How to Create a Homeschool Schedule That Works!
How to Create a Homeschool Schedule that Works for You is a Guest Post by Leah at As We Walk Along the Road. I appreciate her advice that comes from years of experience.
Often balancing homeschool and housework and cooking and childcare can seem like an impossible task. Trying to find time to fit it all in can leave you overwhelmed and frustrated. And when you’re trying to squeeze it in with a little bit of time here and a little there, chances are none of it is getting your full attention or efforts. So, what can you do to ease some of the stress, to find a balance in the rushing around and endless chores? You can have a schedule that works for you.Sometimes just the very word “schedule” can cause your teeth to clench and your skin to crawl. I’ve come to realize over the years that not everyone loves the idea of a schedule like I do. It seems to be an ingrained part of your personality- either you are a scheduler, or you aren’t. But maybe your resistance comes from your idea of a schedule. Scheduling and planning can help anyone to get more done and to feel less overwhelmed. But maybe you haven’t yet found a schedule that works for you. Maybe instead of a rigid schedule, you need more of a routines approach.
The Rigid Block Schedule
I began trying to use a schedule like this early in our homeschooling. Scheduling this way involves writing out your day in thirty minute blocks of time, listing out every single thing you do everyday in a detailed list, and then plugging things in to those thirty minute blocks. After you schedule yourself this way, your master schedule will also break up each child’s day into thirty minute blocks. When the schedules are all put together, they should fit nicely, and everyone’s tasks should overlap in a way that means that everything gets done. The schedule has to be followed very closely for it to work.
The benefit of this schedule is that, if you can follow it precisely, you won’t have any wasted time. Every minute is accounted for. And if you can keep up, you’ll never get to the end of the day and wonder why you still have that full basket of laundry waiting to be folded. You will have completed the laundry during the laundry slot of time. The drawback of this schedule is that you can’t have too many unplanned interruptions or the whole schedule starts to fall apart.
I was not successful at this rigid schedule. Two things really got me. (1) The fact that we had some activities some days and not others. And it was so difficult trying to plan for different days. (2) And, I just couldn’t stop a homeschool subject when we were on a roll. If a child had struggled forever over a math concept and finally got it, I hated to just stop, put the book away and move on just because the timer went off. But I have some friends who use this sort of rigid schedule very successfully. It just works for them and for their family. But it didn’t work for me.
Scheduling With Routines
Using routines is a more flexible option that still allows you to have a schedule, a plan, but provides some room for change, interruptions, and creativity. Using routines means that you still have a plan for what will be accomplished during a certain time. But, when it will happen within that time period and how long it will take can be flexible. An example of a routines approach is this. You decide that in the mornings, before you begin school, you need to make breakfast and wash the dishes and the kids need to eat breakfast, get dressed, and help with chores. So on your schedule, you’ll have a block that says “Before school” and in that block you’ll list: “make breakfast, wash dishes, oversee kids’ chores.” You don’t have a set start and stop time. But you do have an understanding of what needs to be accomplished in a certain amount of time. And you have a plan to accomplish that.
The benefit of using routines is the flexibility. You can have a plan but still have room for changes that might come up. If you’re reading a great book out loud, you don’t have to stop when it’s time to change from reading to math. The drawback to using routines is that it can become a little too easy to be too flexible. If you find yourself constantly changing things and never getting to all of the things on your list, you might need to tighten the reins for yourself and go with a more rigid schedule.
This type of scheduling works best for me. I love the flow of routines. The kids know what to expect next. I have a plan for fitting it all in. And we still have some flexibility to make changes when we need them. I have some very structured friends whose skin would crawl with my flexibility. They want the structure of a rigid schedule. But, for me, using routines is the best of both worlds. I can have a plan and still handle changes.
So don’t dismiss the idea of a schedule if it makes you a little leery. Do some experimenting and find something- schedule or routines- that works for you. A little planning can help you to get more accomplished and feel more peaceful while you’re doing it.
Which of these options do you think you need to implement in your home?
Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. Her days are filled with being a mom, homemaker, and teacher. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. These days she’s learning the joys of being a mom of teens. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.