A flexible homeschool schedule (sometimes thought of as a hybrid of eclectic homeschooling and relaxed homeschooling) is one of the biggest benefits of a homeschool program and learning at home because a homeschool curriculum and homeschool students are not one size fit all the same! Homeschooling flexibility will differentiate your at home education from public school and help you balance real life with learning at home, which leads to success!
USING A FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE (How We Use Flexible Homeschooling For Our School Schedule)
How is homeschooling flexible?
Homeschooling is flexible because you don’t have to follow a particular curriculum or courses for a specific amount of time. Homeschool parents have the ability to choose how and what their children learn and create custom schedules that will work for their kids and within their family’s lifestyle. In flexible homeschooling, you look at the tasks for a child and not due dates or calendar-based deadlines or goals.
KEEP SCROLLING TO SEE OUR PERSONAL STORY ABOUT USING A HOMESCHOOL FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE AND FREE SCHEDULE TEMPLATE PRINTABLE BELOW FOR FLEXIBLE ROUTINES!
What is relaxed homeschooling?
Relaxed homeschooling takes advantage of a flexible homeschool schedule. Relaxed homeschooling doesn’t see learning as “school,” but instead uses different learning resources to meet the needs of the family. Some people see relaxed homeschooling as unschooling, or child-led learning, but it’s actually more like a mix of eclectic home school and unschool.
MORE IMPORTANT HOMESCHOOL INFORMATION TO READ NEXT: Understanding relaxed homeschooling vs unschooling
What is eclectic homeschooling?
Eclectic homeschooling is homeschool method or model where a family uses multiple learning learning tools instead of one homeschool curriculum to accomplish their educational goals. This can include multiple homeschool classes, online courses, and even outside of the home courses and activities. Eclectic homeschoolers often follow a relaxed schedule and is also often called relaxed homeschooling.
IMPORTANT: If you’re not incorporating flexibility in homeschooling, you’re missing one of the best parts about educating your children at home! Flexible school schedules do not mean you can’t schedule learning! It’s just means you need to be open to allowing learning to take all the time it needs and are willing to switch around flexible schedule school learning to what works best for your family — whether you’re looking for a homeschooling schedule for 5 year old, a homeschool schedule 3rd grade, or a flexible high school schedule (or all of those)!
OK! Let’s answer how do I create a daily schedule for homeschooling and how we enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling.
Flexible Homeschool Schedule: Secret Planning Tool for Homeschool Programs Success! (PLUS DOWNLOAD A FREE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE TEMPLATE)
How do I make a daily schedule for homeschooling?
If you are not utilizing homeschooling flexibility, you are missing out on one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling!
A flexible schedule homeschool could be the key to your homeschooling success!
Every homeschooling schedule is a customizable homeschool schedule!
You can create flexible homeschool programs simply by leaving open time in your schedule or even blocking out time in your homeschool planner and not being bound by calendars and strict deadlines.
Here’s how to get started with an easy homeschool schedule using the relaxed method of flexible home schooling…
FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL PLANNING: How To Make A Daily Schedule For Homeschool
- Check with your homeschool’s state laws. First, add any state-required subjects or deadlines into your schedule.
- Add in your outside the home classes, extra curricular activities, and online classes to your schedule first. Those are the things that usually have set days and times and you will need to work around those.
- Then, review the subjects that need to be covered for each separate homeschooled student. Loosely plan what subjects will be covered on which days, but create additional free time space around everything you do.
- Group subjects for all ages when you can. For example, Bible study is an easy subject to cover with a group of homeschool students of different ages. The same for science. Then, use other subjects for homeschool schedule by grade.
- Add in new subjects / topics as old ones are completed.
- Don’t pack an entire day with 8 hours of sitting at a desk and working on a workbook! (Or even 8 hours of anything!) Remember, you can accomplish “schooling” quicker than public school.
- Work on your children’s natural time clocks. If they like to sleep in, get started a little later in the day! If they’re early risers, plan your days that way.
- Block out free time on your schedule to allow for flexibility and for kids to explore what they want. If you’re someone who likes to follow a printed schedule, it is imperative that you actually pencil in FREE TIME on the schedule. This is an important part of flexible homeschooling – making sure you allow time for exploration.
- Don’t rush learning! The best part of flexible schooling is that you allow all the time a child needs to cover a topic or work through a resource. If you have scheduled a craft for one day, but your child takes two days because they’re really interested in the topic, that’s fine! Or, if you wake up and feel like doing science instead of math, do that!
Grab our free homeschool schedule template to help with planning! Remember, with flexible home school, you use your homeschool daily schedule chart as a guide and not a strict schedule to adhere to! (HOME SCHOOLING TIP: If you’re looking for a preschool homeschool schedule printable, please read this important homeschool information about homeschooling preschooling / homeschooling kindergarten first!)
IMPORTANT TIP FOR FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL PRINTED SCHEDULES: Remember, homeschooling flexible schedules should be a guide and not something that is set in stone. Be open to changing things around and
How do you do a 4 day homeschool week?
A 4-day homeschool week is actually quite easy. Even with multiple homeschooling students, on most days you can fit all the subjects and school requirements into just a few hours per day. When homeschooling, it does not take 5 days a week, 8 hours a day! You can easily condense everything into 4 days (or less) and then leave the other days open for unschooling or exploration.
Do you have to do every subject every day homeschool?
No, it is not necessary for you to cover every subject every single day in homeschooling. You likely cover 1-2 subjects one day a week, depending on the age and stage of your child. You just need to cover enough to meet the homeschool requirements of your state. If you live in a relaxed homeschool state with little to no homeschooling requirements, then you are free to make that schedule in any way that best meets the needs of your child.
Before we get into more about creating a relaxed learning environment, I want you to hang tight a minute while I tell you a story of something that happened to show me the importance of homeschool flexibility.
Our Personal Homeschool Experience: How we started flexible home school (and a mix of eclectic homeschooling / unschooling)…
One cold homeschooling morning we woke up and turned on the TV.
It was during the winter Olympics and the first thing we did in the morning was catch up on what we missed while we were sleeping.
But, in the process of scrolling through the channels, we ran across a documentary on Abraham Lincoln’s lifeand my daughter said, “Oooo! Can we watch this?”
We had slept in a little (because we HAD stayed up late watching the ice skating competition).
We planned to spend a few hours at the library, not only on books, but also on a big writing project we’re working on together.
Then, she had Spanish class outside of the home.
On top of that, it was raining, which sometimes adds a little more challenge to everything outside of the home.
I hesitated some more.
How would we watch this documentary AND get her other items completed AND spend an extended period of time at the library working on the writing project AND get to Spanish on time (with possible rain traffic delays)?
And then it hit me: Where’s my flexible homeschool schedule?
Wasn’t my whole goal of homeschooling to encourage a love of learning and add a homeschool curriculum or home school resources that fit around our schedule?
What I was doing was the thing I do occasionally when the house is a mess and I have work project deadlines hovering and I feel like my kid isn’t schooling enough.
My control freak self feels control slipping away and I start to tighten my grip and freak about, well, everything.
So what if we didn’t make it to the library?
(Why can’t we have a flexible library schedule? There are five other days we can go and it’s only 10 minutes from our house.)
And, that writing project?
What if we miss our (self-imposed) deadline?
What if we skipped a Spanish class this week?
Would it be devastating to her educational experience?
I was missing out on one of the most important advantages of this lifestyle:
THE BENEFITS OF A FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE.
And, I’m telling you today because I don’t want you to make that same mistake!
We homeschool because we want to learn, not because we want to school (on a schedule).
And, for us, part of that educational process is allowing my daughter to learn about things that interest her organically.
A documentary about Abraham Lincoln that piqued her interest?
That was learning (not schooling).
That documentary prompted a discussion about the Underground Railroad and to plan visits to those historical sites that are in our state, along with a visit to Lincoln’s boyhood home.
This flexible homeschool schedule facilitates LEARNING. This is interactive and engaging homeschooling, which should be one of your home school goals!
That day after the Lincoln documentary, she finished a book she loves so much that it prompted her to research when the next book in the series would be out.
Then, she spent time drawing each of our dogs while they were sleeping.
(Did you know that art not only helps with motor skills, but “the experience of making decisions and choices in the course of creating art carries over into other parts of life”?)
Being flexible in our homeschooling allowed her to do all those things because she followed her interests in what she wanted to learn.
And, she didn’t just DO those things and learn about them, she was EXCITED about them!
A FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOL SCHEDULE CREATES A LOVE OF LEARNING, which carries through an entire life.
Let that sink in for a moment…
All of that impromptu learning took place because I allowed homeschool flexibility and was willing to let go of schooling and instead allow learning.
All of this because I was willing to embrace one of the biggest benefits of homeschooling instead of seeing it as one of the disadvantages of homeschooling.
We never made it to Spanish that rainy day, but we do know more about Lincoln.
And about a book series that she loves.
And, we also have some awesome art to show for that day.
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HOW TO ALLOW FOR MORE FLEXIBLE HOMESCHOOLING
I see some of you pearl-clutching and hand-wringing.
How can I let go of my homeschool schedule and still balance homeschool and home and work?
I get it.
It can be scary.
If you run your days by a strict homeschool schedule, allowing some homeschool flexibility and unplanned learning might make you feel uncomfortable. (That’s normal!)
I’m not telling you to get rid of your homeschool planner and record keeper.
However, you need to remember that children learn naturally and it’s your job to allow them a room to learn that is not based on a calendar or deadlines.
You can use a homeschool tracker or planner to keep track when you complete specific lessons or goals.
So, how do you create a relaxed homeschooling schedule?
Here are some ideas for a more flexible homeschool schedule. Just replace some of your scheduled lessons with some of the ideas below for your homeschooling. It’s a great way to create an interactive schedule for home school.
IDEAS FOR CREATING A FLEXIBLE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT
FUN WAYS KIDS CAN LEARN WITHOUT EVEN REALIZE THEY’RE LEARNING
Here’s an example of learning by subject that kids will love! (You can also see the complete list of homeschooling resources we use for flexible and eclectic homeschooling and unschooling.)
- Watch history documentaries.
- Check out the The Who Was? Show on Netflix.
- Take field trips to local historical sites.
- Take online virtual field trips to sites you may never be able to visit in person.
- Play Lego bricks as part of learning. (Read this article on how playing with Lego bricks may be more important than learning geometry.)
- Play math games like these as a fun way to learn an intimidating topic.
- Use Letters From Afar as a fun way to learn about world geography and encourage
- Make art supplies readily available and don’t put limits on what the kids can/can’t make.
- Make dandelion paint (or paint from other flowers and nature finds).
- Did you know that there are huge benefits to boredom? Allow your kids to get bored (and learn why it’s so important).
VARIETY OF SUBJECTS
- Cook with your kids. (Learn how even if you hate it using these fun tips!) Cooking covers so many subjects and life skills — math, reading, motor skills, important lifeskills, nutrition, communication skills, teamwork, etc.
- Grocery shop with your kids to have them learn about budgeting and nutrition, practice math skills, and more!
PE / NATURE STUDIES
- Take a nature hike and journal/draw what you see.
- Use fun nature apps like SEEK or the Merlin Bird ID app by Cornell and use them to identify birds and plants.
- Create, write, read, or tell a story.
- Use musical instruments or noisemakers to create sound effects during the story or read alouds.
IMPORTANT HOMESCHOOL TIP: Ask your kids what they want to learn about and then help them do it!
CREATIVE HOMESCHOOLING HACK: Did you know giving your learning space a facelift (on a budget!) can improve learning and reignite your love of homeschooling? Add a reading corner (with lots of books, of course!) or a fairy door that promotes imagination and creative play or let them decorate their desk or study area to their liking. All of these things are easy ways to get your kids excited and become motivated learners.
READ THIS RELATED HOMESCHOOL TOPIC NEXT: What Is Eclectic Homeschooling? (and see our sample flexible homeschool schedule)