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I think this has been the hardest part of my homeschool journey. Creating a homeschool schedule and sticking to it seems to be the biggest challenge we’ve overcome so far. Realizing that homeschool can be as flexible as I need was a huge relief for me.
I’m a mommy of three toddlers so finding something that works for all of us has been a challenge. There have been so many curve balls thrown into our schedule.
Tailoring your schedule to your children’s needs
When you begin to homeschool it’s a lot of trial and error. Figuring out what works for your children will take some time. The easiest way to find out what works for your children is to start teaching them and see how long they’ll sit and pay attention.
When I began my children would learn for about fifteen minutes at a time. During those fifteen minutes, I would do everything I could to teach them something.
As soon as they start to get restless we get up and do what I call to “get the wiggles out”. We take about five minutes in between subjects to get the wiggles out.
Once they calm down we sit back down and get back to work!
Figuring out what your child needs to learn
There is so much information out there, how do you know what to teach your child?
Do you create your own lesson plan? Do you follow a curriculum?
It’s up to you. That’s the beauty of homeschool right? Of course, you need to check to see if you should be registered with your local school and if they require anything.
If you are going to create your own lesson plan I would say it’s best practice to see what your child needs to learn for their grade.
My children aren’t school age yet. I’ve been loosely homeschooling them for the last two years without a curriculum. My oldest will actually meet the age requirement this fall to be in kindergarten. But he already knows what’s taught in kindergarten so it’s easier for me to tailor to his needs without following a curriculum.
Building your homeschool schedule
I plan my schedule around six blocks of time. I start with what is the most important to me in my house, which is Bible Studies. We start with praying, then go over Bible verses from an amazing book called My ABC Bible Verses(click the link and you can grab it from amazon!). Then I read to them from the Jesus Storybook Bible. If you don’t own this, I highly recommend it. We also go over the books of the bible and our daily calendar.
Next, I teach a harder subject, Reading/Language Arts/Handwriting. We use an amazing book that teaches to read in 100 days (click the link to read my post about it!) for my oldest. And my youngest usually spends this time tracing letters, identifying letters or watching The Letter Factory which is an amazing movie that teaches children their letters and the sounds they make. If we have time we’ll also read a few books.
Then I go to something easier and fun for them, Art. We do lots of different things for this subject. They color, play with playdough, paint, draw on the chalk wall, etc. This is a great break for in between the harder subjects. I believe school should be fun, I try to make it enjoyable as much as possible.
Our next subject is Math. Working with two toddlers on two separate things at the same time can be challenging. So I usually write out some math problems for the oldest and work with my younger son on some basics. Or we do an activity that teaches lots of math, like play grocery store and have them pay for things with fake money.
After Math we do Music. Another fun subject before something really challenging. I want music to be a big part of my children’s lives. My oldest is taking piano lessons, but my little two aren’t old enough to do that yet. So I fill this time with singing songs, playing random instruments, making beats with our hands and feet, etc.
Finally, we have our switch subject. And to be honest, sometimes when my children have had enough with school time, we skip this. But I try my best to get through it and when we do, they usually enjoy it. We switch between gross motor, life skills, computer skills, sensory, science and nature studies, geography and history.
My children absolutely love science. I got them these science kits here:
that we’re working through to do science experiments. For some of the other subjects I teach, I just look on Pinterest for ideas if I can’t come up with anything.
Working through the kinks of your homeschool schedule
At first, it was easy to homeschool my oldest while my baby took her nap.
Then she was awake during our homeschool time. So I kept her distracted in a playpen with toys and trying to play with her while I taught.
Then she couldn’t be contained and she was big enough to roam around in our homeschool room but instead of playing she would pull everything off the shelves and bother her brothers while I tried to teach them.
I had to figure out something to do, and something quick.
Then we joined a local homeschool group. And trying to fit in some activities that seemed to always be happening during our teaching time, on top of everything else we do, was hard to work into our schedule.
Finding solutions to your homeschool schedule
Currently, I’m doing half of our homeschool upstairs in the dining/living room and the other half downstairs in the homeschool room. Since Sarai plays well in the living room it’s easier to get reading and math out of the way while she can be distracted. And then once we do those we can come downstairs to finish up the rest of the subjects.
We start with Bible studies after breakfast clean up. Then I do reading/language arts/handwriting at the dining table with the boys. We continue on with Art and then Math at the table and then move on downstairs.
Sometimes instead of doing homeschool in the morning, we have to do it in the afternoon.
Sometimes my children won’t sit still long enough to learn anything and we have to stop early. This, of course, won’t be an option when we start off for a full homeschool year this fall.
The beauty of homeschool is that it looks different for each family. You have to try until something sticks.
Figuring out what works for your family and your child’s needs can take some time. The good thing about homeschool is that it can be as flexible as you need it to be.
Do you homeschool your children? What does your schedule look like? Leave me a comment and I’ll make sure to respond!
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