It’s worrisome to write about our weekly and daily homeschool schedule because I don’t want to give the impression that your schedule ought to look like my schedule. What my family does is not the standard. My aim is to show you what we do and explain why we do it. If you choose to homeschool, hopefully this post will give you some ideas of how you can arrange your own schedule efficiently and effectively around your family’s needs.
My husband designed a weekly planning sheet for me. On the weekends, I set aside some time to prep for the coming week. Because I pieced together our curriculum, I don’t have a set schedule already done up for me. The curriculum we’re using next year has a pre-planned schedule (thank goodness). Honestly, I’m sick of planning.
This week I introduced a new math lesson on Monday. For the rest of the week, my son does worksheets. Some days I have him do only half a worksheet (they’re double-sided) and the rest of our time is spent practicing with manipulatives or reviewing old concepts. This is a great way to break things up. On Friday I wrote “pg 197 or Test.” If by Thursday I don’t think he has the concept down, I’ll have him do another worksheet. Math U See is a mastery program so we’ll linger on a lesson until he “gets” it. You’ll also notice the “boring level” of each worksheet below. If one of the worksheets is extra “boring” (e.g. 15D), I make sure that the rest of his work that day isn’t as spirit crushing.
For writing, my son works through Handwriting without Tears. He does one page a day (sometimes more if he’s willing). He does not like writing so emphasize quality over quantity. I wrote (easy) and (hard) on my schedule next to each page assigned. If a writing page looks easy, then I make sure I sneak in more writing practice in his other lessons. If it’s hard, I try to show mercy where I can.
Reading comes next. I am using the Charlotte Mason sight and sound lessons using the Bob Books. If you’re interested, here is a YouTube video of the lesson. If I’m not mistaken, this method is similar to what you find in the curriculum All About Reading. This week we are working on the book “Lolly-Pops.” On Monday, I introduced the new sight words using the CM method then I have my son read the story. Throughout the week I will review the sight words, have him re-read the story, work through the Bob Book Workbook, and re-read some other stories he’s already gone through. As with math, I try to make sure I don’t have my son doing too much as far as worksheets and writing.
Social Studies, Science, and Supplementary Lessons
The final rows on my schedule (marked in yellow) are activities we do together as a family. This is how I sneak in extra school work during the day. I use a unit-study curriculum called Five in a Row. We focus on one book a week. This week it was Papa Piccolo. Each unit has a list of discussion questions, activities, and lessons that cover all subjects, including art, language arts, science, and social studies. Some lessons are simple. For example, in this unit, I ask the kids what they think the role of a father is. How was Piccolo a good father? Or, for science, I explain and demonstrate what peripheral vision is. I do not do all of the lessons. You’ll notice I wrote down a list of numbers on my schedule notes. I number every lesson in the unit and choose the ones we’ll do.
For science and social studies, I have other workbooks and lessons (some of which I purchased through Teachers Pay Teachers). We do not do Five in a Row every week.
When I was on the fence about homeschooling, I had visions of me teaching for 5-7 hours a day and I thought, “Heck. No.” Then I found out homeschooling takes a fraction of the time you would normally spend in public or private school. On an average day, it takes an hour for us (this is not including the Five in a Row lessons we do at lunch or other educational activities I sprinkle in throughout the day). We do have our bad days (and sometimes bad weeks) when things take longer or don’t happen at all. I think back to my days in public school and how there was always a few crazy kids in class who wasted everyone’s time. Well, with homeschooling, we all get to be that crazy kid once in awhile.
I follow the Charlotte Mason method of short lessons/tasks: 5-10 minutes per subject. For example, I may do five minutes of review of a math concept using blocks then have my son do five minutes on a worksheet. Then we move on to five minutes of reading together followed by five minutes of hands-on reading lessons.
Most of the time, we start around 10-10:15 and finish around 11-11:30. Again, this time does not include lessons we do as a family, crafts, and other learning-through-play activities. My son also spends time doing ABC Mouse online (spending his tickets haphazardly on hamster tubes).
One of the benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility it allows you to have when you desperately need some flexibility. For example, if someone is sick or having a bad week and the last thing you want to do is sit at a table and fight through a lesson, take it easy and read together. Do school through play. Put on an educational show, narrate what you learned, and then ask your child to do the same. Education isn’t just about completing worksheets and having results you can see or touch. Learning something new doesn’t always require us to produce visual evidence that we’ve learned.
Anywho, I hope our homeschool schedule encouraged you (or at least satisfied some curiosity).