5 Ways to Maintain an Organized Homeschooling Schedule
Many homeschooling families use the back-to-school months of August and September to create schedules and to develop lessons for the school year. By January, however, it may seem virtually impossible to maintain this aforementioned schedule. The bustle of daily life can intrude on even the best-laid plans, and the after-holiday slump often affects even the most energetic of homeschooling families. Below, we offer advice on remaining organized during the beginning of the calendar year and the second half of the homeschool year.
- Reflect on the past months
When you began the 2016-2017 school year—whether it was your first attempt at homeschooling or your 20th—you likely had a conception of how you wanted the year to look. Then reality stepped in. Perhaps your child did not master fractions as quickly as you expected, or maybe he or she mastered them much more quickly than you anticipated. Maybe the flu took your family out of commission for a week. Or maybe you simply found that daily life distracted you more than you thought it would. However your first semester went, make the time to reflect now. What went well? What could have been better? What will you avoid in the future at all costs? Some parents find reflective journals to be helpful, while others prefer to discuss the semester over a cup of coffee.
- Set goals for the new semester
Once you have reflected on where you have been, you can determine where you are going next. Set both academic and non-academic goals. These can be related to organization, time management, and the like, or they can be more personal, like clearly differentiating between homeschooling and socialization hours.
- Rediscover the joys of homeschooling
What initially drew you to homeschooling? Did you want to allow your children to learn in the ways best suited to them? Did you want to have more time as a family? Whatever your reasons for homeschooling, you likely did not decide to homeschool because you were looking forward to chaos or drudgery. So, take the time to remember why you decided to homeschool, and then look for the joy in each day. If you hoped to have a science lesson at the zoo at 10:00 in the morning on a Wednesday, leave the dirty laundry on the floor and head to the zoo!
- Implement several new practices
Using familiar materials and routines can be very helpful in making sure that you cover the content that you need to cover. Additionally, knowing what to expect from the format of a lesson can let your child focus more on the new information than on the format. At the same time, however, it is sometimes a great idea to implement a new routine, a new way of teaching a concept, or a new type of material. Doing things in a novel way can “wake up” your child’s brain (and yours!), and bring more excitement into the homeschooling classroom.
- Simply take time
Many public and private schools start their second semesters with a work day (or two) for teachers. This provides teachers with the time to gather their thoughts, reorganize their classrooms, collaborate with other teachers, and put together lesson plans. Let your children have a day off while you do the same. Consider planning your “work day” while the local schools are still on break so that you can hire a high school or college student to entertain your children while you re-group.
Many homeschool families find that the reality of daily life can derail the best-laid plans and schedules. Life can get in the way, robbing you and your children of time to learn together, time to reflect, and time to enjoy each other’s company. If, however, you make time to reflect, plan, and regroup, you can start the second semester with zeal.
Dana Elmore is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.