So you pray, breathe, and understand why you are homeschooling. Then you research your state homeschool laws, learning and teaching styles, plus plan when and where you will educate your kids. Now we are ready to address scheduling.
The beauty of homeschooling is its purpose and flexibility. As long as your kids are learning on a regular basis and you can see their educational growth, you will have a successful homeschool. You just want to get a basic schedule in place and follow through with it as best you can. Life happens that will sometime interrupt your schedule but you can either adopt a new one or take a pause to deal with an urgent situation and then resume as before.
You are going to need to look at the big picture and set some goals for your school. You will want to sit down with your teaching materials – called curriculum – and research them. You will determine what each child is to accomplish in each subject by the end of the school year – called the scope and sequence. Then you can set your end-of-the-school-year goal, a half-way goal, and quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals.
Buy a planner that has blocks of space to write in each day and includes the weekends. You will find activities that your family participates in on the weekends that you can be document and count towards homeschool education. Having space available on the weekend days to write in will help you be more organized and not have to rely on sticky notes placed haphazardly everywhere. Also get a 12-month planner so that it allows you flexibility. It is easier to not use some months than to try to add into your planner without the appropriate space.
There are two ways to plan: by thinking ahead and writing in each day what each child will be doing and then checking off each subject as they complete it. Or by recording what each child does each day as they accomplish it and reviewing at the end of the week what subjects did and did not get finished. You can even have fun decorating your planner to personalize it!
There are pros and cons to each method and a lot of it depends on your family’s lifestyle, personalities, and any major life-changing events that occur thus disrupting your normal schedule. I alternated using each method of planning according to what was going on in our lives each year as it changed. I know of families who have such a routine life, never moving cross country or changing jobs or careers, so they were able to plan out a year at a time and follow that schedule almost to a “T”.
It is a personal preference, but I suggest you start out with only scheduling and recording a week at a time. If you have a very non-routine family and you schedule out an entire school year, and then in the first month there is a major lifestyle change or interruption, you could get very stressed because you are “not on schedule”. So by planning a week at a time until you get comfortable, tweaking your schedule as needed, eventually you can begin planning out daily expectations for bi-weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.
Should you schedule personal time for yourself? Some of the most successful homeschool families I have known are the ones where the main teacher has a definite regular time for themselves. You cannot constantly give of yourself to your family and never refuel or you will end up running on empty or even burn out. I’ve experienced this myself and know many others who have as well.
So maybe you want to attend a regular exercise class, a Bible study or book club? Or a daily 30 minute walk by yourself? Visit a favorite coffee-shop to read something relaxing?
How can you make time for yourself? Trade babysitting with someone. Wake up 30 minutes earlier or go to bed later than everyone else. Pay someone to watch your kids for you. Taking time to nurture yourself each day or a couple of hours a few times a week will help you be a better parent, teacher, and spouse.
Next time we will begin talking about choosing your curriculum!
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.