Effective Homeschool Schedules: Eight Things to Consider
With Free Printable Schedules for Homeschooling Parents
By Melody Johnson, Curriculum Developer and Writer from Georgia
Homeschooling is one of the best experiences a parent and child can have. To start homeschooling on a positive note, having a schedule in place is crucial.
For many parents, homeschooling has become a new reality, and many likely feel like they’re in the weeds. To help with this transition, I have placed together a nifty system for you so your child can learn efficiently. Just keep reading!
Before the schedule…
1) Establish the Activities That You and Your Child Want to Do During the Day
Start to list all the things that your child needs to do and wants to do. If all activities are included within a schedule, then chances are your child will anticipate having to do those activities. You can do it day by day or schedule it a week in advance. Also, include your child in the process of the events that they can choose.
When they create the schedule with you, they are more likely to do it. Giving that sense of choice allows them to feel comfortable and happy.
Prep time was always a week in advance when I homeschooled and taught. It helped me to prepare and pull materials for my children with the choices we all made.
2) Explain to Your Child Why They Need a Schedule
If your child has a plan, chances are higher that they will comply with what is being asked of them academically, especially if there is a fun activity planned. They may not understand fully and become upset at doing the same thing if they are not at least informed about it. If I explain why a task needs to be done at a specific time, I get the least resistance from children. Kids are curious and always want to know why.
3) Develop Expectations for When These Activities Will Take Place
Developing expectations will help your child understand what each activity at each time frame will entail. This detail is essential because this will eliminate a lot of wasted time and frustration for you and your child. If your child understands the expectations up front, then chances are they will complete the activity successfully.
4) Be Consistent
Children thrive off of consistency. They love to know what is happening next. This relieves your child from any anxiousness that they may have.
Once the system is in place, and you’ve explained to your child what is expected every day at each time, be consistent. Make sure to follow the schedule every day. Explain the plan the night before and the morning of the activities for the day during breakfast.
It is only through practice that they will be consistent every single day at that time with that activity. This is going to help your child build critical skills such as being more organized and preparing them for working independently.
Eventually, they will know what happens next and prepare for it.
5) Give Accountability
If your child knows that they have to work on their math work, but they are playing games then instead, you’ll need to address that with your child before moving on to any other activities. It might be an avoidance behavior, and frankly, even adults do it. So, to not create such a habit, it is essential to give this consistency to your child.
If your child understands that they are supposed to be doing an academic activity, but they require a break, then work that break into the schedule so they know when they should take breaks.
If boundaries are not established early on, then your child will have a difficult time getting back on track and being able to focus on academics.
You can do this with children that are as young as preschool. I’ve done it with all three of my children. Accountability will ultimately help your child to know that the responsibilities that they have come with expectations.
When creating the schedule….
6) Maximize the Schedule
Maximize your schedule by placing this schedule in a plastic sheet protector or laminate the schedule to put at your child’s eye level. This way you can also use a dry erase marker to check off tasks as you complete them.
The schedule is not just for you. It serves as a visual reminder for your child. If they don’t know what is coming next, they will likely refer to the schedule if they are not sure. If they do ask you and can verbalize a bit, simply tell them that they can look at the calendar pictures.
You can ask, “What activity did we just complete? What comes next? Let’s look at the pictures!”
When your child is done with an activity, have them use the dry erase marker by checking off the box or “X” the box. Giving your child the sense of completion will have them asking, “Okay, what is next?” Then they will anticipate another activity.
7) Time Out the Schedule
You can use this same method (with the pictures) for those children that are not yet able to read. You just may have to change the duration of time to get them to sit with you to complete the activity. For toddlers, you cannot expect them to sit for an hour. You can start with the activity, letting them sit with you at the same time and slowly increase the time by two minutes a day. You can even use a timer so children will know when they are done with the activity.
8) Make Room for Exceptions
There are also going to be days where your child might not feel well or is simply tired from doing so much work. If your child is having a hard time, start with shorter times, such as half-hour intervals. If they are simply not well, come back another time and start the schedule. When you begin a schedule — something you will implement daily — you want to make sure you are doing it when they are feeling good, in a good mood, and are not tired or hungry.
The schedules that we have included are to the hour, including both pictures and no pictures. There are also blank schedules where you can fill in the time yourself to accommodate the need of you and your children.
Using a schedule every day will help you and your child to decide what activities you would like to complete. It will also help your child to understand what activities will come next and how to be consistent with it. This gives your child a sense of accountability. Maximize your schedule by showing them the visuals and using the checkboxes or “X” to complete the activity for the day.
See below for free schedules that you can print them out and fill it out with your child.
Melody Johnson is a curriculum developer, educator, and creator, writer, lover of coffee hot or cold, reading, writing, and baking. She is a proclaimed supermom, combustible content creator, and aspiring future pet lover of two Sphinx cats or hermit crabs, old or young! Born a New Yorker, but living and loving the Southern life in Georgia, she is married, with three amazing kids.
She is the creator of Positive Masterminds. Positive Thinking Podcast
Connect with her on Facebook at Positive Masterminds, Twitter, and Instagram @4Positivethinking.
Sign up for her newsletter for more tips on reading and connect on Instagram @4Kids2Read!
To be reminded why your work is so very important and for more stories and advice, visit our collection of teacher perspectives at The Art of Teaching.
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