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Teacher In-Service Days Homeschool Style

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If you went to public or private school, you probably remember teacher in-service days with as much fondness as I do. Who wouldn’t love an extra day off of school – especially since they were usually planned on a Friday or Monday, creating a long, three-day weekend?

What I didn’t understand back then is how much the teachers must have enjoyed it, too. I always thought they were getting ripped off because they had to come to work, but they got to come to work with no kids. As a mom, I can now fully appreciate how much they were able to accomplish on in-service days.

I think homeschool parents can benefit from in-service days, too.

Teacher In-Service Days Homeschool Style

Why does a homeschool mom need teacher in-service days?

My question is: why wouldn’t a homeschool mom need an in-service day? I get that we don’t have 30 students and lots of papers to grade, but most of us do utilize some type of planning. You might need time to:

How to arrange a teacher in-service day

For classroom teachers, planning an in-service day is easy – the school board puts it on the calendar and the kids don’t show up for school that day. It’s a little trickier in a homeschool setting. My kids are teens now, so if I need a work day I just let them wake on their own. I can get almost a full day that way. {grin}

When they were younger, I would typically do one of the following:

Work with the non-teaching parent. In most homeschools, the non-teaching parent is Dad and a teacher in-service day is a good opportunity to get him involved in your homeschool. Ask him to take the kids on a field trip or play date if you need to work at home.

If getting out of the house with your laptop, planner, or other scheduling tools would allow you to be more productive, arrange to leave the kids at home with Dad while you head to the library or a local coffee shop. They can just hang out and enjoy each other’s company or Dad could plan some educational fun such as science experiments, art, wood shop, or a life skill such as how to change a tire or check the oil in the car.

Teacher In-Service Days Homeschool Style

Arrange a child care swap with another homeschool mom. A friend and I used to do this and it was always so enjoyable for both of us. It allowed the mom without the kids to get some work done, but the mom with the kids always got a bit of a break, too, because the kids were busy playing together.

Enlist the help of the grandparents. Grandparents can be another great resource for a teacher in-service day. They may want to plan some educational fun or they may just want to spoil their grandkids. Either is great, right? I mean, honestly, when I was in school I looked forward to teacher in-service days because it meant a day off of school. I didn’t need anyone to plan anything special.

I may have also utilized the TV or DVDs, but we’re not supposed to confess to that, right? {ahem}

How to make the most of a teacher in-service day

Most of these tips aren’t anything earth-shattering, but just in case you haven’t thought of them:

Do something simple for meals. I like to have leftovers or a sandwich if I’m not heading out of the house for my in-service time. If I’m going out, I typically head to a spot with food and wi-fi, such as Panera Bread or Chick-fil-A.

Avoid distractions. A teacher in-service day is not the time to veg out on social media, have a Words with Friends marathon, or do housework. Ignore the dishes and the laundry, don’t open Facebook, and put your phone on vibrate. The more productive you are on your planned work day, the more time you’ll have to devote to housework and social media (although I’m not sure devoting time to social media is the concept I’m going for here) later on.

Have a plan. Decide what you’re going to work on the night before and make a to-do list. Make sure you have everything to do what you need to do – paper, printer ink, laminating sheets, books, etc.

Don’t waste time on non-essentials. Regardless of whether I’ll be working at home or going out somewhere, I’m going to take a shower and brush my teeth, but if I’m staying home, that’s about the extent of it. I’m going to toss my hair in a ponytail and throw on some comfy jeans or yoga pants and a t-shirt. There’s no sense wasting my time fixing my hair or primping.

I don’t do as many in-service days as I used to now that my teens are mostly independent and using workbooks, but I used to love having a day to myself to plan and to work uninterrupted.

Have you ever taken an in-service day (even if you didn’t call it that)? What tips would you add?

This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.

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9 Comments

  1. I’ve actually got a question…this is our first year homeschooling. I’ve been wondering about in-service days. Are we “allowed” to consider an in-service day a school day? Does it count toward our 180 days? I am fearful of doing something wrong and getting “slapped on the wrist” by the school district…however it only seems fair, that if their teachers get such days, we should as well! Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!!

    1. Hi, Karen. How exciting to be at the very beginning of your homeschooling journey! I think the answer to your question depends on who you ask. The more relaxed homeschoolers among us would say that if your kids are awake and breathing, they’re learning, so count it. I don’t know how strict your area is or what your homeschool laws look like. As the rule-following sort, I would say that it would depend on what my kids were doing.

      In-service days don’t count as a school day for public school kids because they’re not in school. So, for me, if my kids are doing something constructive, going on a field trip with the grandparents or their dad, or something along those lines, I would count it as a school day. If they’re sleeping until early afternoon, then, watching mindless TV or playing video games with their friends, I wouldn’t count it as a school day.

      That’s my two pennies for what they’re worth. 🙂

      1. That makes sense. Thanks for your two cents!!! I appreciate your posts – they have helped me navigate these new waters! Blessings to you and yours!

  2. I love your posts, they are so down to earth and practical! That being said, I love taking a ‘teacher in-service day’ at the beginning of every unit/quarter switch to refresh me. this last one I did some wood work, no children around gave me lots of time to work on a love and think about how i’m going to get my kid to learn to spell without loosing my mind every day (he fights every step of learning to spell!!!).

    it amazes me how many homeschool moms don’t take a break or count going to the pumpkin farm with other homeschool families a field trip day, in the count of school days. or how many moms don’t count those days we get together and compare notes and the kids play the afternoon away a school day. they need socialization also, so do the moms! We need to give ourselves more credit.

  3. We are having a catch up week as I found nothing in the week’s folder ready to do. We have had some sick days, but since we were learning about our new diabetes diagnosis, food and nutrition, and all kinds of health topics, I counted those days. We have some things I have had to move around from missing those time slots, so we have built in weeks throughout the year where there is nothing in our scheduling folder. I am not much of a planner, and feel like I am winging it so much that in-service days happen while they are working on independent items like this morning. They also get to listen to music while they do spelling, math worksheets, and things like that. I introduced them to all types of music, and they pursue their own interests. My 14YO daughter has developed a taste for Andrea Boccelli, and is exploring Opera. Got to run, Shakespeare is up next this morning!

  4. yes planning the next day at the end of today is really a great one. Awesome points shared in the blog. This is really useful for homeschooling parents and the children. Great blog!!

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