that they know what the consequences will be for failing to complete the work.
Incorporate lessons that do not require your undivided attention. Use them wisely. Sometimes, you simply need to be doing something else, especially when you’re not at home, in your own space. Plan for lessons that allow your child to be somewhat independent. This can include watching an educational video; reading a book; or even going through a specific worksheet.
Take advantage of breaks in your other activities. Know the subjects where your child struggles the most, and transition them to those subjects when you have the time to deal with them. If you run out of time, set it aside for a little while and come back when you are able.
Use opportunities for learning outside of books. Life skills are important, too! Teach your child how to balance a checkbook; how to change a diaper; how to read a map. Whatever you are doing, involve your child. They will gain life lessons that way, even if it’s not necessarily the sort of thing that they would be learning in school.
Set aside a space for learning, even if it’s not the same one each day. Just as a child who does their schoolwork at home needs a particular place that is just for learning, so your child needs to know where they should be engaged in their schoolwork. Their space should be relatively quiet, free of interruptions, and contain all of their materials. It should also be a place that is close to you so that you can continue to supervise, even if it is on a limited basis.
Set a schedule according to lessons and activities, not according to particular times. When you’re working at home, in your regular environment and on your regular schedule, you know that nine o’clock is math time, ten o’clock is literature, and at eleven, your child needs to go outside and run off some extra energy before lunch. When you are no longer confined to your own environment, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to shift your lessons the same way you always have. With too many interruptions, however, everyone ends up frustrated, and nothing gets done! Break things up into specific lessons that you want to accomplish, and where possible, don’t watch the clock too much. Base your schedule on when things are completed, not on when they “should” happen.