How to Create a Homeschool Schedule That Works For Your Family
Congratulations on your decision to homeschool! We are living through a very unique and challenging time in our lives as we make our way through a global pandemic, and following your gut to make the right decision for your children and your family as a whole is important. Beginning a homeschool journey as a family can feel both exciting and nerve wracking until it starts to feel like part of your routine. One tangible way to get that routine going is to form a homeschool schedule that works for your family.
As with most things, giving purpose, shape, and organization to your day will help you and your children feel more comfortable with homeschooling, which can feel very loose until you choose to define it in certain ways.
Remember, education was not made to be one size fits all, so there are several things to consider before you build a homeschool schedule. Knowing which factors to consider, how to implement the schedule, and how to stick to the schedule are all important.
Factors to Consider When Creating a Homeschool Schedule
- Outside the home commitments: Determine if there are organizations or groups outside of your home that you would like to meet with. Maybe you will decide that your family would like to join a local homeschooling co-op or group, a 4-H club, Girl Scouts or Cub Scouts, or a regular extracurricular activity taught by someone else in the area of sports or the arts. Working your schedule around these kinds of commitments that have less flexibility can be a good starting point.
- Your family’s rhythm: Are you early birds or do you all prefer to sleep late? Do you like to get the “have to’s” out of the way early to keep the rest of the day free? Do you like to tackle subjects and activities slowly and without feeling rushed? Do your kids work better with lots of breaks? Do you or your partner have a work schedule or other commitments that you need to work around? You know your family best, and one of the best parts of homeschooling is getting to build a schedule that actually takes all of your needs into consideration.
- Homeschool includes real life: When education is based in the home, you have to remember that all of the ups and downs of regular life still take place throughout the day. There will still be chores to be done, errands to run, and plenty of daily mishaps. When you’re not primarily in a place that is not your home which allows you to leave real life tasks for another time, it can be helpful to build in time for learning to happen side by side. Those real life moments offer plenty of opportunity for learning and hand-on activities, but if you don’t build in extra time for these things to happen throughout your day, your schedule may feel too confining and constricting.
How to Implement a Homeschool Schedule
- Draft a schedule: After considering the factors above, it’s a good idea to draft a schedule knowing that it is a living and breathing document that will change over time. A schedule is only helpful if it adds to your day, so trying to live by a schedule just for the sake of following a schedule will never feel good. Creating a first draft and giving yourself a week or so to see how it feels will allow you to workout the kinks.
- Reflect on what blends and overlaps: The more time you spend teaching and learning, the more aware you will become about the ways that subjects overlap. For instance, maybe your outdoor art lesson winds up incorporating your science goals for the week, or perhaps your social studies lesson also involves everything you hoped to cover in writing on a given day. Understanding the synchronicity of your curriculum and goals may help you loosen your schedule over time to allow you to be more in the moment and less worried about logistics.
How to Stick to Your Homeschool Schedule
- Share your plans with your children: Your family is your team when it comes to learning and teaching at home, and the more clear you all are on what your day will look like, the better you will all feel. Many students thrive on routine and knowing what to expect, so being able to communicate this clearly to each other can be half the battle when preparing to have a great homeschool day.
- Write your plans down and display them: Having an accessible place for everyone to view your schedule for the day is helpful. Be sure it is age appropriate with easy to understand sections and images for early learners. As you move through your homeschool journey together, there will be times when your schedule doesn’t quite play out as you hoped. Being open about your feelings and the impact of keeping the schedule more fluid can lead to teachable moments and reminders that you are all on a team together.
Sample Homeschool Schedule
Schedules can vary and change, and keeping a fluidity to your schedule is key. This is a sample of how you might consider breaking up your day. You can use the first column to frame your day and the second column to outline more specific activities within that chunk of time.
Download the printable schedule here.
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