Step 6: Schedule Your Homeschool Day
You have a vision for homeschooling. You've discovered how your child likes to learn. You've even found the perfect curriculum, but what about your daily homeschool schedule? How does that look? How can you fit in grocery shopping, cooking meals, and house cleaning while teaching your children academics?
"Where no plan is laid...chaos will soon reign." - Victor Hugo
Having a flexible but well-ordered homeschooling schedule brings a sense of accomplishment and peace. To maintain your sanity, here are some practical guidelines to follow when organizing your homeschool day.
You'll soon discover that because God created each family unique, there is no perfect one-answer-fits-all homeschooling schedule. However, many experienced homeschool parents have learned these helpful secrets to make scheduling a homeschooling day easier.
Twelve Secrets to Scheduling Success
- Strive to start school at the same time each day and don't set yourself up for failure with too many activities and unrealistic expectations.
- Turn off your TV and phone when you start homeschooling and don't return calls until the lessons are done.
- Save more intense, one-on-one instruction time with older children while little ones are napping or ask relatives and friends to watch your toddlers.
- Schedule Bible, math, and language arts (reading, writing, and spelling) earlier in the day when your children are still fresh. Save more time-consuming, hands-on projects (history, science, and art) until the afternoon.
- Coordinate individualized teaching with one child while the other children work independently or read. For instance, when presenting a new math concept to your 3rd grader, have your 7th grader read his history lesson for the day on his own. Also, take advantage of unit studies which make scheduling easier when homeschooling multiple children in different grade levels.
- Evaluate your family and be flexible to adjust your schedule as you see a pattern that works best. Realize that your children learn better with schedules and feel safer and more in control when they know what to expect each day.
- Decide what household chores need to be done each day and assign responsibilities to each child. You can then schedule 30 - 45 minutes twice a day for tidying the house and/or doing tasks. Chore charts with reward stickers are a great way to encourage younger children to complete their work.
- Make a list of outside activities (errands, medical/dental appointments, field trips, homeschool co-op groups, music lessons, library visits, etc.) that your family will participate in that week and include them on your calendar.
- Assign a time and/or day of the week for each individual subject, including start and end times. (Be sure to include core subject areas like Bible, math, history and geography, language arts, and science.)
- Schedule time for daily meal preparation and clean up, along with time for any other breaks.
- Don't compare your family to other homeschooling families. Schedules are meant to help your family accomplish your goals, not the goals of someone else.
- Keep moving and don't lose your focus. Even if interruptions and distractions cause your lesson plans to fall apart before 9 a.m., regroup and accomplish what you can for the remainder of the day.
"Let all things be done decently and in order" 1 Corinthians 14:40.
Remember, many states have homeschooling laws that require a certain number of hours or days of homeschooling each year. Be sure that your schedule meets those requirements, recognizing that many activities and hobbies your children enjoy outside of "official" schooling hours can also be considered homeschooling, such as part-time jobs (work study), volunteer work (civics), and sports (physical education).
Let others know how to get started with homeschooling!