29 Jun 2009

Freedom and flexibility

School holidays have started in our neck of the woods.

From today, and for the next two weeks, we'll have school kids calling and knocking on our front door wanting Jemimah to come and play with them. There are holiday clubs to choose from, new exhibitions opening, and lots of things to occupy small children for much of everyday until school resumes. Television schedules have even changed so that kids can watch kid's TV all day if they want to. Wow.

The problem is, we don't follow the public school schedule. It's still school as usual chez nous.

Well, it should be anyhow. That's what my yearly schedule has set down for the week commencing 28/06/09...

The reality is somewhat different.

Jemimah's very bestest friend in the whole world, her cousin, P, is staying with us this week. These two girls are two peas in a pod. P is public schooled, and is very much looking forward to discovering what Jemimah's homeschooling day looks like. The plan is to school them both together. I'm hoping that her appreciation of Jemimah's day will give Jemimah something to think about. I'm hoping that P will be impressed and that this will rub off on Jemimah. Here's hoping...

From tomorrow, P's daddy and little brother, M, are arriving. My brother-in-law is our IT guru, and he's planning on ironing out the inevitable glitches that have occurred since he gave our computer an overhaul and installed I.E.8 while we were on hols. I guess that means that I'll get M to entertain as well.

On Thursday we have to travel the 3 hours to Melbourne for a funeral. On Friday we'll be coming back home.

So how much work are we going to actually get done? Only time will tell, I suppose. It doesn't matter, really. After all, it is this freedom and flexibility is what makes homeschooling work for our family.

Our general overview is three 12 week Ambleside Online terms followed by one week of exams and then a break. We plan breaks to fit holiday observances, special family events, Daddy's work schedule, and extended family holidays. When Daddy gets a rare day off, so do we. It works this way.

If we then had to schedule in school holiday breaks, then we wouldn't get much time for actually learning.

Like everything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to both methods:

  1. We aim to finish school be the beginning of November and break until after Daddy's Christmas-New Year holiday. This way we can spend time enjoying the lead up to Christmas (yes, this RP gal celebrates Christmas - sorry Ruby and Lucila) and frolic in the early summer weather before it gets too hot. We would much prefer to be inside in airconditioned comfort during January and February.
  2. We actually finish our term's work before we break rather than fitting our work into somebody else's schedule.
  3. We take a short break if and when we need it. Sometimes to prevent total meltdown, we schedule a long family holiday at short notice.
  4. We don't need to take school holidays into account when we plan our vacations. We visit family in the UK for a couple of months every three years. What would public school think of that, eh?
  5. We have every second Friday afternoon free to travel to Melbourne. (Actually, we have most afternoons free, but we use the Friday ones.) We couldn't take Jemimah out of school every Friday, could we?
  6. We can factor things like funerals into our schedule with the minimum of fuss. We wouldn't want to do it too often, but then again, I'm hoping we won't have that many funerals to go to.


  1. Disruptions like this week. I'm planning on turning P's visit into an advantage though...
  2. We have to plan carefully in order to fit school holiday activities into our school day. We do VicSwim every morning for three weeks in summer, for example. We actually enjoy this though, since it makes those days a bit exciting, despite having to do school into the afternoons.
  3. Our system wouldn't work if we had other children in the family who were enrolled in public or if we attended a homeschool group of some kind. We don't...
Actually, I can't really find many disadvantages at all. That's why our system works for us. I'm aware that there must be some, though, or otherwise all homeschoolers would do as I do, and let's face it, you don't. Not all of you, anyhow.

So what about you? Break or no break? Follow the school terms or not? Long summer holiday or school year round?

It's over to you, girls. What do you do?


  1. As always I loved reading your post! And yes I realised this morning when the TV didn't get turned off after Playschool that it must be school hols somewhere in Australia (not here mind you) as the programs continued! I usually let R watch Playschool as it's fun and educational (wink) - it's my "alone time" for the morning:) We school year round here too, but then again, there's not much schooling as she's only in K - in fact I can say I school all day everyday! Those are my comments for what it's worth!

  2. We still have this week to go until we start holidays, and we do follow the school terms because we are currently undertaking year 10 studies, through the school of distance education with Australian Christian College.

    This is our way of helping our children achieve their year 12 certificate, and still be using a Christian curriculum.

    We will be cleaning my mum's house tomorrow, as she has been sick and can't tackle it, but this is still a part of their education - servanthood.

    Have a wonderful week.

  3. Well, we educate 24/7 .....
    In the early days with my older ones we "did school" all year round and flexed for whatever events we needed. As they got older they did desire more and more to stick to school hols to fit in with their relatives and friends who didn't home school. We have a couple who do or did.
    Nowadays, I have the boys enrolled through Groves Christian College DE, so work returns fall in with end of term.
    There are advantages and disadvantages with being registered, 4th year with Groves 17th year home schooling,but it is something of a necessity for me at the moment.
    We do a little more of the TV/Games thing on the holidays but try to use them more for catching up with house work :0(, visiting people we can't manage during school time and day trips to the beach or parks, sometimes with friends, sometimes just our crew.

  4. Lucila? does she have a blog? I think I might like it :0)

  5. No, Ruby, Lucila doesn't have a blog.

    You would like her though. She is one of the most inspiring ladies you could ever meet.

    I'm encouraging her in her quest to home educate her soon-to-be two children.

  6. Jillian/Ruby, I don't know much about the Christian Colleges. Do you blog about these?

    I've not yet made a decision about what we'll do when it comes to later years. At the moment AO is perfect for us - it gives me the flexibility I need too.

    It is really interesting to hear what others are doing. I am so isolated here in the bush...

  7. Hi Rosemary,

    Jemimah still sneaks in her Playschool DVDs when her friends aren't looking...

  8. Hi Jeanne,
    I have an award waiting for you at my blog. :)

    We have only been with ACC for six months, but when we have been with them a little longer, I will blog about it.

  9. The website for Groves is:
    I think it is only for Queensland families. They have a day school and run the DE to meet Qld curriculum outcomes. They also have teachers assigned to the various regions throughout Qld. Have a gander any way!
    One day I might get around to doing a pros and cons post on being registered with a distance ed school.

  10. Presbyterians don't celebrate Christmas?? Wow! That's way different from UP Church I grew up in!

    Since I'm about to be an ex-homeschool Mom, and lately had one in both worlds I don't have any real words of wisdom, except having time in the afternoons to play with friends who are usually in school sounds fun. Isn't it nice that CM-style education leaves all that time for freedom? :)

  11. Well, you know this has been on my mind a lot if you've read my last two posts. After much prayer and consideration we've decided to have our holidays remain holidays - especially important for us as our youngest is just four.

    Chores have been pushed back 1/2 an hour for the boys in the morning. Bedtime is also a bit later.

    Kindness is the habit we are working on and have proclaimed this our "summer of kindness."

    Soccer and a few outings with a local homeschool group - I don't do that during our school year as they are far off from CM.

    Special projects for mom: Create an laundry room, reorganize the office, paint a few pieces of furniture.

  12. We continue on... we love to take our holidays when public schools are still at school! We still have another 3 weeks until we break!

  13. Hi Hopewell,

    Presbyterians celebrate Christmas - it's the Reformed Pressies who don't. I blogged about it here:



    PS I hope that once you become an ex-homeschool mum you won't stop gracing me with both your wisdom and your wit...will you?

  14. Jeanne,
    That link comes up that it doesn't exist for me... can I find the post through your labels?

  15. Hi Ruby, just copy it and paste it into your browser. Otherwise, it's under Christmas in the sidebar. it's called "Taking Christ out of Christmas".

    What do you think?

  16. Jeanne--I'm not leaving, I'm living my homeschool dream thru you and Jemima [and a few other families] :)
    FYI--I work for a Christian college. You can email me if you want to know more! Lisa


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