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October 26, 2016

3 min

Mark Holley

Creating a Schedule for Online Home School: 5 Questions to Ask

One of the hardest things about transitioning to online home school is learning to adhere to a schedule. You have what initially feels like an endless amount of freedom in front of you, and it's easy to fall into the trap of ignoring those school responsibilities. There are so many other things that you'd rather be doing with your day! Setting up a schedule is a critical step to success in your online home school. When you create your schedule, there are several factors that you'll need to take into consideration.

1. When does your child learn best?

Some children wake up early in the morning ready to learn. They'll churn out schoolwork at a surprising rate, absorbing content quickly and producing quality work that you're both proud of. Others wake up slowly. They have a hard time getting started in the morning and may move very slowly until closer to noon. Discover when your child learns best and make it a priority to get as much schoolwork done as possible around that time. Consider using those times for the subjects that your child struggles with the most to make completing that difficult schoolwork easier.

2. How often does your child need to take a break?

Learning fatigue is a very real issue, especially for students with special academic concerns. Learn to see the signs of fatigue in your child and encourage them to take a break when that happens. Your schedule is always adaptive to your needs, so as you see when this need for a break arises, work it into the schedule. Schedule in time to exercise, or to go outside, or to run errands and work on chores. Encourage your child to read something that has nothing to do with school. When you work breaks into the schedule, your child becomes a better, more efficient learner.

3. What other commitments does your child have?

Many parents choose to enroll their children in online home school not because of academic concerns, but because their child's schedule is overwhelming when they have to spend eight hours of their day in a school building. Your child may have a job, sports commitments, or medical concerns that require careful scheduling. These commitments will have a great deal to do with when your child is able to complete their schoolwork. For example, a child who would prefer to sleep until nine or ten may need to get started earlier if they have sports practices beginning in the early afternoon. Conversely, a child who is able to roll out of bed ready to learn might need a later start if they have swim team practice first thing in the morning.

4. When are you available to help your child? 

When you enroll your child in an online home school, the commitment isn't just theirs. You're committing to keeping them on task and to helping with assignments that they don't understand on their own. For at least part of the school day, you need to be on hand to help your child. Make sure that you arrange their schedule and yours to make that possible.

5. How long does it take your child to complete the work?

Some children simply have to work harder at academics than others. They struggle over assignments and need extra help to complete tasks that others are able to fly straight through. These children may need to spend a larger block of their day working on schoolwork than their faster peers. On the other hand, a child who grows frustrated and needs to take breaks more frequently may need to arrange their schedule to accommodate some time on Saturday or Sunday in order to allow them the time they need.

When you create a schedule for your child, both of you know when learning is supposed to be taking place. While most middle and high school students may be able to easily adapt to chances in their schedule, it's still important to stick to this schedule as closely as possible throughout the school year. Try to schedule appointments around it. Write chores into the schedule instead of calling your child away from their schoolwork. Developing a schedule that works for your child will help make the entire online home schooling process much easier for both of you, and it's well worth the time and effort that you'll put in.

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