February is always that month of the year where homeschool moms start dreaming the yellow school bus dream. If only our kids got on the magical yellow bus each morning, we would suddenly be transported to a wonderful land of Time Enough, where the laundry gets folded, showers are long and uninterrupted by notes shoved under the door, and reading for pleasure in a quiet, sun-dappled room is a daily occurrence.
The yellow school bus is not the answer. The answer is a teacher workday. In fact, you probably needed some before now, but it’s better late than never.
A teacher workday is simply a day for you to accomplish thing with in your homeschool that need to be done without the pleasure of your children.
A teacher workday is different from a day off. Sometimes we are overcome by events or deadlines or sickness or ennui and we simply need a break. I think that is fair as long as we are careful about how frequently we take them.
A teacher workday is a day of planned activities. A day to clean your schoolroom, pray, take time for yourself, reflect on what is and isn’t working, and plan for some upcoming unit or several weeks of school.
As much as I would like them more frequently, I have never gotten more than 2 or 3 a year, so this is how I schedule them. I look for a 3 day weekend and ask my husband to take a 4th day as a vacation day. Before he retired, he used to have so many of these… sigh. Since we do school in four 8-week increments, I try to plan a teacher workday close to those breaks. Then, as it approaches, I save money so he can take the kids out of the house for the morning and to lunch at a fast food restaurant with an indoor playplace. I also save money so I can go out to lunch and to buy some supplies. Then, I start a running agenda that I hone the night before.
My first teacher workday was in 2009! Here was my agenda:
*clean/dust/declutter school shelves
*declutter toddler toys
*double-check science supplies
*order history, science, and movies for the rest of the year
*buy classical pieces we need from I-tunes
*put potential poems to be memorized into files ready to be printed
*Adortation and Mass
*lunch with the kids
*buy running shoes
*at Barnes and Noble, read over the lesson plans for the rest of the year, making notes and lists
*put Mommy It’s a Renoir cards into folders
*make Latin flashcards
*check calendar for Feasts coming up
*chart characters to be added to history timeline
*go to the library
*look over how to paint book for art study
I well remember the sense of peace that accompanied that day and that is what drives me to ask for them again even though it is painfully hard for me to ask for time to myself. I feel like I chose this life, I’m home all day, and I should be able to make it all happen. But realistically, I can rarely go to the bathroom even though I am in close proximity to one all day. I can’t really expect that an agenda like I have above could happen with all the kids at home.
There are more ideas on how ladies use their teacher workdays here at the 4Real Forums where I first explored this idea after another mom suggested it. Mary G. in particular had a different, more flexible approach to them which worked well for her family.