Experienced homeschoolers know you can't just wake up each day, open the textbooks, and decide how much work to do that day. Too many factors can make this an inconsistent result, from the students' mood when they wake up, unexpected events that come up during the day, and how much the parent feels like teaching that day, to name a few. Instead, it would be best to have an organized plan that held parents and students accountable, showed progress, and included flexibility if some things needed to be moved around.

Elementary students from K-2nd grade are typically enrolled in a print curriculum through the top homeschool programs because they are still young, and having a textbook to hold provides the visual learning they need for these ages. The best 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum will prepare them for the next level and potentially transition to online if they feel ready. 

School Day

The student is comfortable with the switch. The print curriculum for every grade will come with a lesson planner for each subject as a tool so parents can see approximately how much work needs to be done daily. Holidays and breaks are built into the schedule, and parents can make notes when they need to change the plan due to family vacations or unplanned events. This is a critical resource and should be used to its fullest extent by putting it on a calendar where everyone can regularly see the schedule.

The next part of planning the day is setting a start and finish time for school hours. These don't have to be rigid, but they help give younger kids a definitive time to be ready to begin their learning and an end time to look forward to when they can go into a different activity. Parents should decide whether to do further planning by creating an order for each subject and how much time will be spent before moving to the next class. This may be too strict because younger students learn the process and may vary on how much time they need to grasp concepts until they figure out their strengths and weaknesses. With the best 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum, parents can try this structure out in this grade to see if it helps the process and then quickly revert if it creates more issues and pressure than is beneficial. As students get older, they may apply this type of schedule on their own to keep their task oriented-and to ensure they get through all the work daily.

Most homeschool families have a specific area in the house set aside for school, whether it is a room, desks in each of the bedrooms, the dining table, or maybe even the porch. It is helpful to have a single location as a standard so kids know where to go to begin their school day, but it is nice to change this up every so often to give everyone a different scenery. If parents find this approach doesn't work with their students, they can keep with the start/end time and set boundaries, such as needing to be in one of the main living areas. Remember that this may also evolve based on grade levels, as younger students need a hard surface and position to complete the textbooks. In comparison, older online students can have flexibility because they are on tablets or laptops and study independently with less parent interaction.

One of the critical mistakes that parents can make is not setting time aside during the day for grading, paperwork, and progress checks. With younger students, it is easier to do this as they go instead of leaving until the end of the day or assigning the elementary students a task they can do independently and use that time. It is unfair to let it stack up, wait too long to submit documentation when needed, or check online students' progress. Issues caught earlier are easier to handle and resolve, so parents should contact the program staff if they have any questions or need additional help to keep the students moving forward in their learning. If you start with the best 2nd-grade homeschool curriculum with a lesson planner, everything else can be built through trial and error until the family finds the best schedule. Kids don't all need to start school at the crack of dawn if they do better with getting extra sleep and working later. Parents also need to build in additional days if they need to take a day off for whatever reason and then use that 'extra' as a catch-up day so the entire schedule does not get off track. Remember that even when an online homeschool program, there is still plenty of room for flexibility and adjustments to make the family unit's homeschool experience work.