Where We Started
We have found that having a four-day homeschool week for our elementary and middle grades children was very beneficial. The first year I homeschooled, I had planned on a five-day week.
This worked great for the first few weeks, but then we found the other homeschoolers in our area, and suddenly there were field trip opportunities, library activities, and more. Add in doctor’s appointments and other activities, and it felt like we were never getting in a full five days.
At first, this bothered the planner inside of me. I didn’t like feeling behind, even if it was a schedule of my creation. I also really wanted us to enjoy these fantastic opportunities that afforded so much learning, even if it wasn’t checking any of my pretty little boxes.
What I Changed
So, I changed everything up and went to a four-day school week. On paper, I planned school Monday through Thursday, and this left Friday for field trips, free play, and housekeeping. However, I kept it really flexible, and we could take off whatever day of the week we needed if there was another activity.
My elementary and middle-grade students generally only needed a few hours in the morning to finish their work, so fitting it all into four days was not challenging, and they were still finished by lunchtime or early afternoon each day.
Having that built-in day for field trips and housekeeping really took a lot of stress out of our homeschool. Another benefit is that my children were motivated to get their work done because they enjoyed the extra day off and knew that if they didn’t do their assignments because they had not been diligent, they would have to finish them on that fifth day.
Make It Your Own
Every family is unique, but creating a schedule with built-in flexibility can help you relieve the stress of not getting to all the lesson plans, allow more time for real-life learning and field trips, and motivate your children to get their work done in a timely fashion.
As my children have gotten older and started high school-level courses, they have drifted back towards a five-day week just because their courses take more time.
However, we still have weeks where they fit five days of material into four days so they can join the family on a field trip or do some other activity.
If you are feeling overwhelmed trying to fit it all in or if adding in field trips and other opportunities messes up your carefully written plans, don’t be afraid to change your schedule to provide that built-in flexibility.
It might be a four-day week or some other nontraditional option, but find what works for you and your family! I would love for you to share your flexible homeschooling schedule in the comments to give other families some ideas.
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