There are many types of homeschool schedules. Creating an effective homeschool schedule is about examining what works for your family’s existing lifestyle. A good homeschool schedule will fit within your lifestyle and support it, not require your life to adapt around it.
Of course, there are always assignments or projects that just have to be done even when “life happens.” The sign of a great schedule is that it has enough buffer to not collapse when life does happen and you have to stray from the plan. Wiggle room is vital for a homeschool schedule!
Regardless of whether you homeschool year-round or your homeschool just started back up a few weeks ago, after a while, if your family is starting to feel dread toward the schedule, it’s time to mix it up. Here are some of our best ideas for creating a homeschool schedule and troubleshooting issues as they surface!
- How to Make a Year-Round Homeschool Schedule
- Help! Our Schedule Isn’t Working!
- 5 Ways to Maintain an Organized Homeschool Schedule
- Our Best Homeschool Planning Tips
How to Create a Homeschool Schedule
There are three common types of daily homeschool schedules: the block schedule, loop schedule, and classroom schedule. The classroom routine relies on scheduled times for schoolwork and breaks, the block schedule relies on working through subjects in big sections, and the loop schedule relies on starting slow and progressively adding more work.
- Learn more about creating a classroom schedule here
- Learn more about how to create a block schedule
- Learn how to create a loop schedule
Creating a schedule for homeschooling can be an ambitious challenge. After all, you have to wrangle the curriculum, electives, classes, and projects into a manageable routine.
Here are a few manageable steps for scheduling out the curriculum.
- Start with a month’s worth of coursework.
- When you’ve divided up your curriculum to plan your homeschool, take a closer look at the coursework per month.
- This work could, potentially, be completed in four weeks. However, life happens. So, give yourself a buffer and schedule it across five or six weeks. If you wrap it up early, fantastic! If something comes up, though, you’ll be thankful for the additional days.
- Consider a customizable planner like our free, printable, Sanity Saver planner!
- Sketch out your ideas for the coming week on a Sunday night.
- Even if you have already planned your weekly schedule back before the year began, take a fresh look at the upcoming week on Sunday night. You’ll be more aware of the week’s events and the likelihood of completing all of this coursework listed out.
- If needed, you can use something like this free digital planner from Secular Homeschool.
- Only very loosely jot ideas for a daily schedule.
- The daily schedule should be the least structured. You’ll want room for discovery and exploration or spontaneous ideas. Keep the day as open as possible for day-to-day changes or you’ll likely end up redoing a lot.
How to Create a Daily Homeschool Routine
Daily homeschool routines are a bit tricky because they need to allow for constant change. Try as you might, life will happen and you won’t be able to maintain the same schedule each day. If you stress over trying to make it happen anyway, all of you will probably end up miserable.
To prevent that, keep your daily schedule as flexible as possible.
However, as someone who absolutely must be organized for my Type A personality, I understand the need for at least a template of structure each day. Without daily ideas, I end up floundering and panicking over not knowing how much to do to wrap up the week as needed. When that happens, we usually either overwork and get everything done earlier with longer, stressful hours, or we don’t do enough work and the coursework pushes into the next week.
So, it is helpful to still have at least an idea of what should be done each day to keep the week manageable. You’re merely breaking off small bits at a time!
Here is an example of a daily homeschool routine!
- 9:00 am | Bible
- 9:30 am | Math
- 10:30 am | Social Studies
- 11:30 am | Science
- 12:30 pm | Lunch
- 1:00 pm | Language Arts
- 2:00 pm | Reading/Projects/Electives
However, if you don’t feel the need for structure each day, perhaps just an outline of the week’s assignments is enough! Some people feel stifled by shuffling bits and pieces of the work into each day. These individuals may be more productive if they can pick and choose tasks with deadlines. If you need that freedom, simply create a list of the week’s details so you still have an overview to check progress through the week. An overview will avoid getting behind while also avoiding frantic overwhelm.
- Filter your month of assignments into four week’s worth of work.
- Fill out one of these schedule templates or the free Sanity Saver Planner.
- Even with your excitement to get going, start small, and start slow.
- Just as with exercise, if you start with too much too fast, everyone will burn out. This is especially important if you are a new homeschooler!
- Make sure to plan for days-off to reset & refresh.
- Make changes as needed. It’s okay if you even have to call off a few days of school to reschedule the coursework!
- It’s better to have a more efficient schedule as you learn what’s needed than pushing through an ineffective schedule.
- Consider a four-day week!
- Four-day weeks are becoming increasingly popular. Monday through Thursday are used for the core assignments and Friday can be a catch-up day, a field trip day, or simply a time for something special!
- Plus, it’s a good chance for the homeschool parent to work through grading without bogging down the weekend.
- Consider a year-round schedule!
- Summer learning loss is a significant issue for students. Year-round homeschooling allows for more frequent breaks while reducing summer learning loss.
- Tip: Set a strict time for a hard stop.
- This is your backup for those difficult days when the assignments push into the early evening and everyone is tired. If you hit your preset quitting time (i.e. 4:30 pm), you need to do a hard stop and leave the rest until the next morning. It may be frustrating, but it’s better than trying to learn when your mind is burned-out!
What to Do When It Just Isn’t Working
If your family is new to homeschooling, the past few weeks have probably felt like testing the waters. And as the weeks have passed, perhaps you have found more and more problems until it may even feel like your homeschool is derailing.
There are various seasons of homeschooling. For example, it can be the absolute best, the “not great but not awful,” and when it feels like it just couldn’t get worse. It’s something all of us experience.
Even if you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall, that doesn’t mean homeschooling is a fail. However, it does mean some things probably need to change.
Take a long look at your inspiration for homeschooling, your original reasons for making the switch, and why it appealed to you. Consider your homeschool method and your family’s current lifestyle. Consider your children’s learning styles; their strengths, their weaknesses, their hobbies. If it helps, jot down these ideas.
Now, consider your WHY (your original motivation) add the HOW (your ideal homeschooling method), and just as with connecting roads, what is the answer at the intersection? This crossroads is usually where good intentions start to fall apart. Use this quick curriculum quiz to see if there are any other ideal curricula for your family. I know it feels wasteful to toss a curriculum you barely used, but it’s better to lose the money than plod forward with an ineffective homeschool program.
But, as is most likely, you might need to change a few things. Here are possible changes to consider:
- Homeschool methods
- Is your approach to homeschooling ideal for your family’s lifestyle? What about their learning styles? Your family priorities? Current commitments outside of homeschooling? Religious values?
- Homeschool schedules
- Is the schedule the source of dread? Is it too full? Too much work at once? Not enough? Are they bored or restless? Are they overwhelmed or just not progressing?
- Schedule styles
- Perhaps you need a different kind of schedule. If you are using a classroom schedule, maybe your children would do better with something more relaxed. It’s something you could try switching.
- Oftentimes, a curriculum change can make the difference between struggling and success. Despite our best research, sometimes a well-intentioned curriculum just doesn’t work out for our children.
- Opportunities for friends
- Have your kids had a chance to see their friends lately? Do they need a few hours to just blow off steam and be a kid with their friends? Consider planning a playdate at the park.
- Are your kids only working on the core subjects? Electives can enliven the week and inject excitement into the schoolwork, especially if your children choose the elective themselves.
- On the other hand, perhaps there are too many electives going on in addition to the core subjects. If that’s the case, we’d recommend pausing these and resuming over the summer.
- The workload
- Is it too much? Is it overwhelming? Is the curriculum plan unrealistically busy?
- Or, is there not enough to do? Are your kids finishing everything super quickly and then complaining of boredom?
- Grade level
- Is it too advanced?
- Not advanced enough?
- Too many commitments
- Outside of homeschooling, how many commitments are you juggling? Sometimes, too many can get in the way of homeschool progress.
Listen to Jamie’s podcast episode for more information about troubleshooting issues in your homeschool!