Do You Schedule Your Homeschool Day Efficiently?Feb 16th, 2014 | By Jessica Parnell | Category: Featured Articles, General Homeschool Posts
The Benefits of Scheduling
It’s been touted as the norm for years – young children thrive on having a consistent routine to their day. “Knowing what to expect from relationships and activities helps children become more confident,” says Dr. Peter Gorski, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, Massachussetts. However, the stress we may put upon ourselves – or our children – should routines change or the unexpected occur, is not a positive thing either.
Remember that the two most important factors of a routine in a growing child’s day do NOT revolve around the timing of class work. Consistent mealtimes, and a clear bedtime routine that involves winding down are the key elements to healthy brain growth and development. If you have to work in some school activities on the evenings or weekends, you are not causing one bit of damage. Homeschooling is flexible. That’s the joy of it.
The Needs of Varying Age Groups
This little quandary causes a bit of stress for some homeschool classrooms – stress that is not encountered in a regular school system. However, it is certainly manageable, and actually increases patience, flexibility, and the ability for children to interact with different age groups and/or generations – an invaluable REAL WORLD skill. There will always be time for catch up down the road. Some homeschool parents need to work outside the home as well – but there are always ways to make it work.
What Real Homeschool Moms Do
We talked to several homeschool moms to get a “from the trenches” feel at how homeschool families operate and what works for them. What we learned was that the flexibility of homeschooling is truly a beautiful thing! Here’s what they had to say:
Jen: “Basically, if it doesn’t benefit survival, homeschooling, writing, or family time, it gets scheduled where and when it can. I make sure that everyone knows that certain things must come first. So when they ask for certain freedoms or activities, they know they might very well get a no.”
Mary: “I will sometimes take a day off, totally unscheduled, just because. Sometimes that unscheduled break does more for getting things done than anything else.”
Hannah: “On days we have errands, I like to get those done first thing after breakfast, and simply delay school. We are not very structured – although I know that works for some. One morning out of the week we are at our co-op, and that is our main structured day; one day a week we have a library craft-time we try to join as well.”
Cupcake: “We usually keep classroom hours from 9 to 1. Every day we will do math and reading for an hour each. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays is science. Tuesdays and Thursdays is history. Left over time is art, documentaries, or other subjects – whatever we have picked for the week. Friday is always a light day, I “test” what they have learned with small quizzes, and I never start anything new on a Friday. Always, I avoid being too strict – it sucks the fun right out!”
Wendy: “As far as getting children of different ages on the same page, I just make sure they realize their school day is over when we finish what’s planned for the day. If they’re done by 10 or 11, the rest of the day is theirs. If they take until 3, 4, or even 5 – well, that’s less time outside, or on the computer or video games, or whatever. Basically, they’re in charge of how much playtime they get, by how hard they work. That’s pretty good motivation for getting them both focused and ready to work.”
Common Sense Application
Scheduling your days is really all about common sense, trial and error, and learning to shrug off what doesn’t work – and trying again. Any, or all, of these ideas can be adjusted to fit your household or the needs and personalities of your children.
The beauty of a homeschool classroom is the flexibility to apply what works for your family and discard anything that doesn’t. Every day is a work in progress.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Parnell is passionate about homeschooling. A wife, mother and former public high school teacher, Jessica has transferred this passion into her career as Principal of Bridgeway Homeschool Academy. Her passion grows out of a deep desire to see every child reach their God given potential and purpose through faith-based, customized, and flexible homeschooling. With over 25 years of experience helping over 24,000 families to homeschool their way, Jessica is dedicated to helping families understand the freedom that comes with homeschooling and to empowering parents, a child’s first teacher, to feel confident in taking control of their child’s education.
Additional homeschooling posts:
Homeschool Recommendations for Consumer Math
A reader asked if I had any recommendations for a good consumer math program for homeschoolers.
Homeschooling on the Road-Vision
Day Three-Catching the Vision Today we returned to Focus on the Family to take a tour of the administrative buildings (which we were unable to do yesterday) and we were inspired by their vision and by how God has blessed their ministry.