While homeschooling, a timetable is necessary, but so is the ability to pivot and make space for unexpected events. A balance of routine and flexibility will create a healthy learning environment.

Make this an axiom: routine is life, yet without flexibility, a routine life is dull.

Without elasticity, routine devolves into a rigid, joyless obsession over ledger ticks and timestamps.

Flexibility saves routine from its inevitable dreary end. In the context of homeschooling, routine and flexibility matter.

Like most people, an important kick-starter to every year is setting, then meeting routines.

Adding an attitude of flexibility into homeschooling allows routine to bend, without completely breaking.


In other words, flexibility is a failsafe against abject failure.

Unexpected Lessons

An example: for us, there have been times when an urgent errand demanded a quick trip to the shops, or a commute, which meant a few hours away from the captain’s chair.

Of course, when our kids were younger, we would take them with us and make the trip a lesson, or look for lesson opportunities along the way. (It’s the smart, safe workaround. Leaving children home alone is not in the great-ways-to-parent guide book.)

Although tween and teen high school curriculum workloads set limits on this workaround, the answer was just as simple.

We made working independently without some supervision part of the homeschool day.

For instance, when our kids were too young to stay home, they came with us on a homeschool field trip.

When our kids were old enough to stay home, they learned independence, and earned the rewards of working independently.

Since we already had a flexible routine in place, empowering some (limited, unavoidable) unsupervised school work was never going to “tear a hole in the space-time continuum”.

Manageable Margins

Another benefit of adding an attitude of flexibility into a routine is the buffer it creates between the random and the well-ordered.

This buffer helps to absorb hard-hitting life events such as grief, loss, sickness, moving house, working from home, Covid-Zero lockdowns, and broken bones. As well as the potential housing price bubble bursting, Net-Zero brownouts, and climate-catastrophising communist lockouts — you get the idea.

My point: flexibility in routine allows us to translate the unexpected into life lessons.

While routine builds stability, flexibility in routine fosters the ability to adapt. It builds resilience in the face of change, instead of bolstering resistance to change.

Expressed differently: margin to manoeuvre powers the evolution of our homeschool education.

Building Character

Educating from home is not just about academic acumen, or avoiding the fate of Granddad “walking barefoot across the desert in 40-degree heat, 50 kilometres from home, after feeding the chickens, just to catch a bus.”

A holistic homeschool education will involve knowledge, and the ability to apply that knowledge by raising children into emotional and spiritual maturity.

Writing on freedom in fellowship, the flawed theologian Karl Barth called a child an apprentice.

‘Parents,’ he added, ‘are to convey indispensable knowledge of life, leading their children into the way of life.’ (CD 3:4:243)

Calling All Fathers

Speaking directly about fathers, Barth said, dads are the word “Ab”, found in the ancient Aramaic word, “Abba”, which was, and still is used in reference to the Hebraic Christian God. They are both teachers and counsellors.

It is, Barth wrote, the ‘Fatherhood of God that lends meaning and value to its human form.’ This, he said, was ‘the light of grace’ meeting the vocation of parenthood.

Lead children into the way of life. Make the most of teachable moments, without obsessing over time or teaching targets.

Routine is an inescapable must-have for successfully homeschooling kids.

Adding an attitude of flexibility will create a strong foundation for learning, avoiding a lifeless education dominated by inflexible checklists, the clock, and a dreary 9-3.


Photo by Karolina Grabowska.

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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