Don’t you feel like summer just started? It sure seems that way, but autumn is around the corner giving us many things to do between now and the first day back to homeschool! One of those things is to make an updated homeschool schedule. You might have a schedule that worked last year but things change, children grow, and curriculum may warrant more or less time. Plus, everyone likes to change things up and try new things. So, let’s jump in!
How to Start
Step One: evaluate what worked and didn’t work last year. Maybe morning time was a great idea in your head but the kids were too wired that early in the day and it didn’t work out. This year try something active first like nature walks, morning exercise, or even breakfast dance parties!
Maybe your children start out strong and ready to go but get grumpy as you head into the lunchtime hour. Being hangry is real! This year try to start off with the hardest subject first then move into the easier ones. Also, it’s a great idea to add some snack breaks or include small packs of nuts or dried fruit in each of the kid’s school supplies!
Step Two: Set your goals. Every year comes with new concepts that need to be covered. Review your curriculum, check age by age/grade by grade guidelines, and make a list of what you want to accomplish for the year.
Get the children involved in setting their goals for the year with this custom home learning plan.
Choose your Plan of Action
Step Three: Figure out how to divide and conquer the curriculum and projects.
It’s important to figure out what type of homeschoolers you are. Planning for homeschooling is like planning a vacation. Decide how much structure your family needs and how much planning you actually need then pick a schedule outline. Homeschool schedules vary home to home and, at times, homeschooler to homeschooler. Here are a few popular options that many homeschoolers use:
Many homeschoolers start with this schedule but end up changing later on. This method is pretty simple and generally looks like a public school day. Subjects and projects are scheduled on a general daily planner and the school day is over when all tasks are finished. This is an easy way to plan but also an easy way to burn out if breaks are not taken regularly.
This is another common schedule idea. This type of scheduling focuses on spending longer amounts of time on each subject and dividing the subjects up into different days. For example, you might do one hour of math and one hour of language arts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays with one hour of science and one hour of social studies on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some homeschoolers even change up their schedules each semester to cover more subjects and keep from getting stuck in a rut.
If you have a set time you know you want to homeschool this might be the option for you. This type of schedule doesn’t set a subject for each day, instead, you have a list of things to complete and it goes on a loop list. Each day you go down the list to the next thing and when you get to the bottom you start over. For example, Monday during your school time you might work on history, Tuesday science, Wednesday math, Thursday reading, and Friday language arts. The following Monday coding and then Tuesday you are back around to history. This type of schedule allows for things to be added easily. You don’t have to worry about making time, instead, you just add it to the loop list.
Other Things to Consider
Schedule an ending time
Starting a homeschool day in the morning and not finishing up until after dark is frustrating. It happens to the best of us, but it is the quickest way to make you and your homeschooler ready to quit. Set a time to call it DONE, plan a time during the day that you can pack it all up and go do something fun. The lessons will be there tomorrow.
Break for food
I know this one sounds like a given but, as I stated above, hangry is a real thing. Plan a time for meals. Schedule in some extra breaks where everyone can get snacks, water, and, of course, more coffee for the teacher.
Don’t feel like you need to jump in full throttle on the first day back. Take your time and add things in slowly. It’s great to start with something fun for the first day, and then add in another subject the next day and so on. If you are doing loop or block scheduling take it slow by slowing increasing the time homeschooling. Try 30 minutes the first day, 45 the next, then one hour and so on.
Plan a Break day or Two
Write in a few break days for the month. These don’t have to be days that aren’t educational, but it is helpful to try something different. Take a trip to the park for an impromptu bird watching walk, make it a movie day, or try a library scavenger
Don’t be afraid to make changes
Don’t stay with something that is making you and your homeschoolers miserable. The number one perk of homeschooling is the freedom to make changes as we need to. If something isn’t working take a day or two and make some changes. It’s important to combine and change things as needed. If you are using a general loop schedule that doesn’t mean you can’t have a day of block scheduling. Don’t be afraid to ask your children to help make the schedule better, with their help the scheduling of homeschooling becomes a homeschool lesson in itself! Do what works for you and your homeschooler!
Planning your new homeschool schedule can seem overwhelming but, with some time and reflection, it doesn’t have to be. Review the past homeschool year and set goals. Decide what schedule best fits your family, and remember to take it slow and make changes as needed. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be ready to start the new homeschool year off strong!