Homeschooling is designed to suit your child, so no two homeschool schedules will be exactly the same.
Having a plan in place is important, but it needs to be flexible. Here are the best tips for creating a daily plan that helps you get things done.
Create A Routine, Not A Schedule
For most homeschoolers, it’s hard to practically follow a schedule. For most of us, time slots are only going to make you frustrated as life gets in the way and we get thrown off schedule.
Instead of setting blocks that say you will start English at 8 am, and then Math at 8.45, and so on, aim to have your first work block sometime between 8 and 8.30 and then have one subject follow another until you’re done.
Work In Chunks
It can be easier to schedule in chunks or blocks of your day, instead of individual subjects. Don’t micro schedule within those chunks of time. You should complete the blocks in the same order every day, but the other within a block could vary, based on what you are going to do for that subject on each day.
For example, if you two subjects that will need a lot of writing for that day, put a different lesson in between, like reading, to break them up. If you’re using letter tiles for both reading and spelling on one day, don’t do those subjects back to back.
Try to separate any repetition. Your blocks might have a certain order, but the subjects within those blocks don’t. Alternate more challenging tasks with lighter ones to give your kids’ brains a break.
You’re not going to pack five hours of schoolwork into a five-hour block of time. Something will always happen to interrupt you, whether it’s the kids needing a bathroom break or a delivery man coming to the door.
You most likely won’t get everything done, and you will only get frustrated if you try to. Schedule about three and half hours of work into each five-hour block.
Schedule The Siblings
The most important part of your schedule is probably where there is no school. When you start to plan your routine, the infant to preschool-age children, if you have any, should be thought about first to help to create a routine that will run the most smoothly. Here are some ideas:
- What can you do while you’re nursing?
If the baby needs to be fed every morning at 8am, then this could be a great time to read aloud with your older children. We know that reading aloud is important for children, get everything together and enjoy this time.
The younger ones can play quietly at your feet, and everyone can do something with their hands while they listen. If you struggle to read and nurse at the same time, thanks to a squirming baby, then ask an older sibling to read or use an audiobook.
- Nursing time could also be a great time for you to be read aloud to.
Schedule in some time for newer readers to read aloud to you during the nursing time too. Older children who have memory work binders could also lead a family recitation time during this time too.
- You can make toddler care part of the older children’s school time.
While you work with one, the other’s task could be to play with a younger brother or sister and see to their needs for an allotted amount of time.
- Put preschoolers first.
In many cases, a bit of one-on-one attention from you will go a long way towards the youngest child being happy to go and play alone for a while you teach the others. Plan in storytime and fun activity for the under-fours, before you start working with the older children.
- Use nap time.
School doesn’t have to start early in the morning. If you have two or three younger children, and one or more of them still needs a long afternoon nap, then don’t start school until your youngest ones go down for their nap. School could run for a few hours in the afternoon and can be done quietly and with less frustration.
- Schedule in the messiest, hardest, or most time-consuming subjects in for nap time.
Follow Your Natural Inclinations
If your family doesn’t leap out of bed every morning, don’t schedule an early start to your day. Enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling and work when you and your children are naturally most productive.
This means taking into account your children’s natural schedule and the fact that they have variations, which might not match yours. If you have one early riser, for example, schedule their independent work first. Let the others get up for group time and do their independent work later on.