Making a home schooling schedule can be quite stressful, especially if you have never done it before. Trying to find time to teach kids while juggling chores, errands, appointments, and sometimes work, can be overwhelming.
You might also feel pressured by having the need to know about the subjects and lessons that the students are taking. Since you will be the one supervising the study sessions, you will often be the one to explain the lessons to your kids. This is a great responsibility since committing mistakes can take a toll on the kids’ learning.
Having a home schooling schedule, however, can take some of the stress and pressure that you will feel once your kids start studying from home. By being prepared and having the necessary information and resources that you will need, your study from home sessions will be a success.
Planning a Homeschool Schedule
Planning a schedule for studying at home is more difficult during a pandemic. Ensuring that your family is safe from the virus while trying to manage your household and supervising the education of the kids will take more time, effort and money than you usually expend. So, it’s ideal to start planning your schedule well before the school year starts. Doing so will give you more time to make adjustments on your plans ahead of time, while your current schedule is not yet fixed.
Be Open to Adjustments
Do not expect that your schedule will be perfect the first time. Changes in your routine, unexpected events and a million other reasons can pop out of nowhere that can affect your homeschool schedule. It would be best to be open to changes so that you can be flexible enough to make adjustments without ruining your entire schedule.
Have Realistic Expectations
You cannot follow your schedule to a T. This is especially true if you have younger kids. Interruptions are bound to happen on your everyday life. So, be more realistic and do not attempt to create a schedule that does not give leeway for delays or cancellations.
Have a more realistic expectation when making your home study schedule. Make it a point to give time for delays, e.g., allow 10 to 15 minutes between activities for rests, make time for bathroom breaks, and make time for preparing snacks. This will keep you from feeling like you are not following your schedule properly. Since these events are inevitable, and should be considered for health reasons, you should not skip them when writing your schedule.
Consider the Age of the Learners
Before making a home schooling schedule, jot down the age of the kids you will be supervising. Also, take note of their grade level. This will help ensure that you are making a schedule that fits their needs and level of readiness.
Smaller kids need more breaks and snacks than bigger kids. Teens do not need a lot of supervision as they prefer to experiment on their independence. Nonetheless, all learners should be given the amount of attention and support that will help maximize their learning.
It would be ideal to read about the subjects the kids will be tackling in their current grade level so that you can be prepared in helping them study. You can read and study in advance so that you can answer with confidence when they ask questions. Taking note and bookmarking sources and reference materials will also help in easier and faster learning both for you and the kids.
It would be ideal to keep notes of the things that you need to consider when making a schedule. This way, you can always be reminded, allowing you to incorporate these guidelines for a smoother and a more realistic home schooling schedule.
Steps on Planning a Home Study Schedule
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a homeschool schedule that will fit your lifestyle.
- Get writing materials where you can take notes. Using a laptop or tablet is alright but since you need to take a look at multiple notes at once, it would be ideal to use pieces of paper for this step.
- Write the name of your kids on pieces of paper – one paper for every name. Then, write the grade level below the name. After that, list down the subjects that the kids will be taking in that school year.
- Write down the time it would require to study and do activities for every subject per session. Usually, students are given 45 minutes to 1 ½ hour per subject per day. Depending on the difficulty of the subject, allocate the time you think will be ideal for each subject. Do not stress too much during this phase. You can always adjust the times as you get to know the subjects and how complex they are.
- Limit the overall time of home schooling into a total of hours per day that you are comfortable with. Do not allocate time that is too short or it will not be enough to tackle the necessary activities for the day. Do not make the study sessions too long, though, as it will cause fatigue to the kids and to you, as well. This is quite important especially during this time of pandemic. Your family might be under pressure and stress from all that is happening. Make studying a comforting time as well, and not a time to make haste. You can set the time as close to the schedule set by schools; then, you can adjust according to your family’s needs and your lifestyle.
- Break the study session in half. This will allow the kids, and yourself, to take a longer break and relax before continuing with their studies. Say, you allocated 6 hours of your day for home schooling schedule, on the third hour, schedule a 30-minute break. If you schedule the break during lunch time, make it an hour or so; this way, you can prepare and eat lunch with your kids without rushing. It is important to schedule breaks, especially if your kids are not going outside. Sitting too long studying can cause fatigue. It can be detrimental to children and adults alike; so, make time for breaks and take your time when resting.
- While making the home schooling schedule, talk with the kids. Ask their opinion about the schedule that you are making. It is important that the learners are comfortable with their schedule. This will prevent them from feeling forced to study. Allowing your kids to join in on the decision-making process will also encourage them to be actively involved in studying. Children love taking charge and it is a great way to teach them responsibility, time management, cooperation, proper negotiation and communication. It will also keep their mind off the issues with the pandemic. Though children, particularly younger ones, are not vocal about their stresses, they are definitely feeling something is off during these times. Do activities with them to keep them occupied with things that are not related to whatever is happening with the world today.
- Make space for activity deadlines. Making space to write when the deadline for activities and exams will help you focus on them early on. This will prevent your kids from missing deadlines and will also keep your family from cramming when deadlines are already quite near. Doing so will also lessen the stress of studying.
- Make time for activities wherein everyone does something on their own. This way, you can supervise and see how well they are adapting to their study sessions. You can observe quietly and make adjustments on your schedule based on your observations. This will also encourage independent learning on your children.
- If you are satisfied with the initial home schooling schedule, add a time for snack or meal preparation before the start of the study session. This way, you can give the snacks immediately during breaks. This will not only save time but will also help ensure that you can keep your schedule on track.
- Add reminders on your schedule to wash hands and face during specific time. During breaks when your students should eat snacks, make sure to give them time to wash their hands and face. Sanitation is very important during this time so make it a point to include cleaning in your schedule.
- Make time for disinfecting and sanitizing the items your family uses and the area where you hold your study sessions. Before starting your sessions, make it a point to disinfect the area. It may be your home but since there are times when the materials that your kids are using might be submitted to the school for evaluation and returned to your house, you should make sure that everything is cleaned and disinfected before letting them use it.
- Determine the best time to start you study sessions. Once you are done with the schedule plan, calculate the time from snack preparation to the study session itself. From there, you can determine when to best put the time when you should start and end your sessions every day. It is ideal to set the same time every single day to establish routine. Having a routine will help develop your kids’ time management skills and will also help develop their body clock so that they will feel physically and psychologically ready for lessons every time your session is about to start.
- Once you are done with your home schooling schedule, make copies and give them to your kids. It would be ideal to also post them somewhere everyone can see easily. The fridge is a good place to stick your homeschool schedule. The door of your kids’ bedrooms is also another good spot.
- After explaining the schedule to your learners, have a test run. You don’t have to do a full study session. Reading books and doing educational activities and games will do. This will give you a sense of how time passes when you are studying with your kids. You can make adjustments on your schedule by observing the dry run of your study session.
Making a home schooling schedule can be stressful especially if it’s your first time home schooling your kids. But don’t fret; with proper planning and a bit of practice, you can develop a schedule that will suit your family’s lifestyle. Just don’t be too hard on yourself and be forgiving if ever you cannot follow your schedule perfectly. With everything that is going on, it is already quite a blessing and a great achievement to be able to keep your family safe. Education is important but the physical, emotional and psychological health of your entire family is of utmost significance. Keep safe and take things one day at a time.
Learn more about blended learning and its benefits for home schooling.
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