If you're just joining me for the 10 Days to a Flexible Homeschool Plan series, then be sure to read the previous posts.
So far I've shown you how to use a year-round homeschooling schedule and block scheduling to add flexibility to your year. Before we look at how to schedule daily lessons with flexibility we'll talk a little about deciding what to teach and when to teach it.
What Do You HAVE to Teach?
You have to first determine what you are required to teach. Most states have at least a few core subjects that must be taught. Check the homeschool laws for your state to find out what, if any, subjects are required in your state. Jot these down on your printable.
What Do You WANT to Teach?
Once you have the required subjects out of the way you can add in all the other things you'd like to teach such as music, art, Bible, foreign language, etc.
Be very careful here!
It is very easy to overload yourself and your kids, so be mindful of how much you can reasonably accomplish.
Also keep in mind that you don't have to teach every subject every day, which we'll talk about a bit later.
For now, jot down the things you'd like to teach on your printable.
Understand Your Teaching Style
I never realized how important my teaching style was to our homeschool until I read Tonia's blog post, Finding Your Homeschool Teaching Style, over at The Happy Homeschool Nest. She says:
While you may think homeschooling is all about your children's education, it has a lot to do with you as well. Your personality and teaching style are important parts of the equation.
You set the tone for the day. If you don't look forward to homeschooling, your children will pick up on that attitude...you need to create an environment that encourages a love for learning - and it all starts with you.
If you're uncomfortable teaching a certain way or if you're bored by a curriculum, your kids will pick up on that!
Hop over to The Happy Homeschool Next, read her post, complete the printables if you'd like, then jot down a summary of your findings on your printable.
Understanding Learning Styles
You can chug through any old curriculum you choose and your child will likely learn at least a few things. But if you want your child to thrive and develop a love for learning then you should take some time to understand their learning style and choose curriculum that matches it.
The best resource for this, in my opinion, is The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias.
For our purposes, we'll focus on the four basic learning styles.
- Visual - a visual child learns best through the use of pictures or images.
- Auditory - this child learns best through sound.
- Read & Write - this child learns best with words, both in speech and writing.
- Kinesthetic - a kinesthetic child learns best through using their body, hands, and sense of touch.
Most children don't fit neatly into one style so keep that in mind as you think about your own children.
Jot down your answers on the printable.
How Often Should I Teach Each Subject?
One of the amazing perks of homeschooling our children is the freedom to schedule our time and resources in a way that our family will thrive, so deciding how often to cover a subject will be different for everyone.
It's always a good idea to check the homeschooling laws in your state first since you'll have to comply with those. If you didn't do that earlier, check those now.
If the state law doesn't specify then you're free to cover a subject as often as you'd like, no matter what the curriculum publisher recommends.
Some subjects, such as Math and Language Arts, we complete daily. Other subjects like history and science are only done two times per week while geography is done once.
Make a Plan
Use the printable, or a sheet of paper, to help you map out your week. Using this method will allow you to see which days are more full than others.
Along the left side of the page list all of the subjects you'll cover as well as any outside classes or activities that you'll have during the week.
To the right of that you have a column for each day of the week. For each subject, class, or activity, mark the box under the day of the week that it takes place.
As you fill in the boxes you may notice that some days are very full while others have very little. You may want to move things around to create a more balanced week.
Make sure that you also take into consideration how long something will take. If you have a full day of co-op you don't want to stack four or five more subjects onto that day.
Here's a video I made showing how I set up our days. It may be helpful to you as you plan when to teach what.
Once you're happy with the line up you have, tuck your plan away until tomorrow when I'll show you how to schedule all of your resources, for as far into the year as you'd like, without fear of any changes messing up your plans!