The setting is the first thing to think about because there should be an area that is set aside for learning in the home whether it is a specific room, desks in each of the bedrooms or the kitchen table is transformed for a few hours each day. If there is a homeschool room dubbed the ‘classroom’ then this provides a space where schoolbooks can be stored, supplies and tools are kept in an organized manner and the day starts and ends in this area.
Every family is different but having a separation between ‘home’ and ‘school’ can be helpful because parents can be teachers but at the end of the day everyone should just be family. Another reason to have a specific area is the creativity kids can have with setting up and decorating their desks or helping put the room together with a different theme each year or in putting up new resources purchased for the upcoming grades.
The top accredited home schooling online programs advocate creating a schedule either per student or one that every child can work with. This will look different for each family because kids are unique, they may be at various growing stages and lifestyle will also be a factor. Sit down as a family to determine the best schedule for everyone and be sure to include outside time, lunch and transition between classes. This may not be something that is strictly adhered to but it gives students a visual of how they need to be spending their time and parents an organized method of holding their child accountable for what they are doing.
The time period for each class may vary depending on the child’s grade, print vs online textbooks and the student’s learning style. It’s okay to carve out more time in a subject that is more challenging for a student and have it be different for each kid but try to align this ‘long period’ together so they are overall still on the same schedule. Start and end times may change as elementary students enter middle school and then high school because of the physical changes, peak learning times and other priorities such as sports practices, jobs and activities.
Learning comes in all shapes and sizes, not just in a textbook so when creating the above schedule, be sure to set time aside each day or week for extracurricular activities. These are things such as field trips, getting together with other homeschoolers, physical exercise, drama, arts and even science experiments. Studies have shown that children learn best when they can incorporate all their senses including touch and taste along with reading the material.
History comes alive through re-enactments while science is displayed in exploding volcanos and lessons about math and accounting are easily demonstrated with trips to the store. These are not only times of learning but they provide opportunities for deepening relationships and opening communication between the parent and their kids. Whether you have one or multiple, the possibilities are endless and when you make time in the schedule for this then they have something to look forward to on a regular basis.
One of the best advantages of homeschooling is the ability for a typical school day to take place at home, in the car or a doctor’s office. Accredited homeschooling online programs require an electronic device and Internet connection for students to complete their work so if there is a day where you need to run errands or everyone has appointments, this can be a day off or have the kids bring their work and do it anyway.
Parents can still maintain a flexible schedule by encouraging students to do their classes in the same order as always and to bring what they need in a backpack so they stay organized and don’t fall behind. Traditional schools require a student to be in the classroom to do the work but with homeschooling the day’s routine doesn’t have to change just become the surrounding environment does. This ensures that every day can be productive and once the ‘last bell’ rings then the day is over and kids can put the school work away wherever they are.
The above tips are helpful and give parents ideas which they can take and make uniquely their own but one last factor that creates a routine homeschool day is the love and support homeschool students receive from their parents. It is important to enroll them in a quality accredited homeschooling online program but it is even more critical for students to know they can turn to their parents for help and support whenever they have questions or problems in understanding the material. Parents do not have to be expert teachers but they can listen, be supportive and show kids where to find the answers they need. It takes a family effort to homeschool and every day can be full of fun when everyone is working together.