Before I start this post just know that I understand if you keep a homeschool schedule- and I’m not mad at ya! Schedules are great when they enhance your life…but just they don’t enhance mine.
Let me explain:
While I love routine, routines and schedules are completely different for me. I enjoy knowing what happens from day to day, week to week, even hour to hour if need be, but this is all based on a loose routine that I keep- generally.
And even though I’ve talked about prepping your home for a homeschool schedule in a past blog post, I don’t think I truly meant a “schedule” in the true sense of the word. I also talk about setting schedules as part of the general design of your homeschool, but again, I’m clearly not a stickler for the hour-by-hour approach.
To me, a homeschool schedule denotes organizing my time by the hour increment. I have tried this method for homeschooling in the past and it just doesn’t work for me. Here’s why:
My kids are 14 and 9. My 14-year-old pretty much keeps to her own “schedule” (I call it that because she keeps her own planner and writes in the times she wants to tackle certain subjects, but I don’t require this of her. It’s just part of her personality and how she personally likes to do things.)
My 9-year-old looks to me to keep her day together- knowing what subjects to do throughout the course of the day. That’s it.
Nobody in our family is craving an hour-by-hour run-down of course of events for the day. Some days we finish math in 1 hour, sometimes in 20 minutes.
A routine is far more effective for my family.
For example, a typical routine for us might look like this:
- around 6:30-ish I get up and have my morning tea and devotions
- sometimes my youngest daughter gets up earlier than I expect her to, otherwise both my daughters are up by 8:30 or 9
- By 10 we start are group subjects together: spelling and bible. If my teen was already up earlier, she would have already had breakfast and gotten started on math and biology.
- Somewhere between thirty to forty-five minutes later, we dismiss our group time and my oldest sets off to her room to complete her work. I start working with my youngest.
- Depending on how we feel, we might start with language arts: latin vocab, handwriting, and grammar. Or we might move straight into math if her older sister is doing Geometry in the living room (because then there’s more motivation for her to knock out math as well!)
- We next move into our other subjects: our history or literature pick for the week (if it’s an audio we might save this for the end of our school day), science, art, and then a piano lesson.
Sometimes this routine lasts 4 hours. Sometimes only 3 if we’re Speedy Gonzalez because we have an incentive to get out of the house for extracurriculars or a play date.
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My life won’t conform to a homeschool schedule
As mentioned earlier, it’s really difficult for me to fit our above-mentioned routine into a pre-scripted schedule. I could say that we’ll all be up by 7 a.m. to begin school and have breakfast and chores done by 8 and start school punctually by 8:30, after which we should be done with all subjects by 12 p.m. But, my life just won’t conform to this.
Like most homeschooling families, we have our days when the kids are sick (or mom is sick), or dad works from home so we have leisure time on our hands and we decide on an impromptu trip to several stores and end up back home by 6:30 in the evening. We might get a call from a homeschool friend some Fridays asking if we’re free for a play date. Surely the play date won’t fit into our schedule if we can’t take a break because of our schedule.
Now…when it comes to prioritizing, I do believe in saying no when you need to. I work from home, and it’s very difficult not to achieve your goals without some amount of boundaries. We need them.
But to restrict my life to an hourly schedule doesn’t give our family the freedom to just enjoy life…
It takes the joy out of homeschooling for me.
Part of the joys of homeschooling is being free to explore the world around us- outside of the four walls of our home. Some days we just need to break the routine, the typical cycle, and get out and do something different.
Don’t get me wrong- we need routine. Knowing what to expect each day and keeping kind of the same pattern going at least 3-4 days out of the week is crucial to having a successful homeschool for us.
But penciling 10:00- Math, 10:30 Language arts in my daily planner…does NOT work for me.
It takes away the joy of spontaneity. Sometimes my husband will be off work and want to take off on a crazy whim to the library or a local museum in the middle of what would be our typical “school hours”. Part of the reason we left the online school we were enrolled in was to avoid this stifling environment for our family.
We need FREEDOM!
So, those are my reasons for why we don’t keep a homeschool schedule in our family.
How about your family? Do schedules work for you? If they do, how do you use them? I’m always curious to know how others work their family homeschool schedule or routines. Let me know in the comments or leave a voicemail!