Don’t Burn Out! Fix Your Homeschool Schedule
We’ve all heard the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This notion is especially relevant for parents who have created a homeschool schedule that is simply not working for them. If you’re living through this dilemma, don’t sweat it — change your schedule. You have that freedom and flexibility as a homeschooler.
Below are a few ways you can change your homeschool routine until you find what works.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but some parents don’t include enough breaks during the day. Many new homeschoolers, who still have the traditional school mindset, may be inadvertently creating an “information overload” situation with their child. If you include breaks, encourage your child to take control and have them choose when to take that ever-important respite from online learning. You could also make break time more interesting by offering different types. Here are some examples:
- Nutrition break
- Exercise time
- Free time
- Reflection time
If you want to change things up completely, try unschooling for a while. It is defined as an informal educational method that promotes “learner-chosen” activities as a primary means for learning. In other words, you let your children study subjects that interest them. Through this student-centric approach, children choose the topics and learn about them in the manner that best suits their needs. It is a break from the traditional methods and strict scheduling that occurs in brick-and-mortar schools.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to homeschooling. As a parent or caretaker, you take control of your child’s education and customize it based on their needs, skills, and interests.
Edit Your Existing Schedule
Are your children feeling overwhelmed? Review your homeschool schedule carefully and start editing out the things that aren’t necessary. Choose the resources, curriculum products, and activities that most interest your kids. Sit down with them and discuss what they prefer. Remember, every day doesn’t have to be a full day covering different subject matter, extracurricular activities, and after-school events. One day could be focused on academics, while another day could focus on more enrichment and hands-on learning activities. You can even homeschool year round if that’s what works best for your family.
Plan Your Lessons and Activities in Advance
Some curriculum products, such as Time4Learning, have built-in lesson plans and activity trackers. Those resources help you measure what your children are learning and how long it takes them to complete their work. You can plan your week or month’s learning ahead of time and make changes on the fly. This not only helps organize your homeschool experience, but it also empowers your child as they are aware of when learning will take place.
Include Outside Activities
Remember to incorporate fun outdoor learning into your homeschool. For instance, hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities at a local museum will strengthen skills in the core subject of science, and develop additional skills such as complex analysis, critical and lateral thinking, and problem solving. By joining other homeschooled children outside the classroom, your kids will socialize more and create valuable friendships with others experiencing the same educational process.
You can build these activities right into your schedule. Some parents dedicate two or three days per month. This practice helps them maximize their opportunities to visit and experience various events and venues. Check out these places with your children:
- The library
- Educational field trips to museums, parks, etc.
- Volunteer work
- Homeschool groups
- Local businesses
- Working farms
You may have other opportunities near your home. Most are inexpensive, and some are free, and help break up your schedule and create anticipation — a feeling kids appreciate. We’re sure you remember how you felt a few days before going on a field trip; it was thrilling!
So, if your schedule isn’t working, remember, flexibility is your friend. Use it to your advantage and make the most of what homeschooling offers.