Homeschool scheduling can be a tough thing to tackle for many families, especially those who are new to home education. You see, no two families are alike and, therefore, only you can create the schedule that will best meet your needs.
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There are several things about homeschool scheduling that are going to vary from family to family. Because of things like family size, working from home, and co-op opportunities, there simply isn’t a generic schedule available.
Be aware that it may take time to find the schedule that works best for you and your family, but keep tweaking it until you find the sweet spot. It will make all the difference for you and your kids!
Regardless of the variables, here are some homeschool basics that apply to creating a daily and weekly schedule. Let’s have a look:
Schedule Options to Consider
Before diving into the homeschool scheduling options, it’s important to consider your legal requirements. These vary across the United States and are yet another reason there’s no one size fits all schedule available. Once you know the attendance requirements where you live, you’ll know how to proceed.
As for the actual scheduling options, there are several good choices to consider as you plan your days. One of those is a four-day school week. By completing the schoolwork in four days, more time is available for co-op participation, field trips, extra activities, and fun.
We homeschool year-round and prefer to arrange our homeschool routine so that we can be done by noon each day. Homeschooling in the morning leaves my afternoons open for work and for my kids to pursue their interests. This makes it a great match for our family.
Even so, some families need a structured 8-3ish, Monday through Friday schedule. Some families school at night and into the weekends in order enjoy family time with parents with non-traditional work schedules.
There’s no shortage of schedule options, that’s for sure!
Homeschool Scheduling Essentials
Before you can have successful homeschool scheduling in your life, there are some essentials you’ll want on hand:
1. Your roadmap
I mentioned this as one of my sanity-savers for homeschool moms, but a roadmap like Home Learning Year by Year, The Well-Trained Mind, or Blueprint Homeschooling will help you plan the academic aspects of your your homeschool. (If you’re using an out-of-the-box curriculum, your teacher guides may serve this purpose.)
Similarly, a resource like Pam Barnhill’s Plan Your Year will help you create a plan that allows your academic goals and your day-to-day family life to coexist.
2. Your Planner
If you’re a pen and paper person, you may like a notebook or a traditional planner.
If you’re like me and need to access your schedule from your laptop and devices while on the go, you may like an online planner. Regardless of what you choose, when you create a schedule that works for you, you’ll need a place to keep track of it!
Homeschool Scheduling Gone Wrong
Unfortunately, the roadmap and the planner won’t help at all unless you steer clear of two main problem areas that often come up when scheduling.
The first of those is overscheduling. I get it: there’s an innate desire to do all the things and fill our homeschool schedules until they’re bursting at the seams.
Don’t give into the pressure to do all. the. things. Less really is more.
You can always add more to your homeschool schedule if you wish, but having to remove and shift plans because you’re doing too much is stressful for you and your kids. Keeping it simple goes a long way.
Another problem area is comparison scheduling. It’s all too easy to learn what other homeschool families are doing and feel like we need to mimic them. It’s true in many areas of life and it’s true here too: something can be good, but not be good for you.
After all, every family doesn’t need Latin, STEM workshops, art courses, and music lessons. There’s nothing wrong with any of those, but they aren’t required for successful homeschooling.
Do what works for you and your people. Schedule your homeschool according to your kids’ needs and interests and let the Joneses keep up with themselves.
Scheduling for Success
Once you’ve got your essentials in place and know what scheduling issues to avoid, you can create a homeschool schedule that works for you and your family. While I can’t say for sure what will work, I can share some tips I’ve picked up along the way.
The secret of scheduling success lies in these few things:
- Follow the plan. Remember that roadmap mentioned above? It can’t help you with your scheduling and planning if you don’t follow it. Sure, you can customize it and make adjustments as needed, but take advantage of the resources you have and run the play.
- Be realistic. Do you have tots tugging on your shirt? Do you work from home? Do your kids have special needs? Do your kids need naps? Take a look around and create a schedule that takes these kinds of things into account. If you try to power through without planning with them in mind, you’ll frustrate you and your kids.
- Listen to your kids and pay attention to their cues. If they’re tired, let them rest. If they’re bored to tears with your science approach, make some changes. Don’t continue scheduling everything as is when changes need to be made. The longer you’re working with an overwhelming schedule and the wrong curriculum, the longer it will take you to recover.
- Add catch-up days to your calendar. These days make a huge difference when you’re not on track with your initial goals, if life has been extra-busy, or you’ve just had a rough couple of weeks. By adding catch-up days to your calendar when you finish a chapter or unit, you have time to finish up without the pressure of getting more behind. If you don’t need to use the days for catching up, use them for some off time. Breathing room matters!
Do you have tips for homeschool scheduling? If so, share your wisdom with us in the comments below!
Need some help with some homeschool basics? Be sure to check out the Homeschool 101 topics below: