Grandmother Homeschooling: A Sample Schedule
Each homeschool is unique to a family’s schedule. This is by no means a hard and fast schedule, but simply an example of what homeschooling grandmother Lynn Johnson did:
- Physical education: By choice, her grandson rises at 6:45 a.m. to work out daily at the local YMCA with a homeschooled friend.
- Studies: Their lessons begin around 9 a.m. For seventh grade, their schedule includes math, Bible study, spelling, English, science, Spanish, geography and medieval history
- Together, they decide what their course of study will be and what books will be used while loosely following The Well-Trained Mind philosophy. They usually wrap up around noon.
- Recess: In the afternoon, they might play Scrabble or chess, work on a puzzle, watch a historical movie, or go on a bike ride around the subdivision to explore the quiet wooded areas where they live.
- Socializing: Later, the neighborhood homeschooled friends arrive. If her grandson socialized any more, they would not be able to handle it!
- When they see the school bus dropping off kids in the afternoon, Johnson jokingly tells the boys, “School’s officially out; you can start having fun now.”
- Extracurricular: Boy Scout merit badge adds new activities of all sorts. Johnson’s grandson is a Star Scout with his eye on attaining Eagle rank.
- At his request, both grandparents are active in the troop and go on the monthly campouts, which have taken them to Tennessee, Colorado and all over Texas. They’ve been on canoe trips, whitewater rafting, rock climbing and backpack trips.
What are enrichment or supplemental subjects?
We should probably begin with a definition. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “enrich” as:
- To make rich or richer, especially by adding or increasing some desirable quality, attribute, or ingredient.
- To add beauty to.
Homeschool enrichment subjects can make your child’s education more enjoyable by providing them with things they find enjoyable, interesting, and pleasing to look at.
They exceed what is considered the “essentials” (being able to read, write, do math, know history, etc.)
We include the following enrichment subjects in our home education plans in addition to the basics.
- Music lessons
- Nature study
- Composer study
- Hymn study
- Picture study
You may feel overwhelmed when you looks at this list, but don’t worry. I will share 7 simple ways we can make these subjects more exciting for homeschool lessons. They don’t have to take a lot of time or be overwhelming!
7 ways to incorporate supplemental subjects without overwhelming your schedule.
There are many ways you can add extra subjects into your homeschool lessons without overcomplicating your schedule.
There is no single right way to homeschool. The key is to remember this and find the approach that works best for you and your child.
You can use any combination of the following suggestions, or do something else that works for your family.
1. Rotate through a list as you have time.
List the subjects you want to cover in your homeschooling curriculum, even if you haven’t been able to get to them yet. When you have free time, dedicate some of it to addressing these topics.
- Complete the first subject or activity.
- Then place a checkmark next to the item.
- The next time, complete the next unchecked subject.
Consider it a victory if you make it even a little bit further than you did the last time you tried After checking off the last item on the list, go back to the beginning and start again. You might only complete one subject each time, or you might have time for several. Consider it a success if you make it even a little bit further than you did the last time you tried.
This is a good strategy to use when you:
- Finish school early.
- Need an activity for a rainy afternoon.
- Want to take a day off of school but still want to do something educational.
A helpful tip for homeschooling parents is to have all of the necessary supplies, books, and music ready to go so that you can take advantage of any free time for extra learning.
2. Chose one day to be your enrichment day.
I once scheduled all of our enrichment subjects on Friday and called it “Fine Arts Friday.” After a hard week of work, we had something to look forward to on Fridays. My children still learned a lot, but it was more laid back and fun than the rest of their lessons.
3. Do it with friends.
Homeschooling can be more fun when done with friends because there are more possibilities. You could make your plans more formal or keep them simple.
Co-op classes that have supplemental subjects are great for families who use different educational philosophies because they can learn together.
We’ve hosted recitation nights where people come and recite poetry, book clubs where people discuss certain books, nature walks where people explore nature, and handicraft afternoons where people make things by hand.
4. Focus on one enrichment subject per term.
Although you might feel overwhelmed when considering adding enrichment subjects to your schedule, try to focus on adding one subject per term. This way, you won’t feel as overwhelmed and can always add more later.
At times, we’ve focused on enrichment subjects during December or the summer. We’ve also used the start of the school year to cover enrichment subjects in addition to math and reading.
5. Schedule special focus weeks.
Schedule a special focus week if you have a week where you cannot complete regular lessons. During the special focus week, you could work through the list of subjects or choose one or two subjects to focus on.
Examples of when we’ve used this strategy include:
- When we are preparing for or returning from a trip. (Learn how to homeschool with traveling.)
- Instead of taking a whole week off during the school year, I scheduled a lighter week with enrichment subjects.
- Weeks grandparents are visiting.
6. Include supplemental subjects in family time.
We spent 30 minutes to an hour every day doing family subjects when my oldest daughter was in high school. (You can continue to do family subjects during high school, but we chose not to do regular family learning.)
At breakfast each morning, we watched a student news program and read a poem. Another subject, such as composer study or picture study, was completed during lunch.
Family learning time can be either spread out or concentrated into one session. One difficulty of spreading the subjects out is that it can be hard to get everyone back together once they start working independently. We found it helpful to tie this family time to an established routine, such as breakfast, at the beginning of lessons, during lunch, right after lunch, or before bedtime.
7. Have a special time for enrichment activities.
If you want to make enrichment activities more fun, try creating a special time for them. You could set aside some time each week, or each day, to do enrichment activities. This will make them feel more like a fun activity, and less like a chore.
- Poetry tea time (or a special drink such as a milk steamer, milkshake, rootbeer float, etc.)
- Pancakes or doughnuts for a “Breakfast with the Bard” (William Shakespeare)
- Nature Study picnic
You could use your special time to cover any of the subjects your children are interested in. You could also do anything you and your family enjoy. Try to mix it up and do things that excite you and your children. Your children will look forward to these special events.
Make sure to schedule your special events so that they fit into your schedule. This could be done weekly, monthly, quarterly, or any other frequency that works for you. The key is to schedule it! If you don’t schedule it, you are likely to forget and the event probably won’t happen.
Concerns About Becoming a Homeschooling Grandparent
Loss of Affection Due to Homeschooling Grandchildren
A grandmother who is considering homeschooling her grandchildren may be worried that she will no longer be seen as fun-loving, and that her grandchildren will no longer enjoy coming to her house. Alternatively, she may be concerned that the relaxed atmosphere at her house would make it difficult for her grandchildren to focus on schoolwork.
The grandparent had her students come in through the front door when it was time for school in the morning to avoid having them come in through the garage and the back door. The grandparent showered her students with hugs and kisses as they put up their backpacks and then they all ate in the breakfast room. Given a choice, her grandchildren still want to spend the night at Grandma’s house. After some time had passed, one of her grandchildren said, “Grandma, you’re my favorite grandma.”
What About Having Less Energy as a Grandparent?
If you are not a young grandparent, you may find yourself running out of energy during the day. To avoid this, try to get an early start to your day.
The best solution is to take a nap, which your grandchild might also need.
Will My Homeschooled Grandchild be Poorly-Adjusted?
If your child’s parents have to travel a lot for work, it can be really tough on the family. Even though grandparents can’t completely replace parents, they can still make a big difference.
5 Benefits of Homeschooling a Grandchild
Flexibility for More Quality Time With Grandchildren
Homeschooling your grandchild gives you the opportunity to take trips together during the school year. You are also more likely to volunteer together at an animal shelter, library or food pantry, which helps develop awareness and compassion in your grandchild.
More Family Time Among Grandparents and Grandchildren
If we only had two generations in our family, we would be missing out on so much! Homeschoolers can take their grandchildren to see family members who live far away. By taking them to family reunions, they can learn about their heritage and form their own lasting relationships.
Diverse Socialization Opportunities for Grandchildren
Grandparents can teach children a lot, and spending time with them can also introduce children to their friends. This can help children understand and appreciate older adults more, something that our society could use more of. In other cultures, elders are often respected for their wisdom and experience.
More Financial Freedom to Pour Into Your Grandchildren
Most homeschooling grandparents are able to invest more time in the life of their grandchildren than their own kids. So you can take full advantage of the opportunities to learn and grow together.
Ability to Train Your Grandchildren in Problem-Solving
If homeschooling fosters character guidance, your grandchildren can learn to solve problems among themselves. For example, if they’re assigned a chore they don’t like, they can trade with someone. If they can’t agree on something, you can help them negotiate and then make sure they follow through.
A Healthier Environment While Homeschooling
Homeschooling can also lead to less illness because kids are not exposed to as many people every day. This means they can live their life to the fullest instead of being sick at home with their grandparents.
Joint Homeschooling: Parents and Grandparents Working Together
If your son or daughter is already homeschooling their children but struggling to teach a certain subject, you and your son or daughter could tag team homeschooling your grandchildren.
Grandma loved teaching her granddaughters math, history, science, and music arts, finding ways make it fun in the process. One of the grandmother’s daughters was not fond of math, but she excelled in language arts. The other daughter also excelled in language arts. The grandmother and mother modified their format as needed to meet the growing needs of their students, and each of them did remarkably well.
You can share your skills with the children, such as baking, art, and carpentry. You can help by teaching them skills that their parents might not have the time to teach them, such as fishing, sewing or cabinetmaking.
Long-Distance Homeschooling Grandparent: 8 Ways to Still Be Involved
You wish to be involved in someone’s life but sadly circumstances are such that you are unable to be physically close to them. However, you can maintain a connection with them in other ways.
- Use Skype, Facetime and good old-fashioned snail mail to encourage your grandkids.
- There is nothing like them receiving a letter in your own handwriting.
- Create a scrapbook from momentos that you can add to each year for the busy parents.
- Research college scholarships and apprenticeship/mentorship opportunities.
- Give financially.
- Homeschooling can be expensive when the parents are providing all the school materials on their own. If you can’t afford much, even fresh school supplies at the beginning of fall is helpful.
- Share your favorite books to expand their vocabulary—or you can take turns writing one together.
- Reading and writing stimulates the brain better than sitting in front of a screen.
- You can even give your grandchildren an audiobook so that they can hear the way words are pronounced.
- Take a vacation with the grandkids.
- Research travel books and websites to determine possible destinations and then forward the information to the grandchildren via email.
- No one is doing intergenerational, educational travel better than RoadScholar.org. Or create your own educational itinerary with these roadschooling trips for inspiration.
- Make a family tree.
- There are ways to track your ancestry online now so that both families can access it. Share with them memories of what Aunt Ruth used to say or what made Great-Grandfather Harold so funny.
- Take them on field trips.
- This can be as simple as going out for ice cream and sharing memories of making homemade ice cream with your grandchild.
- National and local history museums come alive for students when seen through the lens of someone who lived part of that history. Add your personal reflections on historical events to help imprint the names and dates in your student’s mind.
Can a Grandparent Homeschool Their Grandchild?
This was Lynn Johnson’s first year homeschooling her grandchildren and it was full of delightful surprises. Her biggest fears were smothered by her grandchildren’s unconditional love for her and she enjoyed the experience more than she ever dreamed.
The amount of influence a grandparent has is up to the grandparent. It can be positive or negative. People usually don’t change as they age, they just become more of what they’ve always been.
If you have not yet become a grandparent, or if you are interested in the following ideas, you should start thinking about what your role would be. Pay attention to what is happening around you, listen to what people are saying, take notes if you want to, and think carefully about it. If you do not have anyone who can help and guide you in this process, look for someone who can.
The most important thing that grandparents can do for homeschooling is to be encouraging and supportive of their children and grandchildren.