When we started homeschooling when Chris was five, I didn't answer the phone during the time I'd set aside for lessons. Nothing interfered, and we went through what we were supposed to and got it done. Sometimes while rocking in a hammock in the backyard, but we got it done.
I remember seeing a title of a book called "Homeschooling is About the Baby." I think it was locally produced But what the author was trying to say is that homeschooling is about life, life has interruptions, and when someone needs you, that comes before a textbook. So things went on hold and worked around naps after we had Maggie. When we moved here, we took a long time to get back into any kind of structure.
We have always been a late to bed, late to wake up family. In some ways this has hurt us, but fighting against that too hard made it more difficult. Though there have been times that I have tried.
My perfectionism also has gotten the best of me, and sometimes I drove myself during times that my kids needed a break, or I did...and regretted it later. And this has led to the other extreme...doing almost nothing.
I have found that sometimes these nothing times, where my children pursued their own interests have been some of the times that they learned the most, and sometimes the very thing that I was pulling my hair out trying to teach them.
For us, though, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. I have a classical philosophy when it comes to homeschooling, but unlike many homeschoolers, it does not come out in a structured expression. Instead, having my children surrounded by classical ideas, in an environment that values history, literature, and the historical liturgy to a large extent creates a classically educated child. I've seen this in my unschooling friends.
However, I find if we don't have something, I feel like I am pulled around in many different directions, and I go just as nuts as if I am hyper-structured (its not pretty when I am hyper-structured). I think I am returning back to the Charlotte Mason fold.
Short lessons, living books (avoiding textbooks, for the most part...books that are devoted to a particular subject or range of subjects and are clearly written by someone who cares for the topic they are writing about), how things are related (Charlotte believed that education is the science of relations, not merely a conglomeration of separate topics) more emphasis on art and literature, narration to show that the children know the topics, these things have worked well for us in the past, here's hoping they do in the future.
I do struggle with incorporating art into our work, but I think it will help the kids if I figure out how to do it.
So now as the hyper-activity period of September and October wrap up and people stop wanting to socialize with each other and want to hide in their houses, looking at "doing school" becomes more practical.