More parents than ever before are choosing to homeschool and are creating a structure for their new year. Homeschooling is more than creating a schoolroom in your home: it is an opportunity to change the relationship between learning and your child.
When parents welcome learning around the clock and not at only at specific times, they create an environment where teaching and learning become constant guests, fitting into life instead of rudely interrupting it.
Being creative and flexible with your school hours, days, and weeks means having more freedom to make choices you might not have thought possible.
When creating the perfect homeschool schedule, don’t start with a box labeled “8:00 to 3:15, Monday through Friday.” Instead, look at your l and see where there are open spaces you are already using for family fun time and build more of those spaces for learning times too.
Homeschooling will definitely transform your day, but you have much more power over your family schedule than you realize.
Tips for Creating the Perfect Homeschool Schedule
Homeschool Schedule Types
- Five Day Traditional
- Four Day w/Day 5 Electives or Science
- Four Day w/Free Day
- Semester, Trimester, Quarterly
- Set Formal School Hours
- Flexible Learning Times
- Student-Led Learning
- Loop Scheduling
Within these listings, there are millions of variations that parents can utilize to create a schedule that facilitates learning and allows for personal goals and growth of the family members involved.
Personally, over the last sixteen years, I have used almost all of these schedule types to meet our family goals and keep learning on track.
You don’t have to schedule the time slots for every subject of activity. Actually, I would encourage you not to. When we have done this in the past, it was too easy to get behind and begin cutting activities to stay on an artificial time frame.
Granting yourself flexibility is the best way to ensure that you have a great school year.
Here are some of the ways our schedule has flexed with our family over the years.
When the kids were all very small, consistency was the key to keeping us on task. We chose to do year-round homeschooling because it fit our needs.
However, as the kids grew older, baseball became the summer focus. My husband was the coach, which took time away from our school day for practices and travel, so we opened a wider stretch of weeks in the summer for a break.
That shifted us into a four-day week for the school year, where I worked away from home two days a week, and we even held school on Saturday instead of a traditional weekday.
Eventually, our older kids graduated and we now follow closely with their college schedule so we don’t miss out on the time that they were home with us for the summer and on breaks.
While we flexed our calendar schedule over the years, our hourly schedule has seen plenty of change too. With multiple children, we’ve schooled in rounds as the younger children get up early.
Our day begins with the subjects that they needed me to be present for hands-on instructions. When they were excused for a break, the older kids have their instruction time. We wrapped up the day with online math and personal reading time.
With homeschooling, it is your school; you decide when and how you will fulfill your state’s required minimum days of school. Creating the perfect homeschool schedule means crafting your scheduling with flexibility in mind.
Going into it with an open mind helps many parents find that homeschooling might be a feasible, more intentional option- even if they once thought it was impossible.
Homeschool is Not Public School
Many parents I speak to are intimidated by homeschooling because of the perceived time commitment. Eight hours a day teaching seems like a daunting requirement for anyone, but especially for the person who has to make the same kids dinner and tell them to do their chores.
When in all actuality, homeschooling takes less time than you think.
For example, a regular public school day is never eight hours long. A school teacher’s workday is eight hours, this is to make enough hours for the American standard, 40-hour workweek.
But, if you discount time trading classes, settling in, correcting students, and reviewing material covered in the previous class, instructional time is less than 30 minutes on average. If the average school day has seven periods, that is roughly three and a half hours of hands-on instructional time.
This four-hour school day is not as hard to schedule. I use this simplified schedule to keep my kids on task, and you can sign up for it HERE.
At our house we do school from 10 am to 2 pm; this works for my schedule as a freelance writer. I work best in the early mornings, while the house is still quiet, but in other homeschools, the kids rise early and do any work that takes parental involvement in the morning hours.
As a parent, creating the perfect homeschool schedule is completely up to you. It takes trial and error, but you can absolutely do this!
Some parents alternate teaching days with their spouse to fit their work schedules, single parents have created similar approaches to shared teaching times if they live where the state allows parents to teach unrelated students.
With co-ops, playgroups, and activities you can still schedule outside activities with another family or share rides to help cover away from home/work/school schedule overlaps.
Schedule Time For Exploration and Play
What was your favorite class in high school? For most people, I bet it was an elective or a class that let you dig deeper into something you were already interested in.
My husband’s life was changed by a cooking class he took as an elective in college. Homeschool students have the opportunity to explore topics that interest them.
I encourage parents to find ways to discover their children’s interests and make them creditable.
Do they play a sport? Homeschooling gives the flexibility for offseason training. Our sons excelled in baseball because they were able to leave home early to travel with several teams as pick up players.
Do you have a student that loves games, tech, photography, or art? Classes are available in abundance through homeschool curriculum providers or in the same places I learned how to build a website and improve my blog; classes online.
Education is rapidly changing and adults are taking the reins of their skills and turning to sources outside of the traditional college network.
Course creators and creative entrepreneurs are taking notice and creating tools to give those with skills a platform to teach. Our students can receive high school credit while under our supervision for learning any number of skills in and outside of “school” hours.
YOUR Perfect Homeschool Schedule
Creating a schedule that fits the rhythm of your life and meets the needs of your student will give you a homeschool experience that feels natural and compliments your family.
With less stress and conflict, student work gets done and learning can begin to be fun again. Don’t get stuck thinking school is one-size-fits-all, fits in a box, or is from 8 to 4.
Get creative and make your own schedule today!
This post was written by….
Amber Smith is a homeschool mother of eleven. She is a freelance writer with the vision to help families find the right tools, build the mindset they needed, and create a homeschool that fits their unique and individual family.
She blogs at 200 Fingers & Toes, where she serves in her role as a homeschool courage lender. There you will find reviews of tools, curriculum, technologies, and products that solve specific problems for homeschooling families.
This article is a part of our How We Homeschool Series; a collection of content from full-time, veteran homeschoolers sharing their own experiences on the versatility and diversity of homeschooling. You can read more about the series, and see all of the content, by clicking the image below.