How to Choose Your Homeschool Schedule

So now that you’ve got your Big Picture Planning done, we can move onto the more detailed weekly planning. In Day 2, I’ll help you pick your schedule for homeschooling.

If you’re looking for a different day in this series, you can find them all listed here.


How to Choose Your Homeschool Schedule

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State requirements

First and foremost, you want to know the homeschooling laws in your state. The HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) has a wealth of knowledge about homeschooling in the United States. Each state has its own page with laws, news articles, and pretty much anything else you’d need or want to know about legally homeschooling in your state.

Some states (like my own) require that the school year consists of 180 days of instruction. There are two main ways of accomplishing this:

  • 180 days of school, 5 days a week from Late August to Mid-June, for a total of 36 weeks (16 weeks of vacation)
  • 180 days of school, 4 days a week, for a total of 45 weeks (7 weeks of vacation)

To be honest, I’m not very strict about how I schedule our days off. I know I need to get our 180 days in, so we keep going until we hit it.

4 or 5 days per week?

In our homeschool, we do table time and read alouds Monday through Thursday, and keep Fridays for family days. We might do some housework together, run errands, take a day trip, or sometimes we do nothing but watch movies or play outside (depending on the weather).

The Fridays that we actually do learning type things (btw, chores and cooking count as life skills!) I’ll give a checkmark for having schooled that day. One of the many, many benefits of homeschooling is that we are free to decide what needs to be taught and when.

Choosing your schedule (4 or 5 day) is important because it will help you break down your curriculum and determine what kind of pace you need to follow to complete it in the school year. To make sure you’re mostly on track, you’ll need to look at your chosen programs and decide to either skip chapters, do two chapters in a week, spread the work over more than one school year, or any other changes you might need to do. We’ll talk more about this on Day 6.

Some programs don’t fit neatly into a 36 OR 45 week school year, so again, just pick a schedule that works for you and your family.

Prepare to give and be given grace

We are a very relaxed homeschool in that I don’t require (in the younger grades) the kids to finish work within a school year. I mean, we do eventually finish things, but I don’t make a fuss if we spill over into the next “year” by a couple of lessons. It’s fine. You’ll learn over time not to sweat the small stuff. Wait. Isn’t that a book??

An example of this might be one of their math workbooks. All of the kids use Math-U-See. Late this school year I switched the kids over from a different program, which meant because they started the book way later in the year, there’s no way they were going to finish it by the end of our year.

Homeschooling year round

We homeschool year round because we take random days off throughout the year. Which means we typically end up meeting our 180 days sometime in late July and start the new school year up in mid-September. This works for us. You do what works for you.

If you can’t stand the thought of being so relaxed about it, then don’t be! Find a schedule that works for you and your family.

Today’s tasks are:

  • find your state homeschooling laws and look them over
  • take another look at your big picture schedule and see if 4 or 5 days per week would work better for you
  • decide if you want to follow a relaxed or more strict style of homeschooling (homeschooling year round vs. regular school schedule)

I’ll see you back here for Day 3!

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