Trying to homeschool while you’re running frantically all over town from one activity to another just doesn’t work. There’s no time to sit and enjoy a cup of tea over a lively history discussion. To curl up on a rainy day reading great literature aloud to your children, or even to enjoy a science experiment in the kitchen.
You need a weekly schedule.
That’s why the next step in the 31 days to a well-run homeschool series is to take a look at our weekly schedule. It’s too easy to overbook ourselves until we’re running ragged trying to get everything done and hoping we don’t drop too many balls.
I’ve been there a few times. I think we all have.
What I do is to take an 8 column spreadsheets, label each column with a day of the week, and give each row a time. Here’s the schedule I use actually. It’s a pdf file, so feel free to print as many as you need.
Insert the Obvious
It’s best to begin by inserting what I think of as the obvious. This means to add all the basic schedule or routine your family is currently on.
I imagine the kids are heading to bed at a similar time each night. It may be 7:30 in the evening or much later, say 11 pm. Don’t worry about it. Just jot down your family’s normal day. Normal may be a relative term, but do your best.
Add these times to your schedule now:
- Bedtimes – children and parents
- Wake up times – children and parents
- Meal times
- Work hours if you have a consistent time. For instance my husband’s work hours don’t change. My hours are flexible and I don’t usually add them at this point.
- Non-negotiable activities – My children consider our weekly park day to be non-negotiable. Most of our friends, from 2 to 18 plus moms, show up to play. It’s an important social event in our weekly routine. Another couple non-negotiable are church and our Friday trip to the library.
Add homeschooling times
We need time at home to homeschool. I know people talk about homeschooling out of the house, but it’s rarely worked with my kids.
We tried homeschooling at the park. The breeze blew papers everywhere and the kids just wanted to play.
We tried homeschooling at the library. The children were distracted by people, children, and books.
I discovered my family homeschools best at home, where we can concentrate on our schoolwork without too many distractions.
Pencil in the times you expect to be homeschooling your children. There’s no right answer. Friends and I have successfully homeschool in the mornings, in the afternoon, and in the evenings.
Make a decision on the optimal time for your family to homeschool and add the time to your schedule. Remember, homeschooling doesn’t take all day.
Time to run the household
You’re going to need time to run the house. The house needs to be cleaned, laundry done, dishes washed, shopping and errands done as well.
Look at your schedule. When is the best time for you to run your household?
To be honest, I loathe doing major housework after dinner. The family is settling down to relax and enjoy family time. The last thing I want to be doing is mopping the floor or scrubbing the toilet.
Instead immediately after breakfast works beautifully.
- I have energy to be darting around the house.
- The kids aren’t involved in schoolwork yet so it’s easy to assign chores.
- We end up with a comfortable house to homeschool in
An hour devoted to the household works well for most families.
At this point I also pencil in an afternoon to be running errands. This gives me time to do the weekly grocery shopping, pick up office supplies, shop for clothing, or drop by the post office.
This is also when I add my own work and office hours. I have a good idea of what the family’s schedule is at this point, so I add my work hours to the early morning, quiet time, or in the evenings.
Add optional activities
There are always a few activities we’re considering adding to our schedule. They sound fun and educational, but they’re optional activities rather than non-negotiable ones.
Optional activities may be a fun play day once a week, starting ballet or soccer, or simply heading to the pool to swim. Pencil these activities into the schedule and take a look at the result.
You’re going to need margin in your week.
This means you need time to sit down and enjoy a book with your family. You need time to go to coffee with friends or out on a date with your husband.
You need time to curl up on a rainy afternoon with a good book.
Don’t plan a week that leaves you drained and exhausted.
Plan a weekly schedule that your family finds energizing and enjoyable. One that supports your reasons for homeschooling.
Remember to read the other posts in the 31 days to a well-run homeschool series!