My Biggest Homeschool Scheduling MistakeHave you heard the advice about getting up early and getting your most important tasks done before noon? It’s great advice until it’s taken too far.

Since my family is composed of early risers who are up and moving before 7 a.m., I decided I could get homeschool and housework done in the morning. This arrangement would leave me and the children free in the afternoons for playing at the park and reading books together.

So I sat down with a schedule and planned. My goal was to cook a hot breakfast every morning and have it on the table by 7 a.m. We would deep clean the house, complete all weekly chores, and finish the day’s homeschool lessons by noon. Our afternoons would be free.

However, I quickly learned that tight schedules and families don’t mix. Breakfast wasn’t on the table at 7 o'clock sharp after the nights I was up with a crying baby. We had no room in the schedule for the mornings when my husband wanted to linger over his coffee and chat.

Even something as simple as an exploding diaper sent us careening off schedule. There wasn’t time for a child to savor a good book or spend extra time on a difficult math problem. We were on a strict schedule to reach that goal of a free afternoon.

Our homeschool schedule had become a prison, and we were the inmates.

Through my failure, I learned two vital lessons about scheduling our school day.

Plan Buffer Time

Now I make certain there is margin planned into our day. We need time for the many problems that inevitably pop up. I need to be available for teenage heartaches, a husband who want to chat, and even the exploding diapers.

To do this, I round up on our schedule. If breakfast, chores, and clean up ideally take an hour and a half, I schedule for two hours.

On a good day, our core academic subjects require up two hours. I plan to spend three hours instead. The extra hour gives us time to read an extra chapter, persevere through a difficult writing lesson, or even enjoy a few minutes of free time.

Having buffer time in the mornings even gives me the freedom to stand on the porch, enjoying a cup of coffee before starting the homeschool day.I have time to enjoy homeschooling my day because I'm not operating at breakneck speed to accomplish everything.

Reduce Your Expectations

In order to have this margin during my mornings, I had to reduce my expectations for what could be accomplished. I no longer plan to cook a hot breakfast, deep clean the house, homeschool every subject, and keep a smile on my face all before noon.

Now we still enjoy a hot breakfast, but we do morning chores rather than deep clean the house. The morning homeschool has been reduced to the core subjects of reading, writing, math, and Latin. History, science, and art are rotated through leisurely afternoons, not crammed into a frantic morning.

We’re now able to accomplish everything in our homeschool lessons without rushing through the day or leaving subjects undone. We don’t reach noon exhausted, snappy, and ready for a nap.

Reducing expectations and planning buffer time into my day has given us time to enjoy both homeschooling and being a family together.

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