Does your homeschool run on a schedule? I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to schedules. I love making to-do lists, checking the boxes, and working efficiently. But…I don’t like following a rigid schedule. So… over the years I learned how to make a homeschool schedule that works.
Now, I do make a schedule with times as a general guideline, but we follow it more as a routine than an actual schedule. As a working homeschool mom homeschooling two daughters, one who lives with a chronic illness, I needed a customized approach.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned about creating a homeschool schedule that works for us.
Create a Homeschool Schedule That Works for Your Family
Every Homeschool Family Situation is Different
We’ve been a homeschooling family for almost nine years. During that time we have moved across the country five times for my husband’s work. (Thankfully, he is now retired and we’re hopefully staying put.) I also run a busy freelance writing business from home. So I need a working homeschool mom schedule!
I’m homeschooling two daughters, currently aged eleven and seven. My eleven-year-old was diagnosed with a severe form of juvenile arthritis six years ago. And did I mention that we also homestead? So as you can see, coming up with a homeschool schedule that works for us is likely going to look different from many other families.
And that’s okay. We don’t have to homeschool Monday to Friday, 9:00 to 3:00. In fact, we often don’t. Right now we’re homeschooling Saturdays through Mondays (using our favorite summer homeschooling ideas) because the girls have daily swimming lessons. We follow an overall yearly plan, usually working in six-week blocks.
Don’t get frustrated if your family doesn’t adapt to a homeschool schedule that works for someone else. In fact, comparing yourself to other homeschoolers is high on the list of things homeschool moms shouldn’t do.
So craft your own homeschool routine. Just make sure it includes everything you want your child to learn!
Course of Study
Start by referring to each of your children’s courses of study, so you’re sure to not miss a subject in your schedule. Highlight any subjects that your children do together to help you remember to schedule those particular subjects at the same time for everyone.
If you’re teaching multiple children be sure to include a column for yourself and a separate column for each child. In the different time slots, designate what subject each person should be working on.
In our family, unless we’re working on a subject together I try to make sure my kids are studying in separate rooms. Otherwise, they end up talking and not getting much done. If your family is the same way, it can also be helpful to put on the schedule what room each person should be in at any given time.
Do your children share a computer for school work? Use your schedule to plug in when each child should be using it, so no one is fighting over whose turn it is.
A Homeschool Schedule That Works With Little Ones
Schedule activities for your little ones too. As you’re making your schedule pay attention to time slots that have subjects that require more of your attention. Plan sensory or imaginative play activities for your little ones during that time.
Be sure to plan focused time with your little ones too, while older children work on more independent subjects. Usually when little ones have had some dedicated mommy time they are more willing to play on their own.
In your column of the schedule plan which child or subject you’re focusing on for that time. Consider the subjects that you’re more involved in teaching and ones that only require you to be available for direction and to answer questions.
Allow a little bit of wiggle room with each time slot. If the subject should take 45 minutes, block out an hour for it.
Try to make room either at the end of the day or the end of the week for catch-up work. Just in case some projects take more time or something comes up, it’s helpful to have a window of time to complete work that isn’t quite finished. It can also be a great incentive for your children to work diligently if they know they’ll have that time free if their work is already completed.
Don’t Forget Meals & Chores
Remember part of your day is spent preparing, eating, and cleaning up after meals. Be sure to include breakfast, lunch, and even dinner in your schedule. Look for meal plans for working homeschool moms. And keep an eye out for tips on simplifying breakfast and lunch to make more time in your homeschool day.
Assign chores to specific times each day too. Even a reminder to switch a load of laundry after lunch can be really helpful.
Your Schedule Is a Guide
After your schedule/routine is finished print off a couple of copies and post them where you’ll be working on school. Remember you’re not a slave to your schedule. Use it as a guide to keep you and your children on track and to give you direction throughout the day.
Are you a working homeschool mom who needs some help with homeschool planning this summer?
Grab my FREE Working Homeschool Mom Survival Pack and Weekly Planner over at my new site, Thrive at Home!
Sarita Harbour is a busy mom/step-mom, and grandmother blessed with seven kids ranging from age 32 down to seven. She lives off the grid with her family in a lakefront chalet in the beautiful wilderness of Canada’s far north. She spends her days teaching, writing, and learning the ropes of homesteading off the grid. Visit her site, Off Grid Life, for free printables and resources on homesteading, homeschooling, and self-reliance for the whole family.