How to Create a Homeschool Schedule that Works in 5 Easy Steps

Are you thinking about planning your homeschool year and wondering how to create a homeschooling schedule that works for your family?

Creating a homeschool schedule that really works for everyone can be a tricky thing.

Read on for our best tips on how to create a homeschool schedule that works in 5 easy steps.

When it comes to a workable homeschool schedule, you’ll have to think of it as a trial-and-error process.

What schedule works for one family, may not work for you.

There may be obstacles that force you to change your homeschool schedule.

And there may be times when you need to work around a different schedule. 

Why Do I Need to Create a Homeschool Schedule?

Creating a homeschool schedule can be a great way to implement structure into your child’s learning. 

For kids, having a daily routine can help them get on board with learning, and help them focus more during the day.

You may also be required to produce an outline of your learning for your local school board.

If you don’t create a schedule or routine for your homeschool days, it can get a little chaotic, witth no-one sure what to do when and not necessarily covering all the subjeccts you need to.

With everyone not on the same page on what to do, it can quickly become overwhelming both for you and the children.

How Many Hours Should Homeschooling Take?

But before you even begin thinking about a homeschool schedule, remember that you do not need to, nor should you, replicate public school at home.

It can be tempting to compare your homeschool schedule to a school hours timetable, and imagine yourselves lacking and the kids falling behind.

However, various studies have shown that for every one hour of school time, only approximately 7 minutes is actual learning time!

So most homeschool parents find, dependent on age, that 2-3 hours homeschooling a day for 3-5 days each week is sufficient.

This won't all be table-based learning, especially for kids under age 12, and it may vary day by day if you have days when you attend a homeschool co-op for example.

Am I Doing Enough in My Homeschool?

Even if you believe every hour at conventional school must be valuable, there are only 180-190 school days per year.

We are with our children 365 days a year, talking, discussing, answering questions, reading aloud, going on field trips, doing real life learning etc etc.

Even with the loosest homeschool schedule you're going to cover it all, mama!

Tips for Creating a Homeschool Schedule That Works

As already mentioned, finding a homeschool schedule that works for your family can be tricky.

It a process that will be trial and error until you find something that works for everyone.

But once a rhythm that works is found, your homeschool days will get much easier and the kids will learn more efficiently.

Just remember, you have all the time you need to help your kids learn.

And whenever something isn't working, from your schedule to that wildly expensive curriculum you invested in, you owe it to yourself and your children to ditch it and move on to something better.

There is no point committing to a homeschooling life to have everyone frustrated, bored or in tears!

Here are our most important tips when it comes to creating a homeschool schedule:

1. Set Goals for the Year

Before you even get started with creating a schedule or trying to find a routine, sit down and map out your goals for the year.

What needs to be covered or accomplished this year?

What would your children like to learn?

What are your state’s requirements for homeschooling?

Once you find out the long-term goals or things that need to be accomplished over the year, you can then sit down and create an annual overview based on that information. 

2. Sketch Out a Rhythm

You then need to break that down into how much time each part will take. You can use your chosen curriculum / curricula as a guide.

Decide if you will teach separate subjects each week (history, geography, science) or if you would prefer to take a unit study approach.

With standalone unit studies you can include many subjects into one main theme and then add separate maths and literacy / language arts programs.

Whichever you choose, you can then create a weekly rhythm that covers maths and literacy / language arts every day.

These need only be short lessons as you are doing them every day and most curricula are cyclical.

Then add in the other subjects such as science, art, history, geography and more.

Don't try to do every subject every day!

3. Be Realistic on How Much You Can Do

This is probably one of the most important tips that can be given when creating a homeschool schedule. 

You want to be realistic on the things that can be done in a day and remember to leave plenty of white space for other things that come up.

Make time for fun diversions and learning opportunities, such as field trips too.

Most of this will depend on your child and their inidvidual learning styles, but you don’t want to overload the day.

Trying to squeeze too much into a day will just create more stress for both the children and you.

Once things get too stressful, the learning goes away and it’s nothing but meltdowns - on all sides!

Adding a morning basket to your homeschool day is a great way to cover lots of non-core learning, such as poetry, famous artists, Shakespeare and more.

It's also a lovely way to draw everyone together in the morning before your more formal homeschool time begins.

4. Find Times that Work for You

Luckily, when it comes to homeschooling, you don’t have to abide by the set school hours. 

Instead, you need to find the best times that work for you and that your kids can get on board with too.

What is your natural wake up time?

Are you more switched on in the morning or the afternoon?

What about your kids?

Instead of sticking with the timing of a typical school day, you can be more flexible and choose the times that work best for you and your child.

One of the best ways to find the perfect times to learn is to see when your child’s focus is at it’s best. 

Are they ready to go in the mornings or a little sluggish and take a while to fully wake up?

If they’re more sluggish, starting schoolwork early probably won’t be as productive for either of you.

Instead, have a healthy breakfast then some fun activities or play time before learning begins.

Some read alouds would be a good transition to formal homeschool time.

Another way having a morning time basket would work for your family.

5. Include Time for Breaks and Hands-On Learning

Books aren’t the only form of education, and many children actually learn better through hands-on activities.

As you are creating your homeschool schedule, be sure to schedule some downtime for breaks or hands-on learning activities. 

Add in some sensory play activities to your topic, or maybe some fun crafts that fit your learning theme.

This will give you and your child a break from the books and let everyone kind of regroup so that you can come back and be more focused on the daily tasks still ahead.

Remember too that everyday activities like grocery shopping, running errands, cooking and baking together are the perfect real life opportunities for kids to learn.

Schedule regular field trips to fit your learning themes, and plenty of trips to the library.

A regular nature walk is the perfect addition to your homeschool schedule and offers a multitude of opportunities for learning, too.

Not to mention being great fun and good exercise!

One final tip...

6. Use a Planner

Many homeschool moms use a planner to keep track of their daily and weekly plans, assignments or the topics that will be covered that day.

This can be a great way for both students and parents to be on the same page on what needs to be accomplished for the week. 

Some children also need this kind of structure and task list to be more productive.

Show your kids that it’s fun to get something done and check it off the list as it gives you that feeling of accomplishment.

Using a planner can also give everyone the opportunity to see the year goals and make sure you are on track with those goals. 

Creating a homeschool schedule that works for everyone may take a bit of juggling and adjusting depending on your lifestyle and everyday activities.

But finding a homeschool schedule that fits your family will be a blessing and will help your homeschool days run much more smoothly.

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