The Importance of Setting a Daily Homeschool Learning Schedule
The coronavirus pandemic has created a mass homeschooling migration like no other. Parents that would have never entertained the idea of teaching their children at home are now desperately scrambling to pin down the curriculum, set up remote learning hardware, and make sure that both they and their children are ready to learn from a distance in the year ahead.
One of the most difficult challenges facing many new parents is how to set a stay-at-home school schedule they can stick to — especially when teenagers are in the mix.
The Challenges of Homeschooling a Teenager
Homeschooling at any age presents its challenges. However, there are several major factors that can make maintaining a healthy homeschool schedule particularly difficult with a teenager:
● Distractions: Teenagers are self-aware, fledgling adults that are often easily distracted by an endless myriad of new factors in their rapidly changing lives.
● Technology: Modern teenagers are very comfortable with a slew of different, extremely distracting, technological gadgets that are typically much more appealing than schoolwork.
● Independence: With adulthood right around the corner, teenagers can often struggle with being given boundaries, even when they pertain to their education.
Tips for Setting (and Sticking to) a Learning Schedule
With so many factors working against you, it’s important that you take the time to come up with a foolproof learning schedule to help both you and your child succeed on a daily basis.
Just because there isn’t a school bus coming or a teacher waiting doesn’t mean all of your daily routines should go out the window. On the contrary, it’s essential that you maintain a certain degree of structure throughout your day.
While a school schedule is obviously a part of that structure, it can be difficult to create, let alone maintain, an educational agenda if it’s surrounded by a very unstructured lifestyle.
Perhaps the most important schedule of them all has to be your morning routine. The way you wake up each morning can set the tone for the day. With that said, make sure both you and your teen establish a clear routine to start each school day. A few tips to help create a good morning routine include:
● Personalizing the routine to the individual.
● Building your routine around the activities that are essential, like brushing teeth and eating breakfast.
● Starting with a short routine and then adding in additional elements like a morning walk or prayer and meditation as you get comfortable.
Staying consistent with your routines is a crucial aspect of maintaining a good school schedule over the next nine months.
Create a Universal Family Calendar
It doesn’t matter if you’re teaching in lock-step with your local school system or you’re going for a more relaxed year-round approach, it’s essential that you maintain a good calendar if you want to stay on track over time.
With teenagers, in particular, this shouldn’t be a problem. Have everyone download a cloud-based scheduling app, like Google Calendar, and then create a “family” calendar. Make sure to emphasize the importance of everyone putting every activity into the calendar, from work meetings to local soccer practices to daily school schedules so that everyone can stay on the same page.
Have Regular “Unplugging Times”
One of the best ways to combat the tendency for technology to distract your student is by having “unplugging times” during the day. Even if they need to use a screen for school, it’s wise to help your children put down other devices and focus on their schoolwork by creating pockets of the day where things like social media, YouTube, and streaming options are turned off.
You can do this by using software like Verizon Family Safeguards & Controls to filter content on your kid’s phones, freeing them up to pay attention to their school at the same time each day.
Update Your Schedule Often
A good schedule today can be a bear to work with tomorrow — especially with so much of your regular life in flux. For instance, if you’re temporarily working from home now or your son or daughter is attending a local sports rec league every Tuesday night, that may change in the future, throwing a wrench into even the best-laid plans.
If you want a good learning schedule to hold up over time, you need to regularly revisit it to see what’s working and what isn’t. Ideally, you should plan for one week at a time and then do weekly updates to see what needs to change.
In addition, make sure to avoid overscheduling each week. Teenagers, in particular, need their free time to develop and grow on their own. So, as you revisit and make adjustments, always look out to ensure that your schedule isn’t becoming overwhelming.
Include Your Teenager in the Scheduling Process
As a final suggestion, as you go about building your learning schedule, make sure to include your teenager in the decision-making process. This will help them take an interest in their schedule and ultimately allow them to benefit from it more fully.
Getting the Most Out of a Learning Schedule
From maintaining routines to using a family calendar, unplugging, and updating often, there are plenty of ways to ensure that your learning schedule is effective and remains airtight over the course of the school year.
So grab your teen, review the above list, consider your current homeschooling situation, and then start cobbling together a schedule that will help you dominate the next school year.
Bio: Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in topics related to politics, urban living, society, and health. If you’d like to learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.