Once you’ve decided to embark on a homeschooling journey with your family, you may find yourself wondering how exactly you go about planning your daily schedule and timetable. Choosing a quality combined hands on, and online and homeschool curriculum is an important first step, but there isn’t necessarily a clear guide on what’s next. The beauty of homeschooling lies largely in its flexibility and capacity for individualisation so there isn’t one right way to set up your personal timetable or balance your homeschool subjects. That said,having a program that allows you to change things at any time to suit you and your child’s unique needs, is vital.
One of the best ways to figure out how to balance out your learning schedule is through experience, but if you’re a newcomer then there’s no reason you can’t benefit from the experience of other homeschooling families who have been doing it for years. We’ll walk you through some potential ways to balance out your subjects and include a few helpful pages from others in the CEA homeschooling community where you can gain more insight.
Our curriculum satisfies all requirements for homeschool registration under the Australian Curriculum. We use grade levels to categorise our curriculum packages so you can keep track of the Australian Curriculum and the guidelines required by the Department of Education. However, we believe a program should be created to fit the child, rather than expecting all children to fit a particular Grade level. It is our passion to tailor the program to fit your child’s needs. If your child requires revision in a specific area, a lower Grade level in that subject can be added. If your child needs extension, we can easily provide a higher level subject in that particular subject. That said, we are providing the content, and we give plenty of support on structure, but it is entirely up to you and your child how you’d like to move through the curriculum. For instance, start and end dates are totally flexible. You’ll be giving the number of lessons for each subject, but you can personalise the timetable to suit your needs and make way for extracurricular activities or field trip days.
Let’s take the example of our practical and online homeschool curriculum for Grade 1. The classes include:
- The Arts (Drama, music, visual arts)
The most straightforward way to approach this, is by starting all subjects at the beginning of your own term and by doing Maths and Enlgish each day, with one other subject each afternoon. Most families find this type of timetable very helpful.
There are a few other ways you can adapt it to optimise your child’s learning and comprehension.
This approach might look like starting with only half of the subjects and doing them all everyday, and gradually adding in more subjects as you go. Homeschool parents might choose this option if they have reason to believe that their child might be overwhelmed by starting six subjects all at once, which may be the reason you chose homeschooling in the first place! Perhaps you start with English, Maths and Science for a few weeks, then add in each of Humanities, PDHPE and The Arts one at a time, working up to a full time homeschool curriculum. Maybe you do three subjects a day and alternate days. Whichever way you arrange it, a staggered start might help you ease into homeschooling for the first time.
One Subject a Day
This is basically the opposite extreme to doing all subjects everyday. Instead pacing Maths and English time each day, you can go into great depth in one subject for the whole day, possibly incorporating creative projects or applied knowledge activities along the way. As there are six subjects in the fulltime curriculum, you might decide to have a short period of PDHPE everyday to mix up the longer lesson on one subject. The only downside to this is that you will have a week in between each subject lesson, so it may be less ideal for children who have more of a challenge remembering lessons. For some, it is the perfect way to learn on a deeper level and stay focused rather than switching from one subject to the next.
Another way to do a one-subject-a-day schedule with six classes is to rotate which class is the shorter “everyday” class depending on which area your child needs to most help with. Perhaps they are having trouble remembering some of the Science lessons. You can do each of the other five subjects on their own day, starting with a shorter Science lesson each morning to solidify the lesson.
Four day school week
A lot of homeschooling families incorporate their curriculum over four days and leave the fifth day lesson free. This might be used for going on subject related field trips, applying knowledge in the ‘real world’, or simply giving yourself time to get errands done and make the whole process easier on everyone. If you choose the four day week then you can still vary your timetable according to the ideas above. Perhaps you do two subjects a day for three days and spend the fourth day going deep on the subject where your child has the least confidence, which might change week to week.
Tips from Homeschooling Families
- One family says to start the day with easier subjects and move into harder ones once everyone is ‘warmed up’. Another family says to put the weaker areas first, get them out of the way, then do the easier subjects later on when they have less energy. Try both and make it work for you!
- Try doing subjects in the same order or same time of day on the days they are taught to create some routine.
- Another tip is to find some structure but to remember to customise for your child’s strengths and interests. Don’t worry if you need to change things up.
- A great reminder is not to be afraid to get creative and combine subjects where possible. You can implement English lessons while doing Humanities etc.
- Take your time if necessary, this is the beauty of homeschooling. One family reminds us to find a schedule that works for you and be open to changing it year to year (or day to day if necessary!).
- Find ways to incorporate lessons into everyday life if you can. Bring your child on errands, do projects together, integrate the classroom and the world around them.
Take a deep breath and get started. You can always make changes to a timetable along the way. If you need extra support, get in touch and we’ll be very happy to help you out.