Flying by the seat of your pants is one approach to homeschool scheduling. However, if you have created a homeschool schedule and it has become more stressful than sanity-saving, look at these five ways to fix an upside down homeschool schedule.
1. Scale Back to a Four-Day Week Schedule
If you are already struggling with getting school done for the week, does it make sense to cut back the number of days you’re homeschooling? Absolutely.
By having a slower start to the week and not schooling on Monday or by taking off a day at the end of the week, you are conquering obstacles that aim to sabotage your homeschool day.
BookShark is organized around a four-day week schedule, leaving you a fifth day for extracurricular pursuits, appointments, or just relaxing.
Don’t underestimate the pressure of distractions. Instead of stopping each day early because the house is dirty, laundry is overflowing, or menu planning is non-existent, give these housekeeping jobs a time slot and priority. Then each of the four homeschooling days will not only be more productive, but more peaceful.
2. Prioritize First of the Day and First of the Week
Another secret is that homeschooling must be given first priority. Maybe you feel you’re already doing that, but there is a subtle difference I want you to know.
Successful homeschoolers plan subjects that are higher priority and do them first in the morning. Subjects that your child struggles with should be first in the week. We have all be the victim of unexpected disruptions or sickness that precluded schooling for days at a time. Making the most important subjects a priority means that when school does get derailed, you can get back on track more easily.
In other words, planning for the unexpected means that you need to order or number the tasks in order of importance. Grab your planner now and give each task or subject a number. Are those tasks or subjects first in the morning, first in the week, and first in the month?
3. Combine Homeschool Subjects
Combining homeschool subjects is another key to not over planning. For example, reading doesn’t have to be a separate subject than history. Your child can learn to read while reading about famous events in history. Have you seen the Reading with History programs by BookShark?
Art is another subject that often gets overlooked. But you can combine art with many other subjects. For example, combine math and art by doing tessellations, a pattern that is repeated over and over again. Young kids love the creativity of making shapes for this project.
Nature walks, physical education, and science are three subjects that can easily be combined. Once you start thinking in terms of how subjects overlap, you will see myriad ways of killing two birds with one stone in your homeschool day.
4. Alternate Subjects Daily or by Semester
Alternating history and science daily frees up thirty minutes to an hour in the day depending on how long the assignments are.
As my sons entered middle school and then high school, I started alternating subjects by semester. At the high school level, the first semester was a study of fine arts and the second semester was health. By the time my oldest two sons graduated, they had covered all the subjects that I required of them though they didn’t study them daily.
This kind of block scheduling also works well with children who have a strong attention span and like to keep pushing through when they are on a roll.
5. Use Checklists
A homeschool schedule doesn’t mean you have to plan minute by minute or lose the spontaneity of the moment. If hour by hour planning stresses you at the very mention of it, use checklists.
Checklists are a valuable teaching aid in setting your child on the path to independence. Don’t homeschool by just responding to the learning moment as if all of life is unplanned.
Taking a wing it attitude toward homeschool scheduling is not wise. It makes me think of the example of starting a new job. An employee is expected to respond to the moment as he is working, but an employee’s role and daily expectations are also clearly defined.
Over-planning or under-planning are the stress inducers of a homeschool schedule. You will make mistakes. That is okay because we are not perfect homeschoolers.
Also realize that by following a schedule, you actually have more freedom to do the things that you want to do.
About the Author
Tina Robertson celebrated the graduation of Mr. Senior in 2013 and Mr. Awesome in 2015. Because of her love for new homeschoolers, she mentors moms through her unique program called New Bee Homeschoolers. She loves all homeschoolers, though, as she shares her free 7 Step Curriculum Planner, unit studies, lapbooks and homeschooling how tos. She can't sing, dance, or craft, but she counts organizing as a hobby. She is still in the homeschool trenches blogging at Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus.