Creating a daily schedule or routine can be a great thing to add structure and direction to your homeschool day. There are families who will be drawn to a minute-by-minute schedule, while others will lend themselves to a basic outline that can be tweaked on a day-to-day basis.
What you choose
will should ultimately be determined by what works best for your family. And “what works best” will change with the seasons.
Yeah, you didn’t know that successful homeschooling was a moving target, did you?
However, if you don’t have a target, you’ll hit nothing. So, set a schedule for the beginning of the year, realizing that it will need some tweaking as the year progresses.
What do you mean by schedule?
By schedule/routine, I mean the basic guideline for how your school will go in the morning. Here’s an example:
Start time: 8 am
Pray, talk about the day
Quitting Time: 3:00
You can certainly assign time frames to each of those, but I get a little twitchy about time frames. Here are some things to consider as you create your daily schedule or routine:
1. What time of day are you and your kids strongest?
Go with your strengths and set up your school day for when you, and especially, your kids are at your collective best. Homeschooling gives you lots of freedom to choose, particularly what time of day you start and when you call it quits.
2. What activities take the most energy?
If Math is a breeze, but Language Arts is a little slower going, be strategic in when you cover each subject. There are several options. Perhaps you start easy to get some traction on the day. Or maybe you tackle the tougher topic first so that the hard stuff is out of the way. Test out the different theories and see what works best for you. It may be that you just mix it up from day to day.
3. Are you including regular breaks and “fun school”?
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Make sure that you are including snack breaks, “recess,” and some more “fun” educational activities throughout the day. Play a game like Bingo or Boggle. Watch a short video on the topic of history you’re currently studying. Mix up the medium that you use.
Get everyone outside several times a day. Consider taking a walk around the block to get the blood pumping and the lungs refreshed. Everyone will feel better for it and concentration will be improved.
4. Have you scheduled quitting time?
In my early years of homeschooling, I would decide on the things we needed to do in a day and keep at it, regardless of the time. If we started late, then we worked late. But, when the sun went down (albeit early on a Kansas winter night) and my kid was still doing his math, I realized that enough was enough.
Nowadays, we try to wrap up by 3:30 at the latest so that we can have an official quitting time. If someone’s been lagging throughout the day, then they do homework later in the evening.
5. Don’t forget happy hour.
Since we don’t school in a “traditional” manner, my kids aren’t coming home for an afterschool snack. That doesn’t mean we don’t need one. Hubs is usually home at 4, making a perfect time to reconnect as a family, switch gears from “working” and enjoy a healthy snack to hold folks over until dinnertime.
Now, of course, if you’re teaching more than one child at home, you’ll have more factors to think about and more personalities to mix into the fold. So, we’ll talk about that next time.
About this series – If you’re interested in getting started in homeschooling, this is a series recounting our experiences in teaching our children at home, the things that I’ve learned, and some resources I’ve discovered along the way. But this way isn’t the only way. Your mileage may vary. Coming up next time – How to Homeschool More than One Child.