Creating a Restful Schedule
If you're like most homeschool moms, you are probably just finishing up your school year and in the middle of a pile of books - getting ready for another school year.
Before you try to cram in all the good stuff, extra programs, and schedule out every minute of your next school year - take a minute to step back and evaluate.
Preparing for a restful year
Last month I talked about setting the foundation for a successful homeschooling year - setting goals & choosing curriculum. Once I've gone through those steps, I start buying curriculum (isn't that the best part?).
Once the materials start arriving it's time to plan, print & prepare. I like to look through the teacher's manuals, make sure I buy everything we need, and print all the necessary pages. I'll do a bit of math, figuring out how many lessons a week we'll need to complete in our 36-week schedule. Then, during the school year, I can relax a little because all the organizing is finished ahead of time.
But beyond that, it's important to create a schedule that works for your family.
Create a daily schedule that works
When we first started homeschooling, I created perfect color-coded daily schedules. I had our days scheduled down to the minute.
It didn't last long.
Following such a detailed plan is stressful and it's impossible to plan for unexpected events.
Now, I've learned that creating a routine is more important (especially for my sanity) than a strict daily schedule.
I don't schedule out every minute of our day. Instead, we have a basic (often fluid) daily routine.
Tips for planning your daily routine
- Leave wiggle room in your schedule. You never know when something unexpected is going to come up.
- Focus on your goals when life gets stressful.
- As your kids get older, let them take the lead in a few of their subjects.
- Don’t over purchase – all those extras that look so fun will just cause you stress & burnout down the road.
- Plan for breaks – we take a break every six weeks.
A look at our sixth-grade plan
My first step in planning was to look at our overall yearly & daily schedule. I know that we want to continue our basic routine of skill subjects Monday to Thursday, leaving Friday free for projects, documentaries, poetry, art & music. So we’ll cover math & logic, reading, language arts, and foreign language Monday to Thursday and leave Fridays for ‘fun’ stuff.
This year we’ve alternated content subjects (history, science & interest-led learning) each week. While it worked very well, we decided to change it up a bit this year. We’re going to focus on history for 4 terms (6 weeks each term) and then cover science over the last two terms.
A look at our daily routine
My goal in the middle school years is to teach TJ independence. So I’m looking at all of our subjects through the lens of that goal. In a few subjects, she is pretty much independent – I give her daily assignments and check them at the end of the day. In other subjects, we work together.
Our daily schedule follows the same basic pattern. When we’re up & awake TJ gets started on her math. After that we go through all the subjects we need to work on together and TJ writes down any assignments she’ll need to complete later. Then we’ll spend some time reading aloud and working on history or science. By then it’s time for lunch. We take a break for an hour and a half or so. Then TJ gets to work on whatever assignments need to be completed.
That’s it. No big colorful schedule with subjects scheduled to the minute. We just know that we have to cover our skill subjects 4 days a week and we add in the fun extras (and a math lesson!) on Friday. Our day still allows plenty of room for unexpected events and everyday errands.
More tips for planning
My friends Sara from Classically Homeschooling and Chelli at The Planted Trees are also sharing their tips & advice for planning for a restful homeschool year. Check out the links above or click on the images below.