How to Plan an Effective Homeschool Routine
To make homeschooling successful, it’s important to keep your family on a schedule. Check out these tips for planning an effective homeschool routine.
Almost 100,000 kids are homeschooled across Canada, and educating your kids at home allows for a lot of freedom and flexibility. However, if you’re new to homeschooling, you might struggle to establish a routine at first. If you don’t plan your time carefully, you could end up neglecting certain subjects, spending too long in one area, or missing out on potential activities.
Worried that you’re already failing as a homeschooler? Luckily, it’s not difficult to plan an effective homeschool routine, and we’re here to help.
Keep reading for a simple guide to establishing a routine that works for you and your child.
Decide Between a Strict or Relaxed Schedule
Do you want to create a schedule that accounts for every minute of your day, and stick to it religiously? Or would you rather put together a basic framework, but allow room to be flexible according to how things are going? Neither option is wrong, and your choice will depend on how you and your child work best together. If you tend to get the most done with a strict, focused plan, then go ahead and create one. If you prefer room to move subjects around and alter your plans, then creating a flexible schedule makes sense.
Not sure which to choose? Experiment by trying each option for one week, then deciding which works best. Remember to include your child in your final decision.
Create a Yearly Plan for Each Subject
Will your child be taking exams each year? Or is there a large project you’d like them to complete for each subject? Setting a yearly goal for every single subject you teach ensures that your teaching stays focused and relevant, and is a great way to measure your child’s progress.
Your goals might look quite different from subject to subject, and that’s okay – here are a few example goals.
Art: Complete 5 paintings influenced by different artists. Experiment with 10 different techniques.
Math: Complete entire textbook and successfully complete final test.
French: Learn to use basic phrases, numbers, and colours.
Your goals might need to be adjusted according to how well your child is doing, so keep an eye on their progress. Goals should be challenging but achievable, and not so easy that your child isn’t achieving their full potential.
Break Your Plan Down Into Actionable Daily Goals
Once you’ve set yearly goals for each subject, you can create actionable daily goals to help you achieve them. If you’re ever stuck for what to assign, which activities to choose, or where to go on a trip, take a look at your goals for inspiration. Everything you do while homeschooling should have a purpose, so be sure to stay focused.
Here’s an idea of what your daily goals might look like, following on from the example above:
Art: Study one artist and try one new technique.
Math: Read one textbook chapter, do practice exercises, and complete short quiz.
French: Work on online course and practice conversation for 20 minutes.
Setting daily goals like this works well whether you’re going for a strict or flexible routine. In a strict routine, you might designate specific time slots for each activity. In a flexible routine, you’ll have the freedom to mix and match tasks as you choose – you could do 10 minutes of French, then half an hour of Math, then 20 minutes of Art.
Never lose sight of your end goals, or your lessons could become unfocused and unhelpful.
Create a Daily Routine Which Includes Your Goals
Not sure exactly what your goal-oriented daily routine should look like? Check out the examples below and refer to them when creating your own plan.
Assigning times to each subject is a great way to stay on track, especially if your child takes part in lots of extra activities. The timings will vary according to the age of your child, their attention span, and the number of subjects you’re teaching.
8 – 9 am: Eat breakfast
9 am – 12 pm: Subject 1
12 – 1 pm: Eat lunch
1 – 2 pm: Extracurricular trip or activity
2 – 3 pm: Subject 2
3 – 4 pm: Subject 3
4 – 5 pm: Sports or extracurricular activity
5 – 6 pm: Eat dinner
7 pm: Bedtime
A flexible homeschool routine should include a list of tasks without specific time markers. This means you know what you need to do each day, but can be flexible about how long you spend on each task.
Extracurricular trip or activity
No matter which routine you choose, you should always have a clear idea of what you’re planning to achieve each day.
Display Your Routine in a Prominent Place
How will you and your child stick to your routine if it’s in a drawer somewhere? Displaying your routine on a large piece of paper or drawing it onto a whiteboard will help you both to stay on track. You could even tick subjects off as you complete them to enhance your child’s sense of achievement. Regular praise can improve your child’s confidence, so it’s always a good idea to recognize their hard work.
For older kids, you could create your routine as a shared Google Document that you can both edit as needed. This shows that you respect their input, and helps you create a schedule that works for everyone.
Whatever you do, don’t create an awesome homeschool routine and then forget about it!
Make Changes as Needed to Avoid Burnout
Are you sick of homeschooling? Does your child seem to complain constantly? It’s completely normal to suffer burnout at some stage in your homeschooling career, and a change of routine can be a great remedy. If you’re usually super strict, try relaxing things for a few days. If you’re too relaxed, experiment with a rigid schedule for a while.
Homeschooling is all about trial and error, and you’re learning just as much as your child.
Why Is a Homeschool Routine Important?
Creating a solid homeschool routine keeps your child engaged, ensures you meet your yearly goals, and helps prevent burnout. It’s a simple task that you can’t afford to neglect.
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