One of the biggest challenges of homeschooling is to create a schedule for your child. As a homeschooling parent you want to organize your curriculum for each child that you teach effectively and efficiently. In order to develop a routine it is important to understand the needs of each child. When teaching younger children their attention span is much shorter, so you will have to limit lessons and take frequent breaks. For the older homeschooled child, who's attention span is much greater, they should be able to work independently for longer stretches of time and take less frequent breaks. Create a homeschool time management plan that will suit your life.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Collect all of your resources and supplies ahead of time. Map out what you are going to teach for the entire year. Create a color coded schedule of what is expected from each child while they are learning. Blue means reading time, red means math time, orange means science, etc. Create a schedule based on your child and their learning style. If you know that after 15 minutes of reading your child gets antsy then schedule reading time for only 15 minutes. If your child hates math time, then schedule it first thing in the morning to get it over with.
Schedule for Homeschooling a Preschooler
Children thrive on routine. If you are homeschooling a preschooler create a picture-based schedule that they can look at to know what is coming next. An example would be:
Weather/Calendar – 9:00
Math – 9:15
Music – 9:30
Snack/Break – 9:45
Social Studies/Science – 10:00
Playtime – 10:15
Story time – 11:00
Literacy – 11:30
The rest of your day can be used for chores, doctor appointments, play dates, field trips, etc. Studies have showed that short lessons achieve greater success. Preschoolers have very short attention spans. Your child can learn a great deal with your individualized attention in a very short period of time.
Schedule for Homeschooling Primary and High School Grades
Once children's attention spans get a little bit longer it is easier to have the child work independently for a longer length of time. In order to structure your day around a elementary or high school aged child, you first have to look at the needs of your child. Here is an example of a schedule I put together based on the theory of Jeannie Fulbright's research that if every child spent 14 minutes on each subject they would be more engaged and focused than in a regular classroom, because there are less distractions.
Literacy – 9:00
Math – 9:15
Science – 9:30
Social Studies – 9:45
Break – 10:00
Art – 10:15
Music – 10:30
History – 10:45
Independent Work – 11:00
Lunch – 12:00
Does that seem like a short day? Are you worried that your child will not be learning enough in the amount of time? Well consider if you sent them to a school. It takes time to get on the bus, roll call, lunch count, calendar, snack, bathroom breaks, then there is gym, lunch, time between classes, art, music, band and time getting home. If you take all of these into consideration than 15 minutes a subject is a lot of time spent with individualized instruction. The rest of the day can be spent on extracurricular activities, field trips, chores, etc. the time is yours.
Ask your child if the schedule that you created is working for them. If not, allow them to be part of the process and develop a schedule that will work for everyone. If your child would rather do science first than last, then why not change it? Learning to be flexible can only benefit your child academically.
Organize Your Home
Once you have your time management schedule in place for your homeschooled child, next is to organize your time at home. Make sure everyone pitches in. Once their school day is officially over create a routine for getting the chores done. If your school day ends at noon everyday you can assign each child a role such as "dish specialist" or " laundry king". This way the chores are getting done and you are teaching your child the importance of responsibility and life skills.
Once chores are completed you can schedule time such as, field trips, play dates or "me time." Next you can schedule extracurricular activities and then homework.
Once you have a plan stick with it! Make every minute count. Create your schedule on priority. School work, chores, and then extracurricular activities. Time management is a learned skill. In order to organize your time during the school day it is essential to have a time management homeschool plan.
• Jeannie Fulbright, https://www.jeanniefulbright.com/articles/how-long-should-a-homeschool-day-be