Tips for Scheduling Your Online School Day
Arranging Your Online School Schedule
With the school year underway, families everywhere are settling into new routines and getting accustomed to the pace of online schooling. For those who are still working on establishing an online school schedule or who are just looking to shake things up a bit, here are some examples of systems that have worked for other families and tips for creating and managing your own.
How you choose to arrange your online school schedule will depend on many things, including parent work schedules, extracurricular activities, and the Learning Coach and student’s preferences. Whether you prefer to be super structured, or more relaxed, whether you have early birds or night owls, you have the flexibility to adjust your schedule to work with your family dynamic.
Some parents choose to follow a typical school schedule working from 8 or 9 in the morning until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Others fit school in around a parent’s work day, completing lessons in the morning and evening. As long as you are meeting the number of hours required by your state, it doesn’t really matter when you school!
In addition to considering the family schedule and obligations, it’s important to consider how your child best works. You probably already have a sense of your child’s preferences, and may have found for instance that she can breeze through a Language Arts lesson, but finishing math is like pulling teeth. Maybe he loves history, but struggles in science. You might want to take these preferences into account when arranging your online school schedule, by allowing more or less time for certain subjects, scheduling breaks, or getting tough subjects out of the way first.
Some kids may need frequent breaks during the school day and between subjects. Others, particularly children prone to distraction, may seem to get lost and lose momentum when bouncing between subjects. One way to combat this bouncing effect is by using block scheduling. With this type of schedule, students focus on one subject for an extended period of time, completing several lessons in a row. This way, students still make progress and complete enough lessons each day, but they focus on fewer subject areas.
There are several ways to block schedule. By focusing intently on one subject, students can complete several lessons or a whole unit in a day or week. Alternatively, some parents choose to work around a themed unit study and select lessons from several different subjects: history, art, literature, etc. to coordinate around the same theme. Or, complete several science units in a week around similar topics (call it science camp to get kids excited.) If you have multiple children in different grade levels, look through the lesson lists to find topics that are similar and combine the lessons, teaching parts of each to meet the objective. Even if you choose to stick with a more traditional schedule, block scheduling can work well temporarily if you find that you’ve gotten behind in a subject and need to catch up.
Things to keep in mind when creating an online school schedule:
- Make lists, including a weekly schedule for kids detailing what they need to accomplish.
- Families enrolled in virtual schools should be sure to consider Class Connect sessions and teacher meetings when creating a schedule.
- Block scheduling may not be feasible in higher elementary/middle school and high school, as those grades have a more rigid structure.
- Establish a start time and allow time for morning routines and breakfast.
- Be flexible. If it’s not working, adjust!
- Shake things up occasionally. Take a field trip, play educational games, or watch a nature documentary.
- Remember that it’s OK to skip! The K12 curriculum has many optional lessons and activities and you’re not expected to complete them all. Choose the ones you think your kids will enjoy, make sure they’ve mastered the objective, and move on.
The K12 curriculum is set up to allow for creativity and flexibility in scheduling. Every child and family is different, so do what works for your family.
Share with us in the comments: How is your schedule set up?
Ashley MacQuarrie began writing professionally more than ten years ago and has covered education, technology, current events, pop culture, and other topics. A former homeschooler, she studied English and Film & New Media, graduating with a bachelor's degree from San Diego State University. Ashley has classroom experience working with children who have autism and other special needs. She has also tutored students from kindergarten through college and taught English to teens and adults at a language school in London.