by Sheri Graham
There is no “right” way to schedule your day, your week, or your year. Homeschooling for each family will look different. So, with that in mind, I want to share the different ways we have scheduled our years. You will see that our schedule changed from year to year, depending on what was happening in our lives during that time. This is one of the many blessings of homeschooling. Learning does not stop…ever! Life happens and learning just continues to happen. There will be times of more intense studies where you spend more time doing formal schoolwork…and there will be times or seasons with a more relaxed schedule – allowing your family to learn and grow together through every area of your life.
The most important thing I can tell you to do, is spend some time at the feet of Jesus BEFORE you plan your year….let Him show you what to focus on…what to hold off on…you may be surprised what He has to tell you! It may be totally different from what the world has to say…from what you were used to in public school…but really LISTEN TO HIM and then be obedient as you plan out your year. You won’t be sorry! He really does know your children (and YOU!) best!
Here are some of the different ways we have scheduled our days over the past years of homeschooling:
The Younger Years
When my daughter was in Kindergarten we only did 1-2 hours of school each day. We focused on math and reading mainly, with some arts and crafts and science and history every now and then. Really focus on the heart training in these younger years. How will you be able to teach your children their math lessons, or grammar lessons later on, if their heart has not been trained to obey you and respect you. Heart matters come FIRST….I can’t stress that enough! Everything else must STOP when heart matters need to be addressed. What will it matter if we gain the whole world (teach our children a bunch of knowledge) and lose their souls (fail to point their hearts to Jesus and obeying Him…making Him Lord of their life)!
2000-2001 School Year:
As far as our yearly schooling schedule, I am doing something different this year and it is really working well! I had followed the public school schedule before as far as days off/vacation days, etc., and that was ok, but I like the schedule I am doing now very much. I am schooling 4-5 weeks straight, then taking 1 week off. I start the first of August and go through the end of May (10 months). In making my lesson plans, I plan for a 4-5 week period at a time. I write out all my lesson plans, make any copies needed, purchase any supplies, check out books using my teacher’s card (being a homeschooler you can get an 8-week teacher’s card at our library), and any other preparation that needs to take place. This has helped me a great deal – probably mentally more than anything. It helps planning for a specific block of time, knowing that you have a week break coming up. Following the public school schedule, we took a day off here and there and I really didn’t feel like I got a good break except for Christmas and Spring Break (and there is a lot of time in between!). This has also helped me in housework and cleaning. I have the pages in my lesson book that I have marked off for our weeks off. On those pages I write any projects that need to be done around the house, or deep cleaning projects that need to be done. This helps me from stressing over things when I know that I will have a week off to get some of those things accomplished. This schedule has worked well for me and our family. I would encourage you to try different schedules and find one that works for you. Don’t be afraid to try different things! You just may like it! If you would like to see my lesson plan sheet (in Excel format) click here. Please note that this lesson plan sheet is only for one child.
2001-2002 School Year:
As I start planning for the next school year I, again, am going to make some changes. I guess you could say that I am moving toward a “schooling year round” schedule. I will be starting school the 2nd week of July 2001 and go through the end of May 2002, taking the months of June and December off. I will school 4 weeks then take a week off throughout the year (with a few exceptions). Here is my schedule:
- June – OFF 4 weeks
- July 2-6 – OFF 1 week
- July 9-August 3 – SCHOOL 4 weeks
- August 6-10 – OFF 1 week
- August 13-Sept. 7 – SCHOOL 4 weeks
- Sept. 10-14 – OFF 1 week
- Sept. 17-Oct. 12 – SCHOOL 4 weeks
- Oct. 15-19 – OFF 1 week
- Oct. 22-Nov. 16 – SCHOOL 4 weeks
- Nov. 19-23 – OFF 1 week (Thanksgiving)
- Nov. 26-Dec. 7 – SCHOOL 2 weeks
- December 10-Jan. 4 – OFF 4 weeks
- Jan. 7-Feb. 1 – SCHOOL 4 weeks
- Feb. 4-8 – OFF 1 week
- Feb. 11-Mar. 8 – SCHOOL 4 weeks
- Mar. 11-15 – OFF 1 week
- Mar. 18-Apr. 19 – SCHOOL 5 weeks
- Apr. 22-26 – OFF 1 week
- April 29-May 31 – SCHOOL 5 weeks
- June – OFF
This schedule will give me 36 weeks of school. We also have PE and coop class on Fridays so I will count those days as school days even on our weeks off. I decided to make these changes for several reasons. It seems like December is always a busy month with Christmas programs, baking, family, etc., that I decided it would be fun to have this month off to spend doing “Christmas” stuff – baking, gift making, visiting elderly, etc. I also feel that by December we are ready for a break. I think that taking the 4 weeks off will allow us the break we need to get refreshed and ready for the last half of the year. We’ll see how it works. Again, don’t be afraid to try something different!
These were just a couple ways that we chose to schedule our years…but as I said before, your family’s schedule will look different than ours. Look at your life, your husband’s job, what activities you are involved in, etc. ~ and plan your schooling time around that. You can follow the public school schedule, or be creative as I shared above. Plan a month at a time and try it out. Adjust as you go along if needed. The most important thing is to be flexible and allow the LORD to direct each of your days. He may have a different “plan” for your day than what you have planned out in your lesson plans. Be willing to listen, trust, and obey!
The most important thing to remember in your teaching (after seeking the Lord for guidance and wisdom) is being sensitive to your child’s learning style and interests. This is something I have learned through the years. When I am teaching and my daughter takes an interest in something I want to just get back to the lesson so that we can “cover everything we are supposed to today” instead of stopping and expanding on the my daughter’s interest. This is part of the joy of homeschooling ~ having that flexibility. I know for high school age kids you have to make sure you cover certain material, especially if the Lord has college in your child’s future, but for elementary level kids, take your time and have fun. Let them learn to love learning!