The main goal of setting yearly, weekly, and daily schedules is finding what works for your family.
I’ve tried several yearly schedules over the course of this homeschooling journey. I started off following a “regular” school schedule. But that didn’t allow for the kind of flexibility I was hoping homeschool would provide.
So, I moved on to a year-round schedule. Between September and May, the kids had class four days a week, with the fifth day being free for appointments, field trips, or just hanging out at home. Between June and August, they had class three days a week. I liked the flexibility and the fact that the kids didn’t have three months to forget everything I worked so hard to teach them. But, a couple of health issues, pregnancies, and surgeries threw a wrench into the works, and I ended up abandoning the year-round schedule after a couple of years.
Finally, I settled into our current yearly schedule: “Sabbath Schooling.” Beginning on August 1, the kids have classes for six weeks (five days a week) and then have a week off. They also have off for the month of December and for six weeks in the summer (the last two weeks of June and all of July). There is also enough flexibility to have birthday “holidays.” I can schedule field trips or classes at the local state park on Saturdays to shorten the school year, and this year I taught a week in December so that the kids will have seven weeks of summer break instead of six.
Some homeschool parents fill their days with projects and hands-on learning. I am not one of those parents. I do think, however, that the kids need to be able to do projects and art and cooking and all those wonderful hands-on methods that stress me out more than anything else. So, I incorporated a “Fun Friday” into the weekly schedule. The first four days of the week are spent doing “core” subjects, and the fifth day is reserved for projects and art and music. I print up weekly schedules and hang them on the wall, and the kids cross off each subject as they complete the work for that day. Motivation!
The week is divided as follows:
- Mondays: Math, spelling, applied grammar, reading, history, science, logic, Spanish, and music practice
- Tuesdays: Math, spelling, applied grammar, reading, science, geography, social studies, Spanish, and music practice
- Wednesdays: Math, spelling, applied grammar, reading, history, science, Spanish, filmmaking, and music practice
- Thursdays: Math, spelling, applied grammar, reading, science, geography, Spanish, and music practice
- Fridays: Reading, science labs and activities, history projects, geography mapwork review, art, and music lesson
- Mondays: Math, spelling, applied grammar, reading, history, science, Manga, Latin, typing, and music practice
- Tuesdays: Math, spelling, applied grammar, reading, science, geography, social studies, typing, and music practice
- Wednesdays: Math, spelling, applied grammar, reading, history, science, Latin, typing, and music practice
- Thursdays: Math, spelling, applied grammar, reading, science, geography, typing, and music practice
- Fridays: Reading, science labs and activities, history projects, geography mapwork review, Latin, art, and music lesson
For S, Monday through Friday are the same: Reading, writing, and math. She occasionally will sit in on some of the “Fun Friday” projects.
Having two kids too young to homeschool, I started off separating the kids so that one of the older two was always available to keep an eye on the younger siblings. So, I would homeschool C in the morning, N after lunch, and S whenever I could squeeze her in. It worked well until the kids started getting older and their workloads started getting heavier. It was getting to the point that I was spending 8+ hours a day teaching at the expense of housework, cooking, and quality time with family.
Over this past December, I did some thinking and decided to take a route similar to a fellow homeschooler and friend who has her homeschool set up like a one-room school house. Each morning, the girls get a list of independent work that they are expected to complete. This includes things like assessments, worksheets, maps, reading, typing, music practice, educational videos, and the like. While the girls are doing their independent work, I alternate between them, doing one-on-one teaching. I combine their classes for history, science, social studies, geography, and art, with N (being older) doing some supplemental work on those subjects for her independent work time.
S can independently do her Reading Eggs lesson, read B.O.B. books to other people, and do her handwriting lesson. I work one-on-one with her doing math and using flashcards for review either while the older two are doing their independent work or after they have finished for the day.
So far, this schedule is working well. It requires a little more prep time from me in the evenings (writing up independent work lists, gathering and printing necessary materials, etc.), but the time I save by finishing school early is worth the extra prep time. And I like to see them learning to be independent in their studies.
The youngest three are confined to a certain area of the house where I can see and/or hear them while I’m teaching, so they get the supervision they need and I’m still able to teach.