This is part four in my Plan Your Year Homeschool Planning Series. Find the other parts here:
- Creating Homeschooling Goals for Growth
- Charting Your Course of Study
- Six Homeschool Schedule Options
- Get your free Plan Your Year homeschool planning pages here.
Continuing our planning series, we can narrow down our planning focus to “create a homeschool schedule on the weekly level.” What does a great homeschool week look like to you? How do you even start planning one?
Read further to see how I do mine and then check out the sample homeschool schedules below.
To figure out what great things will go on inside your home each week, you will need to start with what happens outside your home. I have had a good chuckle a couple of times since releasing my free homeschool planning forms. Here’s why …
A mom has commented more than once that they could never use the Weekly Plan form in the planning pages. This is because they do not schedule things out so rigidly by the hour.
I laugh because I don’t either. Someone certainly could use that form to plan out which subjects they want to do at each hour every week. I am glad it is useful in that way for those people. Yet, I use it for an entirely different purpose.
I use the form to write all the times we will be OUT of the house during the week. For me, this is a weekly schedule of the times we will be busy elsewhere with other things on a regular basis. By creating this first, I can then see the times we will be home and ready to work on schooling.
As a side note, for some, it may seem strange to plan important academic activities around extracurriculars. Seem a little backward? I contend that those extracurriculars are important too.
Since I can’t teach karate, these activities are often done on someone else’s schedule and are not flexible. The beauty of homeschooling is I have the flexibility to mold my schedule around the other things we want to do.
Our weekly plan
Now that I have established the times we will be home to school, I can start planning what the week will look like. Oddly enough, for this practice, I use the form called Daily Plan to give me an overview of the week.
Notice the left column is labeled “Block.” That is exactly how I plan my weeks/days — in chunks of time that have a routine start and end time, but not a scheduled one. I start by determining which “blocks” we are going to be doing. At our house this year we have the following blocks: math, morning time, table work, read aloud. Let me break these down for you:
- This block is supposed to start at [8:30], but we are flexible with that. The kids sit at the table with math and handwriting and ideally would finish both in under an hour. Ideally, ahem. Basically, these are subjects they can do with little help from me, while I put in a load of laundry or finish up my morning chores. Sometimes I need to sit and watch a math video with one of them, but for the most part, this can run by itself (lack of discipline issues notwithstanding).
- Once math and handwriting are complete we move into morning time. (I will also start MT when I am ready, making the dawdler finish the other subjects later in the day if needed.)
- This includes those subjects where I have to provide individual instruction. Reading, Latin and Spelling for the most part. We all sit together and I alternate kids or I send one out to play with the four-year-old while I work with the other.
- Pretty self-explanatory.
Once my blocks are in place, I use the squares on the right labeled Monday – Friday to get more specific about the plans for each day. Math block doesn’t vary. I would caution you to avoid over-specifying what goes into some of these boxes.
With a math curriculum that includes a video at the beginning of each lesson and 30 lessons scheduled for a school year, the temptation is there to schedule a video every Monday and practice sheets Tuesday through Friday.
The problem with this is it doesn’t take into account my child and his abilities to master the material at a faster or slower pace. By keeping things non-specific, I will not be a slave to the curriculum or the schedule I create on this sheet.
One week your child may move quickly through the material and not need practice all four days. The next he may need more than four days of practice to master the material. By simply writing math in the block, I determine our pace and the schedule does not.
I also find this schedule handy for writing in other resources beyond my main program. Since we know that curriculum is what we teach and not something we buy, we might decide one day per week we will use a resource different from the math book we are working on. Maybe we will use games, math readers, or a computer program. We can use this form to create a place for those in our week.
As I continue completing each block and filling in our week, I quickly determine it is not possible to do every single subject every day — there are simply too many of them.
Creating a plan makes it easy to see how to alternate subjects like spelling and writing or history and science. This year, we did not do any extra history or science beyond our memory work and reading aloud from related books.
Next year, I have planned a history and science program to use in addition to our memory work and I have decided to loop those subjects with a few others (for more on loop scheduling see here).
For next year’s plan, I will create a block called “loop” for the time of day we will be doing our loop. You can also decide to do things like history and science on specific alternate days and write that here.
For illustration, I have included three different sample homeschool schedules for you to compare below.