Creating A Homeschool Schedule For Your Teen (that really works!)

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Creating a homeschool schedule for teens can be a little tricky because of everything teens are involved in. Teenagers fill the family calendar with social events, sports, theater, and more. In addition, many begin to introduce work schedules to the family calendar so it can get tricky to balance the ever-changing routines.

But it is possible to create a homeschool schedule for your teen and your family that really works!

Tips and Tricks for creating a homeschool schedule for your teen that really works

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Homeschooling High School 

There is nothing to fear when you begin homeschooling high school. There are so many resources and support available that homeschooling high school is completely doable if a parent and teen want to make it work. In fact, homeschooling high school continues to increase in popularity, making it even easier to find the support you need.

The biggest difference when it comes to homeschooling high school vs homeschooling the younger years is the paperwork. Parents should develop a system to record the courses their student takes each year as well as the resources that were used. Accurate record-keeping will make it much easier when it is time to write a high school transcript and complete college applications.

Another difference when it comes to homeschooling teens is how tricky it can be to establish a routine and a schedule. It’s different because it is just so darn complicated sometimes. Teens are often involved in outside activities, volunteer work, theater, and retail jobs. It can be hard (if not impossible) to find a consistent routine.

But there are definitely ways you can create a schedule that works well for your homeschooled teen, for you, and for the entire family.

Creating A Schedule For Your Homeschooled Teen

Organize the Dates

Finding the best homeschooling schedule for a teen starts with making sure all of the commitments are on the calendar. The best system in our home starts with three calendars:

1. a large family calendar in the kitchen with appointments, social events, athletics, online classes, etc.

2. cell phone calendars with most the same information as the family calendar, but accessible on the go

3. a printable weekly page for homeschooling goals

While the cell phone calendar and the large family calendar on the wall contain many of the same events, the large paper calendar creates an accessible visual for everyone. I train my teens to add their commitments to this calendar, such as their work schedules each week or social activities they plan. I can add them to my phone if I want, but it usually isn’t necessary.

Once I have all of the activities on the calendars, I can find the blocks of time we will all be home, the blocks of time various people have commitments, and the blocks of time that we are all on the road. At this point, I can begin to plan our homeschool week.

Planning a week at a time is one way to create a homeschool schedule for your teen

Think in Blocks

Teen activities, such as retail job schedules, mean our schedule is constantly changing and our days no longer have a regular weekly routine. Each week is often slightly different from the previous week once I take a look at job hours, social events, and other activities for my teens.

Last year I begin to think in blocks that I could shuffle around in my mind each day instead of a daily or weekly routine. Our family homeschooling schedule works in three blocks.

Block One (Full Group Time)

This is the time period we are all home together so we can do our Morning Time and group lessons. For our family, this includes our bible time, read-aloud books, and history for the year. All of my children need to be home and available for this 1-2 hour block each day.

Block Two (Partial Group Time)

This is a block of time when I have my younger kids for the subjects they continue to do together. In the past, this has included science, art, grammar, and other subjects. This year we only need about 30 minutes 1-2 times a week to complete our art curriculum.

Block Three (Independent or Me/Youngest Time)

This is the largest block of time when most of my teens are working on their own. This is when I can do my own work or work with teens one on one. My youngest child is the one who needs me the most frequently to check in about his English and math assignments.

My teens use the printable homeschool student weekly checklist to organize their independent work for the week. Together we make sure they schedule out their assignments for the week so they can keep track of both long and short-term work. Then when they have their independent work block, they know exactly what to do.

Block Four (Mom’s Work)

Because I teach online, I have to block off a time when I am unavailable. A few times a month, this is a non-negotiable scheduled block of time 

Now when I plan our homeschool week, I can simply determine where these blocks will fit in each day.  I always schedule Block One (group time) first because I need to make sure all three of my kids are home and my oldest has a retail job that makes this block happen at different times each day.

Then I can determine when blocks two and three will work out based on the rest of our scheduled events. Blocks two and three are easier for me to make happen because my younger kids don’t have as many activities…yet.

Plan One Week at a Time

Sketching out an overall schedule and routine with my teen can be helpful, but the details usually come one week at a time. When I try to plan more than one week at a time, my teen and I both feel frustrated.

Retail work schedules make this particularly difficult, but all teens have last-minute events and activities arise.

It’s helpful to both of us to use Friday or the weekend to create a more detailed plan for the following week. We record goals and time blocks for each day on a weekly planning sheet:

Student weekly planning pages to use with your homeschool teen

Communicate Effectively with Your Teen(s)

Once you have determined when each of these blocks will happen during the week, be sure you communicate this to your teens so they know when you expect them to be available.

I like to use a weekly student checklist from Pam Barnhill’s planning pages to record my expectations for the week, but you can use the system that works for you!

After we have scheduled the larger picture for our family, we can fill in the rest of their homeschool week and create a schedule for each teen.

Remain Flexible

Without a doubt, one of the keys to creating a homeschool schedule for teens is flexibility. Of course, this has always been a key since the days of toddlers, missed naps, and sick little ones. 

But somewhere in the middle/tween years, many of us begin to enjoy the bliss of a little more predictability so it is hard to lose it when the teens years it. It’s like a shock to the system again and it might feel harder to be flexible with teens. After all, the workload feels more important so we start to react with rigidity to “get things done” rather than remaining flexible.

In the end, flexibility will not only help us but will also teach our kids healthy ways to manage their own lives and schedules.

A teen and parent should work a week at a time to createa homeschool schedule.

Managing YOUR Schedule When Homeschooling Teens

Once you have the weekly schedule and homeschool schedule for your teens under control, it’s time to manage your own schedule. As the parent of a homeschooled teenager, there is still a lot you are required to take care of.

From driving hours behind the wheel to college applications to assisting teens with the paperwork of life, the myth of the independent teenager is just that…a myth.

In our house, all of the appointments are on the family calendar and on my phone. I can quickly see who needs me each week and when they need me for driving or other activities. Mentally, I can usually only handle looking one week at a time – HA!

Because older teens also need time for resumes, college applications, and driving time, I try to schedule these into the week so they don’t get forgotten in the midst of a busy schedule. It’s perfectly appropriate for a busy teen and a busy parent to schedule time for important paperwork and other tasks that need to get done.

Because these needs are usually less routine, I do use my phone alarm to set a reminder as things comes up.

Additional Resources For Planning And Scheduling In Your Homeschool

The Ultimate List of Online Homeschool Classes for Teens

Plan a Morning Time with Older Kids: 15+ Ideas for the Homeschool Mom

My Favorite Resources for Homeschooling High School

Over 20 of the Best Books to Read with Teenagers

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