How to Create the Perfect Homeschool Schedule
Finding the “perfect” homeschool schedule is HARD. And, that’s because it’s dependent upon so many factors. But, I’ve found the absolutely perfect homeschool schedule for EVERY family.
Do you want to know what it is?
Well, before I can give you the answer, you will need to answer some simple questions.
- When are YOU most focused?
- When are your kids most focused?
- When do you take vacations?
- Do you want to focus on hourly tasks for everyone or would you prefer to work with chunks of time?
- Do your kids play sports or participate in clubs or co-ops?
- How old are your kids?
- How many hours per day do you want to devote to teaching in your homeschool?
- What kind of learners are your kids? What kind of learner are you?
- Do you have another job that you do each day in addition to homeschooling your children?
- Why are you homeschooling your kids?
Let’s break down each of these questions and look at them individually.
The Perfect Homeschool Schedule
1. When Are You Most Focused?
Without question, I am a morning person. The minute I wake up, I am ready to get started. I have a clear vision of the day and I want to tackle all of the things head on. Then, by 3 pm, I am pretty much done.
My brother, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He would prefer to get up around 11 am and become hyper-focused around 8 pm. By the time he’s ready to make progress on his to do list, I’m ready to go to bed!
So, you can see how knowing this information has helped us when it comes to something as simple as phone calls. My brother knows not to even waste his time calling me after 10 pm because I am either already asleep or well on my way.
On the flip side, I know that if I call him at 6 am, it will be like talking to a zombie and he won’t remember our conversation.
Now, I say all of that, to say this.
Knowing when you are focused and ready to take on the day will help you know when to start your homeschool teaching!
And if it were that simple, we would all be in good shape. However, there is one detail that cannot be overlooked.
2. What Time of the Day Are Your Kids Most Focused?
If your kids tend to be wired just like you, then you can get started first thing in the morning or right after dinner. But, what do you do when one or more of your kiddos is completely opposite of you?
Well, that’s where creativity and flexibility comes into play.
You need to sit down together and talk about what will work for both of you. It might mean that you accomplish a few tasks before your child wakes up.
But, it will probably also mean that you will want to do your direct teaching with her earlier and she will accomplish her independent tasks later.
Knowing when you and your kids are most focused will help you avoid the inevitable frustrations and poor attitudes associated with being tired.
Everyone is going to be tired from time to time, but knowing how to avoid these times if at all possible will help your homeschool day go MUCH more smoothly.
3. When Do You Take Vacations?
This is a question that may seem irrelevant to a daily homeschool schedule, but when you are deciding whether to implement a year-round or more traditional August-May schedule, you need to think about it.
When we first started homeschooling, we used a schedule that aligned with the local school system, but more recently we switched to a year-round schedule.
We always take our family vacation in the fall, and this made a year-round schedule perfect for us!!
And while my boys dislike starting school in July, they do enjoy having week-long breaks throughout the year and they still get 6 weeks off in the summer.
A perfect example of adopting a unique school calendar is the amazing Kim Sorgius of Not Consumed.
She is a speaker at MANY homeschooling conferences, and therefore, she and her family travel all over the US during convention season. Since this typically occurs from early spring and goes through early summer, they take a long break from school during this time.
While this is definitely a departure from a “normal” schedule, her family has adopted a schedule that works for them.
As you are thinking about a schedule, look at the year as a whole and determine when you want to start and when you want to end.
This will give you a birds-eye view of what your year will look like.
4. Do Your Kids Participate in Sports, Clubs, or Co-ops?
This will be another factor you need to consider when contemplating whether to adopt a year-round or traditional school calendar. It will also help you determine whether you start your homeschool day earlier or later.
Both of my boys love baseball. Therefore, baseball season is always hectic for our family. It usually consists of my husband taking one son to his game while I make sure the other one is at his game or practice.
This also means that we have to make sure that all of the school work for the day is completed BEFORE games or practice that day…especially when many of the games are over an hour away and last WAY into the night.
While neither of my boys are involved in clubs or co-ops, these can also be very time-consuming activities. So, as you are thinking about your family’s daily homeschool schedule, definitely be sure to add this into the equation.
5. Do You Like Your Homeschool Schedule Broken Down by Minute or Weekly Tasks?
If you really enjoy having an hourly (or even “minutely”) breakdown of your day, then you need to organize your homeschool schedule accordingly. You would be better served to create a specific daily framework that includes every task, expectation, and completion time.
However, if just reading this makes you break out in hives, then consider dividing your day into chunks. This will give you flexibility, but still keep you focused on each chunk of time in your day.
I really LOVE planners and I enjoy checking off things that are on my to do list. However, I’ve found that trying to break down my day into minute-by-minute activities is actually suffocating. I get stressed out when I can’t complete everything and then I fall farther and farther behind.
So, for me, and my kiddos, we look at school as a chunk of our day.
I decide when “school” activities will begin and end, and then my boys have the freedom to choose the order of completion.
If this still seems too confining for you and your family, consider just having tasks broken down by week.
This would an excellent homeschool schedule for high school kids. They would have total freedom to complete the tasks they want in whatever order they so choose…as long as everything is completed by 3 pm on Friday (or whatever time you see fit).
6. How Old Are Your Kids?
When your kids are preschool or early elementary, their attention span is very short. So, typically, shorter sessions with lots of time for play are perfect.
However, as the kids get older, they need longer stretches of time to be able to complete specific subjects or tasks. Now that my boys are middle school and high school age, they tend to need those longer stretches of time.
But, don’t discount the advantages of play at any age.
Even though my boys are older now, we still enjoy learning by playing board games! These can be an absolute fantastic alternative for days when the “traditional” style of homeschooling just isn’t going to work.
7. How Much Time Do You Want to Devote to Directly Teaching?
If your children are preschool or very early elementary, you may only spend 1 hour a day actually “teaching” them new skills in a traditional sense. However, you might spend 3 hours a day allowing them the opportunity to learn through imaginative play and experiencing their environment.
On the other hand, if you have a child starting high school, you may need to spend 2 hours per day using direct instruction to teach them about the themes in To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men.
I chose to use Teaching Textbooks for math with my boys because it is a fantastic online program that takes me out of the “teacher” role entirely. (The only time I have to help my boys with math is if they are struggling with a concept. Then I simply direct them to the relevant content and examples.)
Because teaching high school math is NOT on my bucket list, I wanted a curriculum that would actually teach the concepts for me.
So, when you’re considering your daily homeschool schedule, definitely decide how many hours you intend to devote to direct instruction or traditional “teaching.”
8. What Kind of Learners Are Your Kids?
When I first began homeschooling my boys, I definitely brought the public school setup home. The boys had their desks and I taught them just like I taught my students in the classroom.
However, it didn’t take me long to discover that my youngest son was definitely in need of lots of movement, conversations, and alternative seating arrangements.
My oldest son, on the other hand, was in need of quiet space where his brother wasn’t talking or “annoying” him.
Long gone are the days of desks in our designated schoolroom. Now, my oldest son works from his computer in the kitchen or at the kitchen table with me while my youngest goes from room to room accomplishing his work.
9. Do You Have Another Job in Addition to Homeschooling Your Children?
As I already mentioned, I’m definitely a morning person. So, I would rather get our homeschooling day started early and be done around lunchtime.
However, I also teach English online with VIPKid in the mornings.
Since I can’t do two things at once, I’ve determined that teaching with VIPKid needs to happen first, and then I do homeschooling with my boys.
To make this work for our family’s needs, my boys get up around 7:30 am and complete their morning chores as well as a lot of their independent work while I finish teaching my classes.
Then when I am finished writing feedback, we do our Bible time together and then I work with them individually. If I was not teaching with VIPKid, my schedule would look different.
But, this is the homeschool schedule that works for us based on our current needs.
10. Why Are You Homeschooling Your Kids?
If you are homeschooling your kids because you want to travel the world as a family and let the experiences of life teach them, then your homeschool schedule is going to look very different from a mom who is homeschooling her child because he is a voracious reader who is learning about differential calculus at age 5.
That is the beauty of homeschooling.
Our homeschool schedule has changed dramatically since we first began. As the boys have gotten older and they’ve become more involved in sports, we’ve had to tweak what works for us.
Your homeschooling schedule will need to be adjusted as you and your children grow and learn. Some years will be a repeat of the year before, and some will be completely different as you enter new seasons of life.
You see, the perfect homeschool schedule is going to be one that takes into account the answer to each of these 10 questions because the perfect homeschool schedule for EVERY family is one that is unique to that family.
If you already know the required password to the FREE Printable Library, just click here to grab your FREE homeschool schedule printable.
If you don’t have the password, simply click here for the password necessary to access the FREE Printable Library. This printable will be an excellent starting point for you and your family to create the perfect homeschool schedule.