Written by contributor Lora Lynn of Vitafamiliae.
One of the beauties of homeschooling is the flexibility it offers when life throws us curve balls.
We can punt school for a few days in the name of “learning life’s lessons” and then get back on track when we’ve recovered from our interruption.
But there are occasions where we need to plan for school to go on… without the teacher. New babies, illness, surgeries, or, in my family’s case, an adoption that requires a trip to Africa, all mean an extended absence for the homeschool teacher.
So how do homeschoolers lesson plan for our substitute teachers?
1. Decide what’s important.
Take into consideration your children and their schooling needs. Will they benefit from a break, or will it do them more harm than good?
In my case, while my young children will still be able to get into college some day if we take a few weeks off, their retention of math and basic reading skills is much better if we don’t take long breaks between lessons. So I’ve made it my goal to help their caretakers achieve some semblance of math and reading lessons while I am gone.
If your child is older and more self-reliant, they may be able to accomplish everything on your lesson plans. But it’s up to you to decide what’s important for them to get done in the time of your absence and what would be better left until you’re available.
2. Consider the substitute.
While you may be able to school your children, cook three meals, sweep the floors, do five loads of laundry, and bake fresh bread every day, not everyone is a highly trained professional like yourself. If there is going to be someone else in your home to help during this “time of substitution,” consider that they cannot run your home as efficiently as you can.
Only ask them to do what is absolutely necessary for the survival and sanity of all involved. While I would love it if my kids could study Ancient Rome and make their own model of the Colosseum while I’m gone, it’s probably not reasonable to expect that of my helpers.
It’s far better to set them up for success by keeping things as simple as possible.
3. Keep the routine… flexible.
Every family has a unique routine. And we all know that our children function better when they are sticking to the routine. (Please note, I said “routine,” not schedule. There’s a difference!)
Make sure everyone in the house has a general knowledge of the daily routine. Make sure everyone knows the boundaries that you have in place to keep the routine moving (consequences for unfinished chores, etc.).
Finally, make sure you give everyone the freedom to be flexible in your absence. Routine and flexibility seem to be a good marriage in times of “abnormal.”
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We all know there’s no true substitute for a homeschooling mom. How do you plan for extended absences or breaks from schooling? Do you have any suggestions or ideas for making this easier?