Do You Really Need One? This Will Help You Decide!
Let’s talk about a homeschool schedule! Are they really necessary for your homeschool to run smoothly? That’s exactly what I want to address.
There are a few types of homeschoolers. They either…
- Stick to a super strict homeschool schedule.
- Have a homeschool schedule but are lenient.
- Don’t have a homeschool schedule at all.
I was always the “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of homeschool mom. However, I have made a change in recent years. Now I have a homeschool schedule, but I am lenient with it. Because we all know that you can’t schedule diaper changes, breastfeeding sessions, and toddler meltdowns.
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Why You Should Rethink the Homeschool Schedule Thing…
We all have schedules, even when we don’t even realize it. Without even meaning to we fall into rituals of doing the same things in a certain order. That’s human nature. It’s the formation of habits in us. We wake up, brush our teeth, eat breakfast, change the baby, get dressed, and start school without even realizing that we are sticking to a “schedule”. So, having a homeschool schedule is not as daunting as you may think.
Charlotte Mason in her book Home Education suggests that you give your child a timetable. (Or in other words …. a schedule.)
This idea of definite work to be finished in a given time is valuable to the child, not only as training him in habits of order, but in diligence; he learns that one time is not ‘as good as another’; that there is no right time left for what is not done in its own time; and this knowledge alone does a great deal to secure the child’s attention to his work.vol 1 pg. 143
In this schedule, they should have a timeframe, a list of what they need to do, and how long they have to do each assignment.
Timeframes for Your Homeschool Schedule
How long should your homeschool day be?
Charlotte Mason suggested that your child should be done with his or her work in enough time to have free time in the afternoon hours.
*Some places do require you to homeschool for a certain amount of hours per day. (My state does not.) So before you decide how long your day should last, make sure to check with your state’s homeschool laws.
Why do they need free time?
Children need free time to play outdoors and take in nature. They need time to work on the things that interest them. Time to explore and be left to their own devices.
Read this: Nature Study with Nature Anatomy
Making a list of assignments
You should start by writing down what your child needs to do for the day. Try ordering them where the heavier subjects are in the morning hours.
Also, try to follow the more difficult and time-consuming assignments with something light.
- Language Arts/Grammar
- Handwriting or Copywork
- Read Aloud
(There is an example of my schedule below.)
How much time to allow for each subject
The amount of time you allot for each subject will vary with age. Younger children will have shorter lessons. Then as they get older lessons will lengthen. Buy a simple kitchen timer to use in your homeschool if you don’t already have one.
A child that is about 6 or 7 may only spend 15-20 minutes on math. Then a child who is 10-12 may spend 25-30 minutes on math.
For children around ages 6-7 who are learning to read, Charlotte Mason says this:
… reading lessons must be short; ten minutes or a quarter of an hour of fixed attention is enough for children of the ages we have in view …
For older children she says this:
The knowledge of children so taught is consecutive, intelligent and complete as far as it goes, in however many directions. For it is a mistake to suppose that the greater the number of ‘subjects’ the greater the scholar’s labour; the contrary is the case as the variety in itself affords refreshment, and the child who has written thirty or forty sheets during an examination week comes out unfagged. Not the number of subjects but the hours of work bring fatigue to the scholar; and bearing this in mind we have short hours and no evening preparation.vol. 6 pg. 158
Below is an example of what my schedule looked like for a 7-year-old, 9-year-old, and 10-year-old. If you notice, I scheduled my 7-year-old for 20 minutes of Geography and Handwriting. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but 10 minutes for each of those subjects is perfect at that age.
I use a smaller dry erase board to keep my schedule visible to all of my kids.
More on short lessons…
Charlotte Mason suggested short lessons for children to keep their attention. Some days it didn’t even take a full 10 minutes to finish his handwriting/copywork. Charlotte Mason said to use that time they have left as a sort of reward for the child.
She did not think a child should get a reward of stickers, candy, or other incentives just to get their work done. She said to let the reward be natural. Like getting to spend the rest of their 20 minutes doing something that they want to do.
The boy is expected to do two right sums in twenty minutes: he does them in ten minutes; the remaining ten minutes are his own, fairly earned, in which he should be free for a scamper in the garden, or any delight he chooses.vol. 1 pg. 144
Here’s a good podcast on Short Lessons.
Homeschool Schedules are Beneficial
Having a homeschool schedule really benefits your homeschool. It helps your child build the habit of attention. And in the end, it really does help make your days run smoother. For the first few weeks it may not seem to be working out well, but give it time! Pretty soon you will start seeing the change!