Yay, it’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood. Did you jump out of bed eager to tackle the day?
If you answered no, let us ask you this…
Are you homeschooling your kids?
If so, is homeschooling your kids about to drive you insane?
Yep! We get it.
Trying to be the teacher, coach, parent, and everything else all at the same time is difficult. Not to mention the scheduling, for the love of Pete, why is it so difficult to effectively maneuver the daily scheduling which includes homeschooling and everything else you have to get done in a day.
We’ll bet you are exhausted just thinking about it…right?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone; although it may seem like you are, especially living in this new normal.
OK, that’s great but it doesn’t help.
That’s why we are going to provide you with 10 highly-effective homeschool scheduling hacks that will simplify your schedule and turn you into a superhero.
Let’s do this!
10 Highly-Effective Homeschool Scheduling Hacks That Will Change Your Life—GUARANTEED!
1. Ditch the Dread, FOMO, Doubt, and Guilt Factors
You probably already know this, but your mind is your worst enemy. Your mind will fill your head with dread, so in essence, you end up dreading each day and that’s not good for anyone. Don’t worry, learning how to effectively schedule each day will eliminate that dread and make homeschooling more fun for you and your kids.
Then there’s the FOMO (fear of missing out) your mind will fill itself with thoughts that say you have forgotten something or that you’ve left out something important and your kids will miss out (FOMO), etc. We’re going to fix that too because keeping things simple will actually help you get more done. This is because going forward you will be homeschooling more efficiently.
Oh yes, doubt. We’ve all have that incessant voice in our head that taunts our minds and it’s called doubt. But in reality, that’s all it is—just a little noise in our heads. It’s time to get rid of that noise. Remember…you have a curriculum, you have the tools, you have online access to help if you need it. So now all you need is an effective schedule, but don’t worry, because we’re going to help you with that too.
Lastly, there’s that feeling of guilt. Another one of those “in your head” voices that make you feel as if you’re not doing enough or you’re doing it wrong. Let us just say this…you’re not! You don’t have to worry about your kids getting behind, having to repeat a grade, or that you aren’t teaching them what they need to know to get into college. Again, you have a curriculum, all you have to do is follow it and find some effective ways to get it done. And we’re going to help you with that as well.
Yes, we realize these aren’t technically homeschool scheduling hacks, but in the end, this advice will affect your schedule because you won’t be letting that little voice in your head waste any more of your time. Period!
2. Declutter (not in the way you’re thinking)
One of the best ways to help with your kids’ homeschooling journey is to declutter your schedule. What we mean by that is there are so many resources and curriculum assistance aides you can download, etc. And if you are using too many of those things the sheer volume of them will clutter up your mind and your schedule. And even though downloading, subscribing to, and buying those things might appear to be making your life easier, you might actually be doing more harm than good.
How you ask?
Well, because you are overwhelming your schedule and your kids by trying to fit too many “things”into each day. So in essence, you only have time to skim the surface of the topics. This is because there is so much to accomplish in a day that you aren’t able to finish them all.
It’s better to simplify (declutter) your curriculum so you can go deep rather than trying to go broad. This will allow you to cover the most important topics more thoroughly and leave the other “things” as intermittent one-off topics. These are the topics that can be taught intermittently as short break-aways from your normal daily lessons.
And far as tools go, do some research on the best tools and narrow them down to only what you absolutely have to have such as checklists, worksheets, and anything else you feel is necessary to make your job easier. Just don’t overdo it.
3. Un-schedule Your Schedule
As you well know, there is always something that comes up and wrecks your schedule. Let’s say you have your school time setup for X time to X time each day until X time doesn’t happen because something came up…right?
Yep! You’re not alone, that’s how it is for practically everyone.
So here’s what to do about it…
You un-schedule your homeschooling times. Basically, this means you don’t have set homeschooling times each day. Well, let’s back up a minute. You can have set homeschooling times each day, but what you don’t have to do is have those times set in stone. Obviously, there will be times you won’t be able to adhere to your homeschooling times. So what we are saying is, if life happens and if you can’t have school during your set school hours, that’s OK, instead shift your homeschooling to another part of the day. As long as it gets done, it doesn’t really matter what time you do it.
The benefit of this is you and your kids don’t feel rushed or pressured by set homeschooling times. Feeling rushed and pressured isn’t a good way to start your homeschooling classes for the day. Additionally, feeling rushed and pressured will affect how well your kids respond to their lessons also.
So don’t add any extra pressure to yourself (or your kids), let school happen when it happens, as long as it gets done.
How many of you have added this kind of pressure to yourself?
We’ll bet almost all of you. No more!
Don’t you feel like a load has been lifted already?
4. How About a Four Day a Week School Schedule?
Before homeschooling your kids, didn’t you just love three day weekends? If you’ve never had that kind of schedule, just imagine how it would feel to have three days off versus two each week.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Your kids will probably agree too. However, that can only be done on the weeks you are able to complete all your classes and scheduled subjects. The four day school week is a great incentive for your kids to buckle down, be on time, and not be difficult (we mean that in the nicest possible way of course).
So…is it really possible to cram five school days into four? Well, yes, yes it is…but how?
Simple, you complete all of your core subject classes on your four school days and make the fifth day a flex-day or enrichment day. Kids who go to a traditional school all attend art, PE, have recess, go to the library, take field trips, etc. So you take that fifth day of the week and use it for “fun stuff.” You don’t even have to call it a “school” day if you don’t want to, your kids will never know the difference. All they will know is that you are spending quality time with them and that they are having fun. And you can feel good about the day because you are bonding with your kids while enjoying the peace of mind that comes from knowing they are learning about life at the same time.
The best part is…you can still call it a school day because you are completing some of the same non-core subject activities as kids do in a traditional school setting. And, since you can report it as a school day, it will satisfy your state’s 180 school days requirement (if you have one) as well. Not to mention, you can get rid of the guilt feeling you get from planning too many of these activities into your normal homeschooling day. It’s all about being flexible. However, keep in mind that when cramming five days of homeschooling into four, there will be times you have to make the school day a little longer than your average day, but can we tell you—it is sooo worth it!
5. Tasks of the Day Versus Set Homeschooling Times
All kids learn differently, so it might take some kids more or less time to learn the lesson(s) of the day than others. Therefore, if you want to keep your sanity, rather than assigning a timeframe for each lesson and having set homeschooling times for each day, assign a list of tasks for the day instead. Once that list of tasks is done, you (and your kids) are done for the day. This is also a great way to get your kids to really buckle down and get everything done rather than trying to find ways to procrastinate.
Also, keep in mind that your kids don’t have to get everything on their task schedule done in any one day. Be flexible, and if something comes up that day, or you have a lesson they find harder to grasp and, therefore, it takes them more time, allow them to finish a task or two the next day. However, be mindful to not let them make this a habit or you will find it more difficult to get caught up and this could be detrimental to their studies. Therefore, this should be the exception and not the rule.
One great way to use the task list method versus a timeframe for homeschooling is to give each of your kids a clipboard with a daily checklist. This checklist should contain the homeschooling tasks that need to be completed that day. It should also include their copy sheets, curriculum workbook sheets, and any other visuals they might need to complete their daily tasks. It’s best to prepare these clipboards each day after your school sessions so you know where your kids are and what needs to be done the following day.
6. Disorganization Is a Time Killer
One of the most important things you can do for you, your kids, and your schedule is to have a designated, organized school workspace. Nothing wastes more time and ruins more schedules than wasted time trying to find what you need when you need it.
Yep, we know you are shaking your head in total agreement.
So the best way to overcome this time killer is to start each school year by organizing each child’s workspace. And don’t forget to include your kids in this organizational task as well. This is great for teaching them the importance of being organized and how to do it as well. This goes for you and your space too.
Make sure each child has enough space to organize their pencils, paper, books, workbooks, etc. Then make sure their workspace is cleaned, straightened, and reorganized at the end of each school day also.
Next, it’s time for you to get organized. It’s best if you have a workspace and a file drawer at the very least. Store your teacher’s guides and their associated answer keys in that file drawer so they are always easy to find and use. Then organize your curriculums in a sequence that makes sense to you. For some, it’s easier to have a dedicated portfolio and designated space where you keep each child’s work organized including what’s been accomplished and what still needs to be done.
7. Work on Engagement
All kids learn differently. Have you noticed your teaching style or curriculum doesn’t fit your child’s learning style? If so, ask yourself if your child is active, introverted, extroverted, gifted, ADHD, learning disabled, etc? You will need to properly identify your child’s learning style before you can teach them in a way that matches that style. If you don’t, your child will probably continue to struggle with your teaching style and not be able to reach their full potential.
Your approach to homeschooling is much more important than any given curriculum. So if your child is not responding to your teaching style and the curriculum you are currently using, it’s time to change it don’t you think?
You need to regroup.
Here are some suggestions for figuring out your child’s learning style.
- Participate in some activities with him/her. Pay close attention to what they like, don’t like, the things they respond favorably to, and why, etc.
- Ask your child lots of questions about different things—different topics, different points of view, lots of “why” questions (why do you think…), what is their favorite______and why, etc. Then take all those answers and see what information you can use to make your homeschooling lessons more engaging for them based on their interests.
- Spend time bonding with each child one-on-one. Plan activities that will enhance your relationship with your child and help you to better understand their individual personality.
- Spend some time connecting and networking with experienced homeschoolers. Exchange ideas and methods they have used that had the most success, especially when comparing similar child personalities.
- Immediately stop insisting on a curriculum or other things that only frustrate your child or that result in a consistently negative outcome. And if it is something that must be done, find a way to do the same thing differently and in a more positive way. Try using some of that child’s likes and interests to help you with this as well.
- Plan some educational field trips to educate instead of teaching the same thing through book learning. Take your curriculum and find a matching field trip to present the information then test them after that. You might be surprised at how much better your child learns, especially if you have a child who tends to learn better with a more hands-on approach. For example, go to a museum for your history lesson, etc.
OK, great, but how will I know if my child is engaged?
Look for these indicators: eager and willing to learn without prodding, they might ask for more opportunities, they are actively paying attention and listening rather than daydreaming or fidgeting, they immediately respond to your questions, they seem more upbeat and have a more positive attitude, etc.
So how does making sure my child is engaged have anything to do with my homeschooling schedule?
Well, if your child is engaged with your new teaching style, it means you won’t be wasting as much time repeating and reviewing things you have already taught. This is because they will be paying more attention to you and are finding it easier to absorb the information you are giving them. It also means fewer failed tests and wasted time on retesting, etc.
Engaging with your child on a more personal level is much more fun! And, if your child is engaged and having fun, it will make your days much easier and more productive.
8. Avoid the Same Old Daily Routine
This kind of goes with what we just talked about when we discussed engagement. However, this is keeping your kids from tuning you out because every day is the same old routine. Anyone who does the same old thing every day will eventually get bored with it no matter who you are. So make sure to keep things fresh by changing up the schedule once in a while. Try adding something new to the mix from time to time. Keeping things fresh will save you time, again, because you won’t have to keep repeating what you are teaching due to your kids losing interest and not paying attention.
9. Enforcing Consequences
Whether your goal is a four-day school week or something else; unfortunately, you have to enforce the consequences of your child’s inaction. That means if your child doesn’t complete the work you have given them when the four day school week, or whatever, is up, they won’t be able to participate in the fun activities you have scheduled for day five. This will teach your child about how the choices they make have consequences.
For example, if your child spends the school week not putting in the necessary effort to complete his/her homeschooling tasks, they will learn the consequence for that is not being able to do the “fun stuff” when that time comes. And as unpleasant as this is, probably more so for you than them, you will see just how quickly that lesson is learned. So hopefully you won’t have to repeat that lesson very often if at all after the child learns you mean what you say. However, the same is true if you don’t enforce your own rules. Your child will quickly learn that it doesn’t matter what you say, they can do what they want and you will give in regardless.
So what does enforcing the consequences have to do with your homeschooling schedule?
You won’t believe how much time enforcing the consequences will save you.
How you ask?
This is because your kids will know you mean what you say. Therefore, your kids will be more eager to get their weekly tasks completed in a timely manner so they don’t miss out on the “fun stuff.”
10. Develop a Daily Starter Routine Activity
Start each day with something fun. This will need to be something fun, but it will also need to be something that symbolizes the start of the day. You will then do those same daily starters the same way every day. This could be a quick lap around the yard or room while clapping (helps get the blood flowing throughout the body), followed by the pledge of allegiance, followed by everyone’s favorite song, etc. After your daily starter has been completed, it’s time to begin the day’s lessons.
Starting every day with a set “fun” routine will help your child mentally gear up for the day. It will also help them more easily accept that after the daily starter, it’s time to get to work.
Having a daily starter routine will help your schedule because your kids will know exactly what to expect. They will be programmed, so to speak, in a way that gets them wound up and headed in the right direction to start the day. That means you will spend less time rounding everyone up and getting them into the proper frame of mind for beginning the day.
It will also keep you from having to get each individual child mentally prepared because everyone will have the same daily starter routine. Having such a routine is a great lead-in to your kids’ individual studies. This is because after the daily starter routine what comes next will be automatic and not something you have to prod and maneuver into place each and every day
If you would like to learn more about homeschooling your Kindergartener, other school-aged kids, or simply have a few questions, please Contact Us today. KinderIQ helps parents focus on all areas of learning and early childhood development using readiness tests and other resources.