I’d like to say that I’ve really got it all together and that every day runs smoothly. But I don’t like to lie. The reality is, that little thing called “Life” is always getting in the way. Maybe your eager pupil wakes up with a fever. Or your outdoor field trip has to be rescheduled because it starts raining. Or maybe your weekly visit to the library gets canceled because your car won’t start.
But to be a successful homeschooler, there has to be some sort of plan. Here, then, are seven tips for creating and maintaining an organized schedule:
1. Set goals.
Take the time to sit down and write out what you’d like to accomplish in a day, week, and/or month. Don’t get too detailed. Limit yourself to three goals a day or five big goals each week. You may not accomplish everything on the list, but writing it out helps you prioritize and focus. Make sure you hang your list of goals someplace where you can see it on a daily basis.
2. Get real and don’t overdo it.
Biting off more than you can chew will only leave you tired and frustrated. Narrow it down to the important stuff, and be sure to allow time for reading and playing with your kids in between subjects and projects.
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3. Pick the right time.
Consider what works best for your child. Some kids focus well in the mornings, while others are better in the afternoons. Try to schedule your child’s lessons at the time during which he or she is the most receptive. This may take a few days of experimentation to discover.
4. Strive for consistency.
Children function best when there is some sort of schedule to their time. It gives them a sense of security and provides them with a small portion of control over their environment. So try to establish a routine and stick to it.
5. Be flexible.
Learning styles, mood, sickness, interest level, and much more will often throw a monkey wrench into your best-laid plans. So will outside influences, such as: other family members, neighbors, friends, and business. A good teacher knows how to roll with the punches and take advantage of unexpected opportunities to help her students learn some incredible life lessons along the way.
6. Print it!
Creating learning opportunities and keeping track of lessons—not to mention all of the books, manipulatives, art and school supplies—does require some semblance of organization on your part. Don’t be afraid to print up a calendar or schedule—just remember: You are in charge of it—not the other way around.
To help you out, visit this page from The Homeschool Mom. She has put together a great list of homeschool planners and organizers available online.
7. Evaluate…then re-evaluate.
Your schedule is not written in stone. In fact, it will probably be in a continuous state of flux. Take time to examine it on a regular basis and change it whenever necessary in order to make it work best for you and your family.