Whether you’re new to homeschooling or just looking to reinvigorate your routine, creating a daily schedule is essential to your productivity – and to your sanity! While things often won’t go exactly as planned with kids, flying by the seat of your pants is exhausting day after day, and you’re unlikely to accomplish your goals for the school year. Use the tips below to take control of your homeschool days with a schedule that works for both you and your kiddos.
How to Create the Perfect Homeschool Schedule
Tip #1: Stop Thinking of it as a ‘Schedule’
Now, it may seem like this tip runs counter to the entire point of this discussion, but the idea is that the word “schedule” has a certain rigidity implied that can add unnecessary stress to your days. After all, life happens – especially with kids doing all their schooling at home! Go into your homeschool days with a mindset of flexibility, thinking of your schedule as more of a routine instead.
For example, rather than forcing yourself to start spelling at 8:30 and math at 9:15, plan to always start your first lesson at the same general time – say, between 8:30-9:00 – then simply continue each subject block after that until you finish. This will mean some days you finish earlier than others, but you’ll feel under much less pressure than if you were watching the clock all day.
And if you need a laugh to get you through it, check out our favorite hilarious homeschooling quotes!
Tip #2: Start with Your Yearly Plan
If you begin your planning with a weekly or daily mindset, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Plan out when your homeschool year will begin and end, think about holidays and vacations when you’ll be off, and jot down your general homeschool goals for the year first. I recommend having a master planner for this. I use my Lauren Condren planner for jotting down yearly, monthly, and daily goals!
Next, spend time thinking about your goals for each child throughout the year and jot them down, as well. Once you have the bird’s eye view in front of you, it becomes easier to create weekly goals, then daily if you like. Although homeschool laws vary by state, a 180-day schedule is typical.
Tip #3: Schedule Blocks, Not Subjects
Choose blocks of time in your day and draft out a general plan for which subjects will go in each one. For example, you might have a Morning Block that always includes math, memory work, and handwriting. You can change up the order within your blocks from day to day, but you’ll always have the goal to tackle a certain number of subjects within each block, and the blocks will begin around the same time each day.
Tip #4: Plan for White Space in Your Homeschool Schedule
Many homeschoolers refer to this as “margin.” That is, they assume that normal occurrences like illness, vacations, and the like will throw off the daily or weekly schedule at some point. So, if you’re planning for 36 weeks of lessons, know that you likely won’t get through all 36. Planning for 33 or 34 weeks instead factors in white space for the times when life happens, and then you won’t find yourself straining to fit every lesson in toward the end of the year.
Often, it’s most helpful to plan for white space every single day. After all, it’s not likely that you’ll ever fit four hours of lessons into just four hours.
Bonus tip; kick off your morning right with these sayings for a good start!
Tip #5: Don’t Teach Every Subject Every Day
Every homeschool week doesn’t need to look exactly the same. After all, one of the perks of having a homeschool schedule is flexibility! While all subjects need to be covered regularly, most do not need to be taught daily. Taking an every-other-day approach, for instance, will often help kids focus for a longer stretch of time than if you return to the same subjects every day.
If you want to take a nature walk to teach a lesson or go on a field trip, that is perfectly okay! Adding variety to your days in this way tends to keep things more interesting for both you and your children.
Tip #6: Hang Priority Subjects on ‘Hooks’
When you think about the natural rhythm of your day, there are things that will stand out: eating meals, nursing sessions for baby, naptime, and more. Consider these everyday necessities ‘hooks’ that will guide you into a routine. For example, maybe you follow morning chores each day with memory work, and you always read aloud during nursing sessions. When you follow these hooks with the same subjects each day, they’ll become habitual and feel more natural.
Tip #7: Make Nap Time and Important Part of Your Homeschool Schedule
If you still have little ones who nap, save the trickiest big kid subjects for after you put the little ones down. Your hands and mind will be freer, allowing you to better focus on the task at hand during the more all-consuming lessons with your older children.
Tip #8: Just Do You
Perhaps the best thing about homeschooling is that you can design your curriculum and your daily schedules and routines just as you’d like. You aren’t expected to be in lockstep with anyone else and this means you can work around your family’s specific needs and normal inclinations.
So, if you’re all early risers, get a jump on the day and finish your subjects by lunchtime. If you have just one early riser, use that time for his or her independent work, then start group time later in the morning when everyone is awake. Embrace the flexibility of homeschooling and arrange your days however best fits your family’s unique vibe.
Tip #9: Draft a Plan, Then Let it Evolve
Having annual goals and creating weekly plans and daily routines based upon them is smart. It lets you stay more organized and helps you maintain the big picture structure of all your homeschooling efforts. However, you’ll drive yourself crazy if you force yourself to stick to your plan without leaving room for it to evolve.
The needs of your family and your individual children will likely evolve over time. Unlike traditional school, your plan can and should be flexible enough that it lets you roll with the punches when you need to.
Bonus Tip: Use Blue Light Glasses to Reduce the Effects of Screentime!
Have you been concerned with how much screen time your kids are getting lately? Whether your kids are participating in virtual or in school learning, screen time has increased across the board this year. However, you can protect their little eyes and yours with Glasses USA Blue Light blocking glasses. They feature specialized lenses to filter harmful emissions of digital devices, reducing eye strain and providing ultra-crisp and comfortable vision.
It is hard as a parent to monitor the amount of screen time their little eyes are getting right now. Some cute, fun glasses can put your mind at ease. You know their eyes are protected and have really great styles for the whole family. We chose similarly styled frames for a cute mommy and me look. She loves that she has a pair of glasses, “just like Mom.” They even put in my progressive prescription lenses with the Blue Light blocking technology, which is perfect for all the virtual work I do.
The process is so easy! You just go online and choose your frames. You can even upload a picture of yourself to try them on. If you have a prescription, you can upload that too. The Blue Light lenses are eligible with non-prescription glasses as well all prescription types: reading, distance, progressives & bifocals. The best part was I didn’t have to spend a lot of time waiting in a retail shop trying on frames. It was easy and fun from the comfort of my own home. They came quickly through the mail with a case and lens cloth, and they fit and look great!
Every homeschooling mom will tell you that developing a homeschool schedule will take a bit of trial and error, and that’s ok! Use the tips above to get started, then let your intuition guide you as you find the right rhythm and cadence for your kiddos. The beauty of homeschooling is that it can take many different shapes and still be wildly successful for your family.