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Setting Up A Homeschool Schedule



A homeschool schedule is a must! Your schedule can help you meet homeschool legal requirements for class hours and school days. Get tips on how to set up a homeschooling schedule here as a step towards a successful homeschool experience.

Tips for Setting Up a Homeschool Schedule

First of all, don’t forget that the instructional/guidance/mentoring part of the day may not be the only part that needs scheduling"if students are to have homework/independent work or projects that are not supervised, that needs to be planned for as well as how the guided parts of the day will go. Keep in mind that for unschooling, some elements will not apply as presented.

Examine current family schedule

Your current family schedule and habits, for example, during vacation when everyone’s home, will give you some initial cues. Do you all arise and breakfast at the same time or do you have more individual approach? Is lunchtime at 11:45 a.m. every day, or does it vary with when people get hungry? Have you spent the last fifteen years beginning each day by vacuuming and dusting? Do you have any family rituals that you use to begin and close your day? Any of these factors are things to consider in creating a homeschool schedule that will work well for your situation and thinking about how to work with the family community and individual needs.

Brainstorm desired homeschool schedule (no constraints)

You may wish to begin by creating your dream homeschool schedule. In the best of all possible worlds, what would serve you and your family best? Would it work well to do a little homeschooling on more days or a lot of homeschooling on fewer days? Would it work best to have homeschool during weekdays or over the weekend? One idea to help you is to look at schedules of other families that homeschool and have similar situations to yours • which you can find on the Internet. Another is to read through this article quickly once to give you ideas. Once you’re done • set this schedule on one side for a bit, while you review the practical realities.

Determine homeschool legal requirements

How does your state determine attendance and the completion of a grade of work? Do students have to have a certain number of days of school? Hours of school? Curriculum coverage? Whatever you are required to do, make some notes on your dream homeschool schedule and consider whether anything will change and what may need modification.

Determine each child’s requirements

Do you have a child who always has trouble getting up in the morning? A child who’s most alert just after breakfast? A child who “crashes” in the late afternoon? A child with any kind of special needs whether from a disability or a special gift? How can any of these best be accommodated in a workable schedule?

Also consider how many children you’re teaching. If your homeschool has multiple children • can you use multigrade (also called multiage) strategies and teach them the same subject at the same time? Assuming that you would wish to have each child work individually sometimes, one-on-one with you sometimes, and sometimes in a group, how might this be scheduled to provide variety and interest in their day?

If your child has neighborhood friends who get out of school at a particular time, it may be difficult for your child to keep working after that point. Consider your child’s social life and, again, note any important factors or alterations on your dream homeschool schedule.

Determine home requirements

Of great importance are other demands of home life: baby’s naptime, making dinner, watering the garden, Dad’s piano lesson in the home•things like this are also going to shape your schedule. Don’t forget free time for you and children or other timed events that you’d like to take advantage of, for example, the evening news program, public radio broadcasts or educational television programming that happens at specific times (or put into your plan a scheme to record them and use them at a more convenient time.

Determine off-site requirements

Any extra-curricular activities, including but not limited to classes at a public or private school and any distance learning alternatives that you plan to incorporate, are likely to have time parameters that may impact your scheduling plans. For example, the timing of tap dancing lesson at local dance school; swimming lesson at YMCA; glass-blowing class taken at local high school, may have limited availability. Also, field trips that involve other people (like visits to area businesses) will likely have to be scheduled based on others’ availability. Again, make any necessary adjustments to your dream homeschool schedule.

Determine subject matter requirements

Various subjects have their own needs in terms of frequency of meeting and length of class needed to convey the subject matter. Physical education, for example, often requires a warm-up period and a cool-down period in addition to the time for the activity (and possibly teaching the activity as well). Projects may need a large block of time, while a spelling review might take 10 or 15 minutes. You don’t have to use school-sized blocks of time (often periods of close to an hour) unless they work for your homeschool situation.

Another element to consider is the mode(s) in which each subject area can be carried out. A little thought here can provide more interest to, as you can have a child experience some variety by moving from, for example, paper and pencil to computer to movement to discussion, to hands-on work. In each case, also consider your child or children’s stage(s) of development and attention span, as you make notes on your dream homeschool schedule.

Try It Out and Review the Results

You can now finalize a schedule that builds on your dream schedule but accounts for the practical realities you face. Your homeschool schedule will show when, where, and for how long classes will meet and on what days, or for unschooling, the time during which you are available to support your child’s explorations. So give it a try and consider having a family review session to discuss the experience.

Setting Up A Homeschool Schedule Sources:

General Tips

  • homeschooling.about.com/cs/gettingstarted/a/backschedule.htm
  • time4learning.com/homeschool-resource.shtml
  • howtodothings.com/education/a2020-how-to-develop-homeschool-schedules.html
  • homeschooling.families.com/blog/homeschooling-on-a-public-school-schedule

Free Schedule forms

  • geocities.com/homeschoolforms/page2.html
  • chartjungle.com/schoolhome.html

Sample Schedules

  • homeschooling.about.com/od/scheduling/a/dailyschedule.htm

Multiage Classes

  • homeschooling.about.com/cs/faqs/ht/multiplegrades.htm

Written by Mary Elizabeth