How to Make a Schedule for Online School According to Parents

A learning coach helping his daughter create an online school schedule

To help students learn key life lessons such as time-management, organization, working independently, and taking responsibility, parents say the flexibility of creating their own online school schedule can enrich their student’s overall educational experience.    

Of course, students must follow the curriculum and meet semester requirements, but the freedom to decide when to start the online school day, set the sequence of classes, take breaks, and “close the books” has advantages over the inflexible schedules of brick-and-mortar schools .  However, if you’re new to online school, you may be unsure of where to begin organizing your student’s school day.  

Making an Online Schooling Schedule

Here are some sample schedules and thoughts from Connections Academy parents who have worked with their students to create successful online learning schedules. 

Michelle D.: “Be realistic.”

“Sit down with your child or children and explain that you all need to come up with a schedule together. When they are part of that discussion and setting the schedule, they will take ownership of it. Be realistic with your schedule! Don’t over commit or under commit. Create something that will achieve the results you want.”  

Asking open-ended questions and discussing options to resolve differences is an ideal place to start.   

Proven conversation starters include:  

  • What time of day do you feel like you have the most energy? 
  • Which subjects do you prefer to work on first and last? 
  • Which courses are easier for you?  
  • Would it help you to work on math one day and science another day? 
  • How would you run things if you had your way? 

Francine B.: “Be patient.”

“Be patient with all of the changes. Be patient with your child and with yourself. Adapt. Being able to adapt is a part of life and during this time, adaptability is coming fast. Be forgiving. It’s OK to NOT know everything. Forgive yourself for what you do not know. Enjoy the ride!”  

Think of the first few weeks as a trial period for your new schedule. It may take some time to tweak and modify your student’s learning pace before your family is satisfied. Fortunately, with online school, you can adjust your student’s day as much as you need to! 

 A family creating an online school schedule.

Jane K.: “Adapt to each day’s tasks.”

“A daily schedule was a basic framework to our day, but that framework was also flexible enough to allow us to adapt depending on what each day’s tasks looked like. I also allowed my boys to offer input into what their daily schedule looked like. This helped them take ownership of their learning. It also taught them organization, time-management, and self-motivation.”  

Most students work best with a schedule, but it needn’t be the same one every day. For example, if your student has extracurricular activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can alter the schedule on those days. When thinking about how to make a school schedule online, remember to plan for events such as extracurricular activities, doctor appointments, and family trips.  

Rose M.: “Take Breaks.”

“Take breaks to ‘change classes.’ Include a PE time each day to get the wiggles out. Some students do better with one subject per day, rather than little bits of each subject every day. Make lunch time a learning time too! Ensure some non-screen time to give their eyes, brains, and bodies an “e-break.”  

Students need to reenergize their brains from time to time. That’s why it’s important to include breaks in your online school schedule. Something as small as a walk around the house will often give students the energy they need to continue working. Breaking up the day makes the workload feel more doable. 

A student checks her daily schedule.

Jessica W.: “Use a physical planner.”

“We make our schedule for the entire week on Sunday evenings. We call it our weekly download session! We use a physical planner that each child picks out, and together we put everything in it from assignments to lessons, chores, breaks, and lunch. Having a set schedule makes a huge difference in productivity for kids.”  

As your kids mature, help them develop independent learning skills instead of relying on you for reminders. Having their learning schedule on display will remind them to stay on task, help them feel more prepared for their next assignment, and teach them how to manage their time. 

Tracy J.: “Let them work at their best time.”

“Some kids work better in the morning and others after they relax a little. Some might even be night owls. It’s OK to let them work at their best time!” 

It might take some time to create a schedule that works for your student—but that’s a benefit of being flexible. Once you find a schedule that fits your day-to-day and inspires your student to set goals and achieve deadlines, you will be pleased by how productive the learning day can be. 

It Might Take Time to Fine Tune an Online School Schedule, but the Results are Worth the Effort

For students who like learning at their own pace, a custom-designed learning plan can motivate and inspire them to pick up valuable life skills. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all schedule, and while creating a successful school schedule takes communication, some persistence, and maybe even negotiation, the results will be worth it. 

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