The thing about homeschool schedules is that they’re difficult to keep. As real life happens, flexibility is essential. However, as my children get older, we’re moving from a loose homeschool rhythm to a slightly more disciplined schoolwork schedule.
When planning our year, I use two important tools: a paper teacher planner and a digital calendar. My paper planner contains all the detailed assignments for the day for each subject. The digital calendar, on the other hand, is more general, with overall subjects by time slot.
Although I normally use The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, which truly is one of the best homeschool planners out there, I saw a smaller teacher planner at Michaels recently and was so drawn to the bright colours and fun stickers that I bought it instead (along with several extra packs of planner stickers). This year, I’ll be trying out a teacher planner from The Happy Planner. It’s about half the size of The Ultimate Homeschool Planner, but still has the perfect amount of room for our assignments.
The above image is a screenshot from the digital calendar on my phone. Since I always have it with me, I can easily pull it up when I’m making plans with people to ensure that I’m leaving adequate time for schoolwork, extra-curriculars, and the other things on our schedule. Having homeschooled my children for six years, it’s not difficult to estimate a generous enough allotment of time for each subject.
What if We’re Running Behind Schedule?
As I mentioned in my previous post, we’ll be using Sonlight this year for our Bible/History/Literature core. Sonlight has both a four-day and a five-day option. We chose the four-day work week. Furthermore, I’ve adjusted the remaining subjects on our schedule as well so that Fridays are solely for memory work recitation, math, and the girls’ weekly spelling test, all three of which are categorized as “independent work” on the above calendar. The older girls will also listen to the news and each choose a current event to research and report on to the rest of the family over dinner. Other than that, the day is free for catch up, field trips, chores, or hanging out with friends.
Honestly, however, I doubt we’ll need to use Friday very often unless we unexpectedly miss a day earlier in the week. Most days, work is completed in the morning. If we need some extra time, we can simply work into the afternoon.
Why Don’t We Have Full School Days?
Homeschooling takes much less time than public schooling. We need less time to transition between subjects; we take our bathroom breaks when we need them; we don’t break for recess; and we don’t have to take time to answer a classroom’s worth of questions during lessons. As the girls get older, their workloads will increase. But for now, they need 4-5 hours max to complete their work.
Flexibility is Essential
I know I’ve already said this, but I can’t stress it enough. Life happens. Sickness happens. Field trips happen. Unexpected events happen. There are no substitute homeschool teachers. And class does not go on when a student is missing either. Schedules cannot be set in stone.
Still, it feels good to have everything ready for when September hits. Summer flies by, but now that my prep work is finished, I can sit back and relax.