Structured Free Time


If you're just joining me for the 10 Days to a Flexible Homeschool Plan series, then be sure to read the previous posts.

Day 1: 10 Days to a Flexible Homeschool Plan
Day 2: Determining Your School Year
Day 3: Finding Your Routine
Day 4: Deciding What to Teach and When
Day 5: Scheduling Your Resources
Day 6: Putting it All to Work
Day 7: Facing the Challenges


So far in this series, we've looked at ways to make your written plan and curriculum more flexible. But what about when lessons are over and there's free time that (at least in this house) is often full of "I'm bored! I don't know what to do!"

The last place I want my kids to end up is in front of the TV for hours, which is always the easy out when they don't know what to do.

Instead, we have Structured Free Time.


10 Days to a Flexible Homeschool Plan - Structured Free Time


Free Time = Chaos

My children, left to their own devices, can end up in some pretty dangerous situations. They amaze me with both their curiosity and lack of caution! As such, I cannot simply allow them oodles of free time. I have to provide some sort of structure or chaos ensues!

On the other hand, I don't want to dictate every moment of their day either.

When I started researching how to best combat this problem I discovered the idea of Pursuits & Occupations.


What are Pursuits & Occupations?

Some time ago I ran across an article at Delightfully Feasting. The author talks about having a list of "occupations" that her children could choose from each afternoon.

She explained it as...

1-2 hours where the children are expected to engage their minds and/or bodies in enriching ways, with the freedom to choose and to enjoy within the parameters of activity choices that feed the mind, body, and soul.

She went on to say...

...without time spent at home, quietly pursuing richness, there is no time to digest what has been learned during morning lessons and connections are not made.

I thought it was genius, so I came up with lists of Pursuits & Occupations for my kids.

Here's a look at our lists for the upcoming year.


Primary List

These are the things that provide time to think and digest while still keeping their hands busy.

Hand Sewing
Watercolor Painting
Leather Working

Picture / Art Study
Claywork / Playdough
Charcoal Sketching
Pencil Sketching
Videography / Stop-Motion
Wood Burning

Secondary List

These are the things that require less concentration and allow a bit of a brain break.

Pretend Play
Piano Practice

Exercise / Yoga
Recorder Practice
Ukelele Practice


"Mom Says" Time

After they've spent a couple of hours on Pursuits & Occupations they usually still have some time before dinner. This is the time that we affectionately refer to as "mom says" time. It is my built in flexibility time that can be used to:

  • make up for any lost time earlier in the day
  • schedule any errands that we may need to run
  • go on a field trip
  • let the kids have some fun
  • redo or continue work from earlier in the day

This is the time of day that I will allow them to play select video games or watch TV. However, if they didn't complete their independent work for the day, and complete it well, then they have to redo it before enjoying the fun stuff. The same applies to chores. If they're not done then that's what they do during this time.

In other words, they have to earn their fun free time by taking care of their responsibilities first. That's how the real world works. We're not entitled to "me" time or "fun" time, we have to work for it and earn it. I want my kids to understand that long before they are adults.


That's how we handle "free time" in the Nerddom. What do you do?


Wondering how I keep all the supplies for Pursuits & Occupations organized? It's a lot of stuff which can easily spill over into every area of our home if I'm not careful.

Tomorrow we'll talk about how I keep all those supplies, our books, and curriculum organized and easy to find.




Be sure to visit all of the other great bloggers that are taking part in the 10 Days of Tips for Homeschool Moms series. Here are all the goodies you'll find!



Posted in Homeschool Life, Tips & Encouragement and tagged , , .

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