If you’ve ever lived in a big city, you know all too well the rules of alternate-day parking. Firing up and having to move the vehicle, fingers crossed on ever finding another parking space, can be quite a frustration and a chore — hardly even worth the hassle of owning a car.
Applied to homeschooling, however, alternate days can be a positive thing. Sometimes, families feel that certain topics don’t require daily coverage. In fact, depending on the student and family, attempting to do every subject every day may even prove counter-productive.
What these subjects are will obviously vary from family to family. But, the idea remains the same in all households — not EVERY homeschooling subject must be taught EVERY day. As homeschoolers, the choice is yours.
For school-at-home types, this may come as quite a shock. But in reality, many homeschoolers find it much more productive and much less stressful to tackle certain subjects on alternate days, rather than every day of the week. So while English and mathematics, for instance, might be daily subjects in a particular family, other subjects like art, music and geography occur on an alternate day schedule.
The benefits to alternating days also vary by family. Some folks just like not having to drag everything out each and every day. In the case of art supplies and science kits, for example, using alternate day scheduling offers the option of longer, focused amounts of time on these topics, rather than brief chunks of less-productive time during an otherwise jam-packed day (just setting up the supplies and cleaning up afterwards can take up the entire time block). Some families like taking a break from certain subjects in order to do other things, or to allow the children to digest what was learned. Thus, alternating subjects gives them the opportunity to fill the curriculum partly with courses and book work, and partly with other activities. Again, it is up to each individual family.
When scheduling a homeschooler, take a look at his or her overall daily schedule after running through it for several days or a few weeks. If there appear to be congested areas on the schedule, or times when there just seems to be too much going, considering alternate days for a subject or two to lessen the load. Also look for subjects that really require more time (creative writing, for example) but are being squeezed into too-short a time frame. In the end, you may find that your students prefer being able to dedicate longer periods of study to an area over quick snapshots of time using another method.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Think about it.