5 Ways to Simplify Your Homeschool Schedule

One of the most popular (most-clicked) posts on my blog is a little one called A Very Simple Schedule that I wrote last winter when I was still floundering with lots of difficult factors and trying to figure out how to keep the homeschool afloat.  But the fact that so many people have clicked on that post title means that people are interested in help with the homeschool schedule – specifically, how to keep it simple!  Here are a few tips.  Use any or all of these and adapt as needed for your family.

Your homeschool schedule is the framework of your learning environment, and it's easy to over-complicate things. Here are some ways to keep it simple!{This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for supporting HSWOTW.}

Whole-Group Discussion as Much as Possible

Five students doing five different worksheets on five different topics within one subject is enough to cause any mother to have a nervous breakdown, especially when each worksheet needs to be checked, corrected and checked again.  As much as possible, cover the material you’d like to cover all together as a family.  Gather everyone together, read aloud (or watch a video) and talk about what you heard.  (You can read more about how we’ve done a digital morning time together in the past.)

Yes, you can even do math whole-group in many cases!  Right now we are learning about measurement.  Everyone from the eleven-year-old down to the three-year-old gathers at the dining room table to draw or paint while I read aloud a book about measurement or we do some hands-on exploration together.  (I’m working on a future post of resources, but in the meantime, you can check out these videos here and here).  The older kids grasp more, the little ones grasp more than they would have if they hadn’t been included.  The older kids can handle more challenging questions.  The younger kids can answer simpler ones.  We can do simple problems and calculations on our slates, checked on the fly and erased.  But what about differentiated practice?

Automate the Practice

Especially when children are elementary age, you want as much of the new learning as possible to be done with mama, out loud and even hands-on.  But when it comes to checking simple practice, let the computer handle that part.  Use Xtra Math or Khan Academy for math practice.  Have your children write paragraphs and stories on the computer and then have Grammarly check their spelling, mechanics, and grammar.   That way, you can use your time with them to focus on the fun stuff – the ideas and words they are using! Check out Sheppard Software for learning practice across disciplines or use Quia or Sporcle to create your own automated review of any subject!

Looping

If you haven’t already read Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie, I highly recommend you stop everything else you are doing (including crying over your schedule) and read.it.right.now.  It is full of such gentle wisdom and common sense about the homeschool perspective.  One of the great scheduling tips Sarah recommends is looping, which you can read more about here on her blog.  The basic idea is that rather than assigning non-daily subjects to a day of the week, you simply have a list you “loop” through each time you have a chance.  When you have another opportunity for your loop subjects, you pick up where you left off, regardless of the day of the week.

“Pin” a Few Things, Let the Rest Flow

Because I have children who range in age from toddler to middle schooler, I want to keep the schedule somewhat flexible.  But if we are going to do some bits of the day together, then we need to have some type of schedule or routine so that we can all manage to be in the same place at the same time.  We’ve found it helpful to pin down a few points in the day and then allow the children to fill in their other responsibilities around these.  For example (times are approximate and vary with notice):

  • 9:00am – Bible time (takes about 30 min)
  • 11:30 am- Lunch
  • 1:00pm – Table School (takes about 45-60 min)
  • 3:00pm – Snack and clean-up

Before, between and around these times, my older children can choose when to eat breakfast, do their (minimal) daily chores and complete their independent work.  One child wakes up early and has all her independent work done and breakfast eaten before Bible time.  Another child sleeps up until Bible time and has breakfast afterward, completing chores before lunch and independent work after table school.

Dive Deep

Rather than trying to plan and keep many subjects going at one time, it has really helped us (me!) to instead do a concentrated focus on one subject at a time.  During our Table School time, we work a little bit on our Brave Writer Arrow Guide (language study based on our current read-aloud) and then we focus on the one subject we are exploring together.  The funny thing is, though, that there is always overlap and “spillage” into other subjects.  For example, we are now studying measurement.  That topic already includes plenty of math and science.  But we’ve also hit on history and Latin and even a little theology as well!  Next, we’ll take a look at the election process using the Elections Online Unit Study from Techie Homeschool Mom.  Have you ever thought about taking a deep dive into one subject and saving the others for later?

What strategies have helped you to simplify your homeschool schedule?  Be sure to share your ideas below!

You May Also Enjoy …

 

Homeschooling is hard work. Multiply that by the number of toddlers tagging along for the journey. How do you get your head in the game for this task?

There is no such thing as the perfect chore system. But if you'd like to tweak your schedule a bit, here are five things to consider!

5 Comment

  1. Love your ideas! We have a morning gathering time (kind of like a morning basket but like to tweak;) The boys & I cover quite a few subjects/concepts during this time. Really helps set pace for our day & I find it shaves time off, too:)

    1. Amy, I love this. It’s amazing what can be covered with some read alouds and good conversation, isn’t it?

  2. These are great tips. I love teaching as much together as possible. It has lead to great discussions because each child has a different perspective.

    1. Jennifer, that is an excellent point! We always talk about how “each one is unique”. Learning together really capitalizes on that, doesn’t it?

  3. […] cut out anything that you’re only doing out of guilt. You know there are things in your homeschool schedule that are only there because that’s what “good homeschoolers” do and you don’t want your […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge