Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

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homeschool schedule

The Perfect Homeschool Schedule

Many folks new to homeschooling struggle with this dilemma while adjusting to their new lifestyle. My roll as a homeschool mentor mom reminded me of this all too common and nagging issue.

I picked up the ringing phone as a new homeschooler breathlessly launched into a detailed account of how she spent every moment of the last six hours with her first grader. When she finally ran out of air, I told her to relax and take a breath. We talked about how homeschooling is a marathon not a sprint.

We discussed ways she can create a schedule that fulfills her child’s educational requirements without exhausting both of them by 3rd grade. I could hear the tension easing out of her spine and shoulders as the rapid pace of her words slowed to normal.

I’ve seen it over and over again. Moms new to homeschooling are terrified they will fail their children, fail to meet the expectations of others, and fail to live up to the best laid plans of their hearts.

We fall into the trap of thinking success grows out of having the perfect homeschool schedule. More often than not, we see another family who seems to have it all together and ask, “What is your schedule like?” We think success will follow if we fall in step with their daily patterns.

Well, here’s a thought – when is life ever flawless? If ‘normal’ adult life does not zip along without complications, we can expect that this new way of living life will have its share of complexities as well.

The rhythm of your day did not look like your best friend’s, your fellow church member’s, or  the teacher in your child’s former 3rd grade classroom before you started to homeschool. It surely won’t be any different now that you’ve begun homeschooling!

It’s okay to think about the rhythm of your own family life and craft your school day schedule around the unique needs and rhythms of your life.

Our good friend Amy, of Raising Arrows, has an idea for those of you struggling to find freedom in your homeschool schedule. After reading her post, we at Homeschool Launch know you will feel empowered to think more creatively and confidently about finding your homeschool schedule. We hope you’ll feel empowered to find your own path instead of trying to match the pace of another homeschool family.

Let us know if you use a 4-day week in your home? What led you to use that schedule? What unique way have you found to build your schedule around your family’s needs? Let us know in the comments below.

 This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.


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From One Mom’s Teen to Another

What makes a school day perfect for your teen? Other than world domination, homeschooled teens really don’t want all that much . . . or do they? My son has a few ideas. He is sharing 5 things your teen wishes you’d change in your homeschool. See if you agree? 

Maybe you can learn alongside me as we continue the school year!

~Allie O.

With organization comes empowerment. ~ Lynda Peterson

Scheduling:

It’s not that we aren’t grateful. But we are growing up. While we certainly need your guidance in our lives, we don’t need you to tell us what to do at 9:00 a.m., and 9:07 a.m., and 9:15 a.m.

You have been training us to manage ourselves and be responsible for the last 13 – 17 years.  You have equipped us with spiritual and physical tools.

What better way to allow us to apply those skills than to do so in a safe and controlled environment? 

Last year, my mom decided to let me schedule myself. I use Homeschool Manager to schedule one or two weeks out at a time and have kept up with my homeschool, co-op, and dual enrollment classes this way.

Routines:

As we grow up, our schedules change. It is a wonderful release for me when I’m able to have a steady routine that accommodates things I need and want to do. As long as I do the things that need to happen within the sanctioned time, I am released to schedule them in the order I prefer.

I know Mom likes us all to read aloud together or go on surprise field trips to the beach, but her releasing me to do my school at my pace motivates me.

Where school happens:

In our family we have a ‘school table’ which doubles as the dining room table. Because I have five siblings, this table gets rather loud. In the last year or so my mom has opened up our seating policy and allowed her older teens to do school in another room because we no longer need the accountability of her keeping us on task.

Music:

It is possible that Piano Guys at full volume is not your preferred music genre. For some of us, music helps us think, or at least drown out the sibling asking for a snack, wanting to be excused for a bathroom break, wanting to skip math, etc. Maybe asking your teen to put in headphones can be a good compromise.

Coffee:

Sometimes a little pick me up can be very, very nice. It always makes me smile when mom walks in with a cup of coffee for me. Even if your teen doesn’t drink coffee, I am sure that they have something that they enjoy.

Take a moment and bless them. When you do this, the final exam doesn’t seem so bad and that math concept is much more doable. Never underestimate the power of affirming acts and a smile.

As teens we really do love what you do. We may not that vocal about it. We may take you for emotional and relational roller coasters you hadn’t budgeted time for. Even so, we are very glad, and mostly thankful, for everything you do for us.

~Ben O.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

 

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Have you ever stumbled into that one thing so obvious that you wonder how you overlooked it for so long?  I admit that I have done that often, for I seem to be inclined to make things a little too complicated from time to time.

Block Schedule

This school year, I was determined to get more done in our days– and to be better at balancing teaching and discipling with the other ministries God has allowed us to be a part of. As I prayed fervently for wisdom and direction for my days, God reminded me of something I have often told new homeschool moms– you need to set up your homeschool and curriculum choices in a way that you as the teacher are comfortable with, taking into account the bent of your children, of course. Ultimately, though, if a system or curriculum doesn’t work for mama, it probably won’t be a success in your homeschool.

This particular mama craves order. I like schedules. I like lists. The last couple of years, though, as our children have gotten older and our lives have gotten busier, order and discipline have taken a big hit. Teaching 4 children and participating in as many different ministries and outreaches as God has called us to doesn’t allow for chaos if we are going to be successful at anything.

Last school year was really difficult for our family, quite frankly. As our children have grown and the Lord has blessed the work of our hands, I have found myself overwhelmed more often than not and very slow to respond to the needs and changes happening all around me. My children are all getting older, and they struggled last year in an environment that was chaotic at best. God is a God of order, and our homeschool seemed to reflect anything but order. I knew we had to change.

Block Schedule and Google Calendar

Google Calendar Homeschool ScheduleWe have four children. Our boys have the seemingly supernatural ability to fritter time away. Left unchecked, in fact, they could easily work on a single subject for the entire day– and accomplish little. (Believe me, it is happened!) I am convinced that boys have no sense of time whatsoever. I have another child who is an escape artist. The minute I get distracted, she finds her way to greener pastures, knowing that it may be quite a while before I will get back to her again.

For me to keep our family on schedule each day, I needed to have more order to my hours, so I set up a Google Calendar specifically for my school day. Each hour is noted as a class hour for each child. For example, on non-co-op days, first hour is history class, which we do all together, but second hour has an assigned class for each specific child. This schedule allows me to spend time teaching my youngest (the escape artist) while my older ones do classes that they can handle independently in the mornings. Then later in the day, I spend time with the older children while my youngest finishes up, plays or reads.

Although I had a plan for each specific hour, I was still losing track of time. To help with that issue, I downloaded the Schedule Planner App. This app syncs with my Google calendar and gives me an alert when it is time to change classes. Each hour, I get a message on my phone to Schedule Planner.jpgremind me to move everyone along in their schedule. This keeps all of us from losing track of time, spending way too much time on any given project to the neglect of others, and frittering our days away.

For our family, the accountability of the class hours has been great, but we do not stick to them completely. As homeschoolers, we still have the flexibility to keep working if we are close to finishing something or to move on early if we finish an assignment in less than an hour. The class hours are really good guidelines for us, though, and have been a good motivation for my older children to work efficiently knowing that any work they do not complete during the school day moves into the evening hours. Please remember, too, that I am now teaching primarily middle school and high school. Most younger classes would not take a full hour. For my teenagers, though, their work does take about that long per subject. You would want to set up your block schedule appropriate to your children.

We are still early in the year, but this has already proven to be a huge homeschool victory for our family! School work is being done better, grades are higher, frustrations with each other are lower, and we are accomplishing so much more. What could possibly be better from a homeschool standpoint?

Have you had a Homeschool Victory this year? We want to help you celebrate those– and we want to share them with others. Share them in the comments below or on social media with the hashtag #homeschoolvictory. Let’s cheer for each other’s successes!!

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Does a block schedule seem like a terrible idea to you, but you still feel like you need to work on the organization in your own homeschool? Click here to get a free workshop about finding your perfect homeschool schedule. We are sure it will be a huge help to you!

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About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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