Once you have decided to homeschool and you have chosen your curriculum, you may wonder how to schedule your days. Should they look like a typical public school day? Should they be more relaxed? What time should you start? When can you “be done”? These are all questions that new homeschoolers may ask themselves when they are planning their day.
I’ll be honest with you; it took me about 2-3 years before I found what the “perfect” schedule for our family is. If you are curious about what our day looks like you can look here. Now, what works for me, may not work for you, so please don’t copy my schedule. Instead, I am going to share with you some tips that helped me find the right schedule for us.
Here are some tips to help you schedule your homeschool day.
Something to keep in mind when creating your schedule is that you will not be “doing school” for 6 hours each day. A typical public school day is 9-3. Our day starts at 8:45 and are done by 1 or 1:30 each day. This is with three to four kids and a long break for lunch/free play. When mine were younger, we were done by 11. A public school day includes lunch, bathroom breaks, recess, time standing in line, and many other things that you do not have to incorporate into your school day. You will and can be done in close to half the time that your child would be sitting in a classroom.
Pick a time that you want to start school.
This may be 9 am, it may be noon. Consider your children’s, husbands, and your schedule when you choose the time. If your husband works second shift, you may want to do school in the evenings, if you have a child who has therapies, or lessons in the afternoons each week you may want to start earlier so you are done by the afternoon. If you have little ones in the house, you may want to save the “heavy” subjects for when the younger ones are napping.
Find something fun to do that symbolizes the start of the school day.
We start out our school day with “circle time”. This is when we do calendar, the pledge (when I remember) and our devotions. This works for us and gets us into the school rhythm. After that, the lessons begin.
A general rule of thumb is to start school with the hardest subject first. This will vary depending on your child, but for most, it will be grammar and/or math. You can follow that up with Science or History. These subjects do not have to be every day. You can rotate them out. Some people like to do Science on Tuesday/Thursday and History on Monday/Wednesday. I know some families who study Science one week, then History the next. It is really up to you.
Add on extra subjects after your “core”, subjects are done.
These can include Health, Art, Music or something else that interests your child. Also, when one of us is sick we ditch all extra subjects and focus on Language Arts and Math only (for the kids who are not sick). This ensures that the other children will get school done and that I am free to care for the child who is not feeling well.
Remember to schedule time for fun!
Don’t be so strict on “school” that you miss field trips, park play dates, or other activities. These things include learning too and are crucial to homeschool success. At the same time, you can’t say yes to every activity, and then be gone all the time and rarely get “school” done. You will need to find a balance and a schedule that works for you.
When it comes to having a homeschool schedule, remember to give yourself grace. Don’t have a schedule so strict, or tight that you are stressed all the time. If you start school at 9 one day, and the next day the kids sleep in, it is OK. The beauty of homeschooling is flexibility. Don’t let a schedule rule you.
How do you plan your homeschool day?