Dealing with Scheduled Interruptions

We are homeschooling mamas, and we like our planning, don't we? We write on our pretty planner pages in 5 different colors (ahem--maybe that's just me!) and we lay out the day's plans, all inky and fresh. In those quiet moments, we have a tendency to over-schedule, because we aren't quite thinking about all of the unforeseen challenges along the way--you know, a pitcher of water spilled on the laptop, chasing the new dog down in the field behind your house, or the air-conditioner repair guy coming 2 hours early.

Those are the day-to-day, unexpected challenges we face, but what about those scheduled, recurring interruptions to our school work? Things like doctor's appointments, grocery shopping or football practice? I know my tendency in planning on those days is to try to do that scheduled activity, plus all the school work we would normally do, too. You know, because I've laid it out so neatly in my color-coded planner.

Confession is good for the soul.

I've come to realize how stressful and foolish that is. . . as though I could somehow produce an extra 2 hours in my day. The truth is that if a big chunk of the day is spent elsewhere, then it was simply spent elsewhere and I can't take that back. That is okay! I should not feel guilty about that or try to make up for my fabricated guilt by trying to squeeze in school work.

So, how can we deal with it? Here's my new plan for scheduled interruptions:
  1. Do only the schoolwork that is most important for that day.
  2. Do only the schoolwork that can be done well.
  3. Try to do #1 and #2 before the scheduled interruption.
  4. Do something fun, breaking from the normal routine, once the interruption is over.
For our home, doing the first 3 will consist of Bible along with one or two of the three Rs.
But what about #4? Here's my idea: Do those extra, add-on's that I never seem to get to do, in the flow of my normal school day, like:
  • board games
  • crafts
  • nature walks
  • self-led project
  • painting
  • planting seeds
  • unit study
  • free reading
  • computer time
  • music
  • baking
When we've had a scheduled interruption, it is extremely hard to get my children's minds redirected to our regular routine (read: school work). Instead of trying to do that, I think going off the beaten path a bit and enjoying a variation in our learning can be fun. It also gives me the opportunity to try something new or different with the kids without hindering what is already working well.

How do you handle interruptions to your school day? How you do stay on track? How do you incorporate the "fun stuff" in your homeschool?

Also posted at Our Homeschool Forum.


  1. Today we didn't do school because I needed to get ready for a funeral dinner. Tomorrow we won't do school because of the funeral and dinner. These things just happen. Of course, that's means we'll do school on more days in the summer, but this is important to me now. And my children learned how to take care of others a little bit.

    1. Sorry to hear that there's been a loss. But you're right, this is an important thing to tend to and children learn so much through caring for others. God bless you and others as you grieve.

  2. Hahaha! You have described me to a T! The chickens get out, the dog gets bit by a snake, etc. etc. Wait, wait, those things aren't written in my planner! Lol! Today we're ditching the books for a day at the pool with friends. It was a last minute (yesterday) invite by friends we haven't seen for 6 months. Can I call it self-directed or child-led physical education? :) Thank you, Stacie!

    1. Ditching the books sounds so good right now!! LOL We are finishing up this week before we take a week or 2 off. Then we'll do our summer schedule. Enjoy your day full of child-led, self-directed PE with good friends!!!!! :)


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