How to Create a Homeschool Schedule
Updated: Aug 27, 2020
Whether you are a first-time homeschool parent or a veteran, creating and maintaining a schedule during homeschool can be a challenge. Schedules should be motivating for your child, provide time for rigorous studying, flexible to allow for unexpected delays or activities, and works for the age groups of each child in the family. This can be overwhelming! Kids thrive when they have structure and clear expectations for behavior, learning, and task completion.
Here are a few tips to think about as you create a schedule that works for you and your family!
Allow for Adjustments:
At the beginning of the year, you and your child will be getting used to the curriculum and finding a rhythm. It will take longer to do simple tasks. Plan in time to build skills, review, and slowly add in more tasks over the first month of school.
Throughout the year you will find that certain times of the day are better for certain activities and subjects. Don’t be afraid to tweak what isn’t working for you or your child!
Embrace the Unconventional
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself to recreate school at home. You are a parent no matter what you are doing with your child (which is actually a really big asset when doing eduction). Work to set behavior expectations that are clear for “work time”, but also know that people learn best from those who they have a strong relationship with and respect. Authentic learning happens all throughout the day and no one is a better teacher than a loving parent.
Some Examples of Authentic Learning:
Teach math when shopping and baking
Teach social studies through current events
Teach science by talking about the technology you use, the weather in an area, having a family garden….
People remember things when they can connect something to other experiences in their minds. The more real-life applications you can bring into your child’s learning, the better!
Make Time for a Variety of Activities
A general rule in education is to only have students sit and listen for the number of minutes that equals their age. A 5-year-old shouldn’t get more than 5 minutes of a lesson at a time. A 10-year-old, no more than 10 minutes. Think of ways to break up your direct instruction with hands-on and student-led activities.
Teach a few example problems for math, then give students time to practice a few with you on a whiteboard, then give students time to play a math game (do legos or a quick STEM activity) before having them finish a practice worksheet. Then let them do math practice review on a computer for a little while before ending with flashcards or another math facts practice. This would be an example of how to break up a math lesson into quick, manageable chunks for a child.
Also, include a variety of subjects. Maybe you spend 30 minutes to an hour doing math (broken up into different activities), and then that much time again doing ELA (make sure to include some time for students to choose their own stories and just enjoy reading). Then spend a final 30 minutes to an hour alternating between science and social studies. Then have the students work on student-led, project-based learning, hobbies they want to try, real-life application stuff in the afternoons.
Homeschooling is More Efficient
A child who is in school goes for 6 or 7 hours a day, but they have lots of transitions imbedded in that day (they have a 40-minute lunch/recess, and typically a 15-minute morning/afternoon recess, then 5 to 10 minutes of transition time between each subject (which could easily add up to almost another hour of transitions!). Also keep in mind, a 30-minute lesson for a child in a classroom of 20 to 30 (or more!) kids may teach as much to your child as a 10-minute lesson where you are teaching one-on-one.
As a parent, you may be able to teach your child the same amount of content in 2 to 4 hours that your child would’ve learned in a 6 or 7 hour school day! Don’t feel pressure to have more scheduled learning time than this if it doesn’t work for your family. Use that extra time in the day to let your child learn things they wouldn’t have learned in school (maybe they want to learn computer programing, or start a small business, or learn a new instrument or another hobby).
I hope these tips can help you as you set up learning routines and schedules for your homeschool kids! Check out HERE for more homeschooling tips!