Our family is using BookShark for the first time this year (Reading with History 3: Intro to American History, Year 1 of 2), and one of the things we love the most is the way lessons are structured in a 4-day work week. Having 4 days of lessons lends a tremendous amount of flexibility to our homeschool and helps us balance our extracurricular activities and family time with academics. Having always used 5-day homeschool programs before, I never realized all the benefits a 4-day schedule would open up to us!
1. Time for Co-Ops and Activities
My 10 year old has a crazy social calendar this year! (So much for unsocialized homeschoolers!) While most of our activities are late afternoon or evening, we have a homeschool gym & swim that is in the middle of the day every Tuesday. It is great not to have the pressure of both gym & swim and a day’s worth of school work to do, too!
2. A Built in Make Up Day
If my child gets sick, has a bad day, or I have an unexpectedly busy day, it’s absolutely luxurious to have an extra day to make up the work we missed. This buffer means we stay on track and don’t have that rushed feeling of always trying to catch up.
3. Freedom to Work Ahead
Are you planning a vacation?
Maybe want to take an extended break for the holidays?
Are you soon to be entertaining out-of-town guests?
I’ve found that I can use the free day to work ahead. I know my boys have often started their next week’s work in order to have a friend spend the night or go on a day trip somewhere. We love to take long weekend trips through the school year, and being able to get work done ahead helps us enjoy the time even more!
5. Flexibility for the Teacher
Sometimes as homeschool teachers we have to make tough decisions about our lessons.
Maybe a child isn’t doing well with a concept and needs more time.
Maybe they are finding something super interesting, so you want to spend a couple days diving into it.
Maybe we are all having a stressful week and need to slow things down a bit.
Whatever the reason, having flexibility in your week gives you the time to explore concepts further, work on things your child is struggling with, or decompress when that’s what is needed.
6. Less Pressure = Less Stress
When I have greater flexibility in our schedule for activities, making up, or getting ahead with work, it takes a ton of pressure off of me as the homeschool teacher. When the pressure is off of both me and my children, I have considerably less stress in my homeschool. I don’t feel pressured because the schedule is packed full. Instead I know that those extra days are built into the BookShark plan so we can plan fun activities and things outside of the house!
Balance in your homeschool can be a difficult thing to master when you’re juggling lessons, activities, family time, meal preparation, and household chores. It can be overwhelming! Having a curriculum like BookShark that is set up with flexibility and a day off each week is an amazing tool in finding balance and maintaining a stress-free, successful homeschool. Although it’s just one day a week, the impact is huge on my sanity and energy level.
About the Author
Krista is the homeschooling mom of 3 boys. After 13 years she has learned the value of chilling out, going with the flow and keeping homeschooling fun! She is the blogger behind Far From Normal where she hopes to encourage parents and homeschoolers, and inspire a life lived happily outside the box!