Hi! Total homeschooling newbie here, and now here I am, trying to create a homeschool schedule — or some semblance of one — to help keep us sane.
Um, it’s not easy.
For background, I am the parent who thought I could wing it with newborn nap schedules and feeding schedules, and finally came around when I realized how much better it was for all of us. So I’m having those same feelings again, knowing that particularly as a work-at-home parent, I have to get it together! It will only make things easier for me to start creating a homeschool schedule that incorporate a reasonable balance between learning, activity, creativity, and the free time our kids need.
So that’s my goal for this week.
Nothing like a shelter-at-home order with no end date in site to turn a Type B mom into a Type A scheduler, right?
I’m so grateful to the uber-organized parents around the web (and our own homeschooling teammates at CMP) who’ve shared their own homeschool schedules so that we all might weigh lots of possibilities, and hopefully find something that will work best for our own families. It doesn’t even matter if you have a beautifully color-coded chalkboard, or just print out a Word doc.
You can even do what Kristen did, when she let her 9-year-old daughter make the schedule (above)!
And hey if what you first try is not working, go right ahead and try something else. We can do this together, right?
Related posts you should also check out:
A homeschool mom’s tips on homeschooling your kids during school closures. You can do this!
The best homeschooling resources for newbies: ELA, science, math, and social studies home learning.
8 fantastic resources for online learning right now
Mapping the day, beyond homeschool time
You have no idea how grateful I am to see this entire Instagram post from mom (and artist, can you tell?) @allyssadelpiano. Like me, she’s not normally a homeschooling mom and while her chalkboard schedule is super organized, I love that she writes a series of pledges, like not beating ourselves up if we get off track, and asking her kids for their help and patience. Also, adding an hour for “What Do I Need?” Time is pure brilliance.
It’s also a helpful schedule for those us in a two-parents-working-at-home household right now (ahem, me), because she schedules the day right up until bedtime. Great jumping off point to adjust as needed.
PS Jealous of the hot tub!
Sometimes, less academic time is more
My friend Dara Obbard at @daraee is not ordinarily a homeschooling mom and yet she was the first of my friends to map out a schedule as soon as her kids’ school in Massachusetts closed. After a week, it evolved to this, and I like how she recognizes, as our own resident homeschoolers will agree, that you can accomplish a lot in a few hours. Note that “academic time” is just three hours, after lunch.
Because she’s raising tweens, she also understands that social contact is an important part of their day, and factored in “virtual social time” twice a day, and that she’s presenting “family time” as something to look forward to.
Related: Our complete homeschooling tools archives
Lots of detail…with lots of flexibility
If you want something even more detailed, longtime CMP friend and reader Laura Scarborough at @nicurnmama on Instagram shared this homeschool schedule white board — which is a great medium, by the way, to help keep you flexible. I really appreciate that she doesn’t just write what’s expected, but offers suggestions for each block. Even quiet time, which may include puzzles, reading, or (if you’re lucky!) a nap.
Perfect for preschoolers
Designer and homeschooling mom Megan of @schoolnest has designed a homeschool schedule just for preschool or younger kids who don’t have a rigorous academic load. I’m especially grateful that she reminds her readers that it’s okay to make changes as you go along; she gave up the kids’ mid-morning playtime break and moved it to the time while she’s making lunch and says ‘it’s perfect there now.”
Self-directed scheduling with no time limits
If you have the ability to keep things loose during the day and let your (probably younger) kids guide the schedule, I absolutely adore this idea from homeschooling mom Reem Tomac of @thetomachronicles. She calls it “Daily Somethings” and explains that it allows her kids, each under 6, to be fluid and make the most of their creativity without the constraints of time.
She explains it beautifully on her post, and I particularly love her recognition that inspiration can strike at any time. In other words, a nature activity may take 20 minutes or it may take the entire afternoon. If you have flexibility and not a full working schedule yourself, this is a nice option to consider.
Related: Reading aloud to kids: Amazing resources, free printables, author videos, children’s book recos and more
If your kids can handle more choice within the structure of a loose schedule, check out this whiteboard from Massachusetts mom, @home_with_mrs_s_. I love that after teeth-brushing time, kids can pick three things to do from a variety of options including playing an instrument, watching a documentary, or 15 minutes on Khan Academy.
If you’re working from home right now, and your kids are fairly autonomous, this is a great solution. You might just want to work in a set time at the end of day to check on work, or spend time discussing what activities the kids chose that day and what they learned from it.
A schedule accounting for kids of different ages
This homeschool schedule from Colby of @jazzgalaxycurls intrigued me because it maps out time from sun up to sun down (though I personally would not forget to drink coffee!), and accounts for both a 3-year-old and an 8-year-old with different needs without getting too specific. So for example, her toddler might nap while her older child reads — but she doesn’t get crazy creating side-by-side schedules for multiple kids.
Swipe to the second photo in her Instagram post, and you’ll see she’s also created a daily rotation schedule of academics and activities, to keep the kids from getting overloaded. There’s always math and reading of some kind, plus one or two other subjects; so Monday may be math, reading, journaling, and art, and then Tuesday might be math, reading comp, and science.
Oh, and I love incorporating pandemic-era tips like “disinfect doorknobs.” Smart mama!
Related: 7 of the best free printable 2020 calendars to suit any taste.
…and one just for laughs
If you just need to smile — or keep it real — I’m grateful for this Real Quarantine Schedule posted by music teacher Tracy King, AKA @thebulletinboardlady! Time for two lunches, two naps, and writing funny social media posts? I could stick to that!
Thank you! I definitely liked the “pick three” idea. I really don’t like the monotony and neither do my kids (I guess I was the one who gave them the wrong role model). And I think that variety will help us to do our homework more effectively. I will certainly think about my own version of this idea with my own options, but overall it’s great and exciting!