~5 – 10 minute read
Work full time and want to homeschool with Campfire Curriculums™ (or any other curriculum)?
Though we create these units for other families to use, we also use them in our own family! We have been asked how to use Campfire Curriculums (or how to homeschool, in general) if you also work full time, and that’s a great question! I think it’s one we can answer very well, since we do it, ourselves! In fact, my husband created Campfire units with a working parent in mind! In other words, they are designed exactly for your situation.
Here is a little rundown of how that looks for us, personally:
OUR WORK HOURS (IN SUM)
- My husband still works full time outside of the home (other work, requires approximately 200 hours/month).
- We also put in ~400 – 600 (yes, hundred lol) hours of work per month on the curriculum creation and business (between the two of us). This varies, of course, but that’s an average.
- We have six children (from baby to high school)
- We take Sundays off
- We take one “date night” per week
- We have kids in sports
- We have required travel for work
So since we are juggling about ~600 – 800 hours of work per month combined (~300+/month each) between the business, his work, and our work on curriculum creation… we typically advise for tip #1: not sleeping . HA! Okay, kidding (sort of)… We usually sleep about 5 hours a night, which is not wise, so don’t follow my suggestion in that. Of course, we are working an insane amount of hours, so hopefully that shouldn’t be an issue for many lol. As for the rest of the day, here’s what we do…
For this season that we are in, we use a block schedule. If you are interested in seeing how our block schedule worked before (which we’ve changed with the New Year), you can check out this link over here. It is full of a lot of (hopefully helpful) tips and tricks to homeschooling in general with a busy life–things such as a modified breakfast schedule, grouping, schooling year round, etc.
Since the New Year, we have switched our schedule! Here’s how it now looks (and we LOVE IT!):
New Year Schedule with Campfire Curriculums
1. BIBLE AND MATH: Bible reading and math in the morning are done for about one hour (separate curriculum).
– During the math time, I do pre-reader phonics and math with our pre-readers/Kindergarten aged. Hubby covers math with the older kids if he’s home; I do it if he’s not.
2. MOVED SCHOOL TO THE PM: We school in the afternoon for science/history/geography/social studies (utilizing Campfire Curriculums’ main unit AND Campfire Core Connections). If we were just using Campfire as an extracurricular, it would only be 20-30 minutes a day, but we use it as our core, so we add in the Core Connections. Schooling in the PM has resulted in SO MANY positive adjustments to potential negative behaviors or attitudes, and it has really worked so well for us. Our kids, personally, do better alone in the morning (such as when they do their math). They aren’t necessarily ready to jump into a “family style” of learning right out of bed. They need their processing time, so doing math in the morning and family-style school in the PM has really helped with this! We ALL love it!
3. LEAVE A THREE HOUR GAP: We block off a 3-hour stretch in the afternoon for schooling. Even though it doesn’t naturally take us that long (Campfire is set up to require much less time than that), we like to allow room for variables and delays or even just really getting distracted and digging deep into a concept… or doing more than one lesson a day. This way, no one feels stressed or under pressure. It really opens up the door for passion and peace if we do it this way. There is SO MUCH SPACE for going down trails and exploring anything we want, as desired. We can also have discussion as long as we want by doing it this way, and never feel rushed. My husband leads the main lesson portion of Campfire in the afternoon when he’s home (~30 minutes for main lesson portion and one activity). From there, I can take it another ~2 hours to do the Core Connections with all kids. So we block off an entire 3 hour stretch for that [four days of the week]. Now, a lot of families do this same setup, but they only block off a 1- or 2- hour stretch. It’s all about what you need for your family. Campfire can be done this exact same way, regardless of the time allotment you choose for your school day. For the record, it takes us much longer than it should most others because we have SOOO many kids (haha!). They ALL want to have a chance to speak up (even the littles), so literally one question can take twenty minutes to get through on our bad days. 🙂 Whatever we do not finish in the time span, we simply pause and pick it up again the next day. Using a timer in homeschool is something we ALWAYS recommend as part of the Campfire Method, and it seriously works. Usually one unit lasts us a month if we do it this way.
– This also allows us to meet any requirements for credits depending on state requirements.
– If you were setting up your own schedule, you could EASILY do it for less or more than this.
– If you want to see how a unit looks, on video, we have a link of that over HERE.
– And if you want to see what is covered in each unit, you can go HERE.
One unit per month
The units are intentionally 12 lessons, so it gives you that flexibility to not have to complete one lesson a day in order to be done in a month, which is super helpful. See, 12 lessons doesn’t mean “less content.” It means we give just the right amount with variable ending points so you can go as deep or as light as YOU want to match YOUR schedule. It is the perfect amount of schooling on one topic before creating “burnout.” Everyone gets just enough in it to where they feel full and satisfied, without dragging too long. Also, there is no pressure to complete one lesson per day, so it really opens up the JOY of learning by allowing that “timer method.” Stop when the buzzer goes off. This is exactly how our units are designed with the Campfire Method. It combines the passion of learning while also meeting the Carnegie unit time requirement for high school credits, when needed.
The 5th Day
We rotate the 5th day of school between a “Library Day” and “Nature/Family” day. Nature/Family Day is just where we fill it up completely with nature studies, going on bike rides, or teaching our kids skills they want to learn—from crocheting to chopping down trees lol.
“Library Day” is not actually where we go to the library–haha. We just pick from our home library. It’s a day when our kids have to read for the entire stretch—an educational book, historical fiction, or even just a classic. They also get to read every night. This has been SO helpful in so many ways. A lot of our books are historical or scientific in nature, where others are biographies or “fun” or “classic” reads. There is something of value in each one, and we couldn’t imagine skipping days like this. For the children who have a harder time reading, it also allows us to spend more one-on-one time with them, building their abilities without interruption.
They get to save their language arts assignments and do them at night. We go over the directions and rules/questions during our 3-hour afternoon stretch, but the actual work portion takes place at night, usually. For example, if the Campfire Core Connections directs them to write a research report, circle all of the adjectives, or do copy work (etc)… we go over the directions during the day, and they complete it before bedtime as they are already in their PJs. They seem to do best this way, since they are calm and winding down. We check their work the next day during that 3-hour stretch. It also takes a lot of stress off of me, since they spend more time independently thinking while in bed at night, and then we get to go over it again the next day. It’s just a stress-free setup, and I also notice that their work is better and more intentional this way.
Do it your way!
Again, this is just how we do it. We know a lot of working families use much less than three hour stretches, and we know other families prefer to make it even longer. Some school in the morning; others school at nights; others school all day. As it is written, Campfire is DESIGNED to be accomplished in approximately 30 minutes (main lesson portion) or 2 hours (main lesson portion plus Core Connections). You can opt to do all of the included activity suggestions to really draw it out, or none of them–to really make it short. In this way, it fits YOUR schedule and you get to stop when your timer goes off.
Year Round – Final Tip
We school year round, so when kids have sports, play dates, birthdays, special church events, or other things that come up (such as required travel for work), we can use a “call it a quits” day, and skip school altogether.
You can see how this has changed quite a bit from the schedule we were doing last year (by visiting the link in the beginning of this post), which is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling!
*When our oldest is required to do additional work (such as the more advanced Core Connections for that level), we can have that child do additional independent work. It’s designed well enough for independence. By the time the day is done, all children usually have an hour in math, 30 minutes to an hour in Bible, three hours between science/history/geography (etc) and an hour in language arts as they turn in for bed. Altogether, that meets ALL requirements for high school students while feeling like an incredibly simple day…. and SO doable even by us when we work a combined 800 hours per month! Again, other families (with younger children) choose to school only 1-2 hours a day, and you can just as easily accomplish everything in that time, as well, by utilizing a Campfire Curriculums unit!
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