Many families are either turning to home school out of necessity or wanting to create a custom fit education that works for their children. It depends on your initial reasons and how connected it is to this kind of perspective in other areas of your life, which can be surprising or frightening.
One way to make any home-based trip less scary is to set up a working system.
Homeschooling schedules are a great way to streamline your day and smooth transition to home education. But a schedule is not something that works for every family.
After many years of testing through the fire, here are some of my best tips for creating home school schedules that work for you.
Create a family vision or mission statement
When you are trying to create home school programs that work for your family, the first thing you need to know is what your overall view of your school is. Having a clear vision for work can help you eliminate clutter and include the most important things in your home school schedule.
For my family, we decided to prioritize skills that are unlikely to be outsourced in technology. These include critical thinking, creativity, innovation, and the ability to connect points where other people do not see them.
When we plan our home schooling schedule, we keep these goals in mind and make decisions based on how we can facilitate the learning of these skills.
- In order to come up with your family vision or mission statement, you need to leave your children at home with all the reasons you have chosen for school, all your children’s skills, and any other characteristics, skills or rituals that you would like. Write for Important for your family.
- Using these ideas, write down your mission in a few sentences or a bullet point list.
- Return to this mission or vision as you work on your schedule. We have even turned our art into art and hung it on the wall.
Once your vision or mission is outlined, you can begin to set goals for the year. Setting goals for home schooling is usually a good practice, but it can also help you create your own schedule.
We set goals for math skills, reading skills, etc., but we do not set arbitrary rules around learning formation. For example, if my child can show that he knows the correct answer to a math problem, I don’t need to show them my work or do it in a particular way. We want them to think outside the box, create creative solutions, and be innovative, so we encourage them to solve such problems.
Goals can be like:
Setting goals in this way means that we can focus on the final product (develop skills) and not be misled by “how”. There are only so many hours in a day (and a child can focus!), So we have to choose how we spend our time.
Assess your family’s needs
Every family is different and has different needs for their schedules. The most important thing you need to do when making a schedule is to work with your family. If you’re a night owl, don’t try to start your day at 8am! Or if your kids focus better in the morning, make sure you get the basics (reading, writing, and math) out early.
Consider these questions:
- What are your routines already? Are they working for you?
- Do you have work schedules to work around?
- Do your children have outdoor activities (dance classes, football practice, etc.)?
Some families feel that schooling in the afternoon or evening works for them. Others work fewer hours each day but continue throughout school. The second option is to go to school for six to eight weeks and then take a break for a week or two. The possibilities are endless!
If you follow a public school schedule (virtual or e-learning), apply these principles to your flexible time blocks.
Make it flexible
As long as you know you need to make it flexible it doesn’t matter much what you call it (schedule or routine). It is unrealistic to think that you can start math every day at 9:10.
When you do home schooling, you’re usually at home (or at least you start from there!) And things about home pop up from you. The baby is hungry, the dog wants to go out, there are no clean water glasses so you have to run the dishwasher – there are a lot of potential obstacles.
I personally like a schedule because it gives me an idea of when things might happen, but I don’t care if we fall behind. One tip that helps: stop extra time for transitions. For example, if I want to take a lesson for 20 minutes, I stop for 30 minutes.
If you fall behind in your schedule and get frustrated or upset, don’t schedule! Instead, make a routine so that you know what to do next but there is no set time for these tasks. Your routine looks something like this:
- Football practice
Again, you are in charge of what seems to be your schedule or routine, so do what is best for your family.
As I mentioned, things pop up on home school days that don’t happen on school days. Don’t expect your schedule or routine to be perfect. Surveillance and trying to “do it all” is a recipe for disaster.
We follow the 80/20 rule which states that 20% of the measures are equal to 80% of the results. Because we want our children to learn the skills I mentioned above (more than the skills that may be irrelevant in 20 years), we prioritize them.
I know we won’t be able to do everything in our home school, so by prioritizing these 20% skills, we’re making sure our kids are ready for the world to come.
Create your own schedule
Now is the time to write a schedule for your family. Start with an annual calendar. You can use a planner or just a simple wall calendar. Many families follow the local public school calendar to make it easier for children to see their public school friends. Others will create their own annual calendar.
- Mark the days that you are not going to school because of holidays or family holidays. If your state needs a special school day, now is the time to drop them off (hint: make some extra plans in case of illness).
- Now is the time to present a basic weekly schedule. You can create a weekly schedule with pencil and paper or you can use other tools like Excel or Calendar apps. Include outdoor activities such as opt-in classes or sports exercises. Includes next work schedules and other commitments.
- Then you can start working in school blocks. I always recommend reading, writing and math every day. Then once or twice a week you can add geography, history, science, arts, etc. For older children (middle and high school) you can add these “extra” subjects a few extra times during the week based on your goals. May need to .
Your schedule is easy
Many families are worried that their children will not like their new home routine. I recently chatted with our Valence Mama editor, Carrie Huss, on the podcast, as she is the mother of 3 years of long-term home schooling. This helps children with less resistance to adjust to the new schedule.
Here’s what works for it:
- Just start working on your morning routine a few weeks before you want to start school. Arrange waking hours, breakfast and work. It’s half the battle and sets a successful day.
- Create new habits to support your new routine as well as facilitate articles by selecting someone to start with and adding others.
Listen to the full podcast with Carrie here.
Be prepared to make changes
No matter how much you think about your home school schedule, you will inevitably need to make changes. Depending on the age of the children, work schedules and other commitments, your schedule may change every year or even every few months.
You may also find that without the traditional school closures, your family’s natural schedule emerges and surprises you. Lunch time may be your favorite time to read together, while math is great right before lunch. Follow things that work for your family and adjust as needed.
More help with homeschooling
How does a homeschool schedule help you work? Let’s help each other by sharing our best tips and tricks!