What to Do When Errands Prevent You From Homeschooling

Sometimes I really worry that scheduling our appointments in the morning lets my boys off the hook for learning that day.

Since we began homeschooling I tend to make sure that we run all of our errands in the morning and make all of our dentist and doctor appointments in the morning to avoid the crowds.  This works out well since we can get our errands done quickly but I often worry that the time away from home isn't as productive as it should be.

Here are a few things we do when our mornings get too busy for me to teach:

1.  Rely on Unschooling/life learning.   Just because I am not teaching doesn't mean they are not learning.  My boys got themselves ready early because they knew we were leaving the house early (time management lesson!).  They asked the dentist lots of questions and got their teeth cleaned.

2.  Encourage them to bring reading and learning materials with them.  Alec and Evan brought Pokemon books with them and they all read books in the car while we headed out to do some errands.

3. Incorporate lessons into the errands.   Ian wanted to stop at the craft store and buy himself an art set so we headed there first.  It was hard for the other two boys to watch Ian spend his own money while their piggy banks are empty and they can't buy anything.  They all love to spend their money.   They have not yet learned the value of saving their money and since they are so young my husband and I have been letting them spend all they want in an effort to teach them that when it's gone, it's gone!  While a bit harsh, I think it is one of the best ways to teach them the value of a dollar.  The store did not have the art set Ian was looking for and rather than spend his money on something else he decided to save it!  Maybe those lessons are finally sinking in.  (Money management)

 4.  Remember that school is more than just reading, writing, science, math, etc.  We had a homeschool gym day again today and we hadn't had one in a while.  The boys were really excited to run, play soccer, catch, and basketball for a whole hour with some kids that we're just starting to get to know.  There was another new family there that we hadn't met before, but, like most kids, they quickly make friends and make up games to play with one another.  It's great to have an outlet like this set up for us especially when it's been rainy and miserable and they're just dying to burn off excess energy.  Besides, gym days have the added bonus of getting to socialize with someone other than their brothers.   (Physical education and socialization)

 5.  Plan some fun and lessons for the afternoon!     One of the benefits of homeschooling is being in charge of our own schedule.  We can "do school" at any time of the day we choose.

6.  Schedule all errands and appointments for the same day so you're only missing one day of school.  I used to try to run just one errand or go to our appointment and head immediate back home in the hopes of getting home early and settling down to work on some schoolwork but I have learned that we never really settled down to work on schooling.  I realized that if we just set aside one day to run ALL the errands it works better for us.

7.  Make appointments and schedule errand time for the afternoon when your lessons are all done. Yes, I know this is kind of a no-brainer but honestly, I'd rather give up a bit of learning time and get our errands done in the morning rather than watch the clock all morning while trying to make sure no one gets so involved in their lessons that we can't just pick up and go when we need to.

8.  Double up on schooling another day. We could always make sure to pack more lessons in another day of the week.  It's easy to make up missed learning time by digging just a bit deeper into each subject the next day.

 Once home,we had a nice lunch then I went to go change into painting clothes.  As soon as they were done eating, they changed too.  They were so thrilled that they were able to help me paint the last wall of kitchen today!  I even let Ian try a hand at using the brush to cut in.

They played Dominoes, played in a sink full of water with the animals, were in and out of the house
playing with the all terrain and hover craft remote controls in the water, digging in the sand, etc. 

 It was a wonderful afternoon and my kitchen is all done.

I've created a monster though, Ian is already asking to re-paint the living room!

What do you do when  you're too busy to teach?
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