How to Set Up a Homeschooling Schedule – Revisited and Rescheduled

Quite some time ago, I wrote a series of articles on how we (at that time) setup our schedule. Check it out here, starting at Part 1 for a refresher.

As you can see, it is pretty detailed and intricate. I am very glad that I started out my homeschool journey doing this type of schedule because every rendition of our daily routine has been built off of this one as a base. But, life changes – sometimes, rather quickly. Our schedule has to be able to keep up. I still want to get everything done in the day and I don’t want to be chained to the *drawing board* every time my schedule needs an overhaul.

Over the years, we have re-organized our schedule a few different ways and I would like to share some of the ideas here with you. I’m hoping this will help you, if your current schedule isn’t fitting your life as well as it could, to get another perspective on how to approach it.

Checklist

Rather than assign specific times to each task, I have looked at everything that needed *doing* and assigned each task a priority number. Then, just organize the list according to priority. When your day starts, work your way down the list until the end of the day.

  • Pros – I didn’t feel guilty about what time I finally tackled certain tasks. If I didn’t do chore time precisely at 10:30am, but it happened at 11:30 or even 2:30, I had an easier time looking at the fact that we DID chore time, rather than seeing the negative aspect of not getting to chore time until hours after the prescribed time.
  • Cons – It is possible that those items on the very bottom won’t get completed for days at a time. Even though those things are lower priority, they still need to be accomplished – frequency will depend on what the task actually is. You could have a few different arrangements of your list so that those bottom tasks get shuffled to the top once in a while.

Large, General Blocks of Time

In my main schedule, I really scheduled down to the smallest block of time. It almost felt like each and every minute is scheduled. So, in this spin-off, I just created big huge blocks for general tasks at certain times. Instead of Math at 8am and German at 8:30am and outside time at 9:00am, etc., I just created a block from 8am to 11am for school *stuff*.

  • Pros – This type of schedule gives us lots of breathing room. As long as I’m doing school with the kids during those hours, I feel good about being on schedule. We have leeway to tackle a big project or do lots of little tasks – whatever we feel like digging into.
  • Cons – It’s very easy to just do what we *want* without mixing in any of the things that we *need* to do that aren’t our most favorite. For my kids, that’s math.

Upside Down

I have always always done kid stuff and school stuff in the mornings and work stuff or my own stuff in the afternoons. I have wondered if I let them have free time in the morning, pursuing their own interests, playing, etc. would they be more productive once they got to schoolwork in the afternoons. I haven’t done this way yet but I would like to try.

  • Possible Pros – kids might have more energy and focus when they have all the free time out of their system right at the beginning of the day. I might also be able to focus on them more fully when I have all my work stuff done right off the bat. The times when we sleep in because of getting to bed late wouldn’t effect school as much. It might force me to wake up early no matter how I feel because I know that’s my only time to work.
  • Possible Cons – they might have an even harder time focusing on school work due to the fun stuff they did earlier and are wanting to go back to.

Absolutely No Schedule At All

Yes, we’ve actually done this one! We have had times in our life where things were crazy and nothing got done when we wanted it to get done. Whether we were running to special meetings at church or helping someone move, there are times when all those extra activities fall in the same week!

  • Pros – It’s fun, mostly for the kids. They are not really feeling the responsibility of *doing school* and we are getting a change of scenery and a change of pace. We feel a lot of freedom to just move about as we wish without being tied to accomplishing the list.
  • Cons – I have tons and tons of mommy-guilt with this one. Not that it is even a schedule that we do on purpose – I tend to look back at the block of time and realize, we’ve done it again.

Schedule Including Polyphasic Sleep

*Note: The polyphasic sleep I am describing only happens for my husband and I. We do not ever put our children on polyphasic nor do we recommend doing so until they are done growing. Our kids know about it and if they want to try when they are in their 20’s, I’ll condone it then.

If you haven’t heard of Polyphasic Sleep patterns before, it’s when you segment your sleep into different chunks rather than the straight 8 hours of sleep {who really does that anyway?} and 16 hours awake. The way most people sleep is called monophasic sleeping.

There are lots of ways to break it up. The most, what I would call, extreme is called the Uberman – 3.5 hours awake, 20 minutes asleep round the clock. The variation we tried was called Dual Core with One Nap, or DC1. This includes two core sleeps totaling about 5 hours of sleep with one nap in the middle of the day. For instance, a 3.5 hours of sleep, 4 hours awake , 1.5 hours of sleep, 6 hours awake, 20 minute power, 8.5 hours awake.

While I think lots of people could do this, it certainly is lots easier for us with my husband working at home.

  • Pros – My husband and I get LOTS more quiet time with the kids asleep at night. We get lots more work done for our business.
  • Cons – It is very hard to move away from monophasic sleep. My body has slept this way since I was a few months old – not exactly sure when I started sleeping through the night! 🙂 I don’t know that we have ever gotten into a good enough groove with this type of schedule to really be able to give it a thorough review.

For more information on Polyphasic Sleep, visit the Polyphasic Society’s website.

It certainly was good for me to read over those initial scheduling articles I linked to at the beginning of this article. I can hardly believe it’s been more than four years since I wrote that! Boy, has our life changed!

My husband now works at home rather than nights at Disney (we work on our internet marketing business together). We have added two more cute little angels to our crew. My oldest son no longer lives with us full-time – but, we are constantly traveling to his football games and parent meetings for high school. We no longer live down south so outside time year-round is not always possible. So many little things have changed and yet it all impacts how we do our *thing* on a day-to-day basis.

So, what kind of schedule works best for your family? What ways have you molded your schedule to fit your changing needs?

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