When creating a homeschooling schedule, areas of instruction, student age, and family schedule should all be taken into consideration. These three things should be integrated to come up with a schedule that will benefit children and adults alike. There is no need, however, to redesign the wheel. Use tools available to you to come up with a schedule that meets your needs.
The first step in creating a homeschooling schedule is to develop a mission statement. Take a few hours to sit down, write and rewrite a statement of purpose for your homeschool. Consider these questions: what do you want your children to learn? What can you provide through homeschooling that your child cannot get through a regular education setting? What traits do you want to promote in your child? Writing a mission statement will guide your instruction and scheduling choices.
Once you have a mission statement, it is time to do some research. Collect information on the topics you plan to teach, and the developmental level of your child. The internet is a valuable tool for this type of research. To make things easier, you may want to refer to the teaching standards laid out by your state for the appropriate grade level. They have done the research for you. Use these standards compared to your mission statement to add and delete topics that you would like to be a part of your curriculum. For example, if religion is something you feel strongly about, you might add that topic of study to your states standards. Or you might incorporate it into already existing standards such as, teaching about people who have made a difference, or use religious works as part of a cultural study or reading material.
With a mission statement and instructional content, you can now begin to schedule your instructional week. With a weekly calendar in front of you, first set down meal, snack and nap times appropriate for your child and/family. Next add in regular necessary family activities, such as weekly trips to the grocery store, sports practice, or church commitments. Keep in mind that these activities can be tied into current studies and become part of the learning environment. Decide how many hours a day you wish to devote to instruction, and what time is reasonable to begin each day. Finally divide the time between subjects. It is generally accepted that at least 2-2 ½ hours a day should be devoted to language arts (reading, writing, grammar, spelling, listening and speaking). Another hour should be spent focusing on math. The rest of your time should be divided among your other areas of study. Some people prefer to hit every subject for a short time every day, but most hit each area of study for a longer period only once a week. For example, Monday science, Tuesday social study, Wednesday religious studies, Thursday art and music, Friday community service.
The last key piece in your homeschool schedule is physical activity. While some choose to treat this as any other content area, and designate an hour or two each week to play sports, we highly recommend that you take time each day to address it. Incorporating short spurts of physical activity into breaks throughout the day will reenergize students and allow them to focus more on their studies. Additionally, spending 30 minutes of focused physical activity with your child each day will model and promote healthy behavior that will last a life time.