Homeschooling is fantastic for parents and children because it’s super flexible and provides kids with personalized tutoring in the perfect learning environment. The downside is that with so many distractions at home, it’s easy to fall behind. If you’re one of the many parents who’s behind schedule with homeschooling, you might wonder how to catch up on subjects fast.
Parents or students must step back to assess the situation if they are behind with homeschooling. Then make a clear catch-up plan and stick to it. Try not to stress, keep lessons fun, and do not be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, and tutors if needed.
Depending on what parents need to catch up on, it can take days, weeks, or even months. But with time, commitment, and careful planning, they can catch up effortlessly. If you want to know how to catch up in homeschooling fast, then look at the simple but effective ideas below.
What To Do When You’re Behind in Homeschooling?
If students or parents are behind in homeschooling, it is crucial to identify those areas. Families must catch up by making a new schedule that includes catch-up sessions. Families can also give the children homework or spend time catching up on weekends or over the summer.
There are many reasons for falling behind, such as illness, procrastination, or unmotivated children. It’s common for families to slip behind with their homeschooling, and if you want to know how to catch up fast, take a look at the tips below.
Tip #1 – Find out why you’re behind
To prevent falling behind in the future, we should find out what’s slowing us down. Are we trying to fit too much into our daily schedule? Or, perhaps the kids are unmotivated.
Take a good look at the schedule. Are we setting unrealistic expectations by cramming too much work into the week? In this case, slim the workload or use a routine instead of a schedule.
A routine is when we complete a subject before moving on to the next one, as opposed to using a timescale. Try dedicating 30 minutes to a subject.
If unmotivated children are making learning progress slow, try and make learning more fun and engaging.
Tip #2 – Assess the situation
If we have fallen behind, we must take a step back and assess the situation. It’s crucial to establish exactly what each child needs to catch up on and put it down on paper.
Keeping records can help us see where we need to invest more time. We can also test the kids to understand their learning progress clearly. Identify which subjects the children are strongest in – these are easier to catch up on because they have a good grasp of them.
If we want to catch up fast, it’s best to catch up on the weaker subjects first.
Oh, and as we go through the rest of the tips? Make a note on your calendar to re-assess how your student is doing every few weeks. That way, we don’t end up falling even more behind!
Tip #3 – Make a new schedule
It is crucial to make a new schedule incorporating catch-up sessions if we want to catch up on homeschooling quickly. This could mean doubling up on lessons for a few days or weeks.
It’s much easier to catch up when there is a clear plan. Set goals with a timeframe, then implement and stick to the plan. Many parents incorporate a catch-up day into their weekly or monthly schedule to stop them from falling behind with schooling.
Tip #4 – Use podcasts, audiobooks, and documentaries
To save time, parents can use podcasts, audiobooks, and documentaries to help kids catch up on subjects. Using digital media will save time from reading aloud.
Most children find documentaries and YouTube videos engaging, and the fantastic thing about audiobooks and podcasts is that kids can listen to them in the car or while eating.
Tip #5 – Trim topics
Have a good look at each subject and see if they can be trimmed down. Can you cut out any reading books or assignments, for example?
With homeschooling, we have the freedom to use our own curriculum. When we think our children know the basics about ancient Egypt, we move on to another topic. However, we shouldn’t strip down core subjects like math and grammar.
Tip #6 – Give homework
Give kids evening homework to help them catch up on subjects. Be available to help them out but encourage them to work independently.
Even if we don’t like the idea of homework, we can use it as a temporary solution until we’re back on track. Also, in the evening, we might have other family members available to help out, which can ease the stress of catching up.
Tip #7 – Catch up on weekends or over the summer (or other breaks)
If parents struggle to incorporate catch-up time into the weekly schedule, they should consider schooling for a few hours over the weekend. If kids are still behind towards the end of the school year, they can work for a few weeks during the summer holidays or during other breaks.
If necessary – we can also catch up during spring break or the Christmas holidays. If we work through the holidays, ensure to give plenty of rewards as incentives.
In our family, we take shorter breaks. That way, we build more time into our learning schedules naturally. So if (more like when) we get off a lesson or two, it doesn’t throw our schedule off at all. We’ve got time. We’ll get to the material.
Tip #8 – Don’t stress
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when we’re behind in homeschooling, but try not to stress because this won’t help the situation. If we’re stressed, it will transmit to the kids and make learning difficult.
To avoid stress, stick to a catch-up plan but give yourself lots of downtime, and don’t let things get too intense. Ask for help from other family members if feeling overwhelmed, and keep lessons fun.
Tip #9 – Keep it fun
It’s easy for children to become unmotivated when they have to catch up on lessons. The best way to hold their attention is by keeping the school day fun and interesting. Ensure to include field trips, crafts, and nature walks when catching up.
Parents should offer children plenty of praise and reward them for meeting their goals. They could even have a catch-up party, with a fun, casual learning session with snacks and treats.
We keep an “after-lesson” snack for when the kids finish school daily. Yes, it’s usually junk food. But it helps keep them motivated, and they’re only getting one treat daily after lessons are done (no matter how many times they ask and beg for more!).
Tip #10 – Ask for help
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we fall behind. If we’re struggling with homeschooling or catching up, don’t be afraid to ask for help. This could be from a partner, friend, or family.
An extra pair of hands will help alleviate the pressure of catching up. An assistant could look after the younger children while we teach the older ones. Or, they can help with house chores to give us more time for schooling.
Parents can also reach out to local homeschool support groups or ask for advice from other homeschooling families.
How Many Hours a Day Should Homeschool Take?
Each family is unique with their homeschooling hours, but on average, teaching kids at home takes between 2 – 4 hours per day, 3 – 5 days per week. Generally, younger kids can study for fewer hours than their teenage counterparts.
Overall, the amount of hours we must put into homeschooling per day depends on many factors, such as age, teaching style, state laws, class size, and the number of subjects we want to cover.
As a rough guide, here’s how many hours of schooling kids need per day on average, according to their age group:
- Preschool – 30 minutes
- 1st – 3rd grade – up to 2 hours
- 4th – 6th grade – up to 3 hours
- 7th – 9th grade – up to 4 hours
- 10th – 12th grade – up to 7 hours
Do you want to know if you can do high school level homeschool in less than 7 hours each day? Read our guide on How Many Hours a Day Should a High Schooler Spend on Home School?
How do I homeschool for 1 hour a day?
Depending on the teaching method, it is possible to homeschool children for one hour a day. Parents can spend one hour covering the essential topics and leave children to work independently on projects and assignments or pursue their interests.
Teaching methods, such as unschooling, work well with a 1-hour teaching session per day. Instead of learning in a traditional classroom, unschooled children learn through field trips, social interactions, and daily life experiences.
With unschooling, parents would use the formal hour to study grammar, spelling, and arithmetic.
If we want to teach traditional subjects like science and history, we need more than 1 hour a day for homeschooling. However, it’s good to make a one-hour schedule in case we need to use it in an emergency or if we suddenly have to attend to something else.
Are 2 hours of homeschooling enough?
Many families successfully educate their children with two hours of homeschooling per day. However, as children get older, they may need more time to study, especially between 7th and 12th grade.
With homeschooling, children continue to learn even when not in the classroom. We can take field trips to the museum to learn about history, use nature walks to study biology, and cooking is a fantastic opportunity to learn about math.
So, even if kids only spend two hours in the classroom, they will get more than 2 hours of education.
Can you Graduate Faster in Homeschooling?
It is common for homeschooled children to graduate faster. This is because homeschooling provides the optimum learning environment with customized learning. Homeschooling is tailored to the individual, so children learn faster and can potentially graduate earlier.
If a child is motivated and is schooled correctly, it’s easy for them to graduate faster. However, we must check with our state laws about graduating homeschooled children. Each state has different legislation regarding graduation and diplomas.
Some have specific graduation requirements, while others leave it to the parents to decide when children are ready to graduate.
If your child is ahead and they want to skip a grade, is that a possibility? Find out the answer here.
Can you Homeschool an Entire Grade Over the Summer?
It it is possible to homeschool an entire grade over the summer, but it takes a lot of dedication, hard work, and careful planning. However, children might not absorb the information as well because it is the equivalent of cramming.
Generally speaking, don’t make any other plans if you want to teach an entire grade over the summer. You’re going to spend the summer doing that grade.
Sure, we can take weekends off but don’t plan a 3-week long vacation, for example. We must be committed, keep to the schedule, and ensure we offer plenty of rewards for children when they reach milestones.
Can you Homeschool to Catch Up?
Homeschooling generally takes 2-4 hours per day, so technically, if we double up on hours, we can teach an extra grade over the year.
For catching up on a single grade level, it is possible to catch up on an entire grade with homeschooling. It will take time and dedication. Depending on the grade level being caught up, you may not even need the whole school year to do the make-up learning.
For catching up on 2 or more grades in a year, know that catching up on two grades in homeschooling is pretty difficult. However, if a child is highly motivated and picks things up quickly, potentially, they can catch up on two or more grades.
But be aware that trying to catch up on too much all at once is a form of cramming. It may backfire, especially if they do a lot of “regurgitating and forgetting” for tests. That’s not learning – that’s cramming for tests.
One of the most appealing things about homeschooling is that it’s flexible, and children can learn at their own pace. This means that the grades relevant to traditional school might not apply in homeschool.
Often, a child will be way ahead in certain subjects, technically making them a higher grade in these areas.
In many cases, a child might be ahead in some subjects but behind in others. So, if they are behind 2 or 3 grades in one subject, they can potentially catch up, but it would be a challenge to catch up on 3 grades of a whole curriculum of subjects. Especially within a single year. Instead, make a plan to catch up over perhaps 2 years.
Key Takeaways and Next Steps
If we’re behind on our homeschool schedule, we should take a step back and assess the situation. Find out exactly where we’re behind, and see if there’s anything we can change in our schedule to prevent us from falling behind in the future.
Make a clear catch-up plan and stick to it, with a focus on the weaker subjects.
The best way to catch up fast is by keeping lessons fun and try not to get too stressed out. Use audiobooks, podcasts, and documentaries to save time, and if you struggle to catch up during the week, give your children homework or teach them during the weekends or holidays.
We’ve fallen behind a few times, and the best trick for us has been adjusting our breaks. The next best trick has been keeping a schedule so the children can see, manage, and take ownership of their learning schedules. That way, they know what needs to be done – and when they’ve finished school for the day to “unlock” their after-homeschool treat.
For parents who would like some more information on the topic of homeschooling, these articles may interest you:
- Cost of Homeschooling vs Public School Compared (2023 Update)
- Guide to Homeschooling Large Family Style
- How Much Would It Cost to Hire a Teacher to Homeschool?
Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as homeschoolers.
- Amy, A. (2022, July 18). Can You Homeschool an Entire Grade Over the Summer? Raising Arrows. https://raisingarrows.net/can-you-homeschool-an-entire-grade-over-the-summer/
- Devitt, R. (2022, December 23). Homeschool Hours Per Day: Should I Homeschool for Only 2 Hours a Day? How Do I Homeschool? https://howdoihomeschool.com/starting-homeschooling/homeschool-hours-per-day-2/
- Faulconer, J., MA. (2021, July 14). Can You Skip a Grade Homeschooling? Can You Repeat a Grade? Should You? TheHomeSchoolMom. https://www.thehomeschoolmom.com/can-you-skip-a-grade-homeschooling-can-should-you-repeat-a-grade/
- Homeschool Laws By State. (n.d.). HSLDA. https://hslda.org/legal
- Homeschool.com. (2020, March 4). One-Hour-A-Day Homeschooling | Homeschool .com. https://www.homeschool.com/advisors/james/
- How to Get a Diploma For Your Homeschooled Student. (2021, May 23). Verywell Family. https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-does-a-homeschooler-get-a-diploma-5076111
- Sherwood, M. J. (2022, June 16). Way Behind in Homeschool? Tips to Help Your Child Catch Up. Sonlight Homeschooling Blog. https://blog.sonlight.com/behind-homeschool-schedule.html
- Trisha, T. (2021, October 23). When Can I Graduate My Highschooler? Year Round Homeschooling. https://www.yearroundhomeschooling.com/can-graduate-highschooler/
- Wilson, J. (2021, July 8). Surprising Homeschool Hour Requirements: How Many Hours Should Homeschooling Take? Homeschool Super Freak. https://homeschoolsuperfreak.com/homeschool-hour-requirements-how-many-hours-should-homeschooling-take/
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