Homeschool structure is a hot topic in the home education community, and rightfully so. When starting the homeschooling journey, this is one area that can cause lots of stress and overwhelm. Keep reading to learn about some of the best homeschool structure ideas and how to pick the best one for your family.
Understanding Homeschool Structure
Before diving into some ideas, it’s important to understand what homeschool structure is all about. When it comes to structure, there are many ways to look at it. For starters, structure can be seen through the method(s) you choose to homeschool according to. Although there are ten main methods, most homeschooling families find themselves merging several together to find their sweet spot.
Each method comes with their own characteristics, but here they are in a nutshell:
- Relaxed/Eclectic: known to use a little bit of this and a little bit of that with mornings typically reserved for “have to do” work.
- School-at-Home: replicates the public or private school in terms of setup, structure, and curriculum used.
- Unschooling: uses a child-led and child-interest approach to learning with very little structure.
- Classical: aims to give children a complete education using the five tools of learning and a chronological approach.
- Charlotte Mason: relies heavily on playing, creating, and using real-life situations to teach children.
- Waldorf: stresses the importance of educating the whole child- body, mind, and spirit.
- Montessori: this method encourages children to learn at their own pace and in ways that help them develop their full potential.
- Multiple Intelligence: focuses on using how the child prefers to learn, including their strengths and weaknesses.
- Unit Study: allows students to take a deep dive into topics that interest them or as an organized way to thematically cover assigned grade-level concepts.
- Deschooling: works with the child’s natural rhythms of wake and sleep, interests and motivation, and play (often used to transition from public/private school to homeschooling).
With these homeschooling methods in mind, let’s look at some of the best homeschool structure ideas.
Best Homeschool Structure Ideas
Now that you’re familiar with the different homeschool methods, get an idea of the ones that resonate best with you and your family. Take into consideration how many children you are homeschooling, their ages, grades, and developmental levels. This will come in handy when creating a structured routine and schedule for your homeschool.
School in the morning
Homeschooling families with young children typically lean toward a school-in-the-morning type of routine. This is primarily due to the fact that younger children are more active and energy-filled in the earlier parts of the day, and this structure meshes well with nap times. If you’re wanting to get the most homeschool work done with younger children, try doing the majority of it in the morning.
School in the afternoon (or evening)
Schooling in the afternoon or evening works well with older children, especially those of working age. They are able to work during the day, attend community college courses, or other things during the earlier parts of the day and complete the remainder of their homeschool work in the afternoon or evening.
Four or five-day homeschool structures
As of the most recent years, homeschooling families have begun changing up how many days per week they homeschool. Some families prefer to homeschool four days a week, while others go for all five days. The biggest difference between these schedules is how much work is being completed on a daily basis. This is another facet to creating your homeschool structure.
Homeschooling four days a week usually means longer lesson times Monday through Thursday, with Fridays being set aside for reviews, field trips, and the like. Five day homeschool weeks typically have shorter lesson times, set days for certain subjects, and activities trickled throughout the week.
Some homeschooling families become heavily involved in extracurricular activities, CO-OP groups, and other programs. These can help replace a lot of what would be done within the homeschool and outsourced to help with meeting certain requirements. Schedules and routines built around this structure can look busy, but be efficient at the same time.
Creating Your Homeschool Structure
When it comes down to it, you’ll have to decide a structure that best fits your family dynamic. Also keep in mind that as your children get older and the longer you homeschool, your structure can (and should) change. In the event you find something not working for you and your children, don’t hesitate to make any necessary changes. The overall idea behind having structure in the homeschool is to keep everyone and everything organized and on the same page. This will help you reach any and all homeschooling goals you have set for your children.