Multi tasking is supposed to be one of a mom’s super powers. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure I’m NOT a natural! Having some key tools in place to keep my family on track is crucial. So as we head into this back to school season, I wanted to share some top tips to creating a virtual learning schedule. And there is a free printable schedule for you to print off and easily set up your week!
10 Top Tips to Creating a Virtual Learning Schedule
Whether you are home full time with an online school schedule, have a hybrid remote learning schedule or homeschooling, you will need to create a workable plan to keep schooling a priority!
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Set Realistic Expectations for Your Home Schooling Schedule
After homeschooling for 16 years, I have yet to find the perfect schedule. But don’t worry, not all hope is lost! Our children have managed to learn a ton, in spite of my dis-tractability! And they ENJOY learning, which opens the door to lifelong education.
So as you create a schedule for your remote learning or online school here are two major keys to keep in mind!
- Prioritize school, creating a start time and an intentional basic schedule.
- Give yourself grace as there will be lots of interruptions!
The printable I created has plenty of room for assigning chores, school and making a reminder about activities. We create a rough model for us to follow for the first week. Then we tweak it the second week and make plenty of copies. Punch holes and put into a binder and you are set up for the first semester!
Ok, let’s dive in!
Take a Bird’s Eye View of Your Family Schedule
First, step back and look over all that needs to happen in a typical week. What days will kids be at school versus at home? What day is grocery day? If you work outside the home or from home, what are the typical big days at work? Do your kids have any activities during the week?
This first step will help you identify days you have a little wiggle room and days that are filled to the brim. Once you have zeroed in on the days that are filled to the brim make sure to set some tasks on auto pilot.
For example, I typically make the same meal every Wednesday. I work in the evening Wednesdays so I am heading out the door by 4 pm. I don’t want to arrive home at 8 pm and try to figure out what is for dinner. So I have the same easy but satisfying meal every Wednesday.
Also look for days when the schedule may be different to avoid feeling like you are are some how “behind”.
When our kids were all at home, I had to drive our oldest son to school over in the next county a couple times a week. This meant getting everyone out the door earlier. But it also meant a delayed start to the other kids’ homeschool morning. As I created our weekly schedule, I would try to be aware not to add any extra tasks to that homeschool day.
Streamline Your Household To Do List
What are some chores or weekly to-dos that you can streamline. With all the interruptions that come with working at home, teaching school or/and functioning with a hybrid schedule you need to set some household chores on automatic.
You may decide to make the same 5 meals each week. Or pick a theme meal such a Mexican on Mondays or Italian on Tuesdays. Then you will spend less time thinking about meal preparation. Check out Julia’s post and free printable on how to schedule meal planning with themes nights! Fun!
Perhaps you have a 1/2 hour of household cleaning built into the day when your kids are learning from home. As we all know, when you are home more the house gets dirtier. I even had a friend who would read to her kids while they folded laundry!
Check out Lisa at Lisa Tanner Writing. She rocks the Work From Home mom thing and has so many helpful tips here!
Allow Time to Work with Your Child for Virtual School
Teaching or co-teaching your children at home takes a lot of time and mental effort. Sometimes I forget to take into account the mental effort. But give me a day off, I’m reminded. I feel like a new woman…able to put two complete sentences together:)!
Everyone had a dose of what teaching their children at home was like last spring. Now that you know, you can create a better schedule for your virtual school day. Keep the frustration at bay by anticipating how much time you need to set aside for schooling.
Here is a list of things to consider as you figure how much time to allow to help your kids
- What your children’s school goals?
- Do all your children read? Do they read well?
- What are your child’s best subjects?
- What are their worst subjects?
- Do your children stay on task?
- Which child gets easily distracted?
- How much teacher help will they have this year?
- Are your children able to help each other at times?
- Will your teenagers need help with harder subjects?
- Are your children able to hold some of their questions for teachers or online classes?
Identify Your Child’s Independent Areas During Remote Learning
No matter the child, distance learning students will have areas or subjects that they can work on independently. Children should be able to do some of their reading (if they are reading) quietly on their own. Every child has a subject they can easily do with minimal instruction.
There is no reason for a parent to have to work constantly with a child. Once you have identified your child’s independent areas you have a couple options.
- You can have all your children work on their easy subjects at one time so you can work.
- You may decide to help another child with their hard subject while the other children are occupied.
- You may have a child that is strong in a subject help a sibling that struggles with the subject.
- Or you can choose to keep all the kids working together in the kitchen on their hard subjects while you help as needed. Pick something to do that you can be easily interrupted (folding laundry, cleaning, etc…)
Create a Virtual Learning School Schedule
Once you have a good view of your household schedule, you have identified what your student will need help with, and you understand how much time you need to devote to school it’s time to make a schedule.
While I take into consideration when my child would LIKE to do what subject, I create the schedule. If your children needs your help, then it is best that you create the virtual learning or homeschooling schedule. You know what else you have to accomplish. And as the mom, you have a better understanding of how much of your time is going to be involved and what classes your student already has if they are doing distance learning.
Write Down What Your Child Did for Distance Learning
Write it down! You won’t remember what your kid did on Monday. You may think you will …but you won’t! So come up with some system that works for you to jot down a few notes to yourself.
If you are homeschooling you will definitely want a planner to plan out the week. The curriculum I typically use has a teacher’s manual with the week planned out for you. Each year, in August, I photocopy the planner. As our daughter works through the day she marks the subject off.
And then I use the extra space to write down if they had any activities, went to youth group or if they volunteered or worked anywhere. Keeping track of work and volunteer hours is very important when it comes to creating a resume, filling out college applications or applying for college scholarships.
If you are doing a hybrid schedule, have a place that you at least jot down the lesson or page number you covered or stopped at. This will help immensely when the kids start the next school day at home. You won’t be stumbling around to remember what lesson they last did with you.
Chalk boards, white boards, a paper calendar or a planner will all work. If your child also has a shared parenting schedule then you will want to make use of a planner if the school doesn’t provide one.
Encourage Teens to Own Their Virtual School Schedule
Once you as the parent have created a basic schedule of how the school day is going to run, encourage your kids to take ownership. With your older tweens and teenagers, you want to encourage independent learning. While you may set a basic schedule, get the day going and help with hard subjects, you want your kids to take ownership.
Think of it like a job. If you work outside the home, you have a boss that sets the tone, creates accountability and has deadlines for you to meet. The boss is not responsible to follow you around all day (hopefully not:) and make sure you do everything. But a good boss will provide leadership, set clear expectations and give accountability.
Here are some concrete ideas to try to encourage student ownership:
- Discuss expectations before school starts or the first week of school.
- Create a School Contract with your tweens and teens to write it all down (use this free printable).
- Help your student choose a planner or tracking method for school. We have used physical planners, the notebook app on their phones, and whiteboards. Whatever your student likes best is usually a good place to start. We created this simple fillable schedule here for last year that Teen Red used as her school planner.
- Check in with your student daily or once a week to keep them accountable.
Keep a Master List of Remote Learning Passwords and Information
Yikes! Many parents were overwhelmed by the myriad of platforms and passwords used last spring for schooling. Hopefully, the online school and remote learning platforms will be more streamlined this time, if you are going through your local public school.
But even then, if you have a few kids at varying ages, it won’t take much to have several platforms and lots of passwords. Do yourself a favor and write it down. Write down all the passwords and platforms for each child in ONE area. It won’t help if you write everything down but put in a variety of places…I’ve tried! Ha!
Also, if schools, as some have anticipated, return to full schedule and then suddenly go back to online school you will have everything in one place. You will be able to easily resume online school.
Buy the Supplies You Need for Homeschooling
In teaching at home, I have discovered that there is a fine line between having too much curriculum and supplies and not having what I need.
Here are several rules of thumb that I TRY to follow:
- Clear away all the curriculum that you will NOT be using in the next semester. Having too many resources laying around is distracting and makes one feel behind or as if you aren’t doing enough. You don’t need that!
- Any extra books or resources that you know that your student would enjoy perusing for fun put in a designated shelf or basket. Encourage my kid to look through the books when they are waiting on me to help them or they just need a break for a minute.
- Buy supplies that you are positive you will need! Too many times, I hesitate to purchase something that I KNOW I’m going to need, hoping there will be a bit more room in the budget next month. Typically, there isn’t any more wiggle room, and I just hobble through the year thinking I should get around to buying it. For example, I now spend the extra money to have all the pieces for the science experiments ready to go!! More cost up front, but less headache and wasted time searching for items.
10 Top Tips to Creating a Virtual Learning Schedule
Whatever your schooling looks like this fall, get it all done with this simple printable schedule!. If you are already a member of The Reluctant Cowgirl head over to the Resource Library and enter the password (check your latest newsletter:).