Switching to a 4-day homeschool schedule for a majority of my journey is not only one of the best homeschooling tips I can share, but it saved my sanity when many things about home and school collided.
Addressing some of your concerns first and then sharing the numerous reasons why the advantages of homeschooling a 4-day week outweighed a 5 day schedule, I hope these tidbits will help you too.
One of the greatest factors for those hesitant to switch to a 4-day homeschool schedule has to do with the amount of weeks or hours needed to meet state requirements.
4-Day Homeschool Schedule
While it’s true that you need 45 weeks instead of 36 weeks, you can still homeschool a 4-day schedule if you stretched out your homeschool year.
It doesn’t even mean you have to school year round, though I am here to tell you flat out that the advantages of homeschooling year round blew away an abrupt stop and start each year.
Schooling year round doesn’t mean all work and no play, but that is another topic. You can check out How to Plan for & Homeschool Year Round here.
The second concern I have seen is a mindset that unless we school 5 days we are not really schooling or that we could get behind. Maybe this idea stems from the fact that we are pressured to conform to the schedule the workforce is keeping.
Clearing my mind of how I thought school was suppose to happen, I set out to do what was best for my family.I do want to mention too that the ages of your children makes a difference in shaping your viewpoint on adopting a homeschool schedule. Having homeschooled from the beginning when all of my kids were little and having no help with the housework gave me the power to move against the norm.
Balancing the weeks we needed to school with the needs of my family took priority.
Advantage of 4-day Homeschool Schedule
Look at some of the advantages of a 4-day homeschool schedule.
When I switched, I maintained more consistency.
Nothing sets back a homeschool year more or builds resistance quickly in a child then to constantly start and stop because you get behind on housework or are just worn out from the constant grind.
When we started a 4-day homeschool schedule, the days were more full and my weeks more consistent because I didn’t start my week depleted of physical energy.
The quality of my teaching went up.
If you are the kind of person that can proceed forward with the house somewhat messed up (I promise I tried hard to do this year after year), I am still learning to follow your relaxed manner.
This is something that can’t be ignored when you are homeschooling.
Either you are more relaxed about your surroundings not as tidy or you are not as forgiving about a messy atmosphere. There is no right or wrong on this because as moms we are wired differently. It is just what is right for your personality.
I realized right away that I could not function when I felt chaos existed in my home. The measuring point is if it hampers and paralyzes you from giving your children 100 percent for the day then it needs to be addressed.
When my mind was heavy with thinking about things I have to still do in the house, it did not make me the kind of teacher I wanted to be.
Instead of thinking it wasn’t important to have my mind relatively free of stress, I embraced my need to have things organized before I started my day.
I used Mondays for cleaning, to have a slower start to my week, to get some of my cooking done, and to look over my lesson plans for the week.
Your week ends or begins on a positive note each month and that triggers a sticking power to homeschooling.
Homeschooling Tuesday through Friday like I did for many, many years or homeschooling Monday through Thursday gave me more control over my time.
It propelled me through each year because I took time on the front end of the week to prepare for school. It ended up being a power booster to keep on homeschooling.
There was a plan for the unexpected.
Another surprising advantage was that I planned for the unexpected.
I find this ironic because I love to plan, but I never gave myself an option for the unexpected in my life.
If I was running a public school classroom this would make no difference, but I am not.
Being at home where life happens, I was more organized because I didn’t have every moment of my life planned.
Feelings of being behind and stressed out that we were not covering what we needed to started to fade.
The bottom line was I had wiggle room in my schedule each week.
Dad’s schedule and support is important.
Though a majority of the teaching was always done by me, it was important to me that when my husband’s scheduled changed that we could spend more time together.
For a good part of our homeschooling journey, he had a set work schedule. But there were many times during the years that our business was slow and he took advantage of spending that time with us.
Having a 4-day week lesson plan always ready, it didn’t matter which day we took off. We always had a day to spend with dad because our week did not have every day planned.
Dos and Don’ts of a 4-Day Homeschool Schedule
Look at some of these dos and don’ts when switching to a 4-day homeschool schedule.
Don’t cram 5 days into 4 days.
Avoiding stress is my goal and so cramming 5 days of lessons into 4 days of school is not a doable plan to keep you homeschooling for years.
This may be good for one or two years if you need it, but it is a recipe for exhaustion if you implement it for many years.
Schooling year round made my 4-day homeschool schedule doable.
Just relax and plod along and remember that schooling year round doesn’t mean you can’t have off weeks or months. They are just spread out during the year so that the time off fits your family.
Do decide how to use the day off.
Deciding to switch to a 4-day homeschool schedule only works if you value the reason you are switching.
For me, because all the children were little and I had very little help with the housework and in running our business, I knew I needed a day at the beginning of the work week to unwind when the Mr. was back at work.
I wanted a slower start to the week and doing that gave me momentum for during the week.
Though I say it was a day off, it ended up turning into a day of relaxed housework and savoring my lesson planning time.
As the kids grew and got older, I had them cleaning the house after school. We still kept a 4-day schedule but started taking off Fridays.
We used that day for field trips, shopping, swimming or just enjoying the slow days of summer or beautiful weather in fall.
Again, I find it amusing how life and homeschool has turned out now as I look back.
Though I say I followed a 4-day homeschool schedule, my kids still did many educational activities, though unplanned by me on our day off.
They ended up watching educational movies, doing a project, or even if it was just playing outside and in the dirt, they were still investigating, exploring and learning.
A lot of weeks, I counted our day off as homeschooling because of some of the projects the kids would find to do.
Do write our your schedule and study it.
I am a huge advocate of writing it all out because seeing where your homeschool year starts and ends keeps your goals clear in mind.
Too, you are not bothered with the hype of homeschool schedules because you have set a pace that works for your family.
Don’t worry that your stress free schedule seems effortless. Do you really need complicated homeschooling?
Homeschooling is complicated enough. There is no need to constantly question ourselves because we don’t have all the struggles everybody else is having.
Finding your groove to homeschooling can be not only fulfilling, but painless.
Managing your time means to make your time more meaningful while maintaining spontaneity.
A 4-day homeschool schedule was key to not only maintaining my house suitable for us to live in, but advancing to more rigorous academics.
Sitting down to begin our week, we were armed with a full day of activities, rested, and ready to learn!
What about you? Are you still struggling with a schedule that works for your family?
You also love these other tips:
- The Sticking Power of a Homeschool Schedule
- How To Create a Homeschool Schedule That You Can Stick To
- 7 Advantages to Starting Your Homeschool Year in the Summer
Hugs and love ya,