Not all Fridays are great. Sometimes they bring out Friday Mom. You know the kind of Fridays I mean. They should be fun. But they turn into stress.
For example, on a recent Friday morning, we had one hour before we had to leave home for a field trip. Of course, you know what happened—chaos.
After the three-ring-circus of getting dressed, we still had schoolwork to do for the day, and I intended to use every second of the 9.5 minutes we had left before heading out. So we quickly gathered in the living room for the speediest round of read alouds known to man. At one point, I even considered letting my oldest child read a book solo while I was reading a different book to save time. Yes, Friday Mom had returned for another episode again this week.
This breakneck pace is how it has gone for far too many Fridays in my house. The Friday list in my homeschool planner had become just another box to check. I knew that there was no learning happening because I was furiously trying to cram in field trips, play dates, co-op, and a full day of school.
Shifting to a Four-Day Homeschool Schedule
An easy solution to prevent Friday Mom syndrome is to shift to a 4-day schedule instead of insisting on doing school five days each week. Here are three huge benefits I've found as a result of this new, compact schedule.
It’s essential to your family's well being to schedule time for relaxation. After busy weeks full of church, sports practice, and dance recitals, families simply need rest. If you feel pulled in too many directions with a busy schedule, a four-day homeschool schedule can provide you with margin to relax and restore your spirit so that you are ready to press forward the next day.
Homeschool parents everywhere lament that there’s not enough time to fit in the fun extracurriculars, hands-on projects, and outside activities. And what a shame! Doing the fun extras is probably one of the reasons we chose to homeschool in the first place. But exactly like public schools, homeschoolers can get bogged down in the academics and neglect to make time for the extras that are so important to us.
This year, I’m looking forward to using some of my extra Fridays for art and music lessons. My bonus day each week opens opportunities to explore the arts or to pursue my child’s own unique interests. And we don't have to worry about doing our regular homeschool subjects on those days! We can devote all our attention to our beloved extras.
What did we do before homeschool co-ops? We were much more isolated, that's what!
Through my local co-op, I've experienced invaluable community and fellowship, not to mention the classes and social experiences my children have benefited from. A four-day schooling routine fits perfectly with co-ops. You school at home for four days, and you school at the co-op on the fifth.
If you’re like me, you’re probably concerned that a four-day week won't provide a full and rigorous education. Although I originally worried about that, I came to the conclusion that my fears were unfounded. Because homeschooling is so much more efficient than public education, we can fit in lots more learning in a fraction of the time. And your children really are learning while you are on field trips and at co-op. Those hours count as school!
Besides, if you choose a specially designed four-day curriculum like Sonlight's newly released programs, you can be assured that all the bases are covered, and you won't have to rearrange a typical five-day schedule yourself. Best of all, Friday Mom won't be making any end-of-the-week appearances. And I'm sure your kids won't miss her one bit.