Too many options . . .
too much flexibility . . .
too much freedom . . .
You’ve heard of “First World Problems”? Well, these are “Homeschool Family Problems.” You may recall from my freedom paradox rant in my previous post (What’s your family’s HOMESCHOOL STYLE?) how having so many choices as a new Homeschool parent can be at first wonderfully refreshing and exhilarating . . . and then suddenly completely overwhelming and crippling. Finding a Homeschool balance for scheduling and lesson planning is a tight-rope sort of enterprise.
We want a reliable schedule . . . but not a rigid one!
We want predictability . . . but we also want to maintain flexibility!
We want a relaxed Homeschool experience . . . but somehow the days keep frittering away!
Our family has had a lot of trial and error for various Homeschool schedules and lesson plan styles/templates these past few years. We are always making small adjustments and alterations for things we want to change or things that our kids/family has outgrown. Along the way I have gathered some tips & tricks, recommendations, and insights to help you create a set yet flexible school schedule, as well as open-ended “window-style” lesson plans. In order to hopefully save you some time and energy, I have included printable fill-in templates for you to easily create a customized Homeschool Schedule and personalized Lesson Plans for your family.
The only thing you need to do prior to printing and filling in these templates is determine your family’s unique Homeschool style, which you can do here: What education model fits your family’s HOMESCHOOL STYLE? Take our free QUIZ!
Homeschool Schedule Styles
Below, I’ve written out a short overview of what your schedule might resemble based on which Homeschool Style you chose (or created). I’ve also included a customizable template at the end of this section, all ready to print and fill in according to your family’s needs.
*Opening Exercise Ceremony= school songs and repetitions for memory (such as ABCs, times tables, states/capitals, Bible Verses, The Pledge of Allegiance, Continents of the World, etc.) usually done in a circle (as in Montessori and Waldorf) or done at a board (as in Classical Education and Standard/Traditional Education).
A selected window of time for school to take place in which children move freely about between school “areas”, perhaps with a set opening exercise ceremony at the beginning and end of each school session.
A selected window of time for school to take place in which children move freely about, often outdoors, and select available raw/natural/imaginative play materials to interact with, perhaps with a set opening exercise ceremony at the beginning and end of each school session.
Charlotte Mason/ Literature-Based Learning:
A set but flexible schedule, beginning with an opening exercise ceremony, set read-aloud and solitary reading times, set times for incorporating other core subjects as well as art and outdoor time.
A set schedule, beginning with an opening exercise ceremony, and a set schedule involving lessons, text books, and worksheets/assignments for all core school subjects as well as the arts. Usually includes solitary reading time.
A set schedule, with or without an opening exercise ceremony, and a set schedule involving lessons, text books, computers, and worksheets/assignments for all core school subjects, not including the arts. Usually includes solitary reading time.
No set schedule, though you may choose to include a window when “unschooling” activities may occur (unless you are cool with robotics at bedtime).
Fusion Education (as we have done in ~Our Holistic Homeschool~!):
Cherry-pick what you like from any of the education models listed above to customize your schedule!
What ~Our Holistic Homeschool~ fusion looks like:
- Opening Exercise Ceremony (songs and repetitions)
- Movement & Music Time (kids’ gym with school songs or classical music pieces and musical instruments)
- Write Away Time (various writing materials— Montessori manipulatives as well as workbooks and handwriting practice)
- Tray Time (Montessori trays for various subjects including Language Arts and Mathematics as well as a game or puzzle option each day)
- Cozy Corner (my son reads an Early Reader to me, then I read aloud our current chapter book and a corresponding nonfiction cross-curricular picture book for Science or History)
- Creative Corner and/or Fun in the Sun (arts, crafts, and/or outdoor exploration)
- The rest of the day is “unschooled”
Tips & Tricks for SCHEDULING
1.) Keep a set schedule but include windows that vary day to day
*Doing the exact same thing everyday will likely become relentless and tiresome for you and your kids. But following a completely different or random schedule day to day can often leave you disoriented and unproductive! What has worked wonderfully for us is to have certain parts of our Homeschool schedule anchored into a set and daily routine, and other time slots or windows that remain open, rotating, or “blocked.”
2.) Allow for double or nothing
*If your child is engaged in what he is doing and doesn’t want to transition to the next block, I personally recommend allowing him to continue rather than forcing him onto the next block in the schedule. Conversely, if he wants to skip a block entirely, I would allow this temporarily as well. As long as your child is engaged in an academic or skill-building activity (basically everything other than watching TV), it should all even out in the end. Of course, if your child wants to skip his mathematics or reading block day after day, you may need to intervene. Stay tuned for my upcoming “Homeschool Hacks” post for more help with this.
3.) Take a Teacher-in-Service Day (or week) when you need it
*Being with your kid(s) day after day is a holistically exhausting experience! You know, exhausting for your mind, body, and spirit. So know your limits and when to take a reset day. Don’t worry, the workbooks will still be there tomorrow.
PRINTABLE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE TEMPLATES:
Click here for the printable PDF file: Our Holistic Homeschool Fill-In Schedule
Tips & Tricks for LESSON PLANNING
1.) Write your plans in PENCIL
*I encourage you to use these templates as a GUIDE. Don’t let it get you down if you don’t complete everything you planned for the week.
2.) Use your sections/content areas as WINDOWS
*Allow for flexibility/plugging in various activities/options for the sections in your lessons plans. For example, you may have a set lesson/activity to which you add a few options for supplemental mini-lessons or additional activities.
PRINTABLE LESSON PLAN TEMPLATES:
I’ve included a lesson plan template for Montessori, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason/Literature-Based Learning, Classical Education, Standard Education, and Unschooling/Project-Based Learning, as well as the fusion that we enjoy in ~Our Holistic Homeschool~! Choose whichever model best fits your family, or use them as a guide to create your own education style, unique to your family!
This PDF link includes:
- Instructions & Tips for Successful Lesson Planning
- Montessori Environment Planner
- Waldorf Environment Planner
- Charlotte Mason & Literature-Based Lesson Planner
- Classical Education Lesson Planner
- Standard Lesson Planner
- Unschooling & Project-Based Planner
- ~Our Holistic Homeschooling~ Planner
Click here for the printable pdf file: Our Holistic Homeschool Lesson Planner Templates
Need resources to fill in your lesson plans??
- For my READING LIST FOR ALL AGES, click here: Book Lists
- For free LESSONS, ACTIVITIES, CURRICULUM HELP and more click here: “SUDDENLY-HOMESCHOOLING” 2020
Please share this post with another Suddenly-Homeschooling-Family!
Love, ~Our Holistic Homeschool~