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How do I set up a new school schedule at home?

1. Set up a pattern or routine.

Try to keep it close to regular school hours as possible. However, a flexible grouping of blocks may be better as opposed to an hour by hour schedule. On the other hand, if everyone in the household is not a morning person, you may want to push the start time to a later hour.

2. Work in blocks of time as opposed to to-do task lists.

If your student has difficulty with an assignment they have more flexibility within that group of time that’s designated for the subject i.e. math, reading. Encourage the student’s help with setting up the order that they want to tackle the work.

3. Set up some flexibility within the overall block schedule.

One day they may have more science to do versus language arts. Fine-tune what each subject block sequence might look like depending on the assignments. Start with an easy subject, then do more difficult subjects and finish up with easy subjects in order to help your student get started more easily.

4. If you have children of different ages, set up a general academic time.

If the older students need longer to complete assignments, designate that time for the younger ones as a quiet time. Encourage them to color, read or play quietly. Limit the use of screens during the academic time to only those needed for school.

5. Set up the daily plan on a whiteboard or someplace where everyone can see it.

If your children are tweens or teens, enlist their buy-in by asking them to help you plan the schedule.

6. Check online assignments the night before so that you know where to locate the next day’s assignments.

They may be in multiple places such as Google hangout, teachers’ websites or Schoology. If you’re not sure of the assignments email the teacher. Be sure you have all of the resources such as online books.

How do I get my kids to follow our new school schedule?

  • Sit down and make your schedule together: children do better if they have a chance to give some input into what they’re doing.

  • Distraction proof your environment: collect and put away cell phones, game controllers, Legos, books or other distracting materials.

  • Engage everyone in setting up a “mini office” as a place to work.

  • Set a start time for school with your children and get everyone up and going as if it was a ”regular” school day.

Should I get my children up in the morning as early as I do for school?

    • Decide if your child tends to be an early bird riser, a night owl who loves to stay up late or someone who can be either.

    • For your early bird, you may decide to start academics at 8 AM. Subtract the amount of time that they typically use to do their morning routine from 8 o’clock. This is your start time.

    • For your night owls, you may decide to start academics at 10 AM.

      • Subtract the time it takes for morning routine from 10 AM and that’s your time to get your children up for the day.

      • Typically, adolescents tend to be night owls and would like to sleep in a bit. They may want to start at 11 AM.

    • Look at your schedule and see what best fits what you need.

      • If you are a morning person, you may prefer to have your children sleep in in order to give you some work time in the morning.

      • Conversely, if you are a night owl, you may prefer to sleep to a later time in the morning and have everyone work later in the day.

    • It’s very important to be sure you don’t allow your children, especially adolescents, to switch so that they are up at night and asleep during the day.

      • You will be needing to work from home during this time and it will be important to try to minimize distractors for your well-being.

How many breaks should I give my children throughout the day?

    • Use blocks of time:

      • 20 minutes of work then a short three-minute break then 20 minutes of work

      • Do a 10-minute break after the first block of 40 minutes.

      • The number of blocks that you need throughout the day will depend on the age of the child and how long it takes them to complete the work that was assigned.

      Plan a lunch break of at least an hour and encourage your child to get some exercise.

      • Younger children that are in elementary school will need more frequent and longer breaks throughout the day – think recess.

      • These typically will be one in the morning and one in the afternoon for roughly 45 minutes and should include some sort of physical activity if possible.

      • Don’t forget to schedule activity blocks such as art or music in your daily routine. These help to provide a more structured break time.