Flexible Time Schedule for Homeschooling

Our household is about to begin our fourth year of homeschooling.  Each year we have tried something a little different with scheduling.  Towards the end of last school year I tried out a variation of a loop schedule and it seems to fit with us the best.  A regular loop schedule has a child completing subjects in a specified order so if you are in the middle of history at the end of the school day you will start with history the next day.  You continue on this loop going from one subject to the next with some subjects having a regular place within the loop and others having a rotating spot in the loop.  The loop schedule is especially helpful when you want to make sure you cover all your subject areas.  Some parents can cover a wide variety of subjects using the loop schedule.

While we don’t use a loop schedule, we do share some elements with that type of scheduling.  This is how I created our Flexible Time Schedule:

  1. Determine the subjects that will be covered for each child and rank them in order of importance for each child.
  2. Determine how much time I want to spend in school for the school year and add up the total number of hours.
  3. Assign an amount of hours to each subject.
  4. Go through each subject and write out assignments chronologically.
  5. Choose the subjects covered each school day.
  6. Keep track of the time spent in each subject and mark it on the assignment sheet.  
I usually set a timer to record the amount of time spent.  But sometimes I may extend the time if we want to continue.  We spend between 5-6 hours in school per day.  I realize that is quite a bit compared to most homeschooling families, but we utilize lots of time consuming hands-on activities.  Based on the number of hours per day, areas of strength, areas of interest, and areas of weakness I allotted a specific number of hours per subject.  I allowed for field trip days too by not counting them in the regular subject hours.  
Here is the breakdown for the hours per subject per child
Subject

3rd grader

1st grader

Bible

80 hours

80 hours

Math

80 hours

80 hours

PE

70 hours

70 hours

Geography

70 hours

70 hours

History

65 hours

65 hours

Science

70 hours

50 hours

Reading

60 hours

50 hours

Phonics

 0 hours

60 hours

Language Arts

60 hours

50 hours

Literature

55 hours

55 hours

Spelling

25 hours

 0 hours

Handwriting

15 hours

25 hours

Typing

25 hours

 0 hours

Mandarin

40 hours

40 hours

Arabic

40 hours

40 hours

French

30 hours

30 hours

Sinhala

30 hours

30 hours

Koine Greek

15 hours

15 hours

Art

20 hours

40 hours

Music

25 hours

25 hours

Game Time

30 hours

30 hours

Map Reading

10 hours

10 hours

Logic/Puzzles

15 hours

15 hours

Field Trips/Projects

100 hours

100 hours

Total

1030 hours

1030 hours

Here is what a final planning sheet can look like.  This example is from my first grader’s read alouds.  The first example is the front page where I list the topic along with the number of total hours.  I keep track of the time spent on the subject in the box.
This is an example of an additional page for that topic.

I keep track using Latin American tally marks.  I count each side as 15 minutes and when an hour is complete I just complete the line across the square. If we spend 20 or 25 minutes I will usually round it to the nearest 15 for easy of counting.  I find the Latin American tally marks are a little easier to count.

Some subjects are pretty simple in that I basically keep track of how much time is spent.  For instance for typing I may just record the time my son will spend using the typing program.  While it is time consuming to put the schedule and plan all together, it makes life during the school year easier.

This Flexible Time Schedule gives us flexibility.  If we want to spend a whole morning on history it is easy to arrange. If we want to take a few days off there is no problem.  It is easy to just pick up where we left off.  It also gives us necessary structure because my boys like some structure to their days.  In the morning or the day before I just pull out the papers of the subjects we plan to work on next. The subjects with more total hours are usually covered more frequently than ones with few hours.  But one of the things I like most about this schedule is that it has the flexibility for my children to go faster or slower without having to adjust the plan.  Last school year my son had a growth spurt in reading and was blowing through his 20 minute reading assignments in 5 minutes.  I had to adjust things quite a bit.

We used this Flexible Time Schedule for the last 10 weeks of the school year.  I had used a schedule like this previously for an entire school year, but I didn’t have the assignments listed chronologically.  It gave us too much flexibility and required lots of planning during the school year.  Counting the time per subject and having the assignments listed chronologically gives us the structure and flexibility we need.  Looking forward to the school year ahead.

2 Comments:

  1. I’d love to hear how it works out for you.

  2. Your way of scheduling sounds like something I should try for us. I’m the one who doesn’t really like rigid schedules in our family. I’m glad I stopped by to read your blog. I’ll give this a try and see how it fits in. I’m teaching 3 this year and it may work better for us to do it this way.

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