When my oldest daughter was four, she attended our local public preschool. That first year was our only REAL experience with public school. I remember NOT being very impressed. One reason was because every quarter the kids were out of school for a random day. The reason? Teacher in-service days. I rolled my eyes when I first saw it. To me, it seemed like a wasted day and a pain for parents who worked outside the home.
What is a Teacher In-Service Day?
In public schools, it is a day where the teachers come to school, WITHOUT students. They may attend education seminars, be trained on new equipment or technology, have time allotted for planning out lessons and field trips for the next quarter, or collaborate with fellow teachers on projects.
How Can a Homeschool Mom Use a Teacher In-Service Day?
Now that I have been homeschooling for a few years, I totally SEE the reason behind Teacher In-Service Days, AND I even think we as homeschool parents can utilize these days a few times a year. What can a homeschool mom do on these days? Oh, the possibilities!
Further Education and Training
- Attend a homeschool conference (digital OR in person)
- Take a class at a local college or library
- Train yourself on a program your children will be using for school
- Familiarize yourself with a new curriculum
Teacher Planning and Organizing
- Plan out your lesson plans for the next quarter
- Contact businesses and arrange field trips
- Clean and organize your school room
- Record attendance and catch up on grading papers
- Fill out homeschool paperwork for the next year
- Prepare in advance for crafts, art projects, and science experiments
- Organize your craft closet
- Laminate needed items for school
- Meet with other moms in your homeschool group and plan out your year
- Prepare for homeschool co-op classes with fellow homeschool moms
- Have a curriculum share day where moms bring in curriculum they love
Any of the above ideas would fit the definition of a teacher in-service day. And, chances are you do each and every one of these things in addition to your normal homeschool day/week. I used to spend a Saturday once a month doing many of these items. OR, I would meet with the other homeschool moms in our group and THEN go home and do school. Now, I count this time as teacher in-service.
How to Plan a Teacher In-Service Day
So, now you know what a teacher in-service day is, and you know what to do on a teacher in-service day. But, how do you actually plan to have one?
Swap with a Friend
If you have a homeschool friend locally who could use a day to complete some of the tasks above, take her kids for a day. Then, the next week or month, she could take your kids for a day. This is a great way to give yourself, and your friend a much-needed break.
Utilize Your Partner
Does your spouse have government holidays off? A day like President’s Day? Labor Day? Or another day when many offices give their employees a day off? If so, use that day as a teacher in-service day. If they have vacation time, ask them to take one day off a school year to give you a teacher in-service day.
Let the Kids Netflix and Chill
Okay, as a LAST resort, you could always just let the kids have at the TV and do what you need to do. There are TONS of educational shows on Netflix that will allow your kids to learn AND allow you to complete the needed tasks. Again, this isn’t ideal, but for many of us, it is a reality. I won’t judge. Promise!
Teacher In-Service days for the homeschool mom NEED to happen. They are a great way for us to complete tasks that too often times take up our evenings and weekends. They allow us to train ourselves to become better homeschool parents. They allow us to familiarize ourselves with new equipment, technology, and curriculum. They allow ourselves to organize and clean those areas that too often times get left unattended and in turn, items get unused and forgotten about.
Teacher In-Service days are NOT just for public school teachers. Plan ahead to allow yourselves at least 2-3 each school year. You will be better prepared to start each semester and will have more time for the things that matter most.
Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares everyday tips and encouragement for the homeschool mom on her blog Joy in the Journey.