You have learned to take time to pray, breathe, and understand why you are going to homeschool. Then you did some research on you and your family, your state laws, and learning and teaching styles. Now you are ready to start planning when and where you will homeschool!
First, think through what type of school year will work best for your family. Is it a year-round school – taking off weeks during the off-season to vacation such as fall and spring, as well as longer holiday breaks, and spacing out one-to-three week breaks throughout the year? Or does following your local school schedule so your kids have time to spend with their neighborhood friends when they are having their breaks from school seem better to you? Consider that some families choose a 4-day school week allowing the 5th weekday for scheduling things such as doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and field trips.
Now determine what time of day is best for your ages of children to attend school in your home. This doesn’t mean that you will be homeschooling for 24 hours a day to accommodate each child. What it does mean is being in tune with your family. Also keep in mind that you will typically spend more one-on-one time teaching your young children, and less time with your older middle and high school students who will be working more independently.
Are you all a bunch of early birds – up and around at daybreak? Or do you each function the best beginning later in the morning and working later in the afternoon? Or maybe you start the day with the naturally early risers, add in the mid-morning children, and stagger their ending times.
Once you make the decision about what time you will start school each day, make it a priority and a habit so everyone gets established in this new routine. While your homeschool does not need to look like public school, you do want to have an organized daily and weekly schedule. Come up with a daily routine for your homeschool and your kids that is realistic and not too lenient or overbearing – and make sure to schedule in time for yourself.
Let’s talk a minute about having balance in your life. You want to live between legalistic and a free-spirit. This way your kids get educated, you keep your home organized and clean, and you all enjoy your homeschool lifestyle. Take a quarterly look at how things are running and make adjustments accordingly.
Re-evaluate and strive for balance throughout the year. You will play catch-up when there are interruptions such as illness or injury, an unexpected move, or natural disaster. Or you may finish the school year ahead of schedule and be able to allow the family extra free time or a longer vacation.
Now where are you going to teach your kids each day? If you have space available, you may want to convert a room or your basement into your school area so everyone knows when they go in there it is time for school. The kitchen table, a desk, and the couch are popular spaces in a home for school work. You can organize cupboards, bookcases, shelves, and storage bins near your teaching area to hold your materials or create learning centers as well.
I made sure we were dressed for the day and never did school in our pajamas – a frequent question asked by non-homeschoolers. I had a friend who always put on a certain pair of shoes she only wore while they were having school to help her mentally be in the zone. You may come up with other ideas to help establish when and where it is school time in your home.
Determining which type of school year schedule you would like to follow, whether you will have a 4 or 5-day school week, what time you will start school each day, and where you hold school every day will help organize your homeschool. Kids thrive best when there are established routines that are followed on a regular basis.
Now that you have a plan, next we will discuss scheduling!
I love God, family, friends, and encouraging people. I enjoy helping others in the education world from my experience in my job and from when I homeschooled my kids. As a wife, Mom, soon to be Grandma, and the Education and Homeschool Web Merchandiser, I hope my blog articles are helpful to you as we live life together.