For the second post in this series, I want to talk about our scheduling. I've written many posts about homeschool planning over the years (including this one last year) that fill you in on how I divide up our subjects and daily work. Today, I want to give you a little more insight into how our typical week looks.
Our state requires 180 days with 4 hours of instruction per day. Homeschooling parents divide this out many different ways. One of the best pieces of advice I received when we began our homeschool journey was to remember school time doesn't have to mean desk time. Honestly, I still struggle with that a little, but I think we have a good balance.
Our basic weekly outline looks like 4 hours of desk time or schoolroom time Monday- Thursday. We get started between 7:30 and 8 (7:30 is the goal) and the plan is to finish around or before 12. Typically we squeeze about "5 days of work" (based on lesson plans) into those 4 days. This year Apple has had a different set schedule on Wednesdays because she is taking outside classes. Those occur on Wednesdays and stand alone so she gets her other work finished on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (except math which she does before classes on Wednesdays). Speedy typically has a car school day on Wednesdays since we stay in town while she's in class. Some days they finish early. More often they finish sometime well past lunch.
Anyhow that covers 4 days per week of schooltime. Fridays are used for work that wasn't completed (rare), additional work assigned due to issues during the week (occasional), and extra outside time or "free" time. Now typically my kids use Fridays to play outside and read. They also use extra afternoon time to do those same things. They also get a fair share of home ec each day by doing chores and helping in the kitchen. They are at the grocery store with me each week learning about meal planning, pricing, and waiting patiently in line. They receive $5 each to budget every week for snacks or special foods or drinks they'd like from the grocery store. I feel like Fridays represent our "unschooling" or interest based learning days. That's as close as I can get.
The kids earn their screen time by completing their school work on time so screen time doesn't happen every day. When it does they typically use it to watch shows or communicate with friends. Many times they choose educational shows to watch. I've mentioned before that we typically have an audiobook going in the car. Basically, I don't stress over our 180 hours too much because we get much more than that every school year.
Afternoon co-ops, volunteer opportunities, field trips, free reading time, and many other activities keep homeschoolers living a learning lifestyle. So while I'm strict about our 4 days of seatwork, I try not to be too legalistic about our school scheduling. Some years we take off typical holidays and summer, some years we work through the summer, and some years we do a 5-6 weeks on and 1 week off type schedule. One of the biggest perks of homeschooling is that we can be flexible and adjust to what works for our family.