This might be hard for you to hear if you’re a recovering type-A planner, but you don’t need a homeschool schedule. The pretty color-coded timed plans are gorgeous and I’m guilty of falling for them too. The truth is, those timed schedules are unrealistic for most families.
Schedules are strict and hard to keep, resulting in overwhelm and frustration when they fail. A routine is much easier to maintain. Routines are habits that don’t need to be written down for you to follow through, so they’re a lot easier for kids to internalize and stick with over time.
A quick google search will reveal beautiful homeschool schedule templates with cute farmhouse themes and tons of details. However, it won’t take you long to discover those detailed schedules don’t often work in the real world. Keep reading to learn more about how we ditched the homeschool schedules and set up a routine that works for our family.
Yes, Homeschooling Without a Schedule Can Work
Giving up on the idea of following a carefully crafted hour-by-hour schedule can be tough. However, I promise it can work and work well for your homeschool family. In the end, you might even find you are less stressed out.
Sticking to a detailed schedule can be challenging, especially if you feel the need to check every box on your homeschool schedule. Don’t be afraid to let go of rigid schedules that aren’t working for your family and embrace a loose routine.
Will the homeschool day still count if I don’t get everything done? Of course it will! Even if you don’t get to check off every box on your homeschool to-do list, even if your methods were less traditional, and even if your kids spent all day asking Alexa questions about animals, your homeschool day counts.
Homeschool Schedules vs. Homeschool Routines
A homeschool schedule isn’t inherently bad. If you want a schedule and it works for your family, continue checking those boxes and color-coding your time slots happily. However, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with your strict homeschool schedule or you feel like all the fun has been sucked out of your homeschool days, you might want to consider a homeschool routine instead.
What’s the difference between a schedule and a routine? A schedule is more detailed, generally more strict, and usually needs to be referred back to regularly to ensure you complete all the scheduled items and tasks. Alternatively, a homeschool routine is more flexible and generally isn’t written down.
Using a homeschool routine instead of a schedule allows you to shift things around to begin school at different times of the day. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility we all love about homeschooling with a more relaxed homeschool routine.
What Time of Day Works Best For You?
So how do we go about choosing a homeschool routine that works for our family? I think it’s important to begin by considering what time of day works best for you and your children.
For example, I’m not a morning person. When I’m planning our homeschool days, I try to start with subjects and activities where my daughter can work independently. We like to begin the day with strewing and time spent outdoors. Work that needs to be done at the table and read alouds generally happen after lunch.
Think about what time of day works best for your family and set up a routine that allows for smooth transitions. If your kids all wake up at different times, you might find that a flexible routine works way better than a strict homeschool schedule. If you’re a family of night owls, you might need to start your homeschool lessons later in the day.
Be Flexible & Make Adjustments In Your Homeschool Routine
The best part about following a more flexible homeschool routine instead of a strict schedule is that you’ll be able to make adjustments more easily. Adjusting a detailed schedule can be tricky. Many things will need to be moved around and it can quickly become overwhelming.
With a homeschool routine, it’s easy to say “let’s start with science today because I really want to go for a nature walk.” You’ll be able to adjust your homeschool days to make the most of great weather or take advantage of unexpected field trip opportunities.
Having a flexible routine will allow you to spend extra time on subjects or lessons where your homeschoolers need extra help without throwing the whole day off too. If math equations are taking longer than expected or the science lesson just isn’t making sense, you can take the time you need without having to worry that your whole schedule will get out of whack.
What Does a Homeschool Routine Look Like?
The beauty of a homeschool routine is that it becomes a habit. Before long, your kids won’t need to ask what subject they’re doing next. Instead, they will know that history comes after reading and science experiments happen last … or whatever your homeschool routine happens to be.
Instead of color-coded detailed schedules that fill up binders as they list off tasks to be completed each hour, your homeschool routine might look something like this:
- Get dressed, eat breakfast, brush your teeth
- Morning basket & read aloud
- Science experiment or nature walk
While you can quickly find a number of homeschool schedule templates with a quick search online, you might not see too many routine “templates.” That’s because it’s all about choosing what works best for your family at what time.
Think about the natural flow in your family. What will your homeschool routine look like this year? Share your homeschool routine in the comment section. I can’t wait to read more about what’s working for your family!