Organize your Homeschooling Schedules or Routine
One important part of the Homeschool Planning process is to decide on your homeschooling schedules. Do you have a homeschool schedule that works for you? Add it here.
When will the formal learning take place? What does a homeschool day look like and what about homeschool record keeping? Let's look at the nitty, gritty details to help you work out how to homeschool.
A homeschool schedule will look different for each homeschooling family depending on the number and ages of the children in the family and what you will try to fit into your day.
So, how do you set up a homeschooling schedule or routine?
Some families prefer to have a loosely defined schedule written in big time slots with general titles. It gives a general overview of what the daily routine looks like. For example, I know what works best for our family and it would generally look like this:
- Breakfast, followed by chores;
- Bible reading and Memorization together
- Independent work (Spelling, Math, Language Arts, Languages, Computer work)
- Morning Tea
- Reading Aloud - History, Literature, Science,
- Followed by history projects, writing, art projects which stem from our reading.
- Book Box time (Independent reading)
- Older children continue if needed.
Other families prefer to see what each child is doing in specific 30 minute breaks. I also write out a more specific plan, but as the habit is developed, you just begin to think in bigger chunks of time. Click here to view my homeschooling schedule as an example. Our Homeschool - what we did in 2009.
View some examples of homeschool routines in table format.
If you prefer to write a detailed plan, follow the instructions below to build your own homeschooling schedule. By doing this you will be building a homeschool schedule which will suit most days. You will need to alter this schedule for the days you have library visits, sports practice and so on.
- Firstly make a chart divided into columns and rows. The rows are increments of time and the columns are for the children's activities as well as one column for you and one to write in the time. Write down the time in the left column. Write it in 30 minute increments from the time you get up into the far left column. You will fill this chart with coloured slips of paper which you can move around until the schedule works.
- Now choose different coloured paper for each child and yourself. Divide each sheet into 30 minute increments also and write down what each child needs to do. Include sports practice, outside classes, chores, and all their subject areas. Do this for each child and also for yourself.
- Now, cut up all the coloured paper. If a class or lesson is longer than 30 minutes cut it out as a 1 hour - 2 hour block or whatever is appropriate.
- Next, you will to arrange all the coloured paper on the chart you began in number 1.
- Start by putting in regular, non-negotiable things like meal times, bed on each person's column.
- Add sports practice or visits which you have outside the home every day. Remember this is your general homeschooling schedule. If Thursday is your day where you go to the library and have other excursions, you will need to alter this general timetable to suit.
- Next, add Subjects which you do as a family - Bible reading, Memorization/ Circle time, Reading aloud, Science, Unit Studies, Homeschool History, Art, Projects - as much as possible. Remember, you don't have to do each subject every day. (Use the same time slot - and add History/Science/Art according to your own judgement.) Add these coloured papers onto each column including your own.
- Now add Subject areas in which you need to help a child on an individual level. (Home school Math, Spelling) Add it to your column and to the column of the child you are helping. What can the other children do while you are helping this one child? (Quiet reading, TV show, computer program, box of toys/puzzles, online homeschooling option) Add that to their column.
- Continue by adding subjects which require your help on an individual level and fill in tasks which can be done independently in the columns of the other children.
- Continue to play with the schedule on these slips of paper until you have a timetable that works. Then write or type out your schedule.
Write out the plan
Once you have worked out your homeschooling schedule, write it out. Make a large chart for everyone to see and put it on the wall. Show everyone what it all means. Perhaps your children would like a smaller copy in their work areas. Add a copy of the plan into your own homeschool planner. Check out Homeschool Planner Options here.
Getting it done
Now, how do you make homeschooling schedules work?
- Be consistent and stick to the plan!
- Get up on time.
- If there's an interruption, don't go back and catch up on what you've missed out on. Leave it for tomorrow. Just move on. (Be reasonable here - if you're halfway through the story, or the art project, science experiment etc... you know)
- Set reminders in place. Use a timer and verbally remind your children - "You have 10 minutes to finish you math and then it's story time."
- Reward early finishers with a fun game or time outside. On the flip side, consequences for laziness would require work to be finished in their own free time or as you see fit.
- Schedule time for games.
- Team up older children with younger children - for story time, play time to free up your time to work independently with one child.
- Keep your afternoons as free as possible.
- If the schedule is not working, rework it. Give more time to the areas which are tight, shuffle the subjects and make a new plan.
Finding Time management a problem? Check out this exercise for learning time management in your personal life.
Work box or Checklists
It is okay to start with one system and then spice it up, change it a little to keep interest. I know that I like starting new systems and my children do too. I have noticed that after working in a certain way, we get a bit bored and I add a small change and it becomes fresh again.
Some systems that may work with your family:
- Checklists. Each child has their own homeschool planner or daily checklist. Once they have completed the task, they colour in the sqaure, give it a tick, cross it off, whatever. Click here for an example of a checklist of my 9 yr old - independent work.
- Checklist in one Planner. Perhaps, you have written out the plan for the week into your own Homeschool Planner and keep it on your own desk. Each child then needs to mark it off in the one book on your desk.
- Work Box System. Every day the required individual work or task is placed into the child's individual box or pockets. This could consists of a game, flashcards, a computer program, reading books, workbooks etc. As the work is done, it is removed from the box and so when the box is emptied, the child's individual work is completed.
- Left to Right. This is the same as the Work Box system, but books are moved from the left side of the desk to the right side as they are completed.
- Timers. Each child has a timer - sets it to complete their work within a certain amount of time. This will work for those children who like to place some pressure on themselves and compete against themselves.
- Rewards. Each time a subject or task is completed, a reward may be given - marbles in a jar; playing cards which are cashed in later in the week at the Friday Shop;( This really worked in our family for quite a while) Time accrued for computer/TV/Screen time on the weekend; Star charts for rewards, outings etc.
Homeschool Record Keeping
You need to decide who will keep the homeschooling records. Will you help your child to develop a routine of marking and keeping scores into a book? Will they write their own learning journal or write into their own daily planner? Will you keep the records, journals, comments and plans in your planning system?
If you have your own Homeschool Planner, you could add a page for scores for Math and Spelling tests and teach your children to add to it weekly. They could also write down their scores on the weekly assignment chart and you can rewrite it into your own record keeping book. You can also record their experiences, new skills as you comment and take notes in your diary on a separate Comments Page at the end of each month.
Using a timetable, will help you calculate the amount of hours you spend on certain subjects. This will be important information as you write transcripts and create portfolios.
Use a Family Homeschool Planner
A Homeschool Planner should be as comprehensive as possible to eliminate the need for other diaries and organizers. It should be a tool to help you prioritize your life and pursue your homeschooling goals.
A Homeschool Planner is as unique as each family. It is not a strict 15 minute timetabled account of a homeschooling family, driven by a over-conscientious mother. It is a written expression which reflects your home. Whether you homeschool by using homeschooling schedules, in unit studies, in a natural learning approach, using your own eclectic family philosophy, it is a place which allows you to journal, record experiences, add comments, write in assignment charts, keep track of personal and family events, as well as helping you run your household in regards to chores, menus and groceries. A Homeschool Planner can be as simple as your require. But, I believe that the time you spend now in organizing your own Homeschool Planner will be the time you save every week the whole year through.
A Homeschool Planner is a place where you can begin to write your goals. It is also a place where you can organize parts of your daily household and homeschooling life to reflect the big picture goals and the priorities. Speaking from my own personal experience, I need to write down my thoughts and allocate space in my day to enable myself to keep my priorities in balance.
Find out more about Homeschool Planner Options here.
So how can you organize your homeschool?
How to Homeschool - Organization Sitemap
Read the details here:
- What: Organize and Write your Homeschool Long and Short Term Goals
- How: What method suits your family? This will affect your physical space.
- Where: Organize your homeschool materials and physical space