Whew! After an eventFULL summer of catching up with neglected homeschool subjects and homeschool planning, I am ready to close the books and take a couple weeks off before starting school again. I officially finished my planning at 2:30 a.m. Monday morning so aside from some homeschool posts, I’ll be giving my brain a break so I can be ready to start school fresh again in a couple weeks.
Planning a schedule is one of the most challenging things I experience with homeschool. With a new child added to the mix every other year, I am in constant “go mode” as I shift and adjust my schedule to accommodate another child. When teaching a span of children from preschool to 6th grade with various learning styles, I have to make sure each child has the help they need to successfully progress through their school day.
Here is the system I like to use when planning my school year. Hopefully it will help you as you prepare for your upcoming school year. May you be encouraged and blessed as you embark on a wonderful and challenging journey of educating your child at home.
To make things easier for me, I try to create a structured schedule so I can allocate time where needed. My schedules have to be structured yet flexible since I am juggling six kids at the same time. So this is how I plan things out:
- I start off with a school schedule that is color-coded by child.
- I evaluate which subjects will be taught as a group (e.g., Bible, History).
- I assess which subjects I need to teach each child and the estimated amount of time.
- I estimate the time needed for each subject that each child can do independently.
- I highlight or color in the blocks of time that I need to be with each child.
- Across the top I have the time slots (e.g., 8-8:30 a.m.)
- Down the side (not shown) I have the name of each of my children.
- Each row represents one child. Each child has a different color (e.g., my youngest is yellow, my oldest is blue).
- The white boxes represent all the subjects my children can do on their own.
- All the various color-filled blocks show me the subject I have to teach and whom I am actively teaching during that block of time.
- The blocks that are color-filled all the way down are times I teach group subjects (e.g., Bible)
As you can see, there are NO slots of time where I am free! But if I give it my all, and EVERYTHING goes as planned EVERYDAY 😉 , I may get an uninterrupted potty break ♥ (the little pleasures in life).
While our schedule may change daily, this system gives me a general idea of how much of my time I need to dedicate to each child in the subject areas they need help in. It helps me see where I can make adjustments and prioritize teaching on days we have less time or unexpected things come up.
After I prepare my school schedule and I know how many hours I need to dedicate to schooling our children, I prepare a general daily schedule that fits most of our days. Some days we have homeschool activities, piano lessons, practice, etc., so I use this as an “at a glance” reference so I can prioritize what we HAVE to get done.
For many years, I would plan more in our school day than I was able to handle. I am praying this year will allow us to have more relaxed homeschool days. There are MANY days I just can’t do it all, so this year I am going to be intentional about having “grace” in my school. The less I try to control, the more I will enJOY. I pray that I will not grow weary in doing God’s work in our home. Blessings!
Do you have a schedule for your homeschool days? Do things work out better without a schedule? What works best for your family?