So you want to home school or you have already started homeschooling. This can be a rewarding experience for both you and you child(ren) with some planning. There are so many educational opportunities available that it is possible to over-schedule yourself and still not get to your main priorities. This often happens to people who are worried that their kids will not have enough social opportunities. Therefore, it is important to make a plan that also has some unscheduled time for when an opportunity arises, to catch up on anything that did not work out as planned, and some down time. Never underestimate the value of down time.
Make a list of your priorities: Your list may include which subjects you thing are most important. They may be the core subjects (math, reading, writing, Bible study, etc.). Think about chores, cooking, laundry, and other activities that need to be done around the house. Consider the other educational activities and other things that would be great to fit into your schedule.
Find out what time of day your student learns best: Before you add extra activities to your schedule, try teaching at different times of the day. Find out when they are ready to
learn and how long their attention span is. Remember, you do not need to set them down for x amount of hours like brick and mortar students do. If your son or daughter learns best for two hours (this is an arbitrary number, it could be any amount of time such as 30 minutes or three hour)s in the morning and again late in the afternoon, that is fine. Some children do better if they spread their math lessons over the week. Others do better if the math lessons are done all at once. Some kids are better off doing math in the morning, others in the afternoon. Once you learn your child’s patterns, remember that they can change and may need to reassessed from time to time.
During the breaks is a great time to assign chores, allow free play, exercising, and extra activities. You may want to set a goal for certain house chores each day in addition to the basics (washing dishes, cooking, making beds, etc.). For example, Mondays might be laundry day, Tuesdays clean the bathrooms, Wednesdays do all the vacuuming, Thursdays deep clean the kitchen, Friday laundry day again, Saturday catch up on any cleaning that didn’t get done or was messed up during the week, Sunday family day.
I found that the extra activities varied from day to day. For instance, my son has home school band on Mondays and Wednesdays. Home school co-op is on Thursdays. Scouts is on Wednesday nights. Piano lessons are on Mondays. So my schedule is not the same each day, but it is usually the same from week to week. My kids and I have set goals for what needs to be done each week. If those goals are met by Thursday night, they get Friday off. We tend to schedule field trips, movie days, and other activities on Fridays. Try not to over-schedule because everyone will be frazzled and it can be counterproductive. I recommend limiting the activities to one per day at the most. You may want to do two on one day and none the next.
Sometimes burn out happens. When parents are burned out, the kids often are, too. One of the great benefits of homeschooling is that you can decide your schedule and change it at the last minute. If you are burned out, schedule a break. It is amazing what is accomplished during a break, that challenging concept is set aside. You may choose to take a break that is one day or even longer. When break is over, the student may master the lesson that was so confusing before break. Even if they don’t, you’ll both be more relaxed.
This is the method that works for setting up a home school schedule for my family during the last seven years. I would love to hear what works for you as well as any questions you may have. Let me know how you set up your homeschool calendar.