Are you struggling with your large family homeschool schedule while homeschooling multiple ages? Use these simple steps to create a Homeschool schedule with themed hours that will make your day run more smoothly.
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I wish I could take credit for the idea of using a daily homeschool schedule with themed hours for my family, but I can’t. All the credit goes to my friend Booke, you can find her blog here. Thankfully, she shared this genius idea with me just in time.
I was struggling with getting everything done in my homeschool day for my six children. My high school students needed help with math and science, while my elementary school students needed help with reading and grammar. Everyone needed me, and everyone was working on something different.
Then my friend shared with me the idea of having a theme for each hour of my homeschool schedule. In fact, what she said was, it just seems to flow better when everyone is in “one mind and one accord.”She was absolutely right.
Benefits of a Themed Homeschool Schedule
One Subject Focus
One of the benefits of the old one room school house was that all of the students were working on the same subjects at the same time. Younger students were hearing the work of the older students. That work challenged the younger students and gave them early exposure to ideas beyond their level.
Older children heard the work of the younger children, which provided a constant review of basic concepts.
Themed Hour Homeschool Schedule Is More Productive
A themed hour homeschool schedule benefits mom. Hopping from one child to the next when one is working on math and the next English is like task switching in our brains. Every time we switch tasks, we lose productivity; as much as 40% in a day. Homeschooling in a themed hour format is like batch tasking and even helps moms focus on the task at hand.
A themed hour homeschool schedule eliminates the “what’s next” paralysis for kids. There is never any question about what they should be working on and they don’t have to choose.
When we are all working on the same subject for the same hour, mom is able to help the students who struggle more with a particular subject. Sometimes, a beautiful thing happens and siblings are able to help each other. It really balances out the need for mom.
Things to Consider When Creating Your Homeschool Schedule
What Subjects Will You Cover
Consider what you will be teaching in your homeschool for this year or this semester. It doesn’t have to be the same each year. It may also depend on the style of homeschooling you use. Your days may look different if you use a unit study approach than they would if you use a more classical approach.
How many hours do you have to homeschool each day?
Consider how many hours you have to homeschool each day. Again, this may not be the same each day. I recommend creating a time block schedule for yourself and for each member of your family to determine how much time you really have.
For my family, we have two days when my children have martial arts training. One of those days is also the day we have therapy for our medically complex daughters. Think about reserving the most difficult subjects for days when you have the most time.
I also try to schedule those subjects when my time is uninterrupted. For us, that is in the morning. I usually leave the subjects my children can do more independently for the afternoon.
With which homeschool subjects do your children struggle?
Think about the subjects your children struggle with the most and which subjects require the most help from you. Are these the same for all of your students? Depending on how your children work best, you might group these hours together or separate them to meet the needs of your children.
Think about when your children are the most focused. Is it when they are fresh in the morning or later in the afternoon after they have had time to expend some energy?
What homeschool curriculum do you use?
The homeschool curriculum you chose to use will certainly impact your schooling hours. Some curricula require lots of structured time maximum parent involvement in every subject area. Others have a looser framework and allow some activities to be done individually. You can read about choosing a curriculum for a large family here.
How to Make a Themed Homeschool Schedule Work
Explain the Schedule to Your Students
If this is a completely new idea, and especially if your students don’t usually just go with the flow, you will want to explain the concept to them. Be sure to outline the benefits.
Make Your Schedule Visible
No matter the type of homeschool schedule you use, it’s always a good idea to make your schedule visible for you and your students. A few ways you can make this happen are:
- Post a physical paper copy of your schedule in a central place in your home or in the room where you homeschool.
- Create your schedule in google calendar or ical and share it with your students who have electronic devices.
- Put a copy of your schedule in the front of a notebook for each of your children.
Set a Timer
A timer is a great tool to keep both you and your children on track. I like to set my timer for 55 minutes and allow five minutes to transition between subjects.
Stay Engaged with Your Students
It’s super easy for us as moms to get distracted during our homeschool day, especially when we are multitasking. Staying engaged with your students will help them stay engaged in the topic of the hour.
What if someone finishes a subject early?
Sometimes a child will not need an entire hour to complete work on one particular subject. If they have time, they can move on to a group of “extras” that may need to be done.
Example: We have themed hours for bible, math, language arts, history, but we have subjects like bible quizzing, co-op homework, picture study, art and music practice that are lumped in a category of extras. If a student finishes a themed hour early, they can work on something from the extra’s category.
What if a child does not finish a subject in the themed hour?
If a child does not finish a subject inside the themed hour, they can come back to that subject at the end of the school day. Sometimes, fresh eyes actually help and the subject is completely easily.
This also allows mom to help with the student with the subjects where the most help is needed.
Themed homeschool hours allow time for grading and corrections.
Having a full hour to devote to a particular subject allows time for grading and corrections in that same hour. You can maximize your child’s exposure by having the children closest in age or grade “trade and grade” each other’s work. This also saves time for mom.
Free Printable Homeschool Schedule Templates
Via the download below, you can access my free blank schedule templates. These are the forms I use every day in my homeschool.