It’s a Homeschool Duel: Scheduled vs Relaxed

I have always approached homeschooling from a relaxed and natural approach. Sitting down for formal lessons when we have the time and when we feel inclined; allowing the kids to lead the way.

When they were younger, much of their learning was an extension of their play. As they have gotten older, I thought I would change but if anything, I have only become more relaxed.

duelingitout Dueling it Out: Scheduled vs. Relaxed Homeschooling

As a result of so many extra-curriculars, we don’t follow a schedule when it comes to our ‘formal schoolwork’.  As a former classroom teacher, it is such a dramatic shift for me. Yet as our evenings are so intense, the kids and I both need a relaxed and unrestricted day.

We homeschool year-round to accommodate for our relaxed approach. You might say that how we approach education here changes with the tide. I have learned that our family’s life seldom maintains a consistent rhythm longer than, four to six weeks. I have thus learned to enjoy the ebb and flow, the seasonal change.

During our low-tide times, which occupy the larger portion of the year, we are like unschoolers. We live and play, we dive into projects, we take care of our home together, we have adventures, and read lots of great books.

At low tide, we amble along the shore, peering into tide pools and digging in the sand, or just relax under a beach umbrella. The children wander off in directions of their own choosing; they dig and poke and ponder. I just follow their lead.

During our high-tide times, I charter a boat and we set sail with purpose and direction. We keep doing all of the above, but I’m the one picking out the books, and I have the kids narrate a lot of the reading back to me, and we work more deliberately on mastering skills that take practice, like piano and math and Mandarin.


Benefits to a Relaxed, Year-Round Approach

1. We need flexibility! In addition to the intense evenings described earlier, we travel frequently. A flexible schedule is thereby necessary to account for our excursions and time away from home. This helps to overcome the feeling of being crunched to accomplish our academic goals between September and May. We do better with longer stretches of less routine during the school year, not only the summer.

2. To better support our children’s abilities and talents. Over the years, I’ve noticed extra time is needed during our days to offer more focus on a particular interest or project.

As the kids have gotten older, they have begun to develop their own individual interests. My son is committed to music study:  lessons, practice time, music composition, ear training, etc.  For my daughter, it’s concentration on literature and writing, crafting and illustrating stories, which includes intentional art lessons.

A relaxed schedule provides abundant time for these pursuits, with less competition from other necessary academics.

3. More room for activities and extra-curriculars. This is especially true as my middle schoolers express interest in the many opportunities that come along throughout the year – art classes at a local studio, fly tying classes, special events at the national parks, and activities coordinated by other homeschooling families.

Both kids have recently discovered an interest in musicals with local theaters, and have begun to spend more time with friends.

Every journey is an adventure.

Some of the tools I use to help keep me organized:

  • We have weekly family meetings and an extended meeting once a month that we call Family Five Share whereby the kids give formal presentations to share what they are learning
  • Our family calendar is synced to all our devices and is color coded
  • I create a spreadsheet of our extracurriculars each trimester
  • I use a planner to record our lessons: How I Use My Homeschool Planner

Homeschool Duel

My colleague, Alicia, on the other hand, follows a schedule. You can read about her opposing approach in her post, Dueling It Out: Scheduled vs Relaxed.



Looking for more duels and jousts? Click here to find more from the iHomeschool Network’s Dueling Blog Posts series.

The Homeschool Omnibus: Something for Everyone

The 2014 Homeschool Omnibus has something for everyone – mom, dad, and the kiddos, too.  This incredible bundle of eBooks provides homeschool and family planners, printables and notebooking unit studies, science curricula, and numerous parenting resources.

There are also a ton of discounts on additional homeschool resources from companies you know and trust! 


5 Awesome Resources – Something for Everyone

  1. Moms will love the great planners and inspirational eBooks. My favorite is “Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband” by Crystal Brothers. It is a 31 day devotional that opens with a bible verse and an accompanying challenge.
  2. High schoolers will love the resource, “Famous Men of the Middle Ages” by Marianne Vanderkolk. It includes 31 chapters – each featuring a different historical character – and accompanying notebooking pages.
  3. Middle school students will love my science unit,Introductory Entomology. It is a collection of lesson plans introducing students to the use of a dichotomous key and designed so that students can work independently.
  4. Younger kids will enjoy making their own “Alphabet Dictionary” created by Mama Jenn. The graphics are adorable and there is amble space for young learners to add their own text and illustrations.
  5. Dads will enjoy, “A Simple Guide to Saving Money” by Kyle McVay.

5 Facts About Omnibus

  • The sale will last only six days August 18-24, 2014.
  • Buy easily with PayPal; once your sale is complete you will receive your files, instantly.
  • 3 Buyers will WIN a KINDLE!!
  • The deadline for refunds is September 5. Positively no refunds will be given if the file host shows that you have downloaded any files.
  • The ebooks will only be available until September 25, please do not delay in downloading them.

Please see more details on the Omnibus FAQ page for information on purchasing and downloading your eBooks.

Buy Now

If you purchase your 2014 Omnibus by linking from Eva Varga / Academia Celestia, I’m sharing an additional bonus download with you. Zoology: Amazing Animals is a 10-week unit, full of inquiry-based activities and lesson plans fully outlined for you.

Here’s How:
  •  Click the “Buy Now” link, then on the Omnibus page make your purchase.
  • Once you have completed your purchase, simply email me at eva underscore varga at me dot com.
  • In the email give me the Transaction ID Number so I can verify your purchase. 
  • Then, I’ll send your FREE  Zoology: Amazing Animals curriculum ($19.90 value)!! 

What do you think? Which book makes you most excited for the sale? Let me know in Comments.