I don’t know about you, but in our neck of the woods it’s back to school season. This month, public school buses will go chugging down the street, ready to pick up those eager (at least for the first week) children. While we don’t have to be on the curb at the crack of dawn or make sure our children have their lunch money, we do need to plan out our coming year of homeschooling.
Planning out the homeschool year is just the beginning. Once we’ve established an annual routine for our learning, it’s time to get down to daily organization. What time should we start? How much time are we required to spend on each subject? Would a routine or a schedule work better for our family?
Routine or Schedule?
I’d love to start our day at the same time each morning, pushing through each subject in a given amount of time. However, this would not meet my family’s needs. Instead, we choose to focus on a routine. A methodical movement from activity to activity, no matter what time we start or how long each subject takes to complete.
Test out what works best for you. You may find working on a timed schedule is best. If so, go for it! One word of caution: Don’t allow your schedule to run your life; make it work for you, not you working for it. For those who choose to be more relaxed and function on a routine, learn to forget the clock and abandon the concept of ‘running late’.
When Do We Start?
In California, by law, our children are required to be under adult supervision from 8am-3pm. This does not mean we have to be schooling at precisely eight o’clock, just that we be with our children. We have the freedom to start school at whatever time works best for our family. That might be eight o’clock, but, then again, it could be closer to ten; it might also change from day-to-day. (Generally speaking, I prefer to start no later than nine. But, that’s just me.)
55 Minutes Per Course!
It is generally accepted that fifty-five minutes per day, five days a week, constitutes a proper course in any given subject. Once you’ve been educating for a short length of time you’ll start to notice something. Subjects do not fit into neat little boxes, only dealing with their own topic; they cross over into many other fields.
That being said, don’t allow the concept of fifty-five minute classes overwhelm you. Aim to master whatever it is you are teaching, and forget the clock on the wall. If you finish in less than fifty-five minutes don’t sweat it, you’ll either make up the time on another day when the work takes longer or you’ll compliment the lesson with something learned in another area. If you go over, enjoy the journey.
(For those with children in junior or senior high needing to complete courses for credits, please see The High School Handbook for details on accounting for time.)
Every Subject, Every Day?
The same goes for covering each subject every day of the week. If you would prefer to cover history two days of the week, and science another two, then go for it! We are not called to mimic public schools, but to teach our children how they learn best. Find a learning routine that works for your family and go for it. Don’t be afraid to move things around on occasion, just to shake things up and find what works best.
Do We Get Breaks?
Public school kids get a morning recess and lunch. What do homeschoolers get? Pretty much whatever they need. If you find the kids need a break between each subject, go for it! Again, find what works best for your family and make it happen.
I Still Need to Clean House!
While our main goal is to focus on better organizing our home school year, we also understand that we function as a family. Our family needs food, a clean house, and clothes on their back. Thus, chores play a part in our daily routines.
I humbly suggest that chores, and the like, become part of your learning routine. Make it a goal for cleaning to be a family activity, where the children learn to be keepers of the home. Include the kids in laundry exercises, seeing who can fold fastest. Have them help in the kitchen, assist with errands, or anything else you need to accomplish. Over time, you’ll discover this to be a blessing. More hands make the work faster and fun!
Planning the homeschooling day doesn’t have to be a stressful event. Pray about how the Lord would lead your learning, and proceed as He guides. Allow Him to be the center of your home and focus all your attention on what He wants of your family.
For more details on our family’s homeschooling day, take a look at our Daily Routine! Prayerfully it will give you a few ideas for scheduling your own family’s homeschooling day. Don’t forget to peruse our record keeping menu and other printable documents, to help assist with your homeschooling needs.
“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
Time to Chime In: What time does your day usually start? Share your thoughts with us!