Okay, so you have decided to homeschool. Now what?
Good news! Homeschooling is very flexible. As you get started with a yearly plan, you get to decide when you hold your school days, how many days a week you plan to homeschool, and what types of “extras” you want to include in your school plans.
However, I personally would join with many homeschoolers in arguing that there is no “getting behind” for your child. Your child will work at his or her own pace, and if it takes an extra week to understand, the child is not “behind.” Each child has his or her own strengths, and I think parents can help them slower than someone who learns quickly. The child should set the time frame, and while some children figure out how to read at age 5, others are 7 before they read well.
I too like to use the standards for examples of where my children stand in terms of what to learn each year. But, I always try to keep in mind that a blessing of homeschooling is that we can stay on a topic until it is understood, rather than moving on too quickly. Thus, there is real worry about going too slowly for a homeschooled child.
I highly suggest that no matter when you start schooling, you build in a “break” week after every six weeks of schooling. In our family, we begin in mid-August, school until the first week of October (which also happens to be a birthday week for two of our kids), then do six more weeks before a Thanksgiving break. Then we have a 3-week term before the Christmas holidays. The winter term likewise has a week break in February and in late-March.
Knowing that a break is coming will help you cope when you really feel exhausted from homeschooling. Planning for a school break gives your children something to work for. Can they finish such-and-such before the break begins?
Finally, scheduling regular breaks into your yearly plan helps you “catch up” if you have missed some days due to unexpected illness or some other distraction. (That said, see my personal note about “catching up.”)
In fact, many of the scripted homeschool curricula are even sold with a four-day a week option. I’ll be discussing all-in-one homeschool plans in the next day or two. Just know, for now, that some of these homeschool plans show the teacher just what to say each day of homeschool, and it is planned for just 4 days a week. This allows parents to “catch up” on the extra day, or plan for a gameschooling day, or watch documentaries.
Our family usually uses the “extra” day of the week for a co-op with friends. At the co-op, other parents teach my children, while I help teach other children. It is a great social time, as well as a nice chance to connect with other homeschool families.
Due to the expanding COVID-19 situation in the USA right now, I’m not sure what will happen with our co-op day. I suspect that if we cannot hold in-person classes, we will find some way to connect in the neighborhood each week.
We sometimes coordinate more complicated field trips with many friends. Last year, we went to a dairy, we went apple picking, we met friends at a nature center, and we did a lot more. I’ve compiled a list of more than 100 fun activities to consider for your homeschool field trips.
The greatest part of field trips on the “extra” day is that it still counts as school. If your state requires a certain number of days, make sure you write down the field trip day too!
- Virtual Field Trip Options (a post from Capitvating Compass)
- Homeschool Scheduling Ideas (a post from Hess Un-Academy)
- How to Plan for Your New Homeschool Year (a post from Adventures in Mommydom)
- Planning for the Best Homeschool Year (a post from Homeschooling in Progress
- Homeschool Planning with Homeschool Planet (a review from A Diligent Heart)
In the next post, I’ll talk a little bit about how you can schedule your specific homeschool days. Because this depends so much on curricula, I will talk about daily schedules very broadly to help you see the big picture. In the coming days, I’ll talk about different curricula options.
More in This Series
There is a lot more you may want to know about geting started homeschooling! Below are specific “how to” concepts I intend to address.
- Get Started Homeschooling: Keep it Legal
- Get Started Homeschooling: Plan Your Homeschool Year
- Get Started Homeschooling: Schedule Your Day
- Get Started Homeschooling: All-in-One Curriculum Options
- Get Started Homeschooling: Teach Language Arts
- Get Started Homeschooling: Teach Math
- Get Started Homeschooling: Science in Your Homeschool
- Get Started Homeschooling: Teach Social Studies in Your Homeschool
- Get Started Homeschooling: Add in Arts and Music
- Get Started Homeschooling: Teach Physical Development and Health
- Get Started Homeschooling: Including Foreign Languages and Life Skills in Your Homeschool