Wondering how you can fit in all the subjects you have planned for your homeschool? In this post I’m covering the most popular homeschool scheduling methods to help you fit everything in.
If you are following me over from my post on how to schedule a homeschool day, you are probably wondering what you are going to do with all the subjects that didn’t make ‘priority’. As I said in that post, there is just not enough time in the day to do ALL the subjects everyday. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to fitting in more subjects in a day.
Let’s talk about some popular homeschool scheduling methods.
In the block scheduling method, subjects are devoted to a certain period of time. For example, you could cover literature and artist study on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Nature study and composer study on Mondays and Wednesdays. Alternatively, you could focus on history 4 days a week in semester 1 and science in semester 2, the block being semesters. OR you could divide your blocks by term. Studying history, geography and science, in each term respectively.
This method allows you to focus on fewer subjects and spend more time on the ones in your block. The subjects in your block are the only subjects you have to worry about. This means less to track and greater consistency in your schedule.
However, a weekly block schedule could result in missing a subject for quite awhile. Let’s say poetry happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays but life happened and Thursday’s poetry never did. It would be an entire week until you would visit poetry again. Also, something to note if you have a child in the upper grades; in order to give credit to certain subjects, you have to ensure enough time is spent on those subjects.
Personally, block scheduling works great for us. Our days are pretty predictable since we only have one car. There aren’t many things that come up to change our day in a way that we don’t get to a subject. We may get to it later than originally planned, but for the most part, block scheduling works really well for us.
The loop schedule is pretty genius. What this method means is that you put a few subjects on a ‘loop’ and work your way through them, no matter the day. So for example, let’s say I have literature, composer study, and Spanish. On Monday I get through literature and composer study during our loop time. Tuesday I’ll pick up where I left off and start with Spanish and maybe loop back to Literature if we have time. If not, I’ll just pickup where I left off the next day.
The loop method means you never ‘get behind’ or miss a subject for more than a day. You just pick up where you left off no matter the day and do the next thing on the loop in the time you have devoted to your loop schedule. You could even set the schedule to repeat every other subject so that you get to say, history, two times more than geography and science.
On the other hand, you could very well create too long of a loop and go a week or more without re-visiting a subject. This could affect the coherency of a subject, making it feel choppy. It might be best to only loop subjects that don’t need a continuous view. For example, art instead of history.
Block and loop schedules each have their own merits. There really is no wrong way to do it. You can customize each method to suit your needs. Furthermore, you can use both methods simultaneously to get the best of both worlds!
Now let’s look at two different, yet similar, homeschool scheduling methods.
Another trick to fitting in more subjects in your day is by incorporating a morning basket. This is not necessarily a ‘schedule’ rather a time of the day where you cover certain subjects as a family. I talked in detail on how to create a morning basket in this post. You could very well use a loop schedule in your morning basket to get to even more subjects.
Likewise, you could do a block schedule morning basket as I have done. Essentially I have devoted each day of the week to a certain group of subjects we cover in our morning basket. I explain what this block schedule looks like in this video.
Poetry Tea Time
Additionally, you could incorporate a poetry tea time into your day. A poetry tea time is usually in the afternoon, somewhere in the 1pm to 4pm time frame. (totally up to you and what works best!) While it is called poetry tea time, ironically, you don’t have to read poetry and you don’t have to drink tea.
You could liken this to a morning basket but in the afternoon. Most homeschoolers aim to finish their book studies in the morning. This allows for more freedom and flexibility in the afternoons, i.e. poetry tea time. You could very well drink tea and read poetry (or any other literature), but you could also just have a snack and maybe do a science experiment (bonus if the snack IS the experiment!) Another idea would be to spend this time trying snacks and drinks from a different geographical area to bring greater interest to geography studies.
Either way, devoting a time in the afternoon for a special subject done in a unique way is what poetry tea time is all about. We personally do a poetry tea time on Monday afternoons. I kept it to the traditional tea and poetry as this is actually a new inclusion to our homeschool this year. I have plans to make it a themed weekly event based on a holiday or season, maybe even a particular poet! (A.A. Milne and Winnie the Pooh maybe??)
Finally, while many homeschool families try to finish their school day by lunch time, that doesn’t mean the learning ends. The afternoons can be a great time to include the non-priority subjects. This is also the time when learning looks a little different than your typical, sit-down-and-do-a-worksheet type learning.
Some families prefer a quiet time in the afternoons to read (or practice reading skills). Others like to have this time for handicrafts or home education arts. Think household chores, cooking, sewing, or knitting. Still others devote the afternoons to extra-curricular’s outside the house like sports practice, instrument lessons, or even field trips.
So now that you’ve already scheduled your priority subjects, you get to have fun creating loop and morning baskets, maybe even term studies a la unit studies! This way of scheduling your homeschool day ensures that you get the most important subjects done every day. All the rest can be scheduled in according to your fancy!
As homeschoolers, we can get creative with when and where we homeschool. I encourage you to think outside the typical public school time frame. It truly is possible to give your children a robust and wonderful education 4 days a week while finishing the book work by lunch time. With all these creative homeschool scheduling methods that you can tailor to suit your needs, you really CAN fit it all in!