Homeschool Schedule Planning

free homeschooling Every schedule planned for a homeschooling family will differ from the next. No two children are alike and so no two homeschooling families are alike. What suits the needs of your friends may not always work out for you. So stick to a homeschool schedule that takes into account all the different aspects that you need to focus on. There are essentially three elements to a homeschool schedule – overall planning, lesson planning and co-curricular activities planning.

Overall Planning

This planning creates a basic framework for what all you want to achieve in a specific school year. Treat this as a general guideline for your lesson planning and a check point for your extra curricular activities. This does not have to go into many details, just the broad goals are good here. Of course if you can put them into writing and refer to them once a month you will know just how far you have come in the school year.

Lesson Planning

This is something no teacher enjoys, but like the knife of a surgeon it is a necessary evil. Here you plan out the day to day lessons that will be covered in the homeschool classroom. You will have to refer to the curriculum to see what needs to be covered and then divide up the school semester accordingly. Now hash it down to a monthly schedule followed by a weekly to do list. The more details you add here, the easier it will be to stick to the original plan.

Co-curricular Activity Planning

The extra activities you plan can again be split up into daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, half yearly, and annual events. Some basic form of physical exercise needs to happen daily, but organized sports can be done about once a week. You can have a weekly field trip to a park and a monthly trip to a museum. A quarterly road trip to the grandparents in a neighboring city can also be a great learning event. As you can see, there is a lot to plan for co-curricular activities as well. Don’t be too hard on yourself if at the end of the year you haven’t been able to do it all. There is always next year!


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How Do You Set Your Homeschool Goals?

online homeschool When you begin to teach in a homeschool class you set yourself some goals, and these need to be reviewed. Each skill that you need to teach your homeschooling student can be broken down into manageable goals. As you meet each individual goal you can measure up the progress that you have made and just how much more work you need to put in. So how do you set your homeschool goals?

All Goals Don’t Need to be Long Drawn and Specific

In every grade the homeschool student needs to be able to master certain skills by the end of the academic year. For instance multiplication in math class can be divided into goals such as learning tables from 1 to 10. Then single digit multiplication sums, followed by double digit multiplication and so on. In English you could start with sentence formation and move on to writing paragraphs and finally whole essays. You just need to have the end goal in mind and then work on the basic skills through the year. Don’t drive yourself crazy by setting weekly goals for every skill.

Goals Do Need a Logical Sequence

Just like your baby needs to learn to stand before he can walk, some skills need to be taught before others. In case of math you will add before you subtract, then multiply before you divide. Each skill set learned becomes the basis of the next set to be introduced to the homeschool student. For this reason your goals need to follow a logical sequence, just as you can’t teach an experiment without explaining the theory as well. of course in some cases doing the experiment first may stimulate more curiosity about why things works that way!

Goals Should Include a Reward

As you meet each individual goal you have set for yourself in the homeschool classroom, don’t forget to reward yourself and your students. You can have special rewards set for specific goals as a motivational tool for the students. Finish a specific skill set and you get to take a fun field trip. Or play a favorite game, the reward does not have to involve spending any money, but must provide value to the child.

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How to Store Your Material

homeschool supplies Just as you need to plan out what you will teach in each homeschool year, you need to figure out how you are going to store all the material you will need as well. Here are some tips to make it easier to store and retrieve your study material.

Store by Use

If you use something everyday it should be stored in your school room on easily accessible shelves or bags that your children can reach easily. Material that is needed rarely can be kept in higher shelves of a cupboard and taken out when required. Sort out all your material into daily storage and long term storage to see what needs to go where. Somethings may even be left out on the study desk if you have a dedicated homeschool classroom.

Storage Containers

Different types of storage containers can be used. A regular cupboard, open shelves, add on book shelves on the wall, a bag slung over the back of a chair: you can use all kinds of spaces to store your material. Papers and worksheets can be tamed by having specific folders and binders for them. Some can be put right away into the portfolio of your homeschooling student. The basic idea is to have a place for everything and then remember to put everything in its place.

Planning Your Storage

A single available cupboard dedicated to study material can make storing your stuff much easier. If you have the space and the budget, have one such cupboard commissioned for your homeschooling classroom. Another good idea a homeschooling mother used was building four small cupboards on wheels. These doubled up as worktables and all shelves were easily accessible by the kids. At the end of the say they could all be pushed together against the wall to free up space in the room.

Your storage plans will depend on what suits the needs of your homeschool classroom best. There are a lot of ideas that you can use to ensure that your study material is stored in a systematic and effective manner. Check out the photographs and ideas shared on various websites to get your own ideal storage system going.


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What System Do You Follow in Your Homeschool Classroom?

homeschool curriculum Ideally speaking the tools you use in the homeschool classroom will be based on your teaching style initially. You will then adapt them based on the learning patterns of your homeschool students. There is no single cut and dried system that will work for your classroom all the time. As a homeschool teacher you will constantly evolve your system, but to start with how do you handle homeschooling?

An All-in-One Curriculum

When you begin homeschooling it would be a good idea to go in for an all in one curriculum which offers you insights into what you need to teach and how best to do so for all subjects. The entire curriculum is from a single company and provides you with a good starting point for the academic session. This is by no means the only system you need to follow. There is no end to the number of tools available to teach your children.

Self Made Curriculum

As you gain experience and confidence you will realize that you can do more than simply ape what the all in one curriculum mentions. You can set up your own classes based on what you find on different websites, reference books and online communities. As you hone in on the most successful learning style of your homeschool students you will be able to put together a good curriculum for the academic session on your own.

Best Laid Plans – Mix and Match

Despite the long hours you put in to designing your curriculum you will find that the plan kind of evolves and changes all through the academic session. The curriculum which seemed so right at the beginning may suddenly have lots lacking or some superfluous stuff in it. It doesn’t matter what you thought you would follow at the beginning of the year, just move along the best you can. You know what a child in the school grade needs to learn and you are the best judge of getting the child to pick up these skills in the easiest possible manner. So mix and match all the resources you have available to you and provide your child with the most unique and useful education ever.

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Simple Steps to Begin Homeschooling

homeschool programs While homeschooling is a personal choice and has a huge amount of flexibility built in to the system, you still need to follow some basic steps to be successful. Here is a list of some pertinent question you need to answer in order to comply with these steps.

Step 1 : Are you homeschooling legally?

Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding homeschooling. Should you be shifting abroad you will need to find out the legal aspects regarding homeschool education in that country as well. No one wants to be on the wrong side of the law for teaching their kids at home, so ensure you comply with the legal requirements.

Step 2: What curriculum and resources are you using?

While some families swing their way through without any formal curriculum, most find a formal curriculum helpful at least in the initial years of homeschooling. So pick out the one you intend to use in your homeschooling class. Get something in your budget which has great recommendations from actual users.

Step 3 : How organized are you and your material?

Just as you would organize everything that you required if you were going to cook a special dish, you need to organize all your material before you start homeschooling classes. Your schedules, subject wise material and worksheets all need to be ready to go. Think about everything you will need to teach a class and have it ready. You may not use everything everytime but at least you will have the satisfaction of knowing that it is available whenever you need it.

Step 4 : Have you set goals for your child and a plan to help them achieve them?

Examine the skill set of your child at the beginning of the academic year and think of what all you want the child to learn by the end of the homeschooling year. These become your end goals. Now work out a plan that will help your child meet these goals.

Step 5: Do you have a support system?

There will be times when you get stuck: you may be unwell, your study material may not be adequate, your experience may not be enough.  No matter what the situation, you need a support system that can step in and help you at a moment’s notice.  Spend some time setting it up before you begin homeschooling and it will save you many hassles at a later date.

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Daily Homeschooling Issues

homeschool science Are you having a day so bad that you are reconsidering your decision to homeschool your children? Have you done everything right and still do not seem to be able to get your children to do what you want? Are you feeling dejected and hopeless? Take a deep breath and relax, then read on.

Planning and organization do not always help

No two days can ever be alike when children are involved. They can blind sight you when you least expect it. The day you think you have everything planned out to have a truly productive homeschool day is the day you may have to rush to the emergency room because you child swallowed something she shouldn’t have. And the day you get up in the morning wondering what on earth am I supposed to teach in class today, is the day you end up getting a lesson done in every single subject.

It is normal to have such extreme situations

The frequency of such episodes can make you wonder just how eccentric a family you are, but the truth is such varied days are part and parcel of any homeschooling family’s existence. Follow the blog of any homeschooling mom and you will find mention of near perfect days much more rarely than days when chaos ruled. No matter how crazy the situation gets, it always manages to sort itself out. “This too shall pass” ; That is the thought to hold on to during all the mayhem that you experience each day.

Handling the daily niggling issues

The first thing you have to do is find your calm spot. If the children are creating a ruckus it is not going to help if you start yelling as well. You need to ensure that your homeschool students understand that as their homeschool teacher you will enforce disciplinary action. A couple of well spaced punishments for repeat offenses will usually reduce if not altogether eliminate them. The punishment can range from a mild time out in the corner to a restriction of favorite treats. You will know what’s most effective with your children.


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Locations to Introduce Science to Homeschool Students

homeschool supplies Are you lamenting the lack of a formal science laboratory as a homeschooling parent? Don’t worry about it because teaching science to homeschool students is not  a problem since you can improvise on locations around the house.

The Kitchen

Think about the number of science experiments that require heat or cold. You can conduct them easily in the kitchen using the hob or microwave for heat and the freezer or refrigerator for cold. Do make sure that the homeschool students are well versed with safety rules so that no one accidentally ends up hurting themselves by touching something scorching hot or freezing cold.

The Bathroom

Does your science experiment require large quantities of water? Or do you need to dip something in water? Maybe an experiment that may involve water splashing out of containers? The bathroom is the best place for such tricks. Your homeschool students can play with the water to their heart’s content and you will have minimal cleaning up to do.

The Garden

Need to dig up some mud, plant something or generally have a large area available for a science experiment to be conducted? Use the garden or the backyard for such science experiments. This can also be a great place to observe small ants and other insects for a nature study. Spider’s web, ant hills and other small phenomena can be introduced to teh homeschool students here.

The Playground

The seesaw can be used to balance weights, the swing can be used to explain pendulum motion, the ball can be thrown to show the effect of gravity, a paper plane can be flown to show how wind currents carry gliders, and so much more. Who said the play ground was only for playing? A homeschooling family can easily use the ready equipment in the play ground to conduct many enjoyable science experiments.

Think of other such places where you can conduct science experiments with ease. It doesn’t matter that you don’t have a formal science laboratory, the locations you can access in regular life can be easily converted into a learning lab for your homeschool students.


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Changing to Homeschool from Regular School

homeschool supplies There is a lot of difference between “school at home” and homeschooling. If your child is shifting between the two systems you as the homeschooling teacher have to ensure a smooth transition. Here are some things that you can do to ensure the success of such a transition.

Explain the Difference

A child who is used to the daily routine of a regular public school will have some trouble understanding how homeschool scheduling works. The concept of fixed break times will have to be replaced with flexible learning times. The teaching style will differ and the kind of classwork that needs to be done and submitted will also be different.

Stick to Few Subjects

When shifting between systems it is a good idea to focus on a few core subjects instead of doing all that was being done in the regular school. That way you will not be struggling to cover a lot of ground over the school day. Stick to the essentials in the beginning and work your way up to more subjects and activities as both teacher and student get comfortable with the new set up.

Take Field Trips

The freedom to take a field trip anytime you wish should be exploited in the transition period. There is a lot to say for being able to take off for a walk in the park, or a visit to the local museum and calling it a working school day. Visit the homes of old friends, or family who the children enjoy being with. Or just go to the supermarket for groceries. Anytime the homeschool classroom is getting too claustrophobic, just step out to do something new.

One on One Subject Scheduling

Each child has his own specific interests. Sit down with your child and ask about what he would like to learn more about. This topic should be used to teach regular subject lessons where possible, and studied separately as a different class as well. Find material and activities to support your teaching. The level of interaction in this class will be more as the child is genuinely interested in learning more about the topic.


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Preparing to Move From Public School To Homeschool

homeschool curriculum In the last blog post we discussed the basic preparation that you would have to do in order to shift from public school to homeschool. Here we elaborate on what else you may have to consider.

The Legal Aspect

If your child has been attending Public school and you should find out the legal requirements that you will need to meet before you can switch over to homeschooling. Some states have different laws and if you are in and out of the country, you may actually want to consult with someone knowledgeable from the education department. This will help you avoid hassles later on when your child wants to go to college.

The Physical Classroom

To a child used to the public school routine sitting on the dinning table and studying all day will not come naturally. He will want to take his lunch break, and ask about what he is supposed to do for PE. It would help if you can designate a room in the house as the homeschool classroom. The child will compare everything and you have to be ready to explain why some things will change in homeschool.

The Change in Teaching Style

Homeschooling involves one on one teaching which is a lot more intensive than the typical public school classroom where a single teacher must keep track of multiple students. The child may be uncomfortable at first with such direct supervision. It would be a good idea to give him some self learning time where you are not directly teaching him all the time.

Missing Friends and Old Environment

No matter how exciting you make it sound, homeschool will be very different from what your child has experienced so far. He will miss old friends. He will miss the old learning environment and possibly things that irritated him when he attended public school will become things he wants to do. Keep your patience and explain why things will have to be different. Try and make new friends to replace the old and find new activities to burn energy as well. It will take time for the child to get accustomed to his new reality. Stay his friend as he works through this.


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Shifting Between Systems

homeschool science Homeschooling may not have been your first choice but perhaps it is your only one. Maybe you have shifted abroad and no local school has English language based instruction, or you move about so much that studying in a regular school is not an option. No matter what the reason you may have to shift from regular school to homeschool, there is bound to be some apprehension on both sides when you make the switch.Here’s what you can do to make it easier on both sides.

Prepare for the Change

A child, who is not used to the parent being in a teacher’s role, will need to redefine the authority figure. A parent, who has not been much of a disciplinarian, may have to work on methods to hold the child’s attention. For both, the teacher and the student, this period of transition can be difficult. However if you are mentally prepared for the undertaking it can be done with considerable ease.

Keep the Child Informed

If you are going to begin homeschooling ensure that the potential homeschool student is aware of the situation that is leading to this change. Give the child time to come to terms with the change. About a month in advance start preparing the child for the future. Sit down and have a detailed chat about the course of action you are taking and the reasons for it. Even a younger child may have questions and doubts that you should take the time to address.

Avoid the Isolation

Going to public school involves meeting up with a large number of people everyday. Even if the actual number of friends that your child has is limited, he is used to seeing many people when he leaves the house. Homeschooling will cut into this and may leave the child feeling isolated. To avoid this ensure that there are after school activities that the child can join in. A club, a sport, or even learning a musical instrument can all count as acceptable distractions. Making new friends may not be possible immediately but having new people around the child is. Perhaps he will pick new friends from among them.

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