For many homeschool parents, deciding on a homeschool schedule can feel like a challenging task. Furthermore, the homeschool schedule that works for one family may not work for another, which makes it even more difficult to nail down.
Whether you’re new to homeschooling or a homeschool veteran, it’s possible to make the perfect homeschool schedule that works for your family. You just need the right tools to help you make an effective roadmap.
What Needs To Go Into Our Homeschool Schedule?
Before you plan out a detailed homeschool schedule for your family, you need to decide what specific subjects and extracurricular activities you want to put into your homeschool routine. This can sound quite overwhelming for homeschool newbies, but it’s not actually as complicated as you may think.
To start, check into your state’s homeschool requirements. In many cases, states provide a list of mandated subjects (like math and reading) — and some even go so far as to provide specific content requirements for each grade. This info will help you map out your core curriculum for your homeschool schedule so that you meet your child’s needs.
Once you have a general idea of what core subjects you need to teach, you can fill in the rest of your schedule with subjects that align with your family values or extracurriculars that match your child’s interests. This may include subjects like religion, heritage, or even genealogy. It may also include activities like music lessons or meditation, whatever your family thinks is best.
Finally, your family’s weekly plans and overall routine will likely impact your final homeschool schedule. For example, if one of your children has weekly medical appointments, your schedule will look very different for a family with one child. Also, your own work and personal schedule may impact what subjects you cover during the week, and that’s perfectly alright. Just make sure you account for all of these considerations before you decide on a format and draw up your final homeschool schedule.
Types of Homeschool Schedules
Although no two families handle their daily homeschool routine the same way, there are several standard homeschool schedules that families use. These include block, loop, relaxed, and checklist formats.
A block schedule is a common type of homeschool schedule used by parents. With this type of schedule, you map out each day with a firm plan in which each subject area or activity occurs at a set time. In many cases, you keep the blocks consistent throughout the week, meaning you study the same subject at the same time each day.
Block scheduling allows you to assign a specific subject to each hour (or half hour if you’d like) throughout the day. When the scheduled time for that subject is up, you move on to the next one — even if you were in the middle of something. In other words, block scheduling revolves around the clock.
For families who thrive on highly structured routines, a traditional block schedule often works best for homeschooling. Because block schedules are time-based, they also work well for families with multiple homeschool children or families in which the parents also work from home during the day.
Another common type of homeschool schedule is called a loop schedule. Unlike block schedules, a loop schedule doesn’t revolve around the clock. Instead, you determine how many times you want to cover each subject area in a week and make an ordered list. You then start at the top of the list at the beginning of the week and work your way down.
Loop schedules allow you to spend as much time as you need on a certain lesson or activity (within reason), and they allow you more flexibility within the week. For this reason, loop schedules are great for parents who know what they want to teach in a given week but need flexibility in their daily schedules. Loop schedules also allow parents the ability to spend more or less time on specific lessons depending on their child’s understanding and interest.
For families who need some structure but also like flexibility, a relaxed schedule is a great solution. This schedule essentially blocks off the day into large chunks of time (like morning and afternoon), then parents fill in the list of subject areas or activities they’d like to cover during each part of the day. In other words, relaxed schedules provide a sort of hybrid between the structure of a block schedule while allowing for some flexibility like the loop schedule provides.
Relaxed schedules are great for families with young children who may need more frequent breaks during the day. This schedule is also helpful for parents who may be juggling childcare for school-aged children and younger siblings.
For families who know what they want to cover each day but need extreme flexibility in when they complete their homeschool lessons each day, a checklist homeschool schedule can work very well. With this format, families create weekly checklists where the subjects are listed out on each day, then they simply check off each item on the day as they complete it. Then, once every subject listed on the day is complete, the homeschool day is over.
Checklist schedules are great for older children because they help them learn time management skills. Checklists also work well for any child who needs the motivation of checking off tasks to help them complete their work.
Factors That May Impact Your Homeschool Schedule
Once you decide what you want to teach and what schedule format you want to use, it’s time to set up your official homeschool schedule. When determining your final plan, however, you may want to think about any factors that will impact your homeschool schedule.
For example, your work schedule may ultimately dictate when you homeschool during the day. In fact, some families actually do their homeschooling in the afternoon or evening because both parents work during the day. Other families find that completing their homeschool work in the morning is helpful — especially if one parent works second or third shift. It all just depends.
Also, your family’s weekly commitments or appointments may also impact your homeschool schedule. In some instances, families opt to do a modified homeschool schedule in which they only complete work four or even three days per week. This allows the other day to be free for appointments and other commitments. As long as you’re able to cover all of the needed material and make your other commitments, that’s all that matters.
Final Thoughts on Homeschool Schedules
Because no two families are alike, no two homeschool schedules look the same either — and that’s okay! Instead of stressing over what everyone else is doing, you need to just make a schedule that meets your family’s needs and covers the content you need to address in a given school year. This will ultimately help you succeed in your homeschooling journey.
Megan Glosson is a mother and freelance writer based Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoys writing on a variety of parenting topics, but loves taking on anything with a personal connection to her own life. When she’s not writing, you can probably find Megan building Legos or playing board games with her two adorable daughters. To check out more of Megan’s work or to contact her about freelance opportunities, visit meganglosson.com