A couple of weeks ago, my mom came to town to help us out by watching the boys so we could get a date night and go to the theater to see Hamilton. The tickets we were able to snag put us at the theater on a Tuesday night from 7:30 to 10:30PM with a drive of a little over a half an hour each way. It was going to be a long and late night and as some of you know, my mom lives a few hours from us meaning her babysitting offer was going to mean a stay of a couple days at least. When we first started homeschooling, this would have thrown our day(s) for a loop and we would have done all sorts of crazy things to try to keep things “normal” while she was here. In fact, it was so chaotic at one point she mentioned that maybe she shouldn’t ever come in the middle of the week. This was not an acceptable answer to us because Mom’s willingness to help us and her desire to spend time with our boys is far from lost on us and we are incredibly grateful to have such support. So, off we went to find a way to make it all work out. Here are the solutions we have found.
- Skip school while Grandma is in Town – This is the option we default to the least but now and then a day off isn’t an issue. We kind of think of it as a teacher in-service day for those who are wanting to mimic a traditional school calendar. We definitely can’t skip every time Grandma and / or Grandpa is in town because we invite them often but now and then it works.
- Have a Double Day or two leading up to the Visit – Double days look like doing twice as much school work for a day or two so we can say that we still accomplished every day of school though we don’t work at all on the day(s) our family is in town. Usually, we can complete one day of school in about 4 hours so we can do one day in the morning and a different day in the afternoon when necessary.
- Only Core Days – Option 3 is to lighten the load and only do the core subjects. While the soft subjects are important, they can also be accomplished with less hours than the core meaning skipping a day won’t really put you behind. Core Only days allow us to focus on only the subjects that require more practice to master.
- Review Days – Spend the day on review games and fun hands on activities to reinforce topics that have been introduced previously. These days are usually easier for everyone’s brains and Grandma can jump into the fun.
- Let Grandma do the Teaching – I know this one isn’t for everyone but my mom loves to help out and teach the boys. They love getting a chance for someone different to talk them through their subjects and I don’t know a homeschooling parent who couldn’t use a day off on occasion. Sometimes Mom teaches everything. Sometimes we divide and conquer the day either by boy or by subject.
- Add in the Games – Every day, whether Grandma is in town or not, we do some spelling / vocabulary work and math facts. When Grandma is in town, we turn these subjects into games and Grandma is the opponent. This is probably our favorite choice because we still get through all of our school work and each of the four boys gets one on one time with Grandma.
Having someone come and visit is an inevitable bridge you will cross as a homeschooling parent. Having some idea of how your day will need to adjust on those days is just a downright good idea. For us, homeschooling was about flexibility for our family – flexibility with the curriculum, flexibility with our time and flexibility with how content is delivered – so we welcome the days when family comes into visit and we exercise some of that flexibility. However you choose to deal with the days when you have extra people in your house, keep it smart. Keep it simple. And enjoy the time.